Preparing for whelping includes having an appropriate whelping box. According to Bretaigne Jones, D.V.M., Royal Canin, up to 30 percent of newborn puppies die before reaching weaning. A whelping box helps increase survival rates.
Breeds belonging to the American Kennel Club have one breed standard. The American Bulldog does not belong to AKC and more than one standard exists. According to the American Bulldog Association and the American Bulldog Registry and Archives, an adult female American Bulldog weighs 90 pounds or less and stands no more than 25 inches at the shoulder. Ninety-pound dogs classify as a large breed for ordering most supplies.
An adequate-size whelping box allows the bitch the stretch out, nurse the puppies and move around, according to Veterinary Perinatal Specialties Inc. founder Karen Copley, B.S.N. Oversize boxes permit puppies to leave the litter mates and mother, risking getting cold and dying. According to Jones, a puppy lacks the ability to regulate heat prior to 4 weeks of age. Smaller boxes prevent easy movement by the bitch and increase risk of stepping on puppies, according to Copley. Measure your bitch stretched out and add 6 to 8 inches to determine the length and width of the box.
The box height helps contain the puppies and decrease drafts. Large breed puppies, like American Bulldogs, require at least 6 to 8 inch height. PetEducation recommends the use of hinges or a door to allow the bitch access. A pig rail or a ledge placed at least 4 inches from the floor helps prevent the bitch from laying on puppies.