A playpen is a great alternative to dog crates and kennels in that they provide exceptional freedom of movement for pooches while guaranteeing their safety. While not everyone would agree to the use of such pieces of canine furniture, many dog lovers and experts use them for a variety of purposes, but mostly to provide a good balance of doggie freedom and safety. However, to maximize these benefits, it is imperative that only the best and most appropriate pet playpen be chosen for your canine friend. Not to worry though as our list of the 10 best dog playpens have you covered.
The 13 Top-Rated Dog Playpens
- 8-panel construction with secure double-latch door
- No roof for easy access
- Comes with ground anchors and thumb-snaps
- Heavy-duty wire construction with e-coat finish
- Panel height: 30 inches
Currently a bestseller in outdoor dog pen products, this unit from MidWest Homes for Pets is available in 5 different sizes with the largest being 4 feet high, making it an exceptional dog exercise pen. What makes the MidWest click as an outdoor pen is that it comes with ground anchors to help secure it to the ground, as well as an e-coat finish to help improve its resilience against all weather conditions. Setting it up and dismantling it is not an issue either, which is always a plus. No wonder it’s considered one of the best dog play pens in the market!
- 4-panel, box type design with secure door
- Fully expandable with additional panels and mesh roof
- Made of molded, durable plastic
- Panel height: 2 feet
One of the best puppy playpens that money can buy is definitely the Pet Playpen from IRIS USA. It’s appropriately sized for puppies and small breeds of canines, providing a modest 8 square feet of play area. However, the panels can be fully expanded by purchasing panel add-ons. What’s more, you can also secure the top with an optional mesh roof. The IRIS is made of molded heavy-duty, durable plastic so it should be able to hold up to even the mightiest of chewers among the small pooches. It’s great for outdoor or indoor use, too.
- Constructed of weatherproof fabric materials
- With mesh panel windows
- Foldable, easy setup design
- Durable yet very lightweight
- Panel dimensions: 17 inches wide and 27 inches high
When it comes to indoor dog pen that is so easy to setup and very affordable, too, this soft playpen model is a must-have. It looks like an oversized laundry hamper with breathable mesh panels and a zippered top for better security and easy access to your pooch. Because it’s so lightweight and portable, you can conveniently take it anywhere with you and your pup.
- Indoor / Outdoor use
- Removable shade cover
- Dogs / Cats / Rabbits
- Available In 3 Sizes
The Ruff n Ruffus playpen is one of the best lightweight dog playpens in today’s market. There are many models available for sale, but this one tops the charts, as stated on countless customer review sites. It is well suited for different kinds of small animals, namely, dogs, rabbits, and cats. So, if you’re looking for easy-to-carry puppy playpens, we can’t recommend this model enough. Made of durable and waterproof materials, the play pen is light in weight and super-portable for secure storage and transport. It features a roomy 8-panel construction that provides your pet with enough space to maneuver. Every panel has reinforced corners and protected seams, which keep it sturdy and stabilized when set up.
- Gazebo type design with reversible polyurethane canopy
- Heavy-duty metal wire with a secure-latch access window
- Gazebo Dimensions: 5 feet high and 5 feet across
- Easy to assemble, with an optional tote bag
It may be the most expensive outdoor dog pen on our list, but there’s a perfectly good reason why this is so. The Advantek happens to be designed like an ultra-luxurious gazebo, making it more like a retreat house for your pooches while they are out in the backyard. It’s also the tallest on our list, coming in at 5 feet from the ground to the center top of the weatherproof canopy. The Advantek comes with an access window that securely latches to keep your pooch well protected. If any, it’s the canopy that really is handy especially if there is plenty of sunshine in your backyard.
