Whelping Your First Litter: Ideas on How to Choose a Dog Whelping Box

Congratulations, you’ve found the best possible stud dog for your female, completed the necessary progesterone testing, had two successful breedings with the couple, and happily, your female is carrying a sizable brood. The exciting part now is getting ready for the arrival of the litter!

Whelping your first litter can be thrilling and rewarding, but it can also be challenging to know what to anticipate if you’ve never mated dogs before or watched your dog give birth. There are many things to get ready for, such as picking the right whelping box. It is the place where your dog will give birth. It is a box that’s designed to keep puppies safe during birth and for several weeks afterwards as they grow and become more independent.

How to Choose the Perfect Whelping Box for Your Pooch

whelping box
source: facebook.com/vebopet

If your dog has reached their due date, get prepared and whelp your puppies successfully with a safe and reusable whelping box made from durable materials. Sure, if you have the tools and skills, you can build your own whelping pen but it’s always better to buy one as these boxes for whelping are made with safety and durability in mind. Plus, they can serve their purpose for you all your next litters.

However, picking the ideal model isn’t always a straightforward decision to make as there are many options available. But don’t get frustrated as there are some ideas on how to choose the perfect box and make shopping stress-free and successful.

Consider the Materials

One of the first things to think about when choosing a whelping kennel is the material it’s made of. Most dog models on the market are made from heavy-duty PVC plastic. These are easy to clean, easy to disassemble for storage between litters, and have high sides all around the box so puppies can’t climb out.

To prevent the mother from slamming a puppy against the wall, they also feature a puppy protection ledge around the interior of the box. They are perhaps the most suitable for whelping puppies because they are available in large and small sizes. Cost is a consideration, though, as these are not inexpensive.

Another great material for your whelping model is plywood or particle board. Normally, these materials are sprayed with latex, and glossy paint to prevent absorption of urine or fecal material by the wood and to make cleaning easier. To avoid the mother crushing the puppies, every wood-whelping pen should ideally have a puppy protection ledge inside as well.

The Perfect Lining

whelping box
source: facebook.com/vebopet

Lining your puppy’s whelping box with the right materials is another important consideration to take into account. Although newspapers are an inexpensive alternative, puppies can become discoloured by the newsprint. Plus, they can shred the papers, making clean-up more difficult.

Even though towels and blankets can be utilized, there are drawbacks to doing so. First, when searching for their mother, extremely young puppies may become entangled or lost underneath. In addition, if they are hiding underneath, their mother can simply crush them. Additionally, towels and blankets can clump up in the corners of whelping areas, which may prevent puppies from getting the most traction when they want to snuggle up to their nipples.

Lambskin crate pads, on the other hand, are a fantastic option for whelping cage liners. These are synthetic lamb-like fur pads that can be easily obtained in most dog catalogues and come in a variety of sizes. These have a lot of benefits when used in a whelping box. First, they are simple to clean in a washing machine and quickly absorb liquids to prevent puppies from sleeping in moisture. Second, because they are thick, the puppies can acquire good traction and extra warmth by cuddling in them as they go toward their mother. Thirdly, unlike towels or blankets, which tend to clump up easily in a whelping pen, they typically remain in position.

Pick the Right Size

The optimum whelping box size should be your female dog’s length plus an additional foot (at the very least) in one direction. In other words, the box should be approximately 62 inches in one direction (for example, width) if your female is 50 inches long from snout to tail. While the box doesn’t have to be 62 inches long and wide, it should be at least the length of the dog measured in the opposite direction (for example, a 50-inch dog from nose to tail would require a 62″ x 50″ box).

A box that is too tiny can increase the likelihood that the mother will sit on or otherwise harm the puppies. An excessively large box, on the other hand, may prevent the puppies from finding their mother.

Location, Location, Location

whelping box
source: facebook.com/vebopet

One of the most important considerations, however, is to find the perfect location for your dog birthing box. It should be placed where it is convenient for you to keep an eye on the development of your dog and her puppies. Most breeders whelp their puppies indoors, ideally adjacent to a couch or lounge chair so that they can take quick cat naps while still being close enough to the action to not miss anything.

In this regard, many breeders have their litters in the living room, bedroom, laundry room, basement, or an adjoining garage. The setting should ideally be serene with a minimum of active family activity, especially, if you have a large family or young children.

Temperature Does Matter

The whelping room’s temperature should be taken into account as well. Breeds with double coats, like the Siberian Husky or German Shepherd, will feel more at ease in basements or, if it’s the height of summer, air-conditioned rooms. They won’t be able to give birth to puppies if the room is too warm. Smaller breeds, like the Maltese or Yorkie, struggle to stay warm in cold weather, thus those breeds should give birth in warmer rooms, like the living room or bedroom.

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do.