Creating a Safe Space for Nursing Dog Moms

Photo by Oliver Keitel on Unsplash

If you are responsible for caring for a nursing dog mom, then there are several things you will want to do in order to keep your dog mom as healthy and as happy as possible. After all, the healthier the mother dog is, the better off the puppies will be.

It is also important that your dog mom has a safe space of her own during this time so that she can focus on nursing and caring for her new pups.

The biggest thing to keep in mind when choosing a space for your nursing dog mom, is that you need to find an area where she can be comfortable, protected and separate from other animals in, or on, your property. This space should also be separated from any major traffic flow of people as well. Even the most friendly and playful of dogs can start to get agitated or overly protected when they are nursing puppies.

In order to keep your dog, other people, and other animals as safe as possible, finding this protected area is of the utmost importance. Here are a few other tips that will help you create the right safe space for any nursing dog mom, so she can focus on feeding, caring for and raising her new pups in comfort.

Creating The Right Environment

Photo courtesy of @sophiakunkel via Unsplash.

It should come as no surprise to you that caring for newborns can be stressful, even for puppies. This is why a quiet and secluded space is so important. Your nursing dog’s area should feel like a quiet sanctuary for your dog and should be completely private.

Experts recommend that you set up your dog’s whelping box before birth in an area that is separate from busy household traffic. The whelping box is important for the early dog nursing days. Here’s what to keep in mind when establishing a whelping box:

  • The whelping box should have low sides between 12-18 inches and have a cut-out portion for the mom dog to easily enter and exit. It can be made out of cardboard or wood
  • The whelping box should be large enough for the mother dog to turn around in without potentially stepping on or harming her pups.
  • The whelping box should be big enough for a mom dog to lie on her side too nurse, but not too big, otherwise it may prevent little pups from getting the extra body heat they need.

Once you have the right whelping box inside a covered kennel or room in your home, make sure you outfit it with towels and blankets. You will likely need to clean and refresh these towels and blankets frequently to keep the area comfortable and sanitary.

Make Sure Your Mom Dog Has Plenty of Food and Water

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This safe space for your nursing dog should have an allocated area for food and water, where they can conveniently access these extra nutrients without having to go far from the whelping box. As puppies start to get older, you will want to make sure that this food and water is in a tall bowl that puppies will stay out of.

Remember, your nursing dog is going to be expelling a lot more energy than normal to feed her new puppies, so she will need more food and water than normal to keep up. According to the American Kennel Club, your dog will need about two times her normal amount of food before and immediately after the whelping. Between weeks 4-6, she will need even more—plan on feeding her three times her usual amount during this two-week period.

If you have questions about how much more to feed your nursing dog, make sure to ask your vet. Dehydration is also common among nursing moms, so check her water even more regularly to make sure that she can stay super hydrated during this time in her life.

Help Your Nursing Mom Get Some Space

Photo by Steve Sewell on Unsplash

For the first two weeks, your nursing mom is going to be all hands-on deck when taking care of her new pups. During this time, you should let your mom stay in her own space undisturbed and take care of business. Check in on your dog mom to make sure she looks happy and healthy and plenty of food and water. Other than that, she is going to take care of business.

However, after those first two weeks, your nursing pup will need a little more time to herself. Either remove the pups and leave your dog mom in her space or let your dog mom out for some fresh air. When the mom dog is ready to get back to nursing and her puppies, she will let you know.

During this time when you are letting your nursing dog out, make sure that you are checking on her overall condition, weight and energy levels. You should also check on her nipples. If they are chapped and sore than you can try putting petroleum jelly on them. If they look pussy or infected, then you should take your dog to the vet for a prescription antibiotic cream.

This is a great opportunity to give your nursing dog some extra care and attention or some companionship. After all, your dog may miss spending this extra time with their owner. This little bit of time away can really do wonders for your dog and help them during their nursing experience.

Of course, the key to creating any type of safe space for a nursing dog or any pup that needs some peace and quiet—is the right structure. Whether this is a large outdoor kennel with an enclosed dog bog, a doghouse or a secure cage, the right structure is paramount.