- Eight-panel design
- Simple to install
- Oxford cloth material
- Comfortable, breathable soft playpen
This EliteField Soft-Sided Dog Playpen will become your little one’s favorite play item. It is a portable unit designed to allow your dog to run freely in a safe and contained environment. It’s designed for small dogs and puppies and made from a durable cloth material, that is stable, durable, and breathable. T features the use of mesh at specific points, to allow for better ventilation within the pen. The mesh also allows you to view your furry mates while they play, to ensure that they’re all safe. The cloth material of this puppy fence is easy to remove and simple to clean. As a bonus, it comes with little storage compartments that allow you to keep your pets favorite toys handy for their playtime
- Outdoor & indoor
- 16 panels/8 panels
- Heavy-duty foldable metal
- Powder-coated iron panels
- No tools required
Meet the Yaheetech Playpen, another spectacular unit designed for total enjoyment. Playtime is now more exciting than it used to be, thanks to the invention of this unit. The Yaheetech playpen works well for puppies, cats, dogs, and other home pets.
It consists of 16 panels and is available in different shapes such as octagons, rectangles, and squares. This puppy pen features the use of heavy-duty iron panels, which are incredibly durable and ideal for use both inside and outside your home. The best part about this dog pen is how easy it is to store. If it’s not in use, the Yaheetech playpen can be folded into a smaller size and kept in storage.
- Constructed of heavy-duty, durable molded plastic
- 8-panel design with 20-inch high door
- Available in 10 different colors
- For indoor and outdoor use
- Panel height: 34 inches
If you like the IRIS 4-panel but wish it provided a larger surface area, then its Exercise Panel is the one to get, offering you 21 square feet of space. The height of the panel is about 34 inches, making it a great dog exercise pen. Like the 4-Panel IRIS, the Exercise Panel pet playpen can be expanded with the addition of new panels so you can greatly increase its play area. This is often advisable if you’re planning to turn it into an outdoor dog pen. The IRIS Exercise Panel is also available in 10 lovely colors.
- Very large area
- Tool-free set-up
- Suitable for indoor and outdoor use
With an eight-panel design, this play pen for pets can be arranged in multiple ways. Making it ideal for those who don’t have the largest living space, but still want to offer plenty of room for their pets to play, in a safe and secure area. Indeed, this option provides some of the largest inner areas given on our list.
Designed to be set up and ready to go within minutes, there are no tools required to set up this dog pen. The solid latch provides additional security on the gates that is easy to manage, while the step through design means you don’t have to take it apart again, just to get through to see your pup. Best of all, everything is foldable, for easier storage.
- Satin black electro-coat finish
- Top and two side door openings
- Slide-bolt latches
- Adjustable floor grid
- Easy-to-clean slide-out pans
Any dog, cat, or small animal that plays in the MidWest Puppy Playpen has a level of excitement that cannot be compared to any other. This is simply because this puppy playpen creates a perfect play environment, which is both interactive and safe.
This MidWest Puppy Playpen product is a well-designed unit made from premium metals. It is coated with a satin black electro finish to make it more convenient for house training of your puppies. To store it, you can fold it up easily. The collapsible feature also makes the unit easy to transport from one location to the other.
- Highly portable, foldable, and easy to setup design
- Waterproof, lightweight, heavy duty, and durable materials
- Covered flooring and large mesh windows
- Built-in roof with zipper closure
- Dimensions: 45 inches across and 2 feet tall
ToysOpoly offers one of the best, most comfortable, and most secure outdoor and indoor dog pen in the market. It includes stainless steel anchors plus zippered top for optimum UV protection. The 4 lovely colors only add to its overall aesthetics. It’s a pop-up tent, making it super-easy to setup and dismantle. Mesh window panels ensures adequate ventilation for your pooch. The only thing missing now are the accessories that your dog really loves.
- Eight panel
- Different shapes
- Anti-rust metal
- Foldable dog playpen
The BestPet Puppy Pet Playpen is a well-designed pet playpen. It features the use of premium materials which pose no health hazards or physical threats to animals. With its wide variety of shapes and sizes, no pet of yours cannot benefit from this playpen.
Our favorite dog indoor playpen is BestPet playpen. It is built from metals which are highly water and rust-resistant. They feature an 8-panel design and come in multiple shapes for use both indoors and outdoors. No matter the type of climate you’re experiencing, this large dog playpen can be used to its fullest capacity. It doesn’t rust, corrode or fade, and it is effortless to clean and maintain.
