Abstract In order to investigate the response of rat pups to stress, 10-day-old rats (N = 10) were exposed to cold water (14°C) for 5 min or to a control treatment (N = 10) for 5 consecutive days. On the sixth day when the rats were 15 days of age, all rat pups were immersed in cold water.for 5 min. Body temperature and nociceptive threshold were recorded as functional indexes of the stress response to cold water. Results revealed that the rat pups that had been previously exposed to the cold stressor demonstrated a smaller decline in body temperature and a smaller increase in nociceptive threshold following cold-water immersion than rat pups which had no prior experience with the stressor. Thus, as measured by thermoregulatory and nociceptive function, 15-day-old rat pups are capable of adapting to repeated stressful experiences.