How Clean is Your Whelping Pen?
B reeding dogs is an exciting and rewarding experience, but it comes with its challenges. One of the breeder’s biggest concerns is maintaining the health of the mother and her puppies even before they are born. As the whelping box is their nursery, it is crucial to keep that area hygienically clean and healthy. We recently asked some breeders what their greatest challenges were in maintaining a sanitary whelping environment and these are their top 5 concerns: INFECTION CONTROL Infection control is one of the most significant challenges breeders face in maintaining the cleanliness of their whelping box. Puppies are born with a weak immune system, which makes them more susceptible to infections. Therefore, breeders need to take extra care to prevent the spread of infections in the whelping box. One of the ways to prevent infections is to maintain proper hygiene in the whelping box. Breeders need to clean and disinfect the whelping box daily to pre- vent the buildup of bacteria and viruses. Not only should they wash their hands thoroughly before handling the puppies, but they also need to ensure the cleanli- ness of any visitors to avoid transmitting any germs to the growing puppies. There isn’t a breeder out there who doesn’t worry about fast spreading diseases like the parvo virus. WASTE MANAGEMENT Waste management is another significant challenge breeders face in maintain- ing the cleanliness of their whelping box. Puppies are cute but produce a lot of poop, which can lead to an unsanitary environment. Breeders need to ensure that they clean up any waste promptly and dispose of it properly. Breeders should also use appropriate bedding material that is absorbent and easy to clean. This will help to prevent the buildup of waste and reduce the risk of infection. Keeping poop waste out of the whelping box is a top priority. There are many options avail- able including self-cleaning ones. ODOR CONTROL
PROPER VENTILATION Proper ventilation is essential for maintaining the clean- liness of the whelping box. Poor ventilation can lead to a buildup of harmful gasses and airborne pathogens, which can cause respiratory issues in the mother and her puppies. Breeders should ensure that there is enough fresh air cir- culation in the whelping box. They should also avoid using harsh chemicals or cleaners in the whelping box, as these can irritate the puppies’ respiratory systems. TEMPERATURE CONTROL Temperature control is another challenge breeders face in maintaining the cleanliness of the whelping box. The ideal temperature for a whelping box is around 85 degrees Fahrenheit. Breeders can use a heat lamp or heating pad to maintain the desired temperature. However, they should be careful not to overheat the box, as this can lead to heat stress and dehydration in the puppies. Breeders should also ensure that the bedding material is kept clean and dry. Wet bedding can lead to the buildup of harmful bacteria and mold, which can be harmful to the puppies’ health. By taking proactive steps to address these challenges, breeders can provide a safe and healthy environment for their puppies to grow and thrive.
Odor control is another challenge breed- ers face in maintaining the cleanliness of their whelping box. Puppies’ constant pooping can lead to a foul odor in the home environment. This can be unpleasant for both the puppies and the breeder and can raise some eyebrows if potential buyers come by to see and socialize with the litter. To control odor, breeders need to regularly clean and disinfect the whelping box. Odor-neutralizing products, such as baking soda, can help absorb any unpleasant odors.
82 | SHOWSIGHT MAGAZINE, APRIL 2023
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