- 6-panel pet enclosure
- Lockable pet door
- Additional extension panels
- Durable skid-resistant pads
- Convenient carry strap
On a lot of online review platforms for the best dog playpens, one will come across the North States MyPet Playpen, and for a good reason. It is one of the greatest playpen designs in the world, made by the most trusted manufacturers on the globe.
This is one impressive pet playpen designed for safety. It features a small lockable, swinging door which allows easy entry and exits of your pet while also keeping the enclosure secure once locked, to prevent your furry friends from going astray. It has skid-resistant pads that prevent the occurrence of scratching or extreme damaging of your flooring. This American produced unit is a must-have for all dog owners.
Best Dog Playpens: Buying Guide
As we have mentioned in our introduction, doggie playpens are exceptional pieces of canine furniture that allow you to provide your pets with a certain degree of freedom that is far greater than what they have inside a crate or kennel. In the following sections, we will try to explore some of the most pressing concerns any playpen for dog buyers faces. We’ll start with a determination of whether your dog really needs a playpen or not, and we’ll also share with you a few things you may want to consider before making that purchase. Of course, we’ll round it up with a presentation of some of the most common types of dog playpens. By the time you finish with this article, you will have gathered all the information you need to make an informed purchasing decision.
Does My Dog Need a Playpen?
For most of us, having a doggie play area is actually not a requirement, especially if we have plenty of time to bring them to the park for a few hours of fun and exercise every single day. Unfortunately, not everyone is lucky enough to afford their pooches with the luxury of undivided time and attention. You would actually be lucky to find a dog owner who can really devote at least 2 hours of his or her time solely on the play and exercise needs of their pet canines. And this is just the play part we’re talking about.
So, does your dog really need a playpen?
Let’s try to rephrase it this way: does your young child need a playpen?
The reason we feel the need to make an analogy to children is this: we are basically the parents of our dogs. Silly as it may sound, but the responsibility for taking care of our dogs have fallen squarely on our shoulders the moment we decided to either purchase them from a reputable breeder or adopt them from the shelter. The point is that, since we have taken the responsibility to take care of these adorable creatures, we might as well give them the best.
To answer the question of whether your pet canine needs a playpen or not, let us look at the benefits that you and your doggie can derive from this type of canine instrument.
They Ensure Safer Playtime
If you take your canine friend to the park, it is quite impossible to have your eyes glued on them all the time. Chances are there will be instances when it will be picking up things, swallowing these, and ending up sick. If you put your furry friend in a confined space, you are effectively limiting what it can pick up. You can choose the things that you want to be present in this confined area too. You can place their favorite toy or even another dog that your pet is familiar and friendly with. The point is, a playpen allows you to control so many variables all at once to make sure that playtime is indeed fun and safe.
Helps in Canine Socialization
Depending on the size of your pet playpen, you can actually help your pooch develop its own socialization skills. For instance, a variety of outdoor dog pen products can accommodate more than 5 dogs at a time and they will still have plenty of space to run about and play with one another. You can take this opportunity to develop your pet’s social skills by allowing them to interact with select dogs that are properly trained and are well-mannered as well.
Compare this to an open area where virtually any other dog or cat can come up to your pet. While your pet dog may be fully trained and well-behaved, there simply is no telling that the other dog will be the same. It is all a matter of safety again.
Promotes Doggie Happiness
While the playpen does not actually guarantee absolute freedom for your pet, it nevertheless provides a feeling of freedom. A dog that is able to run about, jump as high as it wants, or even play with all the different toys without getting yelled at can truly feel a lot happier and more content. Besides, increased free play can help your doggie friend to dispense of its energy so that it will feel more relaxed afterward.
Provides a Safer Environment for your Guests Without Necessarily Hiding your Pooch
You’re hosting a party at home, but there are some guests who are quite averse to dogs. What do you do? You can either put your pooches in their respective crates, but that would simply be not right considering some of your guests are dog lovers, too. A better option is to put your pets in a playpen so they get to see your guests and vice versa. Since they are confined to a particular section in your home, they will not be disturbing or annoying anyone. Additionally, for your guests who would like to pet your pups, they can simply enter the pen and get up close and personal with your doggies. It’s a win-win situation for both your pets and your guests!
