Abstract The maintenance of a physiological body temperature during and early after surgical interventions in experimental animals such as rodents is often neglected. Therefore the positive influence of an adequate use of warming blankets (WB) on the rectal body temperature in rats was investigated during two different surgical interventions, with a special focus on possible differences between young adult (2.5 ± 0.14 months) and adult animals (9.3 ± 0.13 months). Anesthesia was induced with isoflurane short inhalation and maintained with ketamine and domitor intramuscularly. Animals were divided into ten groups according to (a) the age of the animals, (b) the temperature of the WB and (c) the kind of surgical intervention (either an intravenous [i.v.] cannulation of the right external jugular vein or an intraaortal implantation of a telemetric transmitter or both). Results clearly show that the surface temperature of the WB has a major impact on the perioperative thermoregulation. The rectal body temperature of animals operated on a cooler WB dramatically decreased depending on the age of the rat and also on the extent of the surgical intervention. The opening of the abdominal cavity in older rats resulted in a severe hypothermia: they lost 5.6 °C compared to 3.2 °C in the young adult rats. The implantation of the i.v. catheter had no serious effect on the thermoregulation. In conclusion, the results clearly show that an adequate perioperative warming system positively influences the postoperative outcome in young adult and most notably in adult rats and thus enables early postoperative experiments without effects on measured parameters.