German Shepherd Dog (Whelping Boxes)

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Exploring the vast prairie of the Washita National Wildlife Refuge

Exploring the vast prairie of the Washita National Wildlife Refuge

Hi Everyone,

Today I am going to discuss whelping boxes.  I am a strong advocate for the use of enclosed whelping boxes especially for the first time mom or for female that is the family dog and are likely spoiled.  Enclosed whelping boxes mean just that built in such a way that the mom cannot leave her puppies unless let out by her owner.

The perfect dimensions for a whelping box for German Shepherd Dogs are 48-inches by 48-inches for the base, and the height should be a minimum of 48-inches tall, but 60-inches is better and still allows for most owners to peer over to make sure all is going well with the newborn German Shepherd Dog puppies.  Simple construction with the use of ¼-inch plywood is all you need.  Adding 2×4 around the base will also serve as a rail to provide protection for puppies that crawl behind mom.  The 2×4 base provides a space for the puppies to crawl away if mom falls asleep and traps the puppy between her and the wall.

New German Shepherd Dog Puppies

New German Shepherd Dog Puppies

If you find that your German Shepherd Dog mom wants to jump up on the whelping box walls so she can look around to see what is going on outside her whelping box.  You must make her stop this before she accidentally comes down and steps on one of the puppies.  If she will not stop after telling her that is not allowed, you can drill a series of holes every six inches at the top of the whelping box and install 1 1/4-inch pvc pipes to block her from being able to jump up and see out.

The advantages of using a whelping box are that it forces mom to stay with and care for her puppies, and the enclosed whelping box keeps mom’s body heat in the box, thus keeping the puppies warm.  In addition, if needed, you can hang a drop light with a 100 watt bulb placed approximately 12-inches from the floor to keep the puppies warm.

The major disadvantage is that it is difficult to climb in the box for cleaning purposes, and someone has to let mom out every few hours to relieve herself. In addition, if mom has an upset stomach and has diarrhea, she will fowl the whelping area.  Although rare, when this may happen mom is usually careful not to fowl her puppies, which is a good thing because washing newborns is dangerous since puppies cannot self-regulate their own body temperatures.

Ask me a question and I will provide my opinion.




  1. Mckyla Miller

    I am trying to make a whelping box for my German shepherd that is due at the end of the month that won’t be to hard to move or to build and that is safe for her and her puppies to stay in one that mother can leave as she wants to and where puppies cannot get out or fall out of and so mother can’t accidentally lay on top of the puppies

    • Spencer

      It can help to make it a little larger. Sorry I didn’t see this till now. How did it go?


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