How To Make A Whelping Box For Puppies?(DIY Guide)

One of the most important pieces of equipment that a breeder need is a good quality whelping box that provides a place where both the dam and the breeder feel secure about keeping young puppies.

A good whelping box needs to be a safe place where the breeder knows that the pups can’t get into trouble when left unattended, and where Mom is comfortable whelping the litter.  It also needs to be easy to clean and should be sturdy enough to withstand many years of use.

Getting the dam comfortable in the box is something that needs to be accomplished gradually and there are many ways to accomplish this goal.  Placing her bedding in the box and feeding her in the box are steps that make the process easier.  Use your common sense and knowledge of your dog to help you get her in there and comfortable.

This is a design I used successfully and is not only expandable to prevent escape-prone pups from getting out as they grow, but also provides a safe environment with plenty of room for a large litter of beagles to live comfortably with the dam. The box is also large and sturdy enough for the breeder to climb into and assist in the delivery of the pups as well as providing some room for the growing pups to play.  The box can be lined with newspaper or commercially available disposable liners will work well in this design. The liners are available in 4’x4’ sizes that fit perfectly in the box.

The construction calls for the use of screws rather than nails to allow for easy disassembly and storage for use at a later time.  The box is built with a rail running around the interior to provide a place for the pups to hide to prevent the dam from rolling on to the pups. These rails can be removed easily by taking out the screws. The latex paint and tiled floor and walls make the surfaces easy to clean and disinfect and the caulking prevents leaks. The rails should be removed as the pups are weaned to prevent them from climbing on the rails and chewing on them as well. The optional 2×4’s can be cut into four-foot sections and screwed to the underside floor of the box prior to placing the tile to keep the box off of the ground.   The design of the corner brackets allows for the height of the sidewalls of the box to be increased as the puppies grow and attempt to climb out of the box.

NOTE: It is of the UTMOST importance that treated lumber NOT be used for this project, as the chemicals used in the treatment can be TOXIC to the pups and the dam!!!

Inside of this whelping box once completed.
Inside of this whelping box once completed.

Recommended Tools

  • Circular saw
  • Drill w/ Ό inch bit
  • Ruler or tape measure
  • Chalk line
  • Paintbrush
  • Screwdriver or screwdriver bit for drill

Cutting List

  • 1 sheet of plywood, 4 x 8x Ύ” smooth on one side
  • 4 pieces 1x 4 x 8’
  • 1 piece 1 x 12 x 8’
  • 1 piece 1 x 8 x 12’
  • 32 12”x 12” self-stick floor tiles
  • Latex paint (gloss or semi-gloss)
  • Appx. 60 1½ inch woodscrews
  • 2 pieces 2 x 4 x 8’ (optional)


Prior to cutting, paint two pieces of the 1 x 4 x 8’ boards and set them aside to dry. Be sure to paint all sides of the boards.

  1. Cut the sheet of plywood in half leaving you with two 4’ x 4’ sections. Take one of the 4 x 4 sections and cut it into three sections that should measure approximately 4’ by 16”. Cut the 1 x 12 x 8’ board into two (2) four-foot sections at this time. Cut the 1 x 8 x 12 into three four-foot boards now too.   (See figure 1)
    Tip: Most lumber yards and home centers will cut the plywood for you on request for free or a nominal fee.
  2. Stick four floor tiles on the smooth side each 16” x 4’ section flush along one edge of the board. Stick 4 tiles on one of the 1 x 12 boards as well. Trim off any excess tile that overhangs the 1 x 12 piece. (See figure 2)
  3. If you need to keep the floor of the box off the ground, cut the two pieces of 2 x 4 into four-foot sections. Space them evenly on the floor and lay the 4 x 4 section of plywood on the 2 x 4’s, smooth side UP.  Screw through the smooth side of the plywood and fasten the 2 x 4’s to the plywood securely, making sure that the screwheads are sunk slightly below the surface of the plywood. Three or four screws in each board should be plenty. (See figure 3)
  4. Tile the smooth surface of the plywood with the 16 remaining tiles, and if necessary flip the floor assembly over and trim off any excess tile that might be overhanging the edges. (See figure 4)
  5. Drill four pilot holes evenly spaced along the bottom edge of each of the 3 16” tiled walls.  Drill the holes approximately 3/8” above the bottom (tiled) part of the board.. Repeat this for the tiled 1 x 12 board. (See figure 5)
  6. On the tiled side of each 16” section, snap a line that is 4 Ύ inches from the bottom of section. Drill 5 pilot holes evenly spaced approximately Ό inch above this line on each 16” section. Repeat this for the tiled 1 x 12 board. (See figure 6)
  7. Attach the three 16” sections and the 1 x 12 section to the sides of the floor (tiled side in) using the screws and the holes you drilled in step #5.  (Make sure that the bottoms of the sidewalls are flush with the bottom of the floorboard, NOT the 2 x 4’s if they were attached.)  The 12-inch section forms the front of the box. Note that the walls will not overlap each other at the corners. (See figure 7)
  8. Cut one of the painted 1 x 4’s into two 4-foot sections.  These pieces will form a safety rail that will surround the entire inside of the box. Attach these pieces to the left and right sidewalls using the pilot holes you drilled in Step #6. (See figure 8)
    Tip: Have someone help you line the bottom of the 1 x 4 up along the line you snapped on the inside of the wall.
  9. Cut the remaining painted 1 x 4 into two 41” sections. Attach these pieces to the front and back walls of the box as in Step #8. (See figure 9)
    Tip: Measure the distance in between the side rails before cutting the front and back rails and cut accordingly.
  10. Cut the remaining 1 x 4’s into eight 2-foot sections.  Make a corner bracket by taking two of these pieces and fastening them to each other forming a two-foot long “L” shaped section. Repeat this until you make four brackets.  (See figure 10)
  11. Attach the brackets to the outside of the walls flush to with the bottom of the floorboard.  (See figure 11)
  12. Apply as thin a bead as possible of caulking to the joints where the floor meets the sidewalls and where the sidewalls touch each other under the rails to prevent leakage.
  13. The remaining 1 x 12 x 4’ board can be later attached to the top of the front wall to increase its height to 24”.  The remaining 1 x 8 x 4’ boards are to be attached to the side and rear walls to increase their height also to 24”.

Your new whelping box is complete. Best of luck with your pups! 


Figure 1 and 2

Figure 3 and 4

Figure 5 and 6

Figure 7

Figure 8 and 9

Figure 10 and 11

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