Raising Newborn Puppies: Keeping Warm
Updated: Jan 11, 2020
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
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