Check out our guide on the Best Dog Gates.
Helps Minimize Damage to your Furnishings and Other Belongings
Whether you care to admit it or not, you don’t want to come home to a home with damaged furnishings, upholstery that was torn apart, and carpet shredded to bits. You can always put your pets in crates but this will greatly restrict their freedom of movement. Putting them in a large-enough playpen should help provide for a safer area for them and away from your precious items. Of course, there is always a possibility for your pet to scale the walls of the pen and escape. But that is why training is still a very important aspect of using the playpen.
Facilitates Easier Training
Training pets is not easy, especially in the initial stages. If you are going to train them inside the house, chances are they’ll be running from room to room, but if you put them in their crates, it wouldn’t help either. Putting them in a dog playpen, meanwhile, significantly reduces the amount of space that they will be running about so you have better control of your training sessions. The mere fact that they will still be able to run gives them the impression that you are not punishing them. Of course, diligence and perseverance still matter as well as a very methodical approach to training.
With all these benefits of using a dog playpen, it would be quite baffling not to at least consider getting one for your pet. However, to provide you with a more balanced approach to this presentation, we are going to give you a few of the downsides to using a playpen as well.
The Question of Portability
Unlike crates, some doggie playpens are not really portable. While it is true that they can be easily folded down for ease of transportation and storage, you will still require a separate travel crate to put your pooch into while on the road. You simply cannot put a pet on a folded-down playpen. Another thing is that some models are still heavy even though they can be folded. This significantly affects overall portability. Sure, you can always put a playpen in the back of your truck or even in your car’s trunk but you’d still have to carry it. A better alternative would be to get pop-up types of playpens.
Some are Easily Knocked Over
This is best addressed by buying only dog playpens that are made of the highest quality, most durable, and sturdiest materials. You will also need to check the integrity of their joints and other attachments. For sure, the price will be a factor but if you want something really sturdy and not easy to knock over, then you’d have to be prepared to shell out some more.
So, does your dog need one? The decision is yours.
Things to Consider When Buying a Dog Playpen
If you have already made up your mind and have decided to get a playpen for your pet, the next thing you need to focus on is choosing the right one for your pooch. If you’re going to look at the market today there are a lot of choices. Each one can be a good candidate for the best dog pen plum. However, before you pick one, you need to consider some things first.
Location and Size
These two parameters go hand-in-hand since the area where you’re going to place the pen will determine the size of the pen. For example, if you decide to place the doggie playpen inside a certain room in your house, you will have to consider the general area of this room. Then you will need to ask yourself if the playpen is going to occupy the entire room or just half of it or maybe a quarter. You decide since only you know the actual layout of your room. In case you decide to put it in your garden or backyard, you will have more leeway in the choice of pen size. Do take note, however, that the larger the pen the more expensive it becomes.
When it comes to size, which technically pertains to space, it’s all about what you think is enough for you to place your dog, its feeding and drinking bowls, its bed, its toys, and other accessories, and still have plenty of space left for it to romp around. Otherwise, if your pooch cannot move about, then all you have is a crate without a roof.
Indoor or Outdoor
There is a huge difference between an indoor-only pen and an exclusive outdoor use playpen. For starters, an indoor pen should have furniture- and floor-friendly surfaces, attachments, and components so that it will not inadvertently damage your home’s interior. Weatherproofing is also not a requirement since it is already located inside the home and protected from the elements.
On the other hand, if you choose to get something for the outdoors, then choose a model that is weatherproof. It should have some form of protection against corrosion, dust, rain, snow, and anything else that Mother Nature might throw at it. While it is not advisable to place your playpen under direct sunlight, you might have to choose one that has UV protection if your summers are really hot and sunny.
