Whelping Boxes For Dogs
Whelping boxes for dogs are boxes specifically designed for the birthing of a littler of puppies - also known as whelps. They take the place of dens that female dogs would otherwise prepare in the wild for the birth and nurturing of their pups.
Notice if you remove the "w" from this word, you are left with "helping", which is what you will be doing if you make or purchase a box for your pregnant dog. And what dog lover doesn't want to do all they can to help with this special event.
Whelping Box Tip - Don't DelayAs soon as you know your dog is pregnant, it's a good idea to think about whelping boxes because you don't have a lot of time to prepare for the "birth" day. The gestation period is approximately 63 days or less and you'll want to make your dog aware of the box at least 2 weeks prior to the birth event. So, if you decide to make a box, you will need to allow sufficient time to complete the project. And, if you decide to purchase one, you should check delivery times which could be 3 weeks or more.
This article will provide you with information to help make your decision between buying or building a box.
First we will talk about purchased whelping boxes for dogs.
The main difference between various ready made boxes is the type of material used in construction, which is also reflected in the price.
Depending on your breeding plans, you may want a box that
will serve more than once, or one that is expected to be discarded after the whelping.
24"x24" or 48"x36"
Double Walled Cardboard
Environmentally Friendly Disposable Whelping Box
Disposable Whelping Boxes For Dogs - Advantages
- Easy to assemble
- Double walled rigid cardboard
- Waterproof liner
- Good insulation for natural warmth
- Puppy protection rails included
- Available in all sizes
- No need for disinfecting
- Discard after use
If you want something more substantial, upgraded whelping boxes for dogs can be purchased that are made with corrugated plastic which can be used more than once and are also waterproof and easy to clean.
Beyond this, are boxes that are designed to meet the needs of the professional breeder. These highly durable whelping boxes for dogs, are designed for long term use, are more ruggedly constructed, often have insulated floor panels, as well various optional accessories that can be attached to the basic model.
Do It Yourself Whelping 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 suggestions:
- 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 - Springer Spaniels, Standard Poodles and similar - 42-45" x 34-40" x 22-23"
- Extra large dogs - such as Golden Retriever, Airedale and similar - 48-58" x 40-48" x 24"
Whelping Box Construction MaterialNext, decide on the material you want to use - think washable. An easy choice is laminate, another is plywood that you can paint or cover with contact paper after you have cut the panels, but before assembly. If you can find it, there is also plastic coated wood. Plain unpainted wood is not recommended 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 additions is to prevent the mother dog from squashing the puppies against the side of the box - they can just slip under and into the space provided by the rail or shelf.
You will probably want to make the front panel of the whelping box lower so that the mother dog can easily get out, but the pups can't. As an option, you could make the front panel removal for when the pups get bigger. Whelping boxes for dogs can also be made much larger and divided it into compartments. This type of box provides separate areas for sleep/nursing, potty, and play as the puppies get bigger.
Do it yourself whelping boxes can be assembled with screws or nails depending on if you plan to disassemble and store the box after its use. Also, If the box is going to be placed on a cold surface, you many want to raise the box off the floor by attaching a frame to the underside - 2x2's would work for making this part or you could just make blocks to go under the corners.
For bedding, the cheapest route is newspaper which provides good insulation and is also easy to clean up and replace as needed. 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 - Cost
The cost of whelping boxes may be an important consideration in making your decision. Here are some guidelines:
- 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 I hope this article has been of help.
Whelping Boxes For Dogs - In ConclusionWhichever 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!
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Back To Care Of Pregnant Dog
Heated Whelping Nest
48"x48"x20" Whelping Box
With Minor Mods
The Pet Pen Above
Could Be Set Up For Whelping
Digital Puppy Scale