The best whelping box for your pregnant pup

Keep your dog safe while giving birth with the best whelping boxes to buy online

person holding puppy with dog sniffing in the background

by Ruby Barry |

There's nothing more precious than a new life beginning, especially if they're cute little puppies. If you've got a pregnant bitch then you know there's a lot to prepare for. You'll need the right equipment, bedding, and environment for a smooth and safe birth for your fluffy companion. The most important item you'll need during this exciting process, however, is the whelping box.

Whelping boxes are vital for a happy dog and puppies, and we've got an extensive guide to the best whelping boxes to buy online- from cardboard boxes, plastic, wooden, and everything in between. We've also got an insightful FAQ section to answer any burning questions. We'll make sure you're pup-pared.

Neborn Cocker Spaniel puppies feeding/nursing from their mother

What is the purpose of a whelping box?

The definition of a whelping box is a "den" for a bitch to go into to give birth and look after her pups throughout the first few months. In the wild, dogs would dig dens for themselves as it is an instinct, but a whelping box is an easy solution for those who don't want their back garden dug up. Dogs are very protective of their offspring and a whelping box makes for an excellent den to shield their pups until they are strong enough to face the outside world.

A whelping box should be big enough for your dog to comfortably lay down in with her babies, but not big enough that the newborns can stray from reach. A typical whelping box is designed with a high entrance dip, so the mother can step out but the babies can't.

Whelping boxes have puppy rails, which are very important for their safety. Puppy rails, sometimes referred to as pig rails, go around the insides of the whelping box and prevent the mother from smothering any puppies if she rolls over. Finally, because the puppies aren't yet housetrained, whelping boxes can get messy, which is why some are disposable, with others being reusable and easy to clean.

The best whelping box to buy online 2022

Designed for single-use, this disposable whelping box is made with a water-resistant cardboard liner and screwable puppy rails. It's simple but effective and can be recycled afterwards. Please note that Petnap whelping boxes have a puppy rail running on three sides, but not on the front side with the opening.

Pros: It's disposable so will be easy to get rid of after the birthing process.

Cons: The cardboard walls will be slightly weaker than a material like plastic.

Review: "Such a brilliant product that arrived before the expected delivery date! My little french bulldog has been able to be comfortable in her whelping box with her NINE beautiful babies! Box cleans well and has no smell. Will definitely be buying again."

Perhaps a more viable option if you are looking to breed more than once, this plastic whelping box has puppy rails fitted and rounded corners for easy cleaning. Even if you only use this whelping box once, it could come in handy as a storage container for the hundreds of dog toys you'll inevitably buy.

Pros: A reusable whelping box that can also double as a storage box.

Cons: It has no puppy rail running on the front side.

Review: "My Border Terrier had five pups and found it plenty large enough. She had room to lie down to nurse the pups and the puppy rails were easy to fit. We drilled a hole so the cable for the heat pad could be fed through, but that is the only adaptation needed. Probably a bit pricey but it was fit for purpose and comfy. Swapped for a cardboard box as the front too high for pups to get out of after a couple of weeks or so, larger breeds would not have a problem."

Tekplas Plastic Puppy Playpen Whelping Box

The best whelping box and playpen
Tekplas Plastic Puppy Playpen Whelping Box

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Editor's Choice

Size: This whelping box is customisable to suit your needs

Height can be 50, 60 or 75 cm
Length can be 75 cm, 1 metre or 1.15 metres
The gap between slats can be 25 or 50 mm
You can also choose whether to have a door or flooring.
You can message the seller to create a smaller whelping box at no extra fee.

Although a little expensive at first glance, the amount of use you will get out of this whelping box is well worth it. While most whelping boxes are used only for the first few weeks, this whelping box also functions as a playpen for the puppies to use for the year ahead. The customising options are brilliant for those who want control over tailoring the birthing experience.

Pros: Save money in the long run with this whelping box/crate/playpen.

Cons: It's one of the most expensive options on our list.

Review: "Absolutely in love with the whelping box!! So professional, products and people!"

If you've got a larger breed of dog, it's important to provide lots of space for the family to grow. The Flexipanel whelping box can fit even Mastiffs, so there's plenty of room for all. It can also be used as a playpen later down the line and comes with a strong PVC base. It has a modular design, so can be added to with extra parts if you need compartments.

Pros: A great price for a large whelping box.

Cons: You will have to open the gate door for the mother to leave and enter.

