Do It Yourself
A do-it-yourself whelping box, also known as a nesting or birthing box, is a very achievable project even if you only have basic carpentry skills. In other words it's pretty easy - especially if you map it out using the guidelines in this article
So let's get started.
DIY Box Plans
First step is to decide on the size. It should roomy enough to accommodate your dog while she lying down
nursing the puppies in a fully stretched out position. Basically, cozy and not overly big so as to become
drafty, but still have enough room to allow for the growth of the puppies. Here are some approximate size
- Small dogs - Chihuahuas, Westies, Poms and the like - 21-34" x 21-34" x 15"
- Medium dogs - Wire Fox Terriers, Jack Russells and similar - 28-34" x 28-34" x 19-20"
- Large dogs - Airedale Terrier, Standard Poodle, Labrador and similar - 42-45" x 34-40" x 22-23"
- Extra large dogs - such as Golden Retriever, Dalmatian and similar - 48-60" x 48" x 24"
Next, decide on the material you want to use - think washable. An easy choice is laminate, another is
plywood coated with non-toxic paint or covered with contact paper after you have cut the panels, but prior to assembly.
If you can find it, plastic coated wood is another good option. Plain unfinished wood is not advised as it is harder to keep clean and retains odors and stains.
You will also need to purchase material to either build a narrow shelf or a rail around the interior of
the box. If you choose a rail, this can be made either from doweling (about broomstick diameter), or pvc
pipe joined with elbows. Rails should be installed about 4" away from the side panels and 5" up from the
base (use same distance from base for a shelf).
The purpose of these railings is to prevent the mother dog from squashing the puppies against the side
of the box - they can just slip under and be safe in the space provided by the rail or shelf.
As the puppies grow, they will become adventurous and try to get out of the box. For this reason
you can make the exit panel high enough to prevent this yet still a convenient level
for the mother dog to come and go. As an alternative, design the front panel to be removal for when the
pups get bigger.
Open Or Closed Base?
Finally, whether you choose an open base for your box or build one in, you will need to purchase pads to place within or underneath the box. These whelping and puppy pads are both waterproof on the bottom side and washable - nice! Plus they can be used around the house during puppy house training.
If you choose a closed base, start your project with a piece of lumber cut to your selected size nesting box. To this you will attach a frame to the underside to raise the box off the floor (especially if the box will be located on a cold floor) - 2x2's would work for making this part or you could just make blocks to go under the corners.
Assembly And Accessories
Attaching the various components of the birthing box together can be done with screws or nails. Screws will work better if you will need to disassemble the box later for storage purposes.
For bedding, the cheapest route is newspaper which provides good insulation and is also easy to clean up and replace as needed - but don't forget a waterproof pad
underneath. For additional comfort, artificial sheepskin, with or without a rubber backing, can be added on top of the paper. It's also easy to wash.
Whelping boxes for dogs can also be made much larger and divided it into compartments. This type of box is intended to provide separate areas for sleep/nursing, potty, and play as the puppies get bigger.
The cost of whelping boxes may be an important consideration in making your decision. Here are some
- Disposable double walled cardboard boxes including dowels run around $70-150 (if you can find them)
depending on size.
- Corrugated plastic boxes run between $199 - 300, again depending on size
and also quality.
- If you buy a heavy duty box designed to use for a long time, you would be looking
to spend anywhere between $400-750
- Do It yourself. The cost depends on the size and type of
material used, but the painted plywood type box would run you $100 or less for a large/x-large size box. Plus the value of
your labor of course!
So there you have it, the rest is up to you and we hope this article has been of help.
DIY - Conclusion
Whichever route you choose to go in getting set up, your dog will be ever so grateful if a whelping (helping) box shows up in time for her birthing experience.
Pampered dogs don't really want to go outside and dig a burrow and you
don't really want them giving birth in your closet or under the bed - right!
The Doggies Want Your WOOF!
Care Of Pregnant Dog
Whelping Boxes For Dogs
› Do It Yourself Whelping Box