A Complete Guide to creating a Whelping Box For Dogs

whelping box for dogs

Are you expecting newborn puppies? A whelping box is a great tool for an expectant mother and her newborn pups. Here’s everything you need to know about a whelping box for dogs to get you prepared for the arrival of your puppies:

What Is A Whelping Box For Dogs?

what is a whelping box for dogs?

A whelping box for dogs is a structure specially designed for a pregnant dog to give birth to puppies and care for them in their early years. They can come in various sizes, shapes, and designs, but they all have low sides to contain the puppies and allow the mother easy access in and out of the box. A whelping box may be made of many different materials, such as wood, plastic, or metal, and should include bedding or padding to help the puppies regulate their temperature. 

Do Dogs Need A Whelping Box?

It’s not necessary to have a whelping box for dogs. However, it can be a good idea to provide one for the mother and her puppies to help them through labor and the early stages of life. There are many added benefits that come with a whelping box, such as:

Safety and Security

A whelping box ensures a safe environment for the mother and her puppies. It aids the mother during the helping process and contains the puppies, preventing them from getting injured or lost.

Warmth and Comfort

During the first 12 to 13 days of life, puppies cannot regulate their body temperature. Equipping the whelping box with bedding or other heating elements can help them regulate their temperature.


Whelping boxes for dogs are often designed to be easy to clean, helping keep a hygienic environment for the mother and puppies and preventing infection.

Facilitates Bonding and Nursing

Uninterrupted nursing is crucial for puppies’ growth and development. A whelping box for dogs provides a private space that facilitates bonding between the mother and puppies and ensures no disturbances. 

Minimizes Stress

The birthing process can be stressful for the mother, especially if she feels exposed. A whelping box provides a safe environment that can help reduce the mother’s stress levels.

How Long Do Puppies Stay In the Whelping Box?

whelping box for puppies

There’s no exact period of time that the puppies need to stay in the whelping box. In general, puppies should stay in a whelping box for the first weeks of their lives until they’re old enough to start exploring their surroundings. The exact duration depends on a number of factors, such as the breed of the puppies, how they’re developing, and your own preferences. 

Here is a general timeline of how long puppies should stay in the whelping box based on their stage of development:

Neonatal Period (Birth to 2 Weeks)

During this time, puppies depend entirely on their mother for warmth, nourishment, and care. It is crucial for puppies to be in a whelping box during this time so they can regulate their temperature and get all the nourishment and care they need from their mother.

Transitional Period (2 to 4 Weeks)

Puppies may now begin to start exploring their environment. They crawl around, develop hearing and vision, and interact with their littermates. However, they still require care from their mother and may only take short breaks away from her.

Socialization Period (4 to 8 Weeks)

During the socialization period, puppies begin to venture outside of their whelping box and explore their surroundings. They still rely on their mother for nursing and guidance, but they may begin to transition to solid food and gain more independence.

Weaning and Transition (6 to 8 Weeks)

This is around the time when puppies are fully weaned off their mother’s milk and on a diet of solid food. Once they’re fully weaned off milk and onto solid food, they will probably be ready to leave the whelping box.

What Should Be In A Whelping Box For Dogs?

As noted, a whelping box for dogs is a crucial tool to help a mother dog give birth and aid the puppies through the early stages of development. Here are some things to include in a whelping box to ensure that you get the most out of it:

Warming Device

accu temp whelping nest for dogs

To help puppies regulate their body temperature, the box should be kept between 85 degrees and 90 degrees Fahrenheit in the first week, gradually decreasing to about 80 degrees by the end of the third week. Devices such as heat lamps, heating pads, or even blankets can be incorporated into the whelping box to provide warmth. We offer an Accu Temp Whelping Nest and a Single Zone Whelping Nest Control Box to help you monitor, control, and regulate the temperature of your puppies.

Soft Bedding

whelping carpet for dogs

The bottom of your whelping box should be lined with soft, clean bedding, such as towels, blankets, or a vet bed. Since the bedding will get soiled frequently, you’ll want to ensure it‘s easily washable. We recommend our Whelping Carpet. It’s soft, easy to wash, and provides a grip for the puppy’s feet when they begin to walk. 

Whelping Kit

whelping kit

A whelping kit will include everything you need to help the mother successfully give birth to her puppies. This includes clean towels for drying the puppies, hemostats or umbilical clamps for cutting umbilical cords, and a scale for weighing the puppies. 

Safety Rails

You may want to install low rails around the inside of the whelping box to prevent the mother from accidentally crushing her puppies against the sides. In addition, they keep the puppies safely inside the whelping box and give the mother a place to lean while nursing. We offer a portable whelping box with safety rails already built in. 

How To Make A Whelping Box For Dogs

If you’re looking for a DIY whelping box, there are lots of materials that are easily available to make one yourself. However, there are some factors you should keep in mind when searching for materials:

  1. Size

It’s important to get the right dimensions for your whelping box so that you get the right amount of materials. You’ll want to ensure there’s enough space to allow the mother dog to lie down and stretch out comfortably, but not so spacious that the puppies can wander off. Consider the dog breed and expected number of puppies when determining the appropriate size for your whelping box. 

2. Durability & Ease Of Cleaning

You’ll want to select durable and easy-to-clean materials. Plywood, PVC pipes, and plastic are commonly used. Be sure to avoid materials that may splinter or present a choking hazard to the puppies. Consider removable flooring or liners that simplify the cleaning process and prevent bacteria buildup.

