This article has been medically reviewed by Dr. Joanna Woodnutt Veterinarian (MRCVS).
If your dog recently had a litter of puppies or you’ve adopted a puppy that’s several weeks or months old, you might be wondering what the best room temperature is for them to be in.
Of course, extreme temperatures aren’t good for a young puppy, but what temperature is ideal?
Puppies, like human babies, are both durable and delicate at the same time, but they do require a stable environment.
Even though they’re growing fast and constantly learning, it’s important that you help your puppy or litter of puppies maintain a healthy body temperature that isn’t too hot or cold. You don’t want to expose them to temperatures that change too drastically, either.
Luckily, if you know the basics and follow a few simple tips you can easily keep your puppy (or puppies) comfortable and happy.
What is the ideal room temperature for newborn puppies?
According to Ernest Ward, DMV,
“As long as the puppies stay close to their mother, the room temperature is not too critical. However, if the mother leaves her puppies alone, they need to be provided with an external source of warmth.”
Ward’s suggestions for ideal temperature in this scenario go like this:
- From days 1 - 4 room temperature should be about 85 -90°F (29.5-32°C)
- Gradually decrease temperature to approximately 80°F (26.7°C) by days 7 - 10
- After the end of the fourth week, maintain a temperature of around 72°F (22.2°C)
He goes on to explain that,
“The puppies' behavior and condition gives an indication whether they are comfortable and healthy. If they are warm and content they will be quiet and gaining weight, otherwise they will be restless and crying.”
Since puppies share their heat when huddling together, puppies from small litters or single puppies without their mother are the ones you need to keep the closest eye on.
Just so you’re aware, you don’t need to heat a whole room to these temperatures, just the whelping area that the puppies are in. Since they don’t move around too much in the first weeks of life, keeping their main living space warm will do the trick.
Making sure you’re achieving the right temperatures to keep your puppies warm and healthy can be as simple as using a warming pad or heating lamp and room thermometer.
However, it's very important to make sure that puppies can't get burned and also are able to find a cooler spot in the nest if they get too warm.
Best Temperature for Puppies 2-3 Months Old
Puppies who are given a good start in life are resilient.
Except in extreme conditions, room temperature shouldn’t have to be monitored too closely for puppies who are a couple of months and older.
Chances are if you are comfortable, so is your dog.
Just remember to use common sense and don’t leave your dog in a house without heat in the winter or in a small apartment with no windows open during the summer.
What Should You Do If a Puppy Is Too Warm?
If you think your puppy's room is too warm, it's essential to cool it down.
Puppies struggle to regulate their own body heat, and that means they can't cool down as effectively as an older dog. If your puppy is in a kennel in a heatwave, or lives in the conservatory, it's easy form them to overheat.
As soon as you notice your pup's room is too hot, you should move them to a cooler room. Check them thoroughly for signs of heatstroke and call a veterinarian if you're unsure.
The signs of heatstroke in puppies include:
- Panting, or difficulty breathing
- Red or very pale tongue and gums
- Foaming at the mouth
If you see any of these signs in puppies, it's important you get them to a veterinarian right away.
If your puppy isn't showing any signs of overheating but is still too warm, you can cool them down slowly.
It's not a good idea to use water on puppies under four months unless they're showing signs of overheating - it's likely this will cool them down to much. Instead placing them near a fan and getting them some fresh water is a good idea, then call your vet for advice.
Puppies still with their mother may be OK simply being moved to a cooler area - just keep a close eye on them.
Tips for Maintaining an Ideal Room Temperature for Puppies
There are many things that you can do as an owner to make sure your puppies are comfortable in your home.
One big thing is maintaining a stable room temperature that’s not too hot or cold.
Here are some tips for maintaining an ideal room temperature for puppies, depending on your situation and the puppies’ needs:
For litters of puppies
- Create a comfortable and warm whelping area where mom can take care of her puppies.
- Don’t keep young puppies (in the first week or two after birth) in a cold or drafty room - ideally the temperature would be above 75°F for the first couple of weeks.
- Use a heat lamp if more warmth is needed (for example, if you have rescued a litter or young puppy who doesn’t have its mother or siblings for warmth).
- During the first four weeks of life, keep a thermometer in the puppies’ living area to ensure a safe and stable room temperature.
For a new puppy
- If you’ve bought or adopted a puppy, have a comfortable bed or crate ready.
- Try to avoid giving blankets - they can get tangled and too hot in them. Consider a heating pad for additional warmth if needed, but make sure your puppy's skin is never in direct contact with it. You should also make sure your puppy can get away from the heat pad if they're too warm.
- If your puppy is crying at night and struggling to sleep, consider a dog toy with a heartbeat to help soothe and relax him.
Maintaining an ideal room temperature for puppies who are just born is very important, but most houses are suitable for raising puppies. The good news is you don't have to necessarily heat the whole room and puppies tend to keep themselves warm by huddling together with their mother and siblings.
Just make sure the room isn't too drafty or cold.
Young puppies who are too cold or too hot can become uncomfortable. In most modern houses, with attentive owners, heat stress is more likely than cold stress (for instance, when heat pads are used and puppies can't get to somewhere cooler).
Once a puppy is old enough to leave his mother (around 8 weeks), temperature isn't too much of an issue anymore. Whilst extremes of temperature should still be avoided, your new puppy is likely to be comfortable in your normal house temperature.
After the puppy is a few months old, temperature isn’t too much of an issue anymore.