When you have a litter of puppies it is important to keep them warm and free from damp and draughts so that they stay healthy and don’t get chilled, which can be fatal to young puppies.
The question on many breeders’ minds however is, what temperature do newborn puppies need? Newborn puppies should be kept warm at 85 – 90 degrees F or 29.5 – 32 C. This temperature should be gradually reduced as the puppies get older and stronger.
What temperature do newborn puppies need?
When puppies are first born it is important to keep them warm so that they do not get chilled.
The puppy whelping box should be in an area that is dry and not subjected to damp or draughts or extremes of temperature.
Young puppies cannot regulate their body temperatures for the first two weeks after their birth so it may be necessary to provide them with some form of artificial warmth.
This is particularly true when their mother is not there, for example when you have taken her our briefly to go to the toilet.
The ideal temperature for newborn puppies is 29.5 to 32 degrees centigrade and this should be maintained for the first week after their birth.
The temperature can be reduced to 27 degrees by the end of the second week and then down to 23 degrees by the end of week four.
How do you know if newborn puppies are warm enough?
The best and safest way to monitor the temperature of the puppies environment is to place a thermometer on the side of the whelping box, out of reach of the puppies.
Providing the temperature is within the values outlined above then the puppies should be warm enough. It is really important to make sure that there are no draughts or damp that can affect the puppies.
Puppies will normally pile up together, quite often next to their mother, which helps to keep them warm.
If the puppies get too hot, they will often spread themselves out, away from each other and away from the heating lamp.
Cold puppies will often make noises and may display other signs such as shivering, they will quieten if you place them on heating pads – if this happens then your puppies are cold.
Heating lamps and heating pads should be on your list of essential items when you have puppies.
You never know when you will need them and it is best to be ready for all eventualities.
How long do puppies need a heat lamp?
A heat lamp is a very cost effective way of keeping your puppies warm.
Most lamps simply screw into a standard lightbulb socket and the lamp is then suspended at a safe height above the whelping box where the puppies live.
You can also get complete heatlamp units that simply need hanging over the box and plugging in.
You should provide your puppies with artificial heat until they are at least six weeks old.
If the conditions are cold, then you should extend this until you are confident that the puppies are thriving and able to cope with temperature changes.
What happens if a newborn puppy gets too cold?
Newborn puppies are unable to generate their own body heat until they are around 3 weeks old when they develop the ability to shiver.
If a puppy gets too cold then he can develop hypothermia which, in puppies is often fatal.
The puppy will not be able to suckle to feed and his condition can deteriorate quickly.
The whelping box that the puppies live in should be heated or should be in a warm place, such as a quiet area in your home that benefits from some form of heating.
You should always provide a warm environment for your puppies to prevent any problems and minimise any potential risks.
If a puppy does get cold then you should take him to a warm area and slowly raise his temperature to the normal range of between 98 to 99 degrees F.
Do puppies need blankets?
The base of the whelping box should be covered with some form of indestructible blanket or other covering.
This serves two main purposes:
It provides insulation between the base of the box and the puppies, helping to keep the puppies warm and reducing the amount of heat that is lost through the floor.
Secondly the correct type of blanket will absorb any dampness that may occur from the puppies going to the toilet and other mishaps.
There are many whelping box blankets and liners available for this purpose the Drymate Premium Whelping Box Liner is ideal as it is machine washable and can be cut to suit the sixe of your whelping box.
Keeping newborn puppies warm
How to keep orphaned puppies warm
If you are unfortunate to lose the puppies’ mother then you will have to become the fulltime puppy carer and the puppies will be reliant on your for all of their needs.
The best ways to keep your puppies warm are to use a combination of items.
You should use an overhead heatlamp and also a heating pad with adjustable temperature controls.
Hot water bottles with thick covers are also good as puppies can curl up next to them or lie on top of them.
If you can find old stone or ceramic hot water bottles then these are much sturdier and, with a cover over them, which can be easily made out of old clothing, you will keep your puppies warm and safe.
The shape of a stone water bottle can also have some resemblance to the puppies’ mother, which can have a reassuring effect for baby dogs.
Newborn puppies are tiny but hardy animals that grow quickly.
They are dependant, however, on their mother and require conditions that keep them warm and safe to allow them to become healthy and fit dogs.
There are a number of ways to keep your puppies warm and a variety of lamps and heating pads that you can get to help with this.
If you are unable to buy heating equipment then, provided your home is warm enough and you can maintain the temperature in a quiet and private part of the house, then there is nothing to prevent you from keeping the puppies indoors until they are older.
Remember too that if in any doubt, that your vet is always the best source of advice and information for your pet care needs.
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Last update on 2023-12-07 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API