Examples of Setups

Whelp Room Preparation

By week seven you will need to have prepared a whelping room.  Waiting longer might result in an unexpected and messy whelping in an unwanted area! 

It’s a good idea to feed your breeder in the whelping pool or box one week or more prior to whelping.  Sitting in the pool and rewarding her with a toy, treat and/or praise is recommended.   This is especially beneficial and important for first time breeders to make the pool a positive and secure place.

Whelping Room        The whelping room should be in an area that is quietand free of distractions.  A spare room that is isolated from the rest of the house with access to an enclosed yard is ideal.  Because the process of whelping can take between 2 – 14 hours, or longer, you should provide an easy chair or comfortable place for you to rest.  It should also be a room that you will be comfortable spending the night in, so that you can keep a close eye on the pups for the first few days after whelping. 

WES Kit                   Items in the CCI issued WES kits include:

  • Heating pad
  • Heat lamp and extra bulbs
  • Two puppy saucer feeding dishes
  • Colored yarn
  • Non toxic paint
  • Puppy collars
  • Digital thermometer and lubricant
  • Suction bulb (baby ear / nose syringe)
  • Whelping book
  • WES manual
  • Scale and tray
  • Soft brush, comb, and nail clippers
  • Fecalizer collector

Box or Pool   A five-foot plastic circular child’s wading pool makes an ideal whelping enclosure. The sides stretch enough to help prevent accidental crushing of puppies and is easy to clean.  These pools are available to take home along with the WES kit you receive when your breeder’s ultrasound confirms pregnancy.


Lf you are handy, you can construct a 4x4 (or larger) box that is approximately 18 inches high.  The wooden whelping box must have a 3-inch wide railing, 4 inches above the floor, to protect the puppies from accidental crushing by the mother.

Lining    In order to be ready for the actual whelping, the whelping box or pool should be lined with newspapers.  Prior to whelping, make a deep bed of newspapers fanned around the bottom of the pool.  Make the layers ten to twelve deep.  During whelping you will be able to remove just the top layers of soiled newspaper after each whelp without having to redo the entire pool.  Whelping produces lots of green tinged fluid, so have a trash can and extra newspaper ready, so you can remove the soiled layers or change papers in between whelps, or add layers as necessary.   Note:  in the setup above, the newspaper is ripped into strips of 2-3 inches in width.  This is being used by some BCs as it is easier to remove the soiled newspaper.  The choice is yours. 

Bedding - After puppies are whelped, the newspaper lining in the whelping pool or box should be discarded.  Suggested bedding options post- whelp include:

  • Sherpa mats that have a thin rubber backing
  • Bath mats with a rubber backing
  • Indoor/outdoor carpet (not the grass type)
  • Moving or packing quilts or pads

Pooch Pads, training pad, chux’s, or newspapers should be used under the bedding to absorb moisture.  Towels, sheets, mattress pads, and / or comforters should not be used as bedding.  The suggested bedding options minimize the potential of fabric being folded over a puppy as mom and puppies move about in the whelping pool or box.

Supplies and equipment in the Whelping Room

Towels:  At least three dozen terry cloth or cotton towels – hand towel size.  You will probably use a couple of towels for each pup.  These are used to dry and clean the newborn pup, to catch the pup when it arrives and to rub the puppy down (to stimulate breathing) afterwards.

Newspapers:  Lots of them!

Tarp/piece of linoleum/etc.: to use on the floor under the whelping pool/box.

Hold box/container: to put next to the whelping pool that can hold the newborn pups in between whelps.  This could be the bottom half of the crate your WES kit supplies came in, or a plastic storage-type box.  A laundry basket or cardboard box also works well. 


Heating pad: to be put in the holding box to keep newborn pups warm and comfortable during additional whelps.  The heating pad should be covered with a towel and set on warm (not hot).  Check the temperature frequently to assure that the pups don’t become too warm.

Scale: to record accurate weights.  Note that the "tare" function on the scale will sero out the scale wiht the basket and towel.  So the weight measured is only the puppy weight.


Colored yarn: to identify the birth order of the pups.  It is recommended that you have the yarn prearranged in the birth order, for quick and easy access during whelping.  One suggestion is to scotch tape the yarns to a nearby surface.

WES Manual and pen: to record the time, pups’ weight, yarn color, sex, and coat markings as the pups are whelped.

Dental Floss: to tie off the umbilical cord, in case the mother doesn’t chew the cord or in cases where bleeding continues.


Thermometer and lubricant: to check your breeder’s temperature.

Scissors: to cut the umbilical cords.

Baby bulb syringe: to suction mucous from a newborn pup’s mouth, if necessary.

Pedialyte popsicles: for an energy boost for your breeder in between whelps (found in the grocer’s baby section).

Disposable latex gloves: in case you need to manually check the birth canal.

Hand wipes: for you.

Cordless telephone with the necessary phone numbers: CCI Breeding Veterinarian, local emergency vet, whelping buddy, etc.

Clock: to record the birth times in the WES Manual.


Water bowl

Flashlight with fresh batteries

Leash and collar


Comfortable chair: you may be there more than a little while.

A good book, TV, radio….

Helpful Hints           Unfold newspaper so that it’s laying flat next to the whelping box.  If you haven’t done so already, separate shiny ads and smaller pieces from the larger pieces for easy access.

Know what your CCI breeder’s normal temperature is by using the same thermometer pre- and post-whelp.  Check your CCI breeder’s temperature well before her due date to establish her baseline temperature.

Puppy Safety After Whelp


To help keep the puppies safe, remove moms collar.  Puppies have been known to crawl into the space between the collar and mommas neck and get stuck and strangled.  Also, DO NOT leave a bowl of water in the whelping pool for momma as puppies can crawl into the water bowl and drown. 

When cleaning (wiping down) the whelping pool after the whelp do not use any harsh chemicals, especially Pine Sol as it is not good for the puppies.