Newborn puppies are fragile little things that need careful attention as soon as they’re born. You can give them that care right off the bat with a whelping box heating pad.
It provides the warmth necessary to comfort them post-birth and helps stave off illness. But is buying a whelping box heating pad worth it? Can’t you make one instead?
Below, we’ve compiled everything you need to know about a standard whelping box heating pad and a DIY version to help you come to a reliable conclusion.
Whelping Box Heating Pad Overview
For those who don’t know, whelping is the stage puppies go through after birth when separated from their mother so that she can continue birthing, and the puppies have a safe, comforting space to stay until they reunite. A whelping box is that space.
A specific whelping box heating pad is exactly as the name implies; it’s a heating pad designed specifically for the box to keep the newborn pups warm, comforted, and safe as they wait for their mother’s return.
Whelping Box Heating Pad Features and Benefits
The whelping box heating pad wouldn’t exist if not for its specific features and benefits, such as warmth, comfort, and safety features.
Since the pup will reside in the whelping box moments after greeting the new world, it will need a place familiar. Given that the only other place it ever existed was inside the mother’s warm, comforting womb, the whelping box heating pad provides that familiarity.
Sticking a newborn puppy into a box won’t provide them the comfort they crave. But, just as a nurse sets an infant human into a cushioned crib with blankets before handing it back to the mother, you will want the same for your puppies. A whelping box heating pad provides that level of comfort.
A range of whelping box heating pads come equipped with various safety measures to ensure the puppies’ security, such as auto shut-off and temperature monitors.
What to Look For When Buying a Whelping Box Heating Pad
Since you’ll use the heating pad for a new litter rather than human use, there are some specifics you’ll need to consider before purchasing that differ from features you’d think for personal use, such as temperature, size, and materials.
Digital heating will do much better than the one you plug in and turn on because you can monitor the temperatures, whereas the latter provides continuous heat. However, it would help if you kept an eye on the temperature to keep your puppies from overheating or getting burned. Puppies have susceptible, thin skin, and too intense a heat will harm them.
However large your litter will be, or how big a whelping box you have, you’ll need a heating pad to accommodate. Make sure you take correct measurements of the box before searching for the heating pad so that it fits snuggly into the box. You don’t want to neglect some of the pups from the heat.
Looking at the materials of each heating pad is crucial for durability and safety. You want to make sure that all materials used are safe for skin-to-skin contact with the puppies. You also want the product to last for an extended period if you plan to use it for future litters.
DIY Whelping Box Heating Pad
Unlike purchasing a whelping box heating pad, you can make and customize your own to your specifications. Plus, you can save money in the process since some high-quality heating pads can run on the expensive end.
How to Make Your Own Whelping Box Heating pad
Making a heating pad for your whelping box is not a complicated feat. Read the steps below to create your own and make sure you have the following materials readily available:
- Uncooked rice
- Tube Socks
- Rubber Bands
Fill Your Socks With Rice
Depending on your whelping box’s size, you’ll likely need to prepare about 2-3 DIY heating pads. Fill however many you plan to use with the uncooked rice. Be careful not to overfill the socks. You’ll want a little room leftover at the socks’ tops so that you can seal them.
Remember that some dogs will eat socks, so be careful to monitor the mother or any other dog in the house.
Heat the Socks
Unsealed, heat the socks in the microwave for about a minute to a minute and a half. Try heating a test sock first to get the timing and temperature right. You don’t want the socks to get too hot because that can potentially harm the puppies.
Tie Off the Socks
With your rubber bands, tie the socks’ tops tightly to seal in the heat and rice.
Insert into the Whelping Box
After you’ve tied off the socks, you can place them around the whelping box’s interior perimeter. Then, put your blanket of choice over the heated socks. In doing so, the socks and blanket will lightly heat the box’s interior and provide a relaxing space for the newborn puppies.
Buy vs. DIY
Down to the nitty-gritty, what’s the real difference between a DIY and bought whelping box heating pad? Well, both come with their benefits and differences. Below, we delve into the two main components that separate the two products: value and safety.
You’ll have to pay more for a store-bought whelping box heating pad, but you also get a longer-lasting product made from high-quality materials. Plus, you get sustained heat with the extra cost that you can control to comfort the newborn puppies adequately.
A DIY whelping box heating pad, on the other hand, is extremely cheap, especially if you have the materials needed in your home already. However, it won’t provide you with the same features. For example, you cannot control the heat of a DIY heating pad. Instead, you can heat it, insert it into the box, and let it work. The warmth won’t last nearly as long as a standard heating pad.
You can use the DIY pad over again if you choose, but the sock’s fabric might wear down over time, and the rice may burn after frequent heating. Ultimately, the DIY pad is not intended for sustained use. If you plan to breed, you might want to consider investing in the durable, temperature-controlling store-bought pad for your whelping box.
Safety is of the utmost importance concerning newborn puppies and their heating pads. Unfortunately, both whelping box heating pad options pose potential hazards too. The digital heating pad, for example, might overheat or put off too much heat, which can dehydrate the newborns or potentially burn their tender skin.
Although, with store-bought heating pads for the whelping box from a reputable source, you can choose from various options that can allow you to gauge and monitor the heat the pups get. Plus, some come with automatic shut-offs after a specified timeframe or temperature level.
The DIY heating pad does not come equipped with a heating monitor. It also poses the same overheating threat that a standard whelping box heating pad does, too, depending on how long you stick it in the microwave.
After thorough consideration, you would do your best to purchase a manufactured heating pad for your whelping box. These heating pads provide more security for the pups and have better quality materials that will last.
The DIY heating pad isn’t a horrible idea, but it won’t provide as high-quality an experience for newborns. Plus, it serves more of a quick fix purpose than it does for the long term.