Size and Activity Level of your Pooch
The size and behavior of your pooch should tell you the kind of material that you’ll have to look for. If you have a pup that is relatively docile and passive, one that is not likely to jump or scale up the wall of the pen, then plastic playpens may be a great option. Even a playpen that’s made of fabric material can be a safe bet if you have a rather sedentary or well-behaved canine.
However, if you’re looking for a playpen for a rather rambunctious hound, one whose energy levels are so high that there really is no taming them, then getting something sturdier should do the trick. You can go for wooden or steel playpens.
Another consideration is the chewing behavior of your pooch. If you’ve got a mighty and tenacious chewer, choosing wood will be a huge mistake. Your best choice will be models that are made of steel, although some high-grade plastics can provide exceptional chew resistance, too. What all these simply mean is that you need to understand the uniqueness of your pet so you can choose a product whose materials are appropriate to their characteristics.
Ease of Setup, Maintenance, and Storage
We did say that portability is not really a great asset of doggie playpens especially those that are constructed of metal, steel, or wood, and even some premium-grade plastics. At the very least they should still be easy to set up, take down, and store. Some of the easiest to set up are those products that are made of fabric attached to spring metal rings that instantly pop open. These are lightweight, too, so you can bring them along.
We have already brushed on this in our previous discussions. Doggie playpens can actually be classified according to their location and the principal material they are made of.
As the name implies, these are best used indoors. The majority of these are lightweight and are portable, too. They are easily assembled as well as dismantled, and there are even models that don’t require any tools whatsoever. The downside is that the majority of these are also relatively small compared to their outdoor counterparts. You can think of an indoor puppy playpen more like your baby’s crib. Since these are located inside the home, they do have the tendency to move across the floor especially if you have a rambunctious pup or pooch. Placing some barriers outside the fence should keep it in place.
One of the fundamental requirements of an outdoor playpen, as we have already pointed out is that it needs to be weatherproof and exceptionally durable, and strong. A great number of these types of dog pens are constructed of wire mesh, often coated with weatherproofing materials. The good thing about these types of pens is that they are more like a miniature property fence; they’re larger and hence, encompass a larger area for your pet to romp. These can be easily dismantled, too. You may need to secure this onto the ground so that it will not be moved by your pet.
These are lightweight and very durable materials that typically come in various colors and designs. They can be used indoors or outdoors, too. Some are very resilient against chewing, others not so much. If you opt for plastic, make sure to get the models that do not contain harmful chemicals such as phthalates, formaldehyde, and BPA.
Classic and sturdy, that’s what a wooden playpen brings to the table. Because these are often at the mercy of the elements, they are best used indoors. They can add a certain level of elegance to one’s interior design, which is always a plus. However, they may not be particularly receptive to canine chewing. As such, these are best reserved for canine pets that are more on the passive side.
Steel or Wire
Wire or steel pens are the go-to if you need something that can really stand the test of time. However, it is crucial to look for a product with exceptional weatherproofing since metal exposed to the elements can favor the formation of rust. This can significantly undermine the overall integrity of the pen. That said, steel or wire cages can be used either indoors or outdoors. If used indoors, you’d definitely want something with padded feet as steel can scratch floor surfaces. If used outdoors, as we already mentioned, these should have weatherproofing.
Cloth or Fabric
If it’s absolute versatility, lightweight design, and portability that you’re after, then a playpen for dogs that are made of cloth or fabric is the way to go. Their versatility extends well to outdoor use especially if you are entertaining the idea of bringing your pooch to the family picnic but are worried that it might wander too far for your convenience. These are easy to set up and are often designed as foldable pop-ups. Care should be practiced, though, as the cloth is not as tough and sturdy as the other materials used in the construction of a dog playpen.
Getting a playpen for your pooch could perhaps be one of the most satisfying decisions you will ever make. Not only are you affording your pet a really great time playing within the confines of its dog playpen, but you’re also ensuring optimum safety for you, your pet, and everyone and everything else in your home. And if you’re still at a loss as to how you can choose the best dog pen for your pet, you can always consider any one of our 10 best.
- Kathy Blumenstock, How to Make Your Dog’s Crate Feel Like Home, PetMD