6 Ideas to Have: Whelping Box for Golden Retriever

A whelping box for a golden retriever is what you will need especially if your golden gave birth. That said, every dog owner should have at least store one of these in case there’s a newborn puppy at your house.

A dog crate or a playpen is not suitable for this because of its different design and purpose. While a whelping box is built for puppies who are new into the world which serves as their protection to anyone.

This article will help you find and hopefully give you insight that might spark your interest if ever you are going to build your own DIY whelping box for a golden retriever. What you need is a nice and cozy design and structure so your dog can easily adapt to the surroundings and easily mark it as their territory.

Dog ear temperature


High precision scale

Heating pad

What’s a whelping box and why should you use it?

First of all, a whelping box or also known as a nesting box is a place where you can place your dog who is in labor which eventually a place where she will deliver her puppies and raise them for about six weeks or so. It’s actually the puppy’s first place where there is comfort and safety together with her mother.

However, it’s sometimes tricky to let your female dog get accustomed to a whelping box. Sometimes they will find some other place where they think it’s a much better place than your whelping box.

With regards to its design and structure, every nesting box should have four sides and have a bottom. Normally the measurements of the sides are approximately 12 to 18 inches tall, with an opening or an entrance at the front serving as the female dog’s point of entry.

The standard whelping box normally has a pig rail or an inner rail around the structure that is about 4 to 6 inches above the bottom box. The importance of this is to prevent any accidents like pinning a newborn puppy or accidentally roll over her puppies.

Secondly, you should use a whelping box or a nesting box for your female golden retriever because it’s ideal protection for the mother dog and also for her puppies.

It’s more secure and hassle-free so the mother wouldn’t constantly catch her missing puppies while on the run. At least in an enclosed space, there’s a boundary where the puppies wouldn’t roam around freely but with only with restricted boundary.

Basic Construction of Whelping box for golden retriever

Ideal size and measurements of whelping box for golden retriever

We need to look and layout the details such as the measurements and sizes so you will have a guideline for your ideal whelping box.

Measure first your golden retriever and scout the area

The first thing you need is to measure your dog when she is fully stretched out, best if she’s lying down. Make an extra foot or two for allowance. Then take note of the measurement.

After that, look for an area where you think that your bitch is most comfortable as this should be your priority first. Make sure it’s not a narrow and dark place.

Box size for the whelping box

A golden retriever is considered a medium-size dog breed. You will need a relatively large nesting box, consider making it approximately 28 to 34 inches long by 28 to 34 inches deep.

Or, a useful guide, if you have a dog playpen or a dog crate, you can possibly serve that as a base of your measurement. Take note, a nesting box should have enough space for the mother and her puppies so they can stretch out and lie down comfortably.

Consider the temperature also

Some dog owners tend to forget that temperature is one of the contributing factors to the female dog’s comfortability. The temperature of the whelping box should be warm enough but not too warm and also not cold either. It should be around 75 to 80 degrees.

The best thing you can do is to adjust the temperature of the room. Also, observe your golden retriever if she will react with the temperature. Be sure that your female dog is not constantly panting because that can be a dangerous sign.

Common materials used in a nesting box

If you are going to build a whelping box out of scratch, there are plenty of materials you can use and all of them have different qualities to offer. Some expensive and some are cheaper. Also, the materials you are going to use will determine how your whelping box will last.

In addition, it will depend on your dog breed. If it’s a golden retriever, you will need something that is sturdy because of its medium size stature. Below are the common materials that are used in a whelping box.


Plastic is the most commonly used material in every dog containment system such as in dog playpen, dog crates, and others. They work best because they are easy to clean, move around, and they can be sterilized.

The hard plastic is widely available in the local hardware stores but they are quite pricey but they do the job well because they are heavy duty and sturdy enough to last for a while.


The traditionally used material is wood. Ideally, wooden materials are great for medium to large size breeds. Wood materials are sturdy and cheap. You can even upcycle or recycle some of the wood panels you have.

Although, the downside of this is they absorb fluid and the stool of the puppy can stick to the wood unless there’s a mat or waterproofed. Also, it’s heavier to move.


Cardboard material is the least inexpensive among these materials. They are not suitable for long keeping because they are disposable. This is only great for small dog breed because of its light material. In addition, cardboard can easily absorb any fluid and also the excrement. That said, this is difficult to clean and it’s not safe for longer use.

