Whelping boxes can be expensive, but with a little bit of DIY know-how, you can easily build your own for a fraction of the price. In this blog post, we’ll outline the supplies you’ll need and walk you through the steps to build your very own DIY whelping box. So whether you’re expecting your first litter of puppies or are just looking for an affordable alternative to store-bought whelping boxes, read on for instructions on how to create your own!

Table of Contents

What Is A Whelping Box?

A whelping box is a safe, enclosed space where a dog can give birth and care for her puppies. The box typically has high sides to prevent the puppies from accidentally falling out, and it is often lined with soft bedding material to keep the puppies warm and comfortable. The box may also include a heat lamp to provide additional warmth, and it may be equipped with a door that can be opened or closed for easy, safe access, and to regulate the temperature inside. 

A whelping box should be large enough for the mother to move around comfortably, but small enough to retain body heat and provide a feeling of security. It should be used from the time your dog goes into labor until the puppies are weaned. Once the puppies are weaned, they can be moved to a puppy pen or dog crate.

By the way, a whelping box should also have puppy rails. Puppy rails, also known as pig rails, are secured inside the whelping box quite low around the perimeter of the box. This is a crucial safety feature, as it helps prevent the puppies from being crushed against the wall of the box

How Does A Whelping Box Help?

A dog whelping box is an essential piece of equipment for any dog owner who is expecting a litter of puppies, as it helps to ensure the health and safety of both the mother and her offspring.

A whelping box provides a safe, warm environment for your dog to have her puppies. This helps keep the mama calm during the labor and keep stress levels to a minimum while caring for the pups in a safe space. 

It also helps to contain the mess (remember, we’re dealing with very young puppies here!) and gives you a place to monitor the puppies 24/7. If you have other pets in the house, a whelping box ensures that they do not disturb or hurt the puppies. Using a whelping box also reduces the risk of the puppies becoming injured or lost.

A DIY whelping box is an easy and affordable way to provide a safe space for your dog to have her puppies. Building a whelping box is a simple project that anyone can do. And if you’re about to welcome a litter of puppies, it will make a world of difference for your new canine family.

DIY Whelping Box Ideas For Dogs

So, how to build a DIY whelping box? There are quite a few different ways to do that – most of them being very simple, quick, and inexpensive. Here are our favorite DIY whelping box ideas:

Reuse A Storage Bin

One of the easiest and cheapest ways to create a DIY whelping box is to repurpose a storage bin. All of us probably have a few lying around in the house, and they’re quite cheap to purchase as well. 

Choose a bin that is large enough for your dog to move around comfortably, but small enough to retain body heat. If the sides are very high, drill or cut holes in the sides of the bin for ventilation. Don’t forget to secure pig rails inside the whelping box, as they’ll keep the puppies safe and sound. Finally, line the bottom of the bin with appropriate materials to absorb any mess. And there you have it, a cheap DIY whelping box! 

Recycle A Sturdy Cardboard Box

Another simple and affordable option is to create a DIY whelping box out of a cardboard box. Find a sturdy cardboard box that is large enough for your dog to move around in. That’s also a great way to recycle old appliance boxes! Cut holes in the sides of the box for ventilation. You should also cut an appropriate sized opening for the mama and puppies to get out of the box comfortably. Line the bottom of the box with comfy and cushy materials that absorb any mess.

Although a DIY whelping box out of cardboard is a very simple and cost-effective solution, it’s definitely not the most ideal. Cardboard is very porous and it can get flimsy rather quickly. It’s difficult to clean and the edges you’ve cut may be too sharp for the dogs. If that’s the only available option, it’ll do the job. However, you may want to opt for something sturdier and less porous instead. 

Bring Out The Kiddie Pool

You can build a whelping box out of many different materials, but one of the cheapest and easiest options is to use a kiddie pool. To create a kiddie pool whelping box, simply clean the pool thoroughly, secure the puppy rails (you can use pool noodles for this), and line it with towels or blankets. Place the pool in a quiet, draft-free room in your home and make sure that it is big enough for your dog to move around comfortably. Add a few toys and chew bones to keep the mother dog occupied, and you’re all set!

Here’s a cheap DIY whelping box tutorial using a kiddie pool and pool noodles:

Wood Whelping Box

If you’re quite handy around the house, you can definitely take on this DIY whelping box project that requires a bit more effort. But, a sturdy wood whelping box can be used over and over again, making it well worth your time. Of course, you should carefully consider which type of wood you use. For instance, the popular plywood is actually very porous, making it harder to clean. It also traps in dirt and bacteria, which could lead to infections and illnesses. That’s something worth considering! 

Start by measuring your mama dog and the area where you want to place the whelping box and cut the wood to size. Be sure to make the opening large enough for your dog to comfortably enter and exit. You’ll need a floor panel and four side panels, one of the side panels having an opening for the mama and puppies. In addition to that, you should also attach low rails inside the box. 

Here’s a super helpful video tutorial by Dani DIY’d It on how to build a DIY whelping box for dogs:

PVC Puppy Rails

If you’re a breeder or have ever helped deliver puppies, you know that whelping (the process of giving birth to puppies) can be a messy business. That’s why many breeders use PVC whelping boxes – they’re easy to clean and provide a safe, comfortable place for mother and pups. But why PVC?

