Is your dog pregnant, and the birth time is near? As any dog owner, one would be anxious and excited to welcome the little puppies more than the mother. In addition, it also comes with added responsibility like keeping a whelping box for the puppies. A whelping box, also known as a nest, allows a mother to give birth to puppies safely. You would probably be wondering when can puppies leave the whelping box?
Usually, the puppies would leave the box when they are around three weeks. They become more active and able to move freely. Besides, at this stage, they can stand or climb out of the nest. At this age, they are curious about their surroundings. And they would love to explore more as they are more mobile.
Let’s get into the article to know more about it!
What Is a Whelping Pen or Box?
Whelping means the process where a female dog gives birth to puppies. And a whelping box is a container or box designed to keep the puppies safe and warm. It’s also referred to as a nest or a whelping pen. Having a whelping box makes it convenient for the mother to give birth comfortably.
Female dogs are very protective of their puppies. Hence the nesting box offers a sense of security.
Female dogs need assistance and a safe place to give birth. Hence, a whelping pen would be of great help. If your dog is about to give birth, it would be better to get a box or make it yourself. There are helpful DIY (Do It Yourself) videos that show how to make a whelping box.
Finding the Right Size of the Whelping Box
The size of a whelping box varies according to the dog’s size. For a small dog like Pomeranian, you can convert a large card box into a whelping pen. You can put your creativity into the process and make a nesting box for your dog.
If your dog is big, she might probably give birth to a large number of puppies. Hence, the size of the box should be large enough to fit the puppies and the mother. Furthermore, you can get the box from a pet store if creativity and DIY are not your forte.
Factors to Consider While Getting a Whelping Box
A whelping box helps to keep the puppies safe and warm. Hence, when you make or get a container, make sure that it’s well-protected. Here are some of the factors that you need to consider:
- The sides of the pen should be high enough that can keep the puppies safe for three weeks. Also, make sure that the mother can move to and fro freely.
- The size of the pen should be spacious enough for your dog and puppies. It should have enough space where the mother can feed her pups comfortably. In addition, it should allow them to move freely.
- You should also see that the box’s bottom is well-covered with whelping pads. If you don’t have a whelping pad, you can use old newspapers or a soft old bed sheet. It will help to keep the pups warm when the mom is not around.
These are the factors that you need to consider while getting a nesting box. It helps the mother and the pups in the long run.
When looking online for the best whelping box, this model from PUPez on Amazon seems to be highly regarded by buyers, and you won’t go wrong if this is the product you order!
When Is the Right Time to Leave the Puppies Out of the Nesting Box?
Puppies, once it’s born, grow and develop at a fast phase. You would notice the growth within the first few weeks. They can move and stand up over the sides of the whelping pen. By three weeks, they become mobile and able to move towards the edge of the nesting box.
However, before it reaches that stage, you should take care of it diligently. Some pups would go astray and get lost. Hence, getting a box with proper height is essential. Sometimes the mother has to go out of the box for a nature call or food. And that’s where the nesting box helps to keep the pups safe and warm.
The box offers a sense of security both to the dog owner and the mother. In addition, it helps to keep the pup’s body temperature intact. When the puppies are born, they have no control over their body temperature. So, while the mom is out, the box will keep them warm. However, you have to make sure that the bottom of the box is covered with a soft blanket.
By three weeks, they will start moving, and some puppies might even get out of the box. So, the real chaos begins when they reach three weeks. It’s time for them to explore the new place. It would be best if you were more careful than ever. Once they leave the box, it’s unlimited fun and joy for the puppies.
How to Keep the Nesting Box Clean?
Taking care of puppies can be quite tiring. It’s equal to taking care of a newborn baby. Once the puppies are born safely in the box, it would be better to change the sheet or the beddings. During the first week, there won’t be a lot of work for you. The mother will take care of it.
However, from the second to the third week, the real work starts. It will help if you make sure that the box is clean. While cleaning the box, you can keep the pups temporarily in a warm blanket. You need to replace the sheet or newspaper at least twice or thrice per day.
It would be tiresome, and somedays you wouldn’t feel like doing it. However, keeping the box clean prevents the puppies from possible bacterial infections. It also helps to keep the puppies clean. You should see that the nesting box is clean and dry. If it’s wet, the pups might not be able to keep their body warm. So, like a responsible dog owner, make sure that the box is clean and warm.
Changing the Whelping Box to Other Areas
Once the puppies have passed the first week, you place the box in other areas. It will help them to get used to the new smell and sounds. However, make sure that the place is quiet and warm. If you intend to switch to a new area, make sure it’s less crowded and safe.
If you have a large family with children and other pets, ensure that it’s kept far away from them. Some kids would like to hold the pups, which would be too early and maybe dangerous. During the first two weeks, puppies are pretty delicate. So, it would be best to keep far away from children.
The first three weeks are a crucial moment for you and the pups. The puppies are in their developing stage, and they need a quiet and calm environment to grow. So, you should make sure that puppies are kept safe and warm.
Can I Put Water and Food in the Whelping Box?
Apart from cleaning the box, you don’t have to worry about the food and water for the puppies. The mother will take care of it. They would be too young to take the regular food and would cause indigestion. For the first three weeks, the mother’s milk will help the puppies developed and grow. But you can keep water for the mother. They get very thirsty while taking care of the puppies.
A mother’s health is vital for the pups to grow healthy and avoids any deficiency. In addition, it’s also crucial that you feed the mother well. She requires good protein and energy to keep the pups fed through her milk. There are cases where the puppies struggle because the mom doesn’t produce enough milk. Hence, it’s essential to take care of the mother both before and after giving birth.
You can place the food in the water once they can move or walk. However, make sure that the food is easily digestible. Also, puppies tend to eat food without a limit. So, you should give the food moderately. Overeating can cause indigestion and vomiting. Hence, it would help if you were careful not to overfeed them.
Conclusion on When Can Puppies Leave The Whelping Box
A whelping box is vital to keep the puppies safe and warm. It offers a sense of security to the mother and the dog owners as well. Having a nesting box helps to keep the puppies from going astray. It’s also essential to keep them far from a quiet place, especially if you have a large family or kids. The first three weeks are crucial for the puppies to grow and develop healthily.
In addition, it’s also essential to have the correct size. Having the right size of the whelping box can help both the puppies and the mother move freely. It allows the mother to breastfeed the puppies comfortably.
If your dog is about to give birth, it would be better to arrange a whelping box. It offers safety and assurance to both the mother and puppies.
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