You must be feeling nervous and excited right now that you’re about to have puppies, and it’s alright. On top of the plethora of things to do, you need a contained, safe, and warm whelping box for your bitch, which will protect the puppies during birth and their early life.
Whether you are in a one-off litter or an experienced dog breeder, the whelping box and the whelping kit are a must-have.
You most likely didn’t buy a house that came with a whelping box with it. As dog breeders, we staple an area of our house for about six weeks for that. But how do we come up with a whelping box that looks nice in our homes? Let’s see!
TIP 1 — Measure an area and secure that spot!
Look around and decide on the spot where you’ll ideally place the whelping box. The part of the house where your bitch is most comfortable during the pregnancy is always a factor to consider but if it is in a narrow and dark place, you might have to help her relocate herself before she gives birth.
You can consider an empty room, where you can put a whelping box anywhere near the center. If an extra room isn’t available, a corner of the room will work. Measure the space and take note of the dimensions. You’re measuring the area to be sure that your bitch can fit in a nest installed there.
Secure that spot and rearrange the other furniture you have in a way that it follows a smooth flow in the room. This way, you are not placing the whelping box in an awkward position and you’re not stressing your bitch in that area as well.
TIP 2 — Buy or DIY?
Base the whelping box on the measurements of the allotted space. If you find something in the store that fits your needs, then lucky you! If you’re looking into doing it for yourself, you must plan the features of your nest very well.
Choose sturdy materials such as wood or a laminated particleboard like melamine. Melamine doesn’t absorb or trap odors too, so it is the best material to be used as a whelping box. Make the floors easy to clean by using linoleum, protecting the bottom of the nest and the floor of your home as well. Avoid using cardboard boxes because it absorbs liquid easily and tends to get mushy.
Remember, the design possibilities of a fully functional and cozy whelping box are unlimited. Choose a color that goes well with your walls and your furniture. You can always share your vision with a skilled carpenter who can help you build a top-notch whelping box. Plus, the box you’ve customized will become one of your home’s conversation piece with other dog owners. You’ll be elated to tell your peers how you created the nest out of passion.
TIP 3 — Have it ready at least three weeks before the bitch is due!
It is very important for the bitch to know her den so she’ll want to stay in the whelping box when the time comes. We don’t want her hiding and giving birth in hard to reach areas. We want to avoid the hassle of cleaning too, as much as possible.
Help her like the nest by letting her eat and rest in it. Keep her comfortable by adding a replaceable form of bedding such as towels, newspapers, or blankets. Try adding heating pads in between the sheets to keep her warm. If the heating pad isn’t available, install a heat lamp right above the nest. The heat is not just beneficial for the mother, but for the puppies too once they’re born until they’re ready.
TIP 4 — Keep it clean
Being tidy is everything. You have to make sure that your whelping box is clean every day so it won’t turn into an eyesore at home.
Make sure everything is handy by arranging the rugs and towels properly near the box. Place a trash bin nearby so you can immediately dispose of soiled paper towels or newspapers. Replace the towel beddings every day and wash them immediately too, to eliminate the odor. Clean your pet’s eating area and utensils every after a meal to avoid attracting insects such as ants, flies, and cockroaches to your whelping nest. Flies and roaches carry bacteria that can cause diseases, especially to the newborn pups.
TIP 5 — Let the puppies explore!
Time will come that the puppies will get curious. They will explore on their mother’s food, they will loiter around the box and smell every corner of it. You can add a mini playground inside the nest so the puppies can play. This will be a cute feature in their pen which gives you a precious scene of playing puppies. It will be a better focal point of your home!
With these steps, I hope to address your design dilemma on how to come up with a whelping box that looks good in your home. As an interior design enthusiast and a dog lover, I think a pretty whelping box isn’t everything. A bitch in pain won’t choose cute from comfort. Giving birth is an important part of her life and as owners and breeders, it is your responsibility to help her get through the process. She’ll be thankful for your best effort to provide a nest where she and her babies can safely snug into.