3. Safety

whelping control box for dogs

As mentioned previously, you’ll want to select materials that are safe for newborn puppies. In addition, you may want to consider safety rails to prevent harm from coming to the puppies. Common materials for the rails include wood and PVC pipes. When including a warming device, closely monitor the temperature to ensure the puppies are not burned. To help you keep track of the temperature, we offer a whelping box control that keeps an eye on it and allows you to easily adjust the temperature as needed.

4. Accessibility

The mother should be able to easily come and go from the whelping box as she pleases. To make that possible, you’ll want to construct a gently sloping entrance or low sides, especially during the later stages of pregnancy when mobility may be limited. 

Materials You’ll Need

If you’re headed to the store and still unsure of what materials you may need, here’s a list to help you get started:

  1. Wood

Plywood is the most common type of wood used to construct the sides of a dog whelping box. Other types of wood, such as pine board, or the aforementioned materials, like PVC pipe and plastic, could also be used. You may need to get more of these materials if you plan on incorporating safety rails. The thickness of the wood will depend on the mother’s weight and the expected number of puppies.

2. Screws Or Nails

To secure the pieces of wood together, you’ll need nails or screws. Getting the right sizes is important to ensure the wood doesn’t split and create a potential hazard. Depending on whether you choose to use screws or nails, you’ll need either a hammer or a drill.

3. Saw

You’ll need a saw to cut the wood to the desired dimensions. Either a circular saw or a handsaw can be used for this purpose.

4. Measuring Tape

This will help you make sure you get accurate measurements and mark the appropriate cutting lines on the wood.

5. Non-Slip Surface

whelping carpet

To line the bottom of the whelping box, select a non-slip surface such as towels, blankets, or rubber mats to provide stability for the mother and her puppies. 

6. Heat Source

Depending on the temperature needs of your puppies, you may choose to include a heat source. Common heat sources include a heat lamp, heating pad, or electric blanket.

7. Bedding

Use soft, clean bedding materials such as towels and blankets.

8. Sandpaper

To ensure the whelping box’s edges are smooth and don’t harm the puppies, you’ll want to purchase some sandpaper.

9. Paint Or Sealant

If you want your dog’s whelping box to be unique, you can paint or seal its exterior to protect it from moisture and damage and give it a design. Make sure to select non-toxic paint or sealant that is safe for animals. 

Instructions For A DIY Whelping Box For Dogs

Take Measurements

First, sketch out a design with proper measurements for the sides, bottoms, and optional features such as safety rails. Once you have your desired measurements, use your tape measure to make cutting lines on the wood.

Cut the Materials

Next, use your saw to cut along the designated lines. You’ll need to cut pieces for the sides, bottom, and any additional features. 

Assemble the Whelping Box

Now that you have all the pieces, lay them out and assemble them according to your design. Then you can secure the sides together using screws or nails; if you decide to use screws, pre-drill pilot holes to prevent splitting.

Add Additional Features

If you so choose, you can now attach the safety rails securely to the inside of the box. In addition, you can add a removable side. If you want a removable side, you’ll need hinges to attach to the edge of the whelping box to ensure that the side swings open and closes smoothly.

Smooth the Edges

Using sandpaper, smooth the edges of the whelping box so it doesn’t threaten the mother or her puppies.

Finishing Touches

If you want to paint or seal the sides, you can do so now.

Add Bedding

After finishing the sides, you can insert the non-slip surface and bedding into the box. Ensure the bottom is properly secured so the mother and her puppies don’t slip.

Pick The Perfect Location

Finally, it’s time to set it up in the right location. The whelping box should be set up in a quiet, private location for uninterrupted nursing and bonding time.

Styles Of Whelping Boxes For Dogs

If creating your own whelping box seems too overwhelming, there are many different styles of whelping boxes available for purchase. Let’s take a look at some common ones:

Basic Box Style

EZs sloped whelping box for dogs

This style is rectangular and features low sides. It’s the simplest style and easy to construct. 

Raised Whelping Box For Dogs

raised whelping box for dogs

A raised whelping box offers higher sides than the basic box style. It often has a lip or safety rail around the perimeter to keep the puppies safe. If desired, it can be mounted on legs to raise it off the ground, making it easier for the mother dog to enter and exit. 

Modular Whelping Box For Dogs

This style comes with individual panels that can be connected together to create custom configurations. This feature allows you to expand or modify the whelping box easily as needed. 

Portable Whelping Box For Dogs

portable whelping box for dogs

These whelping boxes can be folded down for easy storage and transport. They typically have removable or hinged sides to allow it to be completely collapsed. If you’re looking for a whelping box that’s easy to transport, we offer a portable whelping box equipped with safety rails.

Enclosed Whelping Box For Dogs

enclosed whelping box for dogs

An enclosed whelping box for dogs offers a fully protected space for your mom and puppies. With a top that keeps it fully enclosed, you can ensure your puppies remain safely inside while you’re away. If this seems like the right option for you, we offer an enclosed whelping box for dogs with a window to get natural light, a built-in electric thermostat so they don’t get overheated, and an easily removable bottom for cleaning. It will make your puppies feel right at home.

What Kind of Whelping Box For Dogs Is Best?

The style of whelping box that’s right for you depends on a number of factors, such as the weight and breed of the mother and the expected number of puppies. If you’re still unsure what kind of whelping box is best for your dogs, you can contact us for more information.

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