If you’re a first-time pet owner, welcome!
If you’re a long-time pet parent looking for some added safe space, kudos for caring about your buddy.
Dog playpens are a life-long staple in any dog’s life. They’re great for whelping new litters in a safe space or creating a fun environment for older pups who need to be entertained.
With so many options out there, which pen is the right one?
If that's your questions, you're at the right place.
With this guide we're covering how to choose a playpen, what to watch out for and important tips to save you money and time. We also review the top 9 dog playpens with the good, the bad and the ugly.
In a hurry? Here are the top 3 playpens our experts chose:
Our top picks
Best Dog and Puppy Playpens
This 8-piece playpen was designed specifically for puppies. The design is simple, without any complications or frills to make it easy for first time puppy parents.
Puppies can be little terrors. Cute and innocent one second, and creating a mess the next. Ellie-Bo understands how important it is for pet parents to move quickly. This enclosure can be set up in less than 15 seconds.
The sliding bolt action lock on a hinged door guarantees security for curious pups. Galvanized, light weight steel makes it easy to move in a hurry. Once you begin setup, you’re just three spring loaded clips away from having a fully erect enclosure!
Ellie-Bo’s panel construction means that this product can be set up almost anywhere. Indoors, the panels can be folded into various shapes. It can be used outside, however there are no pegs or accessories to secure it to the ground.
A height of 61cms is enough to make sure that small breed puppies and small household petswon’t be able to jump the sides. The inside area when fully expanded can easily fit food bowls, toys, and blankets to keep them occupied.
Puppies should be supervised as they can get paws stuck between panels.
When not in use the panels can be folded for easy storage. The panels aren’t removable and there is no mention of being able to purchase additional panels.
- Bolt-action door
- 61cm height for new puppies
- Foldable panels
What we liked
- Expansive play area
- Easy storage
- Quick setup
- Large/strong puppies can move it
