Your Golden Retriever is going to need a whelping box to deliver and take care of her puppies in.
©Photo Courtesy of kevinlovestone
Since you will be using this box for many weeks, it is best to plan ahead and make the best decision that you can.
Some people use a plastic children’s swimming pool. Though this can be used in a pinch, it really isn’t the best solution.
The swimming pool is easy to clean, but the footing is slippery on the mother and on the puppies.
The pups will be able to get out of it, but at too young of an age. Once they do climb out, they will not be able to climb back in.
Then you will have puppies both inside and outside of the whelping bed with the poor mother constantly worrying about going back and forth between the separate groups of pups!
©Photo Courtesy of Brandon Harris
I have built a couple of whelping boxes and will explain how I did them, so that you can learn from my mistakes!
Do not paint the wood, as it then becomes a potential hazard from puppies chewing on it.
To build a whelping box, I used sheets of plywood and made the box 4 ft. by 4 ft. square. This is plenty of room for your Golden to stretch out in and will also accommodate lots of puppies!
In my first attempt at building a whelping box, I didn’t make the door high enough to keep the puppies inside of the box.
I overlooked the fact that even a young, 2 week old pup can squirm out of the opening and thereby get separated from its mom and littermates.
Though a puppy can squirm out of a whelping box, it is impossible for it to get back into the box, and mom can not get the puppy back in on her own either.
On my next attempt, I took one of the sides of the box and cut out a 12 inch opening that mom has to step over in order to get in and out.
I also added a couple of hinges and made the opening into an actual door, that I could lock closed when needed.
Though my drawing is a bit primitive, I think you can see the type of opening I am talking about. I never claimed to be an artist! :) The little marks indicate where hinges would go for a door.
A locking door is not an absolute necessity, but it will come in handy many times over, and you will be glad that you took the time to add one.
Though I did not add “pig rails”, it is a good idea to add them. Pig rails are placed a couple of inches up off of the floor of the box and run along all 4 sides.
The purpose of them is to prevent the mom from accidentally pinning a puppy behind her and causing its death. If pig rails are installed into the whelping box, then any puppy that accidentally gets behind momma’s back, would be safe, as mom will not be able to fully push herself up against the wall.
Thick dowel rods can be used for this purpose, or 1 x 2 lumber.
©Photo Courtesy of Thierry Marysael
I also put linoleum on the bottom of the whelping pen to help make clean up easier and a bit more sanitary.
The biggest drawbacks to homemade, wooden boxes is storage, due to the weight of the wood, and trying to keep them clean.
Even with putting linoleum on the floor of the box, the sides still get dirty and urine gets soaked into the wood. This is because puppies pee, step in it, and then jump on the sides of the box. It really is impossible to keep it completely sanitary.
Another option is to purchase a factory built whelping box.
They are made with materials that are easily cleaned and sanitized, so you do not have the problem of urine soaking into them. They also come with a removable door.
As you try to make a decision about what type of whelping box you’ll want, remember that even if you only have one litter of puppies ever, you will still be using your box for about 8 weeks.
The last thing you want is to be 3 weeks into raising your gorgeous litter of puppies and go, “Uh, Oh”!
Have you successfully designed your own whelping box? Please share your plans!
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