There are dozens if not hundreds of whelping boxes out there. I’ve personally used a couple different ones. Each have their upsides and downsides. I’ve previously discussed different boxes on our tips for delivering puppies post, however I feel it’s important go into it further in depth. This post is once again intended for breeders. I’ll discuss below what we think is one of the best whelping boxes.
What’s Important to Have in a Whelping Box
A box needs to have sides. It is important to keep the puppies as close to their mother and not crawling blindly away. The number of sides is not important but generally most boxes are four sides. The box will need to be cleaned quite often to prevent parasites. My preference is to have a box made of PVC or FDA approved plastics that is easily cleanable. I also feel it needs to be raised so that the puppies are not experiencing cool air from underneath such as what will happen when the pen is placed on tile. Puppies need to be kept warm. I personally like to have mine be able to broken down. I don’t have them up when I don’t have a litter. Something easily stored is a must for me.
The box should also have bumpers. Mothers often sit toward the sides of the box and sometimes a pup will get stuck and can be crushed. The bumpers help give them space to move and wiggle free. I’ve seen puppies die from getting sat on in the corners. Do yourself a favor by getting a box with bumpers, or at least create bumpers if yours does not have them.
I also feel it is essential to have the right size. For golden retrievers I prefer the size of 48″x48″. It’s not too big and not too small. A mom can alternate sides of the pen with ease. However, it’s not too big where a puppy gets too lost on the other side of the pen. If you have a smaller dog you will want to go with a smaller size. Additionally if you have a larger dog like a Great Dane you will want something bigger.
I’ve used makeshift wooden boxes. The problem is that they splinter and are not easy to clean. I created my own PVC bumpers for them but I felt they were not good enough. I set out to find something better.
I ran across a box that was made in England. It’s called the Warwick Whelp Box. It is easy to clean and break down. This box is expensive. They do come in different sizes, however I prefer 48″x48″. Their boxes with my requirement don’t have the height that I prefer.
If you are looking for something cheap, a cheaper option is to use a metal playpen. They lack a bumper in it. I’ve seen it used by many people. However there are better options in my opinion. I’ve also seen many people use a plastic pool lined with pads. It could be something to consider if you only want to do this one time. If you are having more than one litter than something else would be far better.
I have ran across the MagnaBox. It’s a very nice pen. It will work for most uses. It’s made of FDA plastic and can easily be taken apart. However, the height I feel is too small for dogs like golden retrievers. Goldens will eventually jump out and you may have a hard time keeping them in there. It might be a great option for smaller breeds and in many cases it will work for goldens.
Whelping Box We Recommend
My most favorite box is made by Jonart. They meet my requirements of PVC, which is easy to clean, raised, break down when needed, and correct size. The height of the 48″x48″ is 24″. It’s a decent size for my dogs. They don’t jump out of it. If you have a jumping dog then that may be a problem. If so I would add a play fence around it so they can’t try and jump out to hurt themselves or their puppies. If they try and jump out they can also step on a puppy which could result in their death.
I bought Jonart’s Large Whelping Box 48″L x 48″W x 24″H and added a custom weaning pen with rails that is 60″L x 48″W x 24″H. It fits nicely in my puppy room. It was a large investment, but it is nice statement piece. I raise my puppies indoors. They are my pride and I invest a lot in them. So they get the best right from the start. I like the added weaning pen because as a puppy grows they can be easily given more space to roam. It also helps with potty training and introduces them to larger spaces.
What to Line the Inside of a Whelping Box With
Every box needs to be lined with something that can be kept clean. I have 4 EZwhelp pads. Having 4 allows me to be able to switch out pads while cleaning the others. Some days you will only need to switch out once. Other days you will have to do it multiple times. Below the pads we also line with fleece. Jonart also has a deluxe ribbed 1300 Gram fleece. Some breeders will only use fleece without the pads. I like to have both, and the fleece also adds a bunch of comfort to mom and the puppies. You can find thick fleece in other locations that will probably be cheaper. One problem with fleece this thick is being able to wash it. So keep that into consideration. Below the fleece we line it with a shower pan liner. That helps prevent any pee going all the way to the bottom. All layers can be easily removed for cleaning time.
We hope this post helps families with future puppies on the way. Feel free to comment below and show us your pens. I know many people who have created their own DIY pen out of PVC. I couldn’t find the correct materials to create one the way I wanted it. So I decided to buy one that we felt met all our requirements.