Some tips you might get from when considering a whelping box for golden retriever

To buy or to DIY?

If you find yourself in an uncomfortable position where your dilemma is to do it your own or just buy instead. The availability of the whelping box on the market both on local or through internet store is few. But if you find some affordable and sturdy structure, then you’re very lucky.

However, if you possess carpentry skills, it’s much better to make your own whelping box. It’s more sturdy and expensive, most of all, it’s special.

If you are going to buy one, just be sure it has a decent quality that is well suited to your female dog. Always choose sturdy materials like wood or plastic; or even laminated particleboard. They usually don’t trap fluids, excrements, or odors. They are easy to clean and maintain. Always bear in mind that don’t buy expensive products or even the cheapest ones. Be wise enough to know your standard.

Above all, it doesn’t matter if it’s bought from the store or a DIY. What matters, at the end of the day is if your golden retriever and her litters are comfortable regardless of the expensive or cheap quality it has.

Be advanced at least three weeks before the female dog’s due

Again, it’s important that you need to identify your bitch’s place of comfort. It’s important that you identify the “sweet spot” so, by the time she is in due, she’s pretty comfortable as well as her newborn puppies.

Keep in mind that the place must be visible. You don’t want your golden retriever to give birth in hard to reach areas so your cleaning will not be difficult. Also, you might want to add some heating pads, blankets, and towels to her warm.

Keep the surrounding area clean

You must also clean the place where you will place the nesting box. It’s essential to keep the surroundings clean so there will be no dirty spots but a hygienic place.

One of the most important things to do is to keep the place in good condition. Clean also the eating area to avoid any ants, cockroaches, and flies that carries bacteria that cause diseases especially to newborn golden puppies that are prone to bacteria.

See to it that you have some dog-friendly sanitation supplies. You can easily buy them from Amazon or from a local pet store.

Also, don’t forget to consult with your vet to ensure you are doing your best to take care of your newly born puppies and also your female golden retriever.

6 best ideas whelping box for golden retriever

Plain white whelping box

This elegant-looking white whelping because is worth drawing an inspiration. It’s a standard box design with four corners plus pig rails for controlled space for your female golden retriever and also for the puppy’s protection. The measurement is somewhat ideal for 1 or 2 golden puppies including the female mother.

But it can be expanded if you want more space and convenience. There’s also a pad to protect the floor from being scratched and damaged. This is entirely made up of wood which is sturdy and durable. The only downside is it’s not movable.

The place is in a perfect location. No dark areas and it’s not hard to reach. It’s easy to access for you and also for the dog. You can just tweak a little bit of design and the structure that matches your own preference.

You can just create a simple whelping box enough to protect your puppies and bitch. A definitely must-have whelping box for a golden retriever.

Simple nesting box

Another white finished made from a wood material nesting box. The location is perfect because it’s in the corner with no darkness. That said, this is great to keep the temperature warm, add a little lamp for more warmth.

There’s no ostentatious and complex design with this whelping box, but this will do very well and for pragmatic purposes. The measurement of this is approximately 13 to 19 inches. The door has a latch feature for an easy yet secure locking system. The mini door design is brilliant which makes an easy entry point for the dog.

Wood is a popular material when it comes to the DIY whelping box. This is because it’s sturdy and very useful that can last for several years. Also, if you are going to paint the nesting box, be sure to buy the mild chemical component that is dog friendly so there will be no potential harm for your dog and her newborn puppies.

Plywood nesting box

This one is primarily made of plywood as the overall structure and base. The plywoods are thinly created in order to keep it lightweight and easy to move around, feel free to make it thicker but it will just make it heavier. You can also cover the floor with linoleum or vinyl to prevent any absorption of fluid, discharge, and odor. The access panel door is detachable for easy access.

There’s also a pig rail preventing from pinning a puppy. You can also add some accessories especially the bedding to make your female golden comfortable and relaxed while tending her puppies. Add some thermometer beside to observe the temperature often.

Also, the materials used are purely recycled which is great if you are on a tight budget. If you are on a tight budget, why not take this idea and incorporate it as your own, just add some tweaks and aesthetics.

