I live in a neighborhood with dozens of walking and hiking trails. My puppy is 11 weeks old and every weekend we explore a new walking trail. We unintentionally took a trail that was 3 miles long (paved in asphalt). He never stopped or slowed down at any point and I watched him closely for signs of tiring. Needless to say he was really tired when we got home, but I didn't think about the impact it might have on his growing joints. Is 3 miles too much once a week? How old does he have to be before I can walk him long distances safely?

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I would consider it way too long for an 11 week old. He can slowely increase each week but I would go back to starting at about 1/2 mile. I am no expert though.

Ouch. 3 miles is crazy long for an 11 week old. Not to mention at that age, he has yet to receive his final round of shots? Please beware about exposing him to environments where other (possibly unvaccinated) dogs have defecated/urinated. It is vital that you exercise and socialize him, of course, but you don't need to rush headlong into it at the cost of his safety and wellbeing. :)

My first thought is that at 11 weeks old there is no way he is fully vaccinated. Every time you go out in public before they are fully vaccinated you are putting your pup at risk of parvo, distemper, rabies (ok not so much but risk is still there), and leptospirosis. I wouldn't be taking him out and about like this until he is fully vaccinated due to parvo risk. We see at least one, if not 2 cases of parvo EVERY DAY at the vet I work at this time of year. It is SUPER contagious so I'd be really careful about where you take your pup until it has had the whole series of vaccinations.

Many breeders begin vaccinating as early as 5-6 weeks old but these first vaccines potentially do nothing for the immune system. The mother's antibodies can stay in the puppy's system for up to 12 weeks so at or after the 12 week mark your pup needs at least one, if not 2, distemper/parvo vaccinations to be considered fully vaccinated.

He has had his second set of vaccination last week. And I already have his next set scheduled. I'm very new to the whole dog thing but I did read that you have to vaccinate them every 3 weeks until they are 16 weeks old. Am I missing something? The trails that we go on require that you clean up after your dog or get fined. So far we haven't come across any other dog feces.

Just because it's been picked up, doesn't mean it's not still there. :) A runny poo can leave behind tons of traces that eventually get ground into the dirt/grass. Until he has been fully vaccinated against something like parvo, I would be hard-pressed to let a puppy roam where other dogs have been, let alone possibly evacuated!

He will be getting his first Rabies shoots this week. And from what I saw it's just the DHPP shots again. So when is considered fully vaccinated (assuming his shoots are all on time)? 16 weeks?

I just looked it up and his second shoot does protect against parvo. DHPP (vaccines for distemper, adenovirus [hepatitis], parainfluenza, and parvovirus). Is that not standard?

Hmm. Even if you think so, are you really willing to risk your pup? Parvo is AWFUL. I've seen it kill a whole litter (was aided by their owners, who wouldn't vet them) Please consider just laying off the walks in highly used areas until he is FULLY vaccinated:P

I really didn't know that he was still at risk. He gets his 3rd set of shots this week. The breeder started his shots at 6 weeks and he got his second at 9 weeks. When is considered fully vaccinated?

When he has no more puppy shots needed, and the amount of time it takes for them to  get it through their system:) (Ask you vet about that one!)

He will not be fully vaccinated until about 16 weeks. At the 6 and 9 week vaccine it is not yet known if he still has his mother's antibodies which means the shot may or may not provide protection. The 12 week vaccine should provide him protection and then you will want that one boostered so you know for sure he is covered (at 15-16 weeks). After that 15-16 week vaccine he will be considered fully protected. Its though with puppies because we don't know when the shots actually start kicking in and boosting the immune system since each puppy is different in how long the mother's antibodies are in their system. I wouldn't take him out until he has had a vaccine at or around 15-16 weeks old.

Technically I think they are not "fully vaccinated" until their last set of shots which is usually around 16 weeks. Yes, they have some immunity after the second set, but I still wouldn't take a puppy that young on trails where a lot of other strange dogs frequent. Definitely keep taking him out and socializing him, but just be careful where you do it. As Ludi said even if you don't see the actual poop on the ground doesn't mean he can't pick up nasty stuff.

And I agree 3 miles is probably too long for a puppy that age. I'd keep it to a mile or so.


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