AKC eNewsletter



Pick-of-the-litter Question

Last issue's question: What features do you look for in the ideal whelping box?

The top whelping box features as listed by our readers are:

  • Ease of cleaning and disinfecting
  • Bumper (or pig) railing for protection of puppies
  • Appropriate size
  • Heating
  • Good traction for puppies.

Here is what some of you had to say.

Rail Good Ideas
A pig railing should always be used, and we make ours out of PVC piping rather than with wood and nails. It is easy to take apart, clean, and store, plus it lifts out easily when the pup are big enough to be out of danger from being crushed or trapped in the corners. —K. Taylor

My ideal whelping box is one I made. It’s made of very dense particle board with a very dense laminate-like durable covering, making cleanup a breeze. I cut wedges from the boards so that the four walls are constructed without hardware. The box is raised off the floor for insulation. I use PVC pipe and 90 degree elbows to create a protective railing. —L. Hasen

I look for a slightly cushioned yet nonslip surface, a rail around the edge to ensure that no pups get smothered, and an easy entry/exit for mom. —Anonymous

The ideal whelping box is sturdy and easy to clean. Mine is hinged so it can be folded flat when not in use. When the pups are old enough the pig rails are removed, and it becomes the perfect puppy playpen. —C. Jones

Safe, Warm, and Clean
Sides high enough to keep pups in and low enough so the dam can get in and out . . . nontoxic . . . no place for pup to get stuck . . . easy to clean and change bedding . . . compact when not in use.
B. and S. Bacus

I have my whelping boxes custom made. The sidewalls are of shelving stock and are easy to clean. All sides of the box are at least [?] inches in thickness, and the box is raised off of the floor. The floor is wooden, removable, and covered in durable, washable vinyl for easy cleaning. If an additional heat source is required, I use heat lamps with adjustable arms which clamp easily to the sides of the box. —D. Dolan

I look for ease in keeping it clean . . . a pig rail, good footing for bitch and puppies . . . a fold-down front for ease in getting in and out for both the bitch and me! —L. Buchanan

. . . I use a plastic-coated heating pad made for baby pigs. They are chew proof and fluid proof. It is important that the pad does not cover the entire bottom as puppies should always be given a choice of different temperatures to lie on. I prefer short little rugs for puppies during the first few weeks to help build their muscle tone and make it easier for them to move around. —S.Handloser

1. Easy to clean . . . 2. Big enough for the bitch and litter to be comfortable, but not too big . . . 3. High on three sides with gate on fourth side to secure bitch in with pups if necessary 4. Proper padding such as hospital-grade fleece that keeps moisture away for pups and provides secure footing . . . 5. Put a heating pad underneath a quarter of the box. —S. Ironmonger

Critical that the bottom gives good traction so that the pups can move without slipping and develop leg muscle properly. A rug turned upside down is very good. —J. Irland

Pool Your Resources
The best whelping box is a round, plastic wading pool. It’s lightweight, and easy to clean and store ... —E. Fedor

Over the years I’ve used several different whelping boxes, from the homemade type to the very expensive ones . . . I have started using plastic kiddie pools. They are inexpensive, easy to keep clean, roomy, and have rounded sides so that the puppies can’t get caught in the corners. —D. Marino


Editor’s note: The opinions of our readers as listed are not recommendations from the AKC.


  Ronald N. Rella, director, Breeder Services
Email: AKCbreeder@akc.org
Customer Service | Phone: 919-233-9767 | Email: info@akc.org

© The American Kennel Club 2007