How to Accustom Your Pregnant Dog to the Whelping Box
The whelping box is the place where your dog will give give birth. It keeps the mother dog and puppies together, and it helps contain the mess from the birth. However, since this is a new place for your dog, you need to help her get used to the box. To get your dog accustomed to the whelping box, start a few weeks before she is due, encourage her to sleep and lay in the box, and place familiar objects inside to make it feel like home.
Setting Up the Whelping Box
Start a few weeks before your dog is due.You will need a few weeks to get your dog accustomed to the whelping box. This means you need to buy the box early to start getting her used to it. If she is unfamiliar with the box, she won’t use it to give birth.
- Don’t wait to the last minute to buy the whelping box and introduce your dog to it.
- A canine pregnancy lasts approximately 63 days. Once you find out from the vet how many weeks your dog is along, you can plan when to start introducing the whelping box.
Make sure the box is the appropriate size.Your dog needs to feel physically comfortable in the whelping box. This means the box should be the right size for your dog. The box should be large enough for your dog to lie down and stretch out to nurse the puppies.
- Make sure the box isn’t too big. The box needs to be keep the puppies and mother close together without a lot of extra room for the puppies to get away.
Choose a spot where your dog feels comfortable.If possible, place the whelping box in an area where the dog feels comfortable. This may be a room they are familiar with or like to sleep in. This will help her adjust more easily to the box.
- Remember, it is important that the room is quiet and not busy. For example, your dog may love the living room, but a living room is not a good place to place the whelping box.
Making the Dog Feel Comfortable in the Whelping Box
Place the box in the birthing area.As you get your dog used to the whelping box, you should place it in the spot your dog will give birth. This helps the dog get used to the area and feel like it is safe for her puppies.
- Don’t put the box in one room and then move it to a different room before the birth.
Choose a quiet location.To help your dog feel comfortable, place the whelping box in a private area. This room should be quiet, warm, dry, not too bright, and away from the usual traffic and excitement of your house. This will help your dog feel safe and secure after she gives birth.
- Good places are guest bedrooms, bathrooms that aren’t used, studies or offices, laundry rooms, or enclosed garages.
- Make sure the area will be warm, away from drafts, and separate from people or other pets. Other dogs should not have access to the whelping box.
Encourage your dog to sleep in the box.During the weeks leading up to the birth, try to get your dog to sleep in the box. You can also let them lay in the box while they rest during the day. The goal is to help your dog view the whelping box as a comfortable location.
Lead your dog to the whelping box often.Your dog may not want to lay in the box just yet. If she doesn’t take to it immediately, then take her to the box multiple times each day. Show her the box and help try to get her in the box.
- If your dog is small enough, you can physically place her in the box so she starts to smell her scent on it.
- If your dog isn’t interested in getting in it, let her go away and bring her back the next day.
Helping Your Dog Adjust To The Box
Place toys in the box.Another way to help your dog become comfortable with the whelping box is to put some of her favorite toys in there. You may also want to put her favorite blanket in there. This will help the dog feel at home and safe in the box.
- Putting her toys in there will help the box smell familiar and also give her something to do while she is in the box.
Use positive reinforcement.One way to help your dog get accustomed to the box is to create a positive association for the dog. To do this, you can pet and stroke her while she is near or in the whelping box. Talk to her softly and lovingly, giving her a lot of praise when she gets in or near the box.
- You can also use treats to get her in the box, or give her treats when she gets in the whelping box.
Avoid forcing your dog in the box.It may take a few days to a week to get your dog accustomed to the whelping box. However, if you continue to lead her to the box and make it feel comfortable and safe, she will warm up to it. The thing to remember is never force her into the box or punish her for not going into it.
- You don’t want to form negative associations with the whelping box. She will only have her puppies there if she feels safe and secure in the box.
QuestionCan a box be too big?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYou want enough space to put a comfortable sheet inside with a food bowl and a feeding bottle used for birds so she won't have to move around too much. Make sure the box is wide enough so it won't be too tight or suffocated. If she has babies, put the babies in another box and leave the mother to rest.Thanks!
QuestionIf my dog has babies outside of the box, shall I put the babies in the box?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYes, but only if she lets you. And do it carefully, newborns are very fragile!Thanks!
QuestionDoes the box have to be wide open?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYes. The dog will not like a box that is not wide open, as they will feel trapped and claustrophobic.Thanks!
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