If you have a large open yard, or just dogs prone to tearing through your carefully manicured landscaping, you might want to consider adding a playpen for your canines. You’ll be able to keep them confined to where you want while still allowing them to enjoy some playtime outdoors, which will keep both of you quite happy. If you’ve been looking into it, you might be a bit confounded by the large amount of pens available, but we’ll show you how to pick the one that will suit the needs of both you and your canine with a surprising amount of ease.
The Best Dog and Puppy Playpens 2018
What Am I Looking For?
When you’re looking for products which will fit your fuzzy companions well, it’s important to take everything possible into consideration before you make the purchase. Fortunately, a quick breakdown can tell you everything you’ll need to know:
- Size: The size of the pen will determine how large of a dog you can fit into it and how much space they’ll have to exercise and move around. That much is obvious, but something else that needs to be taken into account is how high the pen is as some dogs can be quite prodigious leapers and a pen does you no good if your dog can simply hop over the fencing.
- Material: Dog pens come in three primary materials. These are metal, plastic, and mesh. Each has their own distinct advantages and disadvantages. Metal pens will be the strongest, but also the heaviest and they may require you to anchor them, they also tend to be more expensive. Plastic is a bit weaker but makes a good middle point for dogs who aren’t prone to destroying things but might still be a bit frisky while exercising. Mesh is most suitable for dogs who aren’t destructive, and will be cheaper and lighter than the other two materials.
- Weight: It may generally seem that lighter is better, but this isn’t actually true in most cases. A heavier cage will be much harder for your dog to push around, especially if the pen doesn’t have an anchoring system or stabilizers. If you have a smaller dog and will be frequently setting up the pen in different areas, opting for a lighter playpen may be ideal, It really depends on your planned usage.
- Roof Accessories: This is a very important consideration for dogs with a lot of vertical movement. Many pens will have an optional roof that you can purchase which will help keep them in and shaded. For puppies and particularly small dogs, it can also keep the native fauna out so you won’t have to worry about a particularly bold owl or hawk getting at them when you’re not keeping an eye on them.
- Indoor or Outdoor: Outdoor pens will tend to have some sort of anchoring system, generally stakes. These can be quite handy for larger dogs, but they won’t be suitable for indoor uses in most cases. You might want to consider some sort of plastic stabilizer addition as well, especially for indoor cages, to make the pen harder to tip over.
- Aesthetics: Some of the mesh and plastic pens will come in a variety of colors, unfortunately, you’ll generally only see black coatings for metal cages. It’s not much of a consideration, but it is something to keep in mind.
- Price: As a general rule, metal, outdoor playpens will be the most expensive, followed by plastic and then mesh. Stick within your price limit, but make sure you don’t go too cheap as that can lead to a cage with subpar quality that won’t exactly hold up to the trials your pet will put it through.
Your primary consideration should be the size and material in most cases. As long as you keep all of this at the front of your mind while you’re looking at cages, though, you’ll have a pretty good idea of what you need to ensure the best fit for you and your pet.
Before we jump into a closer examination of a few of the best playpens on the market, we’d like to boldly recommend a few for those who don’t have the time for an in-depth analysis.
For grown dogs, we’d recommend the MidWest Exercise Pen, which is a high-quality metal pen that’s fantastic for your backyard. It comes with anchors and covers a rather surprising sixteen square feet which will give almost any dog a whole bunch of room to play in. You’ll also be able to purchase a roof for it if you have a dog which can easily jump out of the pen.
For those with puppies or dogs that generally remain around that size, we’d recommend the Iris Plastic Pet Playpen first. This plastic option comes in variations with either four or eight panels and can be configured as a barrier as well if you need to keep the dog out of somewhere for a short time. It can be bought in a surprising number of color variations as well, and generally, has everything desirable for a high-quality plastic dog playpen including the option to buy a roof and keep your dog extra safe.
You might also want to take a look at the ESK COLLECTION Blue 45″ Pet Puppy Dog Playpen Exercise Pen Kennel which isn’t quite as hardy but comes with a built-in roof and is amazingly light since it’s composed of mesh.
Dog Playpen Overview
The next couple of products are some of the best you’ll be able to find for full sized dogs. Those with puppies or particularly small canines may want to skip to the next section where we’ll discuss a few dog playpens ideally suited for smaller dogs.
MidWest Exercise Pen
This pen is ideal for those who want to house their larger dogs outdoors. You’ll be pleased to know it comes in a variety of heights as well, so you can pick the one that fits your dog the best. The quality that went into its construction is pretty admirable, and it has a no tools required set-up that are easy enough you can probably have your dog be your assistant while you’re getting it in place.
It also comes with an anchoring system, to help keep the pen in place. If you have a breed that’s renowned for the height of their leap for a little bit more you can also purchase a roof that will help keep them earthbound as opposed to tearing up the garden.
It has sixteen square feet of room for your pet to romp in, and all but the biggest dogs will be quite pleased with it. Despite its large size, storage is a snap since it will easily fold flat and allow you to place it somewhere out of the way in your shed or garage when it’s not in use. It’s simply one of the best dog playpens you’ll be able to find, and for the price, it’s an absolute steal.