Varnished finished nesting box

This whelping box design is perfectly suited for a golden retriever. The panel access door is detachable which is for added safety features. There’s also a mini chair at every corner. This is a superb design if you want to keep an eye on your golden puppies and also take care of the mother dog as well.

Each corner has reinforced double nails thereby this nesting box can be preserve and passed down for many dog generations. All you need is to maintain and keep it clean regularly. It has lights above it to keep them warm and right at the needed temperature. The bedding has a comfy carpet, much better if you put a quilt for a warmer experience.

Fortress style whelping box

If you are feeling creative, then you must take some inspiration with this fortress-style whelping box. It’s fully boxed with a semi roof for added protection. In addition, there’s also a light bringing more warmth while sleeping. This nesting box has met all the standard features needed. It has nice access panels which is a mini sliding door.

It also has a mini bridge so the mother dog can gain access easily. The overall structure is well built. Each corner is double nailed just like the previous nesting box for more sturdiness and durability. You can adjust the size and the measurement if you think it’s too small for you.

Originally, this kind of whelping box is designed for small breeds but this is an excellent takeaway idea for your ideal whelping box. Should you copy this idea? of course! it’s great but it will require more time and skill to build this.

Fence looking whelping box

This may not be easy to build but what this portrays is a killer design. Although the material is easy to acquire. What you need is an old fence or you can make a fence looking like a panel and then piece it together and the result will be like this. The overall design is unique because the common whelping box is usually built with a closed panel and the only open is the access door. But there’s still the pig rails on each corner which is excellent.

This type of whelping box can serve a dual purpose. It can be a whelping box and also a dog playpen this is due to its spacious size. The carpet and the bedding look great and this looks comfortable. You can even lie down on the floor but be careful with excrements or pee spots.

Essential dog whelping kit supplies

But wait… the whelping box needs to be accompanied with some kit supplies. Therefore, in case of emergency you need to these dog whelping kit supplies.

iBaby-Fish Dog ear temperature

One of your important responsibilities is to check your puppies’ temperature. You will need to constantly monitor them and see to it that everything goes well.

That said, newborn puppies can’t regulate their body temperature. They still heavily rely on their mom’s warm side in order to stay warm, otherwise, their temperature will eventually fall.

On that note, you can use this iBaby-Fish dog ear temperature. This is designed only for pets which is superb. This temperature is highly accurate within 0.2C/0.36F. Compared to a normal temperature where they are invasive such as anus thermometers or a digital oral thermometer.

It’s easy to use and it’s great especially for first-time dog owners. Be sure to have this because this will determine if you need to adjust the room temperature.

  • Less invasive than standard thermometers
  • Easy to use
  • Highly accurate
  • Quick reading
  • Not that fast when seeing the results but it’s still accurate

LILYS PET Hemostat

You will need a basic surgical tool like a hemostat. The purpose of this is to control the bleeding if it’s excessive. You will also need this in order to crimp the umbilical cord.

We recommend using this LILYS Pet hemostat for your golden retriever. The brand is known for providing dog supplies and for grooming. This ensures that they hold one of the finest qualities on the market.

You can choose between 12 cm and 14 cm. There are also three colors available. LILYS Pet hemostat is made from stainless steel. Great for prevention of bleeding, infection, remove ear hair, to name a few.

  • Stainless steel
  • Comes with two scissor
  • Quality brand
  • None so far

ONETWOTHREE High Precision Scale

Having a precision scale is a way to keep track of your puppy’s weight. It’s important because this will determine if the puppy is normal, healthy, and no defects.

You can ask your local vet to know the standard guidelines of weight then check your puppy’s weight using the precision scale.

The ONETWOTHREE digital pet scale is a reliable product when you need to get accurate findings of your puppy’s weight. This is ideal for medium to large dog breeds. It features a yoga mat so your puppy will not slip while weighing in.

There’s also an auto-hold that can lock the weight automatically especially if the puppy is moving around. You can also opt for manual settings when measuring. A one-year warranty included upon purchasing this product.

  • Auto hold function
  • Non-slip mat
  • One year warranty
  • Fit well on medium to large god breed
  • None so far

RIOGOO Heating Pad

You can buy a heating pad or a heat lamp instead. But the heating pad is much more accurate because it gives direct warmth for the puppy and the mother dog as well.

