The Breeder Blog

How to Prepare a Whelping Area for Your Pregnant Dog

by Phenyx Media on Jun 25, 2024

How to Prepare a Whelping Area for Your Pregnant Dog

As your pregnant dog's due date approaches, it's essential to prepare a comfortable and safe whelping area for her to give birth and care for her new puppies.

A well-prepared whelping area can help ensure smooth delivery and provide a secure environment for your dog and her litter.

In this article, we'll guide you through the steps to create the perfect whelping area for your expectant canine companion.

Step 1: Choose the Right Location

The first step in preparing a whelping area is to choose the right location. 

Select a quiet, private room in your home where your dog can feel secure and comfortable. The area should be away from high-traffic zones and other pets to minimize stress and distractions.

Step 2: Select an Appropriate Whelping Box

A whelping box is a crucial component of the whelping area. It should be large enough for your dog to comfortably lie down and move around, with ample room for her puppies.

You can purchase a pre-made whelping box or build one yourself using materials like wood or sturdy cardboard. Make sure the box has low sides to allow your dog to enter and exit easily, but high enough to prevent the puppies from wandering out.

When selecting the appropriate size, please use the outside dimensions of your kennel or whelping box.

Consider investing in a heated whelping kit, which includes a heat tape with a thermostat. This system is designed to keep your puppies safe and comfortable while allowing you to maintain your daily routine.

Unlike heat pads or lamps that can overheat the mother, the heated whelping kit only warms the floor perimeter, providing a cozy spot for the newborns without stressing the mother.

Step 3: Provide Comfortable Bedding

Line the whelping box with comfortable, absorbent bedding to create a cozy environment for your dog and her puppies.

Avoid using materials that can easily unravel or tangle, as these can pose a risk to the newborns.

Newspapers, old towels, or disposable puppy pads are good options for the bottom layer, topped with a soft, washable bedding material like blankets or puppy-specific bedding.

Step 4: Control the Temperature

Newborn puppies are sensitive to temperature changes and require a warm environment to thrive. Keep the whelping area at a consistent temperature between 85-90°F (29-32°C) for the first few days after birth.

You can use a heat lamp or heating pad to maintain the proper temperature, but be sure to provide a cooler area where the mother can retreat if needed.

Step 5: Ensure Easy Access to Food and Water

Place food and water bowls close to the whelping box so your dog can easily access them without having to leave her puppies for extended periods.

Choose shallow, sturdy bowls that won't tip over easily. Keep the water fresh and replenished regularly.

Step 6: Maintain a Clean and Hygienic Environment

Regularly clean and disinfect the whelping area to prevent the spread of bacteria and diseases.

Replace soiled bedding promptly and wash the whelping box with a mild, pet-safe disinfectant. Keep the area free of clutter and potential hazards that could harm the mother or her puppies.


Preparing a whelping area for your pregnant dog is an important step in ensuring a safe and comfortable birthing experience.

By following these guidelines and creating a secure, cozy environment, you can help your dog feel at ease during this special time and give her puppies the best possible start in life.

Remember to consult with your veterinarian for specific advice tailored to your dog's individual needs.

FAQ’s On Preparing a Whelping Area

When should I start preparing the whelping area?

Begin preparing the whelping area at least two weeks before your dog's expected due date. This allows enough time to gather supplies, set up the space, and make any necessary adjustments.

Can I use a regular bed or basket instead of a whelping box?

While a regular bed or basket may seem comfortable, a whelping box is specifically designed to provide a safe, enclosed space for your dog and her puppies. It helps prevent the puppies from wandering off and keeps them warm and protected.

How often should I clean the whelping area?

Clean and disinfect the whelping area daily, or more frequently if needed. Replace soiled bedding promptly to maintain a hygienic environment for your dog and her puppies.

What should I do if my dog seems restless or uncomfortable in the whelping area?

If your dog appears restless or uncomfortable, try adjusting the temperature, bedding, or location of the whelping area. Some dogs may prefer more privacy or a different type of bedding material. Observe your dog's behavior and make changes accordingly.

Can I let other pets interact with my dog and her puppies in the whelping area?

It's best to keep other pets away from the whelping area, at least for the first few weeks. This helps minimize stress for the mother and reduces the risk of injury or disease transmission to the newborn puppies. Gradually introduce other pets under close supervision once the puppies are older and more resilient.