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Ellie's Whelping Box

After searching various sites to find simple plans for a whelping box, I found many good ideas but not the simple plan I wanted.  I went to Home Depot one afternoon and wandered around getting ideas of what materials I could use with my limited building skills that would suffice to make a somewhat lightweight but sturdy whelping box.  I discovered some pre-cut Melamine boards and decided I would start with those.  Melamine is a plastic coated particle board and I thought it would make a nice, easy to clean box.  It would also save me from having to paint anything.

Here is my finished whelping box


  • 4 Pre-cut Melamine boards 4' x 12" x 5/8"
  • 8 Corner Braces with corresponding 1/2" long flathead screws
  • 4 Flat Corner Braces with 3/4" long flathead screws
  • 1/8" thick Hardboard for the floor and a box of 3/4" long flathead screws (a 4' x 8' sheet of hardboard costs about $5.00.  I had H/D cut one in half to fit in my mini-van)
  • 16 12" x12" self-stick vinyl tiles (a few extras won't hurt)


  • 20' of 1 1/4" PVC (it comes in 10' lengths)
  • 4 corresponding size Elbows
  • 12 corresponding size Ts
  • PVC glue (optional)

I wanted to be able to fit the whelping box into an ex-pen to keep the other dogs out so I started by setting up my ex-pen to be sure the boards would fit.  I cut off about 1 1/2" on two of the boards.  This makes the external dimensions of the box 48" x 47" which fits my ex-pen.  Then I attached 2 corner braces to each end of the 2 shorter boards.  Next I lined each of those boards up, marked the holes on the 2 longer boards, pre-drilled the holes and attached the corner braces joining all the boards together. (See photos)  The whole box was still pretty flimsy so I added the 4 flat corner braces for more stability and to help square up the corners.  Next, I added the hardboard for the floor using the 3/4" screws all the way around.  I did have to cut about an inch off the hardboard and made sure the corners were square before attaching it. (The smooth side of the hardboard faces the bottom and the rough side is the inside of the box.)  Adding the bottom made the whelping box very sturdy and stable.  Next, I laid the self-stick tiles down having to cut some to fit. (Note: some of these came loose later so I used my PVC glue to stick them down to stay.)

Corner Braces

I used PVC for the removable pig rail.  First I assembled all 4 corners by using an elbow and 2 Ts.  The Ts make legs so the pig rail is about 3" high.  I cut 2" pieces of PVC to join the Ts to the elbow.  I found the whole framework to be more flexible without gluing it at all.

PVC Corner

After assembling the corners, I just worked from one corner all the way around the box putting a T at the middle of each side as a spacer to bring the pig rail out from the sides a bit.

I wanted it to fit snuggly and it can be lifted out easily for cleaning or when it is no longer needed.  I numbered the pieces in sequence so it can also be completely disassembled for storage.

Here is the completed box with my helper, Rio, as the model.