One of the most joyous times of any pet parent’s life is when their best four-legged friend becomes pregnant, but it can be a stressful time full of uncertainty as well. Your dog’s instincts will do the main share of the work, but you have a part to play here too. You might be aware that you’ll need a whelping box, but where do you start if you’re completely clueless about how to find and select the perfect one for your dog and her upcoming litter?
This article chock full of reviews on the best dog whelping boxes might be a good place to start! Whether you’re a novice expecting your first litter or a seasoned dog breeder, choosing the right whelping box can make the difference between an easy whelping experience and a fraught one.
A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites in 2023
|Best Overall||Unipaws Whelping Box for Dogs||
|Best Value||Shirley K's Whelping Dog Box||
|85L Puppy Incubator With Heating and Ventilation||
|PUPez Whelping Box for Dogs||
|Artilife Whelping Box for Dogs||
The 8 Best Dog Whelping Boxes
1. Unipaws Whelping Box for Dogs – Best Overall
|Material:||Medium-density fiberboard (MDF)|
|Dimensions:||40″ L x 40″ W x 18″ H|
Many dog whelping boxes are plain products, but Unipaws Whelping Box for Dogs earns our best overall spot with top-notch medium-density fiberboard (MDF) construction. The bottom can be lined with a soft, absorbent whelping pad you can buy separately, or you can use your own newspaper or puppy pads. The material is smooth and easy to clean, plus won’t harbor as much grime or bacteria.
We also love the safety-minded integrated pig rail along the bottoms that keeps all the puppies from getting trapped up against the walls. Last but far from least is the customizable door design. As the puppies grow up, you can open up two doors along the frame of the box, separate them into groups, or fold the whole box away later. All in all, this box will fit all your whelping needs like a charm.
Sadly, it’s not perfect. Our main gripe is that parts like the metal arm and whelping pad are sold separately. Considering the expensive price tag to start with, your total costs can end up more than expected.
2. Shirley K’s Whelping Dog Box – Best Value
|Dimensions:||30″ L x 30″ W x 9″ H|
When budget is a concern, we recommend Shirley K’s Whelping Dog Box as our best value whelping box. It’s not fancy wood, but the one-piece molded plastic body is crack-resistant and provides the mom and pups alike plenty of space to sprawl out comfortably.
The material is smooth and nonporous, which means easy to clean and less likely to harbor nasty bacteria. Your mom dog will appreciate the open design that lets her come and go as she wants, but it’s perfectly capable of holding young puppies for a while.
As for cons, depending on the breed of your dogs, it won’t contain your puppies as they grow and begin to become mobile explorers after the 2- to 3-week mark. It’s a great budget option if you’re just worried about getting through the birth and the initial few weeks, though!
3. 85L Puppy Incubator With Heating and Ventilation
|Material:||Polycarbonate with unknown frame material|
|Size:||Small to medium|
|Dimensions:||24″ L x 17″ L x 13″ H|
For litters born in the middle of the night or for general-purpose use after they’re born, this gigantic 85L Puppy Incubator with Heating and Ventilation is just the thing you need. It’s fully enclosed with a panoramic transparent design that allows 360-degree viewing for you and the new little pups.
The biggest selling points are the included heat lamps, an electric blanket, and a thermometer that ensure a warm, safe, and comfortable environment for sickly and healthy puppies alike. If needed, there are integrated ventilation ports that you can hook up to oxygen as recommended by your vet. Finally, it even comes with a medicine feeder and a puppy bottle for feedings.
As for downsides, this box isn’t large enough to be used for birthing, and you’ll need a different box for that. For after, though, you’d be hard pressed to beat this whelping box for all your litter’s needs in their early lives.
4. PUPez Whelping Box for Dogs
|Size:||Small, medium, or large|
|Dimensions:||Small: 30″ L x 30″ W x 18″ H, Medium: 36” L x 48” W x 12 H, Large: 48″ L x 48″ W x 18″ H|
Whelping requires a sanitary environment, and nothing evokes that more than this clean white whelping box from PUPez. It requires just a quick few minutes to assemble, puppy protector rail included, and you can adjust how much space you have without disassembling the whole box.
The PVC body is simple to hose off when it gets soiled and doesn’t breed bacteria when maintained, but lining the bottom with newspaper can help make cleaning easier on you. Our favorite part is that this box is suitable for virtually any breed save giant breeds, and the pig rail prevents mom from squishing her pups. All in all, this is a solid whelping box that can take some punishment.
But because nothing is perfect, we have to mention this product’s shortcomings. Namely, that the door is finicky as heck. It’s an esoteric slot design that’s not as intuitive as a swinging door, and it might take some finagling to size correctly.
5. Artilife Whelping Box for Dogs
|Material:||PVC plastic & medium-density fiberboard (MDF)|
|Size:||Small to medium|
A lot of people choose plastic swimming pools as whelping boxes, and this whelping box from Artilife evokes the same simplistic, easy-to-wash design. In multiple sizes, you can set this box up as not only a whelping area but a shallow puppy pool for baths, but you can fill it with plastic balls to make a ball pit for playtime and more. When you’re done with it and give it a quick hose-off, it folds up within seconds. to store nearly anywhere. However, it’s so versatile that you may never want to put it away.
