Whelping Box/Heat Source

Whelping Box

This is the area where the puppies are to be born.  Consider keeping the whelping box in an area that is not in a major traffic flow of your household, as the bitch will be more at ease in a quieter spot.  However, the box should be easily accessible to you.  There are many different types of boxes, but consider the following points when choosing your box:

  • Size/comfort-large enough so the bitch can stretch out and lay on her side
  • Cleaning ease
  • Construction-no sharp edges to injure the bitch or her puppies
  • Materials-consider toxic substances, such as paint containing lead
  • “Safety”rails for larger breed dogs-rails around the edge of the box so that the pups can safely go underneath and not get layed on by the bitch.
  • Walls high enough to contain pups, but low enough so bitch can easily get in and out
  • Storage-easily assembled and taken apart
  • Products to line the bottom-examples: towels or blankets


Some breeders construct their own box, while others purchase one on-line.  You can even use a small, plastic children’s swimming pool for small breeds.

You should familiarize the bitch with the box by letting her lay in it a couple of weeks prior to her due date.  This way, she will be comfortable with going there to whelp.

Heat Source

Newborn puppies and neonates are unable to regulate their own temperatures the first few weeks of life.  You will need to have a heat source to help keep them warm.  Examples of heat sources are hot water bottles, hot water blankets, and a heat lamp that can be adjusted for height and comfort.  A heating pad is not recommended as can potentially cause scalding burns on the skin of puppies if they urinate and then lay on a hot pad.


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  • "I cannot stress how awesome the entire staff is at Animal Hospital of Woodstock. We are new patients of this office and I’ve been going through random drama with my cat and his food allergies. Any time I call with a “crisis” the staff is warm and understanding all while being prompt with advice or instructions. If you are looking for a new vet I highly recommend this office. Thanks to Dr. Chris for taking such good care and concern with Watkins!"
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