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Whelping Boxes For Dogs

dog whelping box

Whelping boxes for dogs, sometimes referred to as nesting boxes, are specifically designed to provide a safe place for the birthing and containment of puppies - also known as whelps.

They can "loosely" be compared to dens that female dogs in the wild prepare when expecting a litter. While our "domesticated" pets might instinctively try to prepare a den in a bedroom closet, a whelping box placed in a quiet corner would be more ideal!

Notice if you remove the "w" from this word, you are left with "helping", which is what you will be doing if you obtain a nesting box for your pregnant dog. And what dog lover doesn't want to do all they can to help with this special event.

double compartment whelping box
PVC Whelping Box
A handy way to separate puppies when box is being cleaned!

Whelping Box Tips

As soon as you know your dog is pregnant, start thinking about whelping boxes because you don't have a lot of time to prepare for the "birth" day.

The gestation period for dogs is approximately 63 days or less and you'll want to have your pet become familiar with the box and its location at least 2 weeks prior to the birth event.

A couple of other things to consider: If you decide to purchase a box, availability and delivery times can vary especially during the Fall when many of those "Christmas" puppies are born. On the other hand, if you decide to make a box, you will need to allow sufficient time to complete the project.

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 either want a box that will serve more than once, or one that is disposable and expected to be discarded after the whelping.

whelping/nesting box for dog
Melamine whelping box

48" x 48" Heavy Duty Whelping Box
Safety Rails included
Doors and walls are covered with melamine and sealed
Box is of top quality construction and priced right
Suitable For Medium Sized Dogs

Disposable Whelping Box - 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 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.

basic whelping box
Basic Whelping Box

* The disposable double-walled rigid cardboard whelping boxes we previously featured are no longer available unless we find a new supplier. As an alternative, we suggest the reasonably priced Basic Whelping Box shown above which includes a liner and rails plus free shipping.

puppies in whelping box whelping boxes

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 Material

Next, 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 prior to assembly. If you can find it, plastic coated wood is another good option. Plain unfinished wood is not recommended as it is harder to keep clean and retains odors and stains.

solid wood whelping boxes for dogs 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.

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 padsezwhelp Whelping and Puppy Pad 47x47 are both waterproof on the bottom side and washable - nice! Plus they can be used around the house during puppy house training. 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 - but don't forget a waterproof padEZwhelp Washable Whelping & Puppy Pad 34x36 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.

puppies in whelping box for dogs

Cost of Whelping Boxes

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 we hope this article has been of help.

Whelping Boxes For Dogs - In 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!

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› Whelping Boxes For Dogs



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72" x 72"

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