As always, there are some drawbacks to mention. The top one is that multiple user reviews state their rowdy puppies easily scratched through the bottom and that it’s not waterproof in any way despite looking like it is.
6. Potlimepan Birthing Pool
|Material:||PVC plastic & medium-density fiberboard (MDF)|
|Size:||Small to large|
Offering a back-to-basics approach to whelping, this birthing pool from Potlimepan lacks the bells and whistles of other whelping boxes above but does the job admirably anyway. It’s made of familiar PVC plastic, but unlike some boxes, it does include a bottom.
That means it can do double duty as a shallow pool that won’t leak as well as withstand the rigors of puppy whelping. Any time it gets soiled, just give it a thorough hosing and pat it dry with a towel. Among user reviews, many noted it held up to even large litters of 10+ large breed puppies!
Once again, this birthing pool doesn’t have any special frills or features to note, but there’s one notable con to mention: the bottom gets very wrinkly, which can impede cleaning efforts.
7. BingoPaw Dog Whelping Box Playpen Fence
|Dimensions:||75″ L x 25″ W x 31.5″ H|
Craving a whelping box with a little flair and pizazz? This ornately designed, wrought-iron lookalike whelping box from BingoPaw is right up your alley. It contains a huge square area with more than enough space for all but the largest breeds, a secure high fence, and an easy-to-clean waterproof liner.
The tightly interlocked panels won’t pose a threat, either. The box itself is more of a pen with a liner, making it easy to fold up for storage, or you can arrange the eight panels in any configuration you wish. Hexagonal bath? Go for it. Need a smaller space? Use the panels to cordon off and restrict areas.
Our main nitpick with this box/playpen is that according to several reviews, it doesn’t come with enough connectors to securely construct the pen against more determined dogs; they can push out of the bottom with enough effort. Another potential dealbreaker is that the metal isn’t corrosion-proof and can rust if you frequently wash it, which you will.
8. Dogelsy Dog Playpen
|Size:||Medium to large|
Last but not least is the Dogelsy Dog Playpen, which makes last place by not exactly being a whelping box. However, it has very strong metal panels that you can arrange in nearly any way you desire, which is compelling on its own. To keep escape artists contained, it has a high garden fence design with a latched gate you can open at will. With multiple sizes available, you can purchase the size you think will do the job.
On the downside, you’ll have to buy your own liner because it doesn’t come with one. If you want an all-in-one whelping solution, look elsewhere.
Buyer’s Guide: Choosing the Best Dog Whelping Boxes
Choosing a whelping box can be tricky or downright overwhelming if you don’t know what you need. To narrow down the most important attributes to glance at before deciding, we’ve added a handy dandy buyer’s guide below. What are you looking for? Size, material, and security spring to mind for us, so let’s dig into how those affect your buying decision below.
Small breeds like Pomeranians don’t need the space that German Shepherds do when whelping, so you first want to measure your mother dog. With that measurement in mind, you can visually mark the dimensions of each product on your floor with tape to get a rough idea of how it will look and to see if there’s enough space.
You need not only enough space for your mom dog to lie down, get up, and turn around but plenty of extra space for those beautiful pups too. Depending on the whelping box’s design, it could be a wide, shallow pool, a more traditional box design, or even a customizable pen. With more open pens you put your own liner in, account for space for a water and food dish too. If you’re in doubt, go a little bigger than you think you need just to be safe.
The sides of your whelping box should be sturdy enough to take a beating because whelping puppies isn’t gentle work and even weeks later the puppies can try to bite or scratch at it. Shoddy plastic that’s easy to rip is a no-no, which is why you see PVC so often. It helps that it’s easy to clean, too.
As for your liner, you can go two routes: indestructible or disposable. Hard-bottomed pools are popular for this reason, but a tough tarp could do that job for an open pen. Some folks use newspapers to save some cash, which works but needs to be changed out regularly. You’ll be cleaning this box frequently, so consider how easy it looks to clean when committing to one.
Features like latches are a must-have to easily open and clean out your whelping box, so always check exactly how the box folds, opens up, etc. Does it use connectors like a pen? Does it fold up? Or is it a solid piece? Puppies become mobile after just a couple of weeks and can easily escape a birthing pool, while pens are harder to set up but far more secure.
You’ll have to decide whether you want a whelping box to last after the newborn stage or not when factoring this into which product you order. If you plan on transitioning the puppies to a puppy-proofed room once they’re more independent, a pool or box could do the trick. Pens, though, last longer and wear several other hats.
Whelping your first litter is a pulse-pounding experience you’re never truly prepared for, a lot like childbirth. When you want to be prepared with the best of the best, we recommend the Unipaws Whelping Box for Dogs. On a budget, Shirley K’s Whelping Box for Dogs is a smarter choice. However, each product has its own use cases, as you can see from the reviews, so it’s worth looking at them all.
Featured Image Credit: Jus_Oi, Shutterstock