Review: "Absolutely brilliant whelping box. I originally bought a cardboard one but didn’t rate it at all due to it being hard to keep clean, so invested in this box. It has been great: it’s the perfect size for my golden doodle large bitch, and 13 of her pups. It also came with a waterproof bottom mat which has been a godsend in keeping my floor clean. The wire wall is a safe size for pups not to get stuck, the whelping rail side has also helped save a lot of the pups from being squished. The door that opens and allows mum out but not pups has been fantastic to give her freedom as they get older. I’m so impressed, I’m actually looking to get another one so that when the pups get bigger I can connect them to make separate eating, sleeping and toilet areas. Also, quick delivery when I explained I needed it urgently. Fab!"

Ignoring this company's rather interesting name, the Doggy Style whelping box also doubles as a crate, which is useful in keeping animals safe and secure at night. Even better, this whelping box/crate can be folded flat for easy storage and a removable plastic coated floor for cleaning. We recommend lining the bottom of the walls with a cardboard strip for extra safety for the first few weeks.

Pros: The high crate walls mean you have guaranteed safety for your animals.

Cons: Some reviews state you need to cover up the bottom gate gaps to prevent any heads from being stuck (see below). It is also not confirmed whether this whelping box comes with puppy rails.

Review: "We breed terriers and labs and use these as whelping/puppy pens. They are great and do the job, I recommend using cable ties all around to secure panels firmly. The box it comes in is ideal to cut up and also fix with cable ties around the bottom, inside to prevent the heads of very young pups from going through. For all those moaning and whinging you get what you pay for, the prices of these are very low, they are functional and do the job, and the small niggles can be sorted easily."

If you want to treat your fluffy companion to a one-in-a-million unique item, this personalised whelping box from Etsy is a treat. While supporting a small business, you can have this gorgeous whelping box in your home, which can display your dog's name proudly (with pet-safe paint of course!) It's fully collapsable, includes removable pig rails, and you can choose from a solid, mesh or perspex door.

Pros: A truly special item for your dogs, it is also a statement piece in your home, so you won't want to hide this away when guests come over.

Cons: This item currently doesn't have any reviews.

Warwick Whelping Boxes Deluxe Puppy Whelping Kit with Lactol 250g - FREE Whelping DOCS

The best whelping box tool kit
Warwick Whelping Boxes Deluxe Puppy Whelping Kit with Lactol 250g - FREE Whelping DOCS
Amazon

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With this Warwick Deluxe Puppy Whelping Kit, you'll have everything you need for the birthing process in one place, meaning a safe and easy delivery. This kit also comes with several guides on how to use the various pieces of equipment, as well as an overall guide to whelping.

Includes:

1 pair gloves, 5 pack of disposable whelping towels, 1 pack of whelping box pads, Paper ID bands, 250g Lactol Milk (NEW formula), Feeding Bottle teats and brush set by Trixie or Beaphar, Hand cleaner, Disposable Towels, Whelping, Liners Disposable, Apron Pack & Gloves, Sterile scissors, 2ml syringe 1 x 5ml syringe, Sterile forceps, Cord Clamps, Mucus extractor device, Sterile lubricant, Fast aid wipes and Antibacterial wipes.

Pros: You won't be stuck in an emergency without any necessary pieces of equipment with this kit, giving you peace of mind.

Cons: Some reviews state the identification bands are made from paper so are a little flimsy. These may need replacing if they are broken.

Review: "The best thing about having purchased this item, was the peace of mind that it gave me in helping to ensure that I felt fully prepared! The identity collars were worth every penny, given that the pups were all the same colour. It made them easier to distinguish from one another when it came to jockeying for position for feeding! The feeding bottle and lactol were useful for providing a top-up. I would highly recommend this product."

FAQs

When do puppies outgrow a whelping box / how long should puppies stay in the whelping box?

By week three, puppies should be raring to explore outside of their whelping box. Although they may still use the whelping box to sleep in, you can now do supervised time outside the box with safe toys. This also gives time for the mother to have some well-earned rest. Between eight to 12 weeks is when the puppies can be properly separated from the mother and the whelping box.

My mother dog won't stay in the whelping box, what should I do?

If your mother dog keeps leaving the puppies alone during their first few months, it may be due to separation anxiety away from you - because if you think about it, you are a mother to her too! Therefore, it may be best to move the whelping box to a room where you spend most of your time throughout the day (however not too busy or noisy). If this doesn't work, it may be because she doesn't feel well, or the puppies are too weak and her instincts are to leave them. We recommend taking your dog and her pups to your vet immediately to fix any health issues that may be arising.

Can you put blankets in a whelping box?

Yes, you can - any material that helps the body retain heat is great for keeping your newborn pups warm. It's also important that the blanket you use absorbs any fluids or urine that appear, and that it washes out well too. The bedding must be kept dry as often as possible.

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