Our New Puppy Room and Tools
Check out our new puppy room and a dozen tools we used to make raising our recent litter much easier!
Our most recent litter was the first one raised in our new home, with its separate puppy room. In fact, this is the first time in 40 years that we had a room in our house dedicated to our pups. It was a real treat! Not that we didn’t love using our dining room to raise puppies, it was nice to be able to eat a meal together at the table AND enjoy our pups!
In addition to the new space, we tried a dozen new methods and tools to make the process go more smoothly. You may have used some of these in the past but hopefully you’ll find a few that are helpful. And please share your puppy rooms and the tools that you find make puppy raising easy!
- Elevated Whelping Box
- Blow-Up Bed
- Label Maker
- Steam Mop
- Nest Cams
- Rover Enclosures
- Touchless Trash Can
- White Noise Machine
- White Boards
- Rolling Shelves
- Foldable Storage Bin & shelves
1. Elevated Whelping Box
I borrowed this idea from Marcy and Lise and LOVE IT! This was the first time we elevated our whelping box and I can’t imagine raising another litter any other way. We placed our whelping box on two sturdy, outdoor coffee tables from Wayfair. They were stable, easily disinfected, and light enough for me to move myself. We elevated the whelping box for 2 ½ weeks, until we moved the pups into the small pen you can see in the video.
NEW! I’ve gotten quite a few inquiries about my whelping box. It is a wonderful, wonderful box! Here is its story:
My whelping box is 30 years old and no longer made. It is a Whel-Pet and is a great product. I actually considered buying the plans and manufacture them. I searched for and found the original designer in a retirement home. He talked me out of my plan because the Whel-Pet lasts forever. He never could sell enough of them to make a viable business.
The Whel-Pet is has three components; an outer box, an inner box that makes the pig rail, and an aluminum frame for draping the box. It is easy to clean and is light enough for me to carry all by myself. 30+ years later, it is still going strong. I have actually included it in my will so it gets passed to another breeder rather than getting thrown away. I’ll post some more photos once I have it out of storage.
Along with raising the whelping box, adding a recliner to the puppy room made the first two weeks so much more comfortable. Someone is with our pups 24 hours a day, so the recliner enabled us to hang out in comfort. The only downsides were it took up a fair amount of room and was heavy to move so we took it out once the pups were moved to their pen. I’ll be looking for a smaller, comfy reclining chair for the next litter but you can always repurpose one from elsewhere in the house.
3. Blow-Up Bed
At night, we moved the recliner and substituted a blow-up single bed that was high enough to see into the whelping box at night when the pups squeaked. During the day, we deflated the bed and stored it under the whelping box, which you can see in the photo at the top of the page.
I’ve long used a label maker to help organize my office but for this litter, I used it non-stop. I labeled liver water, puppy formula, even oatmeal with the date that I made each of them. I put labels with instructions on the formula so that my helpers could safely warm and use it. Check out the labels in the Puppy Room Tour video!
5. Steam Mop
I added this little steam mop to my disinfecting routine and love it! Steam is very effective against most pathogens, including parvo. This little mop is easy to use and store, it heats up quickly and has some nice safety features. My only complaint is the mop pads that come with it don’t wash easily so I used microfiber towels, instead.
6. Nest Cams
I resisted using webcams for years but once I gave in, I’ve never looked back. We had four Nest Cams going for our last litter. It was so comforting to be able to monitor the puppies at any time, night or day. Nest Cams are easy to set up and, if you want, to share. They come in indoor versions and a very weather-resistant outdoor version.
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7. Rover Enclosures
We’ve used Rover Enclosures for part of our pens for years but this was my first All-Rover-Enclosure set up. You can see the small pen in the video but we expanded that significantly as the pups grew. Although these pens aren’t a cheap date, they are so indestructible, (nearly) inescapable, and so hygienic, I can’t imagine going back to ex-pens. I highly, highly recommend them!
8. Touchless Trash Can
I’ve searched for years for a good trash can that was stable in the face of jumping puppies, helped with odor, and easy to use while cleaning up puppy poop. At first I thought this Eko 13-gallon toucheless trash can was over the top but I soon changed my mind. It opens with a wave of your hand, and closes either automatically or with a touch. It keeps odors contained and is untippable even when attacked by an entire litter of pups. We got it at Lowe’s but I don’t know if it’s still available. If you can find one, go for it!
9. White Noise Machine
Adding a white noise machine to your puppy gear offers several benefits. Right after the litter is born, use it to drown out noises that disturb your dam, such as doorbells, barking dogs and people talking. As the pups’ ears open, use the machine to introduce them to all kinds of noises, albeit soothing. You’ll need to transition to more stressful sounds as the pups grow but many white noise machines today offer ocean waves, birds, and even thunderstorm recordings, which are a great start to your pups’ development.
10. White Boards
Staying on track with a litter while being sleep deprived can be challenging. We used a tried-and-true systems, two white boards to keep ourselves organized, communicate with everyone who was helping with the pups, and be sure the pups hit all of their developmental and medical gates. I know some folks who use dry-erase calendars but we just did lists…many, many lists.
11. Rolling Shelves
If you need to adapt your space as your pups grow and develop, rolling shelves are great. We use wire shelves that easily roll so you can move them as needed. These are very strong so can hold anything. My only complaint is that eventually the heavy plastic shelf liners crack and you are left with wire shelves. Great for towels and Steri-lon but not so good for small items, which fall through the wire.
12. Foldable Storage Bins
As you can see from the video, we have a lot of toys and items to rotate in and out of the whelping box and puppy pen for development. Like many of you, we use plastic storage containers some of the time but they are big and bulky. So we’ve replaced many of them with foldable storage bins that are good sized and strong but lightweight. We put them in a PVC storage unit to store all of our puppy gear between litters.
Hope you’ve enjoyed these new changes we’ve found most useful. Share your favorites tools in the comments below and have fun touring our puppy room!