Maybe you have a female dog who is expecting to deliver in the next few months, or perhaps you are considering getting into the dog breeding business. Either way, it’s good to know which whelping boxes are available and how to choose the right one for your situation.
Did you know that humans have been breeding dogs for over 9,000 years? That’s a long time to progress and learn new ways to care for dogs involved in the breeding business. It’s the responsibility of the breeder to treat their dogs with respect and care for them in a way that gives them everything they need to thrive.
The whelping box is designed to provide a safe place for your female dog and her litter. It keeps the litter safe, as well as offers a home for the mom and her puppies. This list has reviews of the five best whelping boxes, along with a buyer’s guide on what features make a good box.
A Comparison of Our Favorites (updated in 2020)
|Best Overall||Pet Nap Whelping Box||
|Best Value||Hudson Screwless Whelping Box||
|Premium Choice||Lakeside Plaza Whelping Box||
|PetnapUK Whelping Box||
The 4 Best Dog Whelping Boxes
1. Pet Nap Plastic Puppy Whelping Box – Best Overall
The Pet Nap is made from a piece of strong plastic that is molded into the shape of the box. The small size measures 24 x 24 inches, with 12-inch sides. The opening is 6 inches high, which allows your dog to get in and out easily but will keep the pups in the box. Also, there are three puppy rails made from a 21mm wooden dowel that has a smooth plastic coating. Keep in mind that this will make the inner dimensions smaller.
To ensure that you get the correct size, measure your dog from her nose to the base of the tail and add several inches for the rails and room to move. Since this box is meant to be re-used, it is simple to clean and disinfect between litters.
The walls are strong yet have the flexibility to bend instead of break if your dog accidentally lays on one edge. It arrives assembled, but the rails will need to be placed in the box. This is done with the provided screws and washers; all you need is a screwdriver. On the downside, this box is more ideal for smaller dogs who won’t have a large litter of pups.
2. Hudson Screwless Whelping Box – Best Value
This whelping box is actually a raised garden bed, but it can be an affordable option for a whelping box because it offers many great qualities. It is made from high-grade vinyl that is guaranteed not to rot, crack, or warp for 20 years. This means it can withstand puppies chewing on the edges and other rough abuse.
The inside dimensions are 42.25 x 42.25 inches, with 11-inch-high walls. This size is ideal for larger breeds who can step over the walls easily. On the plus side, it will keep the puppies secure within the box because they won’t be able to escape. The Hudson is easy to wipe down when a pup makes a mess, and since there is no floor, this gives you the freedom to use a material you prefer. Assembly is a breeze, and it is easy to move from one place to another.
On the downside, there are no puppy rails, but they could be added fairly easily with a few extra supplies. Since it is not an official whelping box and doesn’t have all the features of a traditional one, this is the number-two pick of this list.
The Lakeside Whelping Box is a great option for those willing to spend a little more money. It is made of FDA-approved HDPE plastic that is strong and durable, so you know it will last for through many litters. The surface is lightly textured but still easy to clean and disinfect.
We like that this box is super easy to assemble and has slip-fit connections, so no tools are required. There is a removable door with an adjustable height to customize to the size of your dog and/or puppies. There are ledge chair rails to protect the puppies from being laid on by their mother, and the box isn’t difficult to move from room to room when using the handles on each side. Plus, with no bottom, the bed is lighter in weight and gives you more options for the type of material to use as the floor.
The medium size measures 42 x 42 x 18 inches, which is plenty of room for a medium-sized dog to stretch out with her litter. This did not reach the first two spots on our list because it is a pricey box and may not be affordable for some.
4. PetnapUK Disposable Dog Whelping Box
Last on the list is the PetnapUK disposable whelping box. If you are worried about cross-contamination with subsequent litters or don’t want to have to worry about disinfecting the box when you are through with it, this may be a good option for you.
The walls are made of double-walled corrugated cardboard that is treated with a water-resistant base. The box is strong, but remember that it is still cardboard, so it won’t hold up as well as a stronger material. It is meant to be thrown away after one use.
We like that the box comes with three puppy rails that are made from a 21mm wooden dowel. The size of the box is 36 x 36 inches, with an area that folds down for your dog to easily get in and out. On the downside, you can’t wipe the walls down if they happen to get soiled, and this whelping box is pricey for one-time use.
Otherwise known as a birthing box or nesting box, a whelping box is an important item to have when your dog is expecting. You want to create an environment that is safe for your dog and her puppies. This is why finding a good box can be frustrating. There are many factors to keep in mind when choosing a box, but this buyer’s guide offers resources and tips that will help you find the right one.
Considerations When Buying a Whelping Box
To determine what size of box you will need to purchase, you need to know the size of your dog and the average litter size for her breed. You want everyone to fit comfortably within the box, with enough room for the mother to stretch out and the puppies to move around. If it is too large, then your dog may feel exposed, which may make her feel uncomfortable and less secure.
Height is also an important factor. If it is too low, the puppies could escape and be exposed to harmful situations. While if it is too high, the female may not be able to get in and out with ease.
There are pros and cons to each type of material. Generally, a box made of plastic will be easy to clean, and there are different grades of plastic, with some being stronger than others. If it is too thin, it can be broken with enough pressure. Vinyl is durable and lightweight, though if it breaks, there can be jagged pieces. Both plastic and vinyl won’t absorb fluids, making them more sanitary and less likely to harbor germs and parasites.
You will want a box that is durable and strong unless you are going to use the box only once; in that case, you may want to consider a disposable box. Disposable boxes aren’t as durable but may work well, especially for smaller dogs.
The typical design of the whelping box is one with high sides and a “door” for the mother dog so she can get in and out easier while still containing the pups. There should be puppy rails along each side that prevent the mother from accidentally pinning a puppy against the wall and smothering it.
Some may offer handles to make it easier to move from place to place and the box may or may not have a bottom. The advantage of this is that you can place materials of your preference, and it makes the box lighter and easier to move around.
You will notice that whelping boxes are not cheap, and some are more expensive than others due to the quality of the materials. If you are on a budget, try to find one that fits within your standards and offers the features you desire. If you will be using the box for the long term, it is important to purchase one that will be durable enough to hold up to the rough abuse from various puppies.
Your mama dog will want a spot that is comfortable for her and her newborns. Line the box with plenty of newspapers for your dog to use as nesting material. You can add additional accessories to the whelping box to make it nice and cozy.
- Heat lamp: Have the light offset so the dogs can move away from the heat if they become too warm.
- Liners: These should be water-proof and provide a layer of protection for the bottom of the box.
- Whelping pad: Since these are fleece covered, they will help keep the newborn puppies warm.
As you can see, the whelping box is more than a place for your dog to have her babies, it’s a home and it should offer security and comfort. Providing the best box will ensure that your dog is happy, and it reduces your worry about keeping the puppies safe.
The Pet Nap is our top pick from the list of the best whelping boxes; molded from strong, flexible plastic, it will last for many years. For a whelping box made of premium high-grade vinyl, the Hudson is easy to set up and large enough to accommodate your dog and her litter, which is why we chose it as the best value. For a premium whelping box, the Lakeside may be pricey, but it is made of HDPE plastic that connects easily together with no tools.
We hope that our reviews list helps you on your journey to finding the most appropriate whelping box for your dog and one that meets your expectations. Caring for dogs is important in general, but once you have a female dog expecting, it is a whole new experience.
Featured Image Credit: thespottymoma, Instagram
- A Comparison of Our Favorites (updated in 2020)
- The 4 Best Dog Whelping Boxes
- Buyer’s Guide
- Considerations When Buying a Whelping Box