Preparing the Whelping quarters
The whelping area should be a place that is quiet, secluded, dry, warm and draft-free. Most breeders choose an area adjacent to the kitchen, if not in the kitchen itself, depending on the available space. Feed the bitch in the whelping area and make sure that this is where her water is available at all times.

The whelping or nesting box may be constructed of a variety of materials but the floor surface should be easily washable. It is preferably square and large enough to accommodate the bitch fully out-stretched in every direction and have room to spare for the pups.  The bitch should be able to step into it, but the pups should not be able to climb out. Some breeders leave the front of the box open, fitting a piece of wood across the front for the first few weeks to stop the puppies falling out. When the puppies are able to leave the box to relieve themselves the piece of wood is taken away.

The whelping box should include an interior shelf or 'pig rail' around the periphery, about 4in (10cm) away from the floor and from the sides, to prevent the bitch from smothering or crushing a puppy that may be caught underneath the dam when she lies down. Unfortunately, this often happens. The 'pig rail' provides a get-away, and the puppy can scramble out under it, if necessary, and not be squeezed against the side of the box. The dam should be encouraged to use the box as a bed prior to the whelping so she will consider it as her own.

The box should be lined with a box mat or 'Vetbed'-type fleecy bedding and layers of newspapers (ask all your friends and neighbours in time to start collecting newspapers !)

The temperature in the whelping room should be kept at a constant 75° F (24° C). If necessary, a source of supplemental heat should be placed in the whelping box for the puppies, especially after the first few weeks of birth. Most breeders prefer an infra-red lamp suspended over the whelping box, using red bulbs (the white ones, sometiles sold as 'infrared' are far too bright.
The red light does not disturb the bitch at all and allows to keep an eye on the puppies without switching the main light on and off continually. The long-time breeder Chris Thomas uses small heated pads, like small electric blankets, to keep new-born puppies warm, either between the births, in the case of a free-whelped litter, or while the bitch is recovering from the anaesthetic. The blanket is covered with a towel and placed in a cardboard box.
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 Bulldogs Today
Chris Thomas
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Home > Articles > Breeding bulldogs > Whelping quarters
The information contained in this article expresses the opinions and views of the owner of or of the original authors of the articles. It is not intended to be used as a substitute for professional veterinary advice.
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References and sources:

Bulldogs Today
by Chris Thomas, one of the most detailed descriptions of how to prepare the whelping place, with about one full page of usefull tips.

Canine Breeding and Reproduction by Julio E. Correa, Extension Animal Scientist, Associate Professor, Food and Animal Sciences, Alabama A&M University

The Bulldog, Yesterday, Today & Tomorrow by John F. McGibbon

The Bulldog by Enno Meyer
The Complete Book of Dog Breeding
by Dan Rice
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