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The Animal Science Blog is the place for conversation and discussion about scientific and technological topics related to pets, livestock, and other animals. See how cutting-edge advances help - or hinder - species around the world.

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Whelping Boxes: Features and Design

Posted January 04, 2012 12:00 AM by SavvyExacta

A whelping box is a place where a dog can have her puppies. The puppies can begin to grow up in the box because it's a safe place. This blog entry will describe how a whelping box was created for an English setter and her six puppies.

A whelping box has several features that are important for keeping a mother dog and her puppies safe:

  • A "doorway" or low side for the mother to step into and out of the box while the puppies are small.
  • High sides to contain the puppies when they become more active.
  • A guard rail (ledge) to prevent the mother from crushing the puppies against the walls. She can rest her back against the ledge; a puppy would be safe between her and the wall.
  • The box must be large enough for the mother to lay down comfortably with the puppies in the box.

My father researched whelping boxes online and discovered that you can buy boxes or plans to build your own. He studied the plans posted on one website and made his own version. The whelping box he created for his English setter, Kasey, was 44 by 44 inches. This is what he did:

  1. Sawed several boards into 44 inch lengths. Some were 12 inches wide and others were 7.5 inches wide.
  2. Created four "posts" by cutting 2x4s in half. They were 26 inches long. The posts are high so more boards can be added as the puppies grow.
  3. Assembled the boards as shown in the photo.

The box is resting on a piece of plastic, a piece of cardboard, and a blanket. The plastic is used so that the floor stays dry. The cardboard prevents the puppies from chewing on the plastic as they become bigger. The blanket keeps everyone a little more comfortable and is easy to remove and wash each day.

This whelping box is special because it can easily be broken down and reassembled for travel. When the puppies were just 10 days old they had to stay for a few days in a place about three hours away. Decking screws were used to make reassembly easy. (Plywood could have been used instead of separate boards.)

The puppies stayed in the whelping box until they were four weeks old; the box became too small as the puppies grew more active. My father removed one side of the box and connected it to a larger pen for the puppies to play in.

Resources:

http://www.petplace.com/dogs/how-to-build-a-whelping-box/page1.aspx

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Whelping_box

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