• Puppy Talk

Raising Newborn Puppies: Keeping Warm

Updated: Jan 11

At birth, puppies cannot generate their own body heat and must be kept warm and dry. A healthy newborn body temperature ranges between 95° and 99°F. 


By staying close to mama dog, a healthy puppy can maintain a temperature of about 12°F warmer than the air temperature. The air temp for those first few critical days, therefore, should be kept at about 85 -90°F (29.5-32°C). Over the coming weeks, the pup’s temperature will slowly rise until it reaches 101° to 102.5°F (38.3 to 39.2°C).


When a pup’s temperature drops below 94°F, they can rapidly decline. Chilled puppies aren’t able to nurse; as they fall into life-threatening hypothermia their organs begin to shut down. Hypothermia is a leading case of newborn deaths. If a puppy becomes chilled, gradually rewarm the puppy by using your own body heat, perhaps supplementing your warmth with a heating pad set on low - you, puppy, clothing/towel, heating pad. 


Complement warm ambient air temperature with a heated whelping pad so that the pups can ‘regulate’ their temperature by snuggling with mom, sleeping on the heated pad or by finding a cooler spot in the whelping box.  


Puppies naturally sleep side by side. If pups are scattered about the whelping box sleeping alone, the air temperature may be too warm; if they are piled tightly on top of each other, it may be too cold - adjust the temperature accordingly. It’s a good idea to also moderate the humidity level to mom and the puppies' comfort level.


Puppy’s Age | Room Temperature

  • Puppies Birth - 7 Days | 85-90°F Critical to stay warm and dry to avoid hypothermia

  • Puppies 8 - 14 Days | 80-85°F 

  • Puppies 15 - 21 Days | 75-80°F Around 14 days, puppies develop the shiver reflex and begin to regulate their own temperature 

  • Puppies 22 - 28 Days | 70-75°F

  • Puppies 28 - 56 weeks  Around 3-4 weeks, puppies begin to emerge from the ‘den’ to explore their environment. As they mature, they can withstand cooler temperatures for longer periods of time

Mother German Shepherd with her newborn puppies, heated whelping pad, ambient room temperature at 85°F.


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