This gives more comfy which allows the bitch to get relaxed and also to maintain the adequate temperature of the puppies. This is great especially when it’s winter adding more warmth.

If you are unsure of what to buy in a heating pad, we recommend this RIOGOO brand. It has an auto power-off if you forgot to turn off the switch and the duration is 1 to 12 hours prior to heating.

Guaranteed that there’s a safety heating wire. This feature prevents any burnt damage from your puppy. In addition, there’s a temperature sensor within the warming mat preventing any overheating.

With this heating pad, your puppy and your female dog will be more comfortable than ever. This is due to the polyester cover. Also, the cover is removable and it’s easy to clean, plus it’s chew resistant which avoids any electric shock.

  • Removable cover
  • Auto power off Prevents overheating due to temperature sensor
  • No negative reviews so far

Find more essential whelping items with this checklist .

Signs your golden retriever is about to labor

Now that you know how to create a whelping box and have essential items checklist, how do you know when’s your golden retriever about to give birth? These are the signs that your golden is going to labor.

Swelling of mammary glands

There’s an indication that a day in half before the female dog’s due, their mammary glands are becoming bigger and when you squeeze it there will be milk coming out. But please don’t do this, this is only done when there’s an examination needed by the local vet. But you’ll eventually notice the swelling of the mammary gland without squeezing it. Sometimes, it will just automatically leak a little.

The dog is being restless

Being restless or commonly referred to as a dog’s nesting behavior. This is one of the clear signs that your golden retriever is about to give birth. It’s in their instinct to look for a safe place where they can deliver their puppy. You can also provide help by placing a blanket and a newspaper. That said, this is a way and a preparation to get her into a whelping box the moment the female dog gave birth.

Normally this behavior will begin a week before its actual delivery. Their constant nesting is normal but be sure to be there to provide assistance whenever possible.

Body temperature changes

By consulting your vet, you know have likely instructed to take your golden retriever’s temperature in the morning and evening with the use of a thermometer be it oral, anus, or ear.

If the temperature changes and drops, this is a sign that the labor will begin within a day. The normal temperature of the dog is between 101.5 to 102 degrees. When the temperature drops below 100, that’s an indication of impending birth.

Checking the body temperature is actually the clear sign that your dog is due. But do take note, not all dogs are comfortable having a thermometer in their anus, there are still ways to check their temperature, but if your dog doesn’t feel touching her, then leave her be. There’s still plenty of ways to tell if she is giving birth.

Feeling lethargic and always tired

One factor that contributes to their lethargy is because they are carrying litter saps which consumes a lot of energy especially when the labor is nearing. It could be a sign of labor if she’s experienced more lethargy than previous days which can eventually lead to giving birth in a matter of days.

Contraction in dog’s abdomen

By examining your dog’s abdomen, you will notice small contractions that cause the hardening of the abdomen. The more the contraction is occurring, this could lead to imminent labor.

Watch out if she begins to lose appetite and check her abdomen if it feels like a bag of rocks waiting for withdrawal. You should be very careful when testing this out. Much better if you just examine closely without touching it. Because your dog might become agitated.

Final Thoughts

Are you ready for your female dog’s due? Sometimes even though you are mentally prepared, when it’s the actual delivery, there’s still a panic within us. But it’s better to be prepared than being spontaneous.

In addition, these whelping box ideas, it will help you to understand and hopefully spark an idea to make an ideal one for your golden retriever. It’s fairly easy to build this but it will consume most of your

P.S. But this is great for your dog because you are preparing her a special place where there is comfort and protection for her newly born puppies.

On another note, make sure that you meet some important standards in order to make your future whelping box comfy and dog friendly. Otherwise, your female dog will just find another spot.

About Tom Thorpe

Tom Thorpe has overtime interacted with different species of dogs mostly through breeding and training; according to him, man’s best friend is yet to find solace in the company of man, as they are continuously mistreated. He, therefore, runs a rescue center that provides shelter to stray dogs, and has been advocating for the rights of animals; the Golden Retriever dogs are among his favorites, the reason he came up with the extensive excerpts to help educate the society on the right treatment and care of the respective breed. Tom spends most of his time running his dog shelter; he is a husband and proud father of two boys and loves to go fishing during his free time.

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