BestPet Heavy Duty Pet Playpen Dog Exercise Pen Cat Fence
If you’re looking for something with a less utilitarian look, this great looking playpen from BestPet is a solid option. It comes in at 40” high and can be configured into a variety of shapes in order to make the most of the space you have. The lack of roof accessories means it’s not suited for dogs of the Air Bud variety, however.
It’s remarkably durable despite the lack of a roof, however, the outside edges of the fence are made of ½” steel tubing which should withstand some gnawing, especially with the weather-resistant coating that covers it. It’s also quite easy to set up, it doesn’t require any tools which are pretty cool considering the variety of shapes you can align the panels in.
When constructed with all of the panels in a large square, the area available comes out to almost twenty-eight square feet, so there’s no need to be concerned that your pooch won’t have enough play space to enjoy.
The door can be a bit skinny for some dogs, but other than that this is a highly recommended playpen for dogs of medium-size or even a few smaller dogs.
Which of these you go with will largely depend on just how high your dog can jump. The MidWest cage comes out in favor of dogs with truly impressive leaping ability since it can be fitted with a tough cage, but the BestPet product is quite well-made and the design allows for a large amount of customization in how you want to place it.
Playpens for Puppies
If you have puppies, or smaller dogs, you won’t need as sturdy of a cage or one that’s quite as large as those meant for full sized dogs. Even better, most of these won’t scratch your floors if they do get moved. If your dogs meet these requirements, take a look at some of the following pens and you might be surprised at just what you can get.
Oxgord Dog Animal Playpen Large Metal Wire Folding Exercise Yard Fence
At first glance, you might not see much difference between this and the earlier wire cages presented. There’s quite a bit of difference which makes it unsuitable for large dogs, however. You’ll notice that it has fewer vertical bars, which makes the overall structure of the pen weaker despite the fact it can match the others in height.
That’s not to say it’s not a worthy addition to your home, however, it offers a considerable area to run and play in for a dog that won’t be able to batter it down. It’s perfectly suitable for puppies and small dogs, and since it comes in a variety of heights you can pick one suitable for even a bouncy little terrier.
It’s also quite cheap and makes a great addition to your backyard if your dog meets the criteria for its use. While the manufacturer says it’s good for indoor use, we’d recommend not placing it on tile or wood as the metal is quite a bit harder than these surfaces and it can lead to scratching the floors.
It makes a great, low-cost playpen for your yard, and might be worth an in-depth look for canines of diminutive size.
ESK COLLECTION Blue 45″ Pet Puppy Dog Playpen Exercise Pen Kennel
If you’re looking for a mesh option for your dog, this pen from ESK is fantastic. The mesh is easily breathable, it comes with a roof, and you’ll find that it’s quite easy to set up and take down. It also comes in quite a few different colors, if looks are a major concern for you.
One word of caution, though, the mesh can come apart quite easily for those dogs who love to chew on things. It’s probably more suitable for a calmer, older dog than a puppy who’s prone to trying their teeth out on everything around them.
The fabric is waterproof, and the flooring material is humidity proof to keep it from having milder problems. The mesh is quite easy to wash as well, you’ll just need to spend a little bit of time with a hose if your dog is prone to accidents.
Overall, this pen makes a great option for those who have a calm dog or want something that looks a little bit different from the more “cage” style pens that are more prominently sold.
IRIS Plastic Pet Playpen
The IRIS Plastic Pet Playpen is almost an ideal indoor/outdoor playpen for puppies and smaller dogs. It’s a bit light and small for animals with some real size to them, but the plastic won’t scratch your floors but will still hold up to the weather quite well. It’s also available in quite a few colors.
Even better, there’s a roof that will fit the pen and you can purchase it in either four or eight-panel designs which allows you a great amount of versatility in how you want to use it.
You’ll need some tools to put this one together, but it’s nothing too advanced. Just a couple of screws to get the high-quality steel hinges attached to the door. The panels themselves interlock quite easily so you don’t need to be an actual handyman to get it together. You can also form a barrier with the panels instead of an enclosure if you just need a temporary fence to keep the dogs out of the kitchen or wherever else.
One unfortunate drawback is that dogs with particularly small paws may be able to climb out of it due to the frequent horizontal bars, but this can be easily fixed by purchasing the roof.
Overall, it’s one of the best plastic canine playpens on the market, and well worth the slightly higher price.
Which of these you go with, largely depends on how much your dog enjoys gnawing on things and whether you want to use your pen indoors or outdoors. Indoors only, you may want to go with the mesh pen but outdoors and kept as a permanent fixture, the metal wire option is the best. The IRIS Plastic Pet Playpen definitely offers the most versatility, though, and may be the overall best option if you plan on varying your usage.
As you can see, it’s quite simple to find a playpen that your dog will love and will suit your needs as well. They make a great way to allow your dog outdoors without having to worry about them getting into trouble or a good way to confine them indoors as well when you’re away. There’s simply no reason not to have one around since there’s something to suit everyone and “everydog”.