PVC is a strong, durable material that can withstand a lot of wear and tear. It’s also waterproof, which means it won’t absorb any fluids that may be present during whelping. And if it does get dirty, a quick wipe-down is all it takes to clean it. In addition, PVC is lightweight and easy to assemble, making it ideal for use in a whelping box.

Many whelping boxes available for purchase are made from PVC materials thanks to all of their amazing qualities. But, as you may know, ready made PVC whelping boxes can be quite pricey. Although you can definitely build one yourself, it’s going to be more difficult compared to some other options we mentioned in this guide. 

However, PVC pipes make excellent pig rails for that added safety and security. PVC pipes are very inexpensive, easy to secure in place, and don’t require much effort or knowledge. They’re available to purchase almost anywhere, and you can use PVC puppy rails in almost any type of DIY whelping box. You just need to measure the pipes and that’s about it!

What Do You Line Your Whelping Box With?

Obviously, you want to make the DIY whelping box as comfortable as possible for the mama and the pups. So, you’ll be needing a comfy lining material to keep them warm and cushy at all times. Some breeders also use heat lamps to keep the whelping box warm.

Even though some people opt for newspaper or wood shavings, we recommend you avoid them. Newspapers can easily discolor the pups and it’s also hard to keep clean. Wood shavings can be very dangerous for young puppies, and it’s also not a very hygienic option. 

Another popular choice is using old bedding or towels. Although it’ll certainly provide comfort and warmth, puppies may hide underneath for warmth, which is another risk to consider. They may get trapped or accidentally crushed by the mother. 

However, if you manage to secure the blankets and towels in place, they should be safe to use. In addition to that, you can also opt for a specially designed crate pad that stays in place, provides warmth, and is safe for the puppies. 

With that being said, it’s also important to keep your whelping box clean to prevent the spread of disease. Line the bottom of the box with absorbent material and change it often. Wash bedding in hot water and disinfect surfaces regularly. The bedding should be dry at all times, so whenever an accident happens, be sure to change the bedding as soon as possible.

Where Should A Whelping Box Be Placed?

Where you place the box is just as important as the box itself. It should be in a quiet area away from the main traffic flow of your home, and out of direct sunlight. You should also keep it far away from potential hazards like open stairways or fireplaces.

The whelping box should also be large enough to accommodate the mother dog and all of her puppies comfortably. In addition, the whelping box should be placed on a surface that’s easy to clean in case of accidents. 

The temperature in the area should be comfortable – not too hot and not too cold. If necessary you may have to get an additional heating pad or a heating lamp to keep the puppies warm.

DIY Dog Whelping Box: Frequently Asked Questions

How Do You Make An Easy Whelping Box?

To build a basic DIY whelping box, you will need either a kiddie pool, cardboard box, or a storage bin. You should also stock up on bedding material like blankets, towels, or crate pads. Start by measuring the mama and opt for a box or pool that’s comfortable for the mama to relax with the pups. Next, line the bottom of the box with your chosen bedding material. This will help to keep the puppies warm and dry. Finally, place the box in a quiet, private area where your dog can feel safe and secure. By following these simple steps, you can easily create a cozy space for your dog to welcome her new puppies into the world.

Why Do You Put PVC In A Whelping Box?

PVC is an ideal material for use in whelping boxes because it’s strong, durable, easy to clean, and lightweight. If you’re looking for an easy way to keep your whelping area clean, PVC is the way to go. PVC tubes are often used to create puppy rails, a.k.a pig rails for a DIY whelping box. They’re easy to assemble, easy to secure inside the box, easy to clean, and cheap to purchase. 

How Big Should A Whelping Box Be?

As we mentioned earlier, a dog whelping box should be big enough for the mama and pups to comfortably move around. Yet, it should be snug enough so that it retains body heat. The general recommendation is that a whelping box should be one foot longer than your mama dog. Only measure your dog stretched out, as the mama has to be able to move and stretch comfortably around the box while caring for the puppies. Don’t forget to consider the height of the side panels, making sure that they’re high enough so that the puppies won’t manage to get out of the box. By the way, you can also get some hints from websites that sell different dog whelping boxes. Just take a quick peek at what sizes they offer!

DIY Dog Whelping Box: Final Thoughts

A whelping box is a must-have for any dog owner or breeder who is expecting a litter of puppies. It provides a safe, warm environment for the mama and her pups, and helps to contain the mess. Building a DIY whelping box is a simple project that anyone can do. And, it’s a great way to save money! If you’d like to learn more about those early life stages, be sure to check out all of our Puppyhood Survival Guides.

Do you have any tips for building a DIY whelping box? Share them in the comments below!

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One thought on “DIY Whelping Box: How To Build A Cheap DIY Whelping Box

Karen Schottelkotte Reply

I use pvc raised garden beds for my whelping boxes… a 4×4 coats around $99 but far less than retail whelping box… they are easy to clean and can be taken apart i between breedings…

August 5, 2023 at 5:23 pm

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