What A Whelping Box Needs
We have included boxes which tick all of the below boxes, but you may want to use it as a guide if you’re making your own or buying elsewhere.
- Made from a damp resistant material
- A ‘pig rail’ – inner rail to stop the mum lying on the pups/rolling onto them
- High walls to prevent draughts or puppy escapes
- Plenty of length for your dog to stretch out
- Plenty of width for your dog and her puppies to be together
- A large doorway for your dog to come and go as they wish
- Enough room to pop in some soft bedding
- Ability to add a heat mat or lamp – a VetBed is ideal as a lining
Plastic or strong wood is the best as it is sturdy, can be wiped clean and doesn’t absorb liquids. Plastic is the most popular option and seen as the most sanitary.
Solid sides are also important to enable the dogs to stay dry and free from draughts, and it will also help when your dam is going in and out of the box as they won’t squash or break the sides.
Cardboard is great for temporary, disposable boxes but can fail when it comes to staying dry, so you really need to line it etc. This is usually done with plastic, which stops odours being absorbed too.
You will need a box large enough for your dog to comfortably stretch out, as well as wide enough for your dog to lie down with all of their puppies feeding.
It can’t be too big because this could cause some draughts, enable the pups to venture away from the group and mean that your dam feels uncomfortable and exposed. But at the same time, it needs to be big enough to ensure they can use it for around 5 weeks after birth. Remember that they will grow during this time.
You need to work out the size of your dog, as well as their average litter size to ensure the size is perfect. Most manufacturers will make boxes of various sizes so you can find the best match.
Also bear in mind the height – too low and puppies can get out, but too high and your mum can’t leave comfortably without risking injury.
Disposable Whelping Boxes
If you will be using a whelping box just once for a short time, a disposable one may be best.
This way, it doesn’t take up room in storage for those ‘just in case’ moments, and you don’t have to bother with cleaning it at the end of use.
When they are finished with, they can be placed straight into the recycling as most use cardboard, so they are also great for anyone wanting to avoid plastic. Most are cheaper, too.
Reusable Whelping Boxes
There are a few things you need to look out for if you want to buy a reusable whelping box.
Firstly, it has to be easier to keep clean, so think material like plastic and curved corners. A full clean will allow you to use it again or keep it hygienic when it is in use.