Here are Horizon Structures, we are truly passionate about caring for all animals that need a safe space to call their own. This is why you will find our structures are made entirely out of premium-grade materials and durable designs that are meant to last. After all, your new dog mom has a lot to worry about with her new puppies. A safe space to stay protected from the elements, should be the last thing she has to worry about.

Which Kennel Size is Right for Your Business?

Whether you’re just launching a new kennel or are upgrading and expanding, it can feel overwhelming to make a final decision on which kennel size will be right for you. What if you build a kennel that’s too small? What if it’s too big and difficult to maintain? These are both real concerns that you’ll have to balance during your build phase.

Luckily, we’re here to help! We’ve built hundreds of structures throughout North America and have seen how successful kennel businesses around the country weigh these factors. Here are a few tips for picking the right size kennel for you.

Plan for What You’ll Need

While we hope you’ll become the next Martha Stewart of kennels and create your own empire, it’s best to start out choosing a kennel size that will best accommodate your immediate surroundings.

Take into account the amount of space you’ll need not only for housing your boarding guests but also the space you’ll need for storage, your employees, and playtime for the dogs when they’re out of the kennels.

In addition, you should also take into account the demographics of the area you serve and how many clients you can realistically expect. If you live in a small town with a few hundred residents, then it’s safe to say you can stick with something like our 14×30 size. If, however, you serve a large city where you have the potential to a dozen dogs at a time, then it’s best to start with a medium-to-large size kennel like our 24×60 kennel.

Make Sure You Can Maintain Your Kennels

Wear and tear is a regular occurrence, especially when dealing with animals, so you must consider the amount of maintenance your kennel will need. It’s best to maintain a clean, professional environment so that your clients feel safe leaving their pets in your care.

When deciding on the right size kennel, make sure you understand the maintenance requirements and can keep up with the cleaning and repairs as needed. You may need to hire additional help to maintain the larger-sized kennels. If your business isn’t yet bringing in enough profit to account for those additional costs, it may be best to start on the smaller end and upgrade as your business becomes more profitable.

Decide Which Amenities You’ll Provide for Your Boarders

Giving your boarding clients a luxury experience can help set your business apart from competitors, so it’s crucial that you consider which amenities you’ll be able to provide and what sort of space they’ll require. Dog runs, a grooming area, and even a storefront that offers treats and leashes or collars can be great additions that appeal to pet owners (that also boosts your income).

Think about your strategy for setting your business apart from other kennels. What does that look like, and what sort of space will you need to make that happen? Perhaps a kennel with an office space or a receiving area is better suited for your business than a basic structure.

What Can You Reasonably Afford?

Last, but certainly not least, is factoring the capital you have to invest in a new kennel structure. Make sure that you take into account what it will cost you to create a new kennel. How quickly can you expect a return on your investment, and what prices will you need to charge to make that happen? We’ve seen clients who run the gamut when it comes to pricing; some are upscale, luxury kennel experiences, while others are more economical. It all depends on what value you can provide your clients and the demographics that you’ll be able to serve.

Special Considerations for Breeders and Dog Handlers

If you’re using kennels for temporary boarding for your breeding or dog showing business, there are a couple of extra considerations you should take into account when deciding on a kennel size:

What sort of extra space will you need to accommodate your unique business?

Breeders and dog handlers need additional amenities that would normally be optional for a boarding facility. Consider having spaces available for grooming and basic veterinary care. Having these planned in your kennel space will make it much easier for your business to run smoothly and will show your clients the extra care taken to ensure safe spaces for dogs.

How many dogs will you care for at any given time?

Many professional breeders will opt for smaller kennel facilities as they don’t require so many rooms for their dogs. Consider the average number of dogs you’ll be working with prior to dog shows or while breeding. Will you need an expansive structure or should you instead opt for something like a 5-dog kennel that is customized to your specific needs?

Ready to Get Started?

You can receive our complete kennel price list to help give you a better idea of what your new kennel might cost, or check out our current kennels on sale if you’re ready for immediate delivery.

Whatever you decide, don’t let yourself get dragged down by the details. If you’re getting overwhelmed trying to determine what kennel size is right for your business, then give a few of these tips a try or talk to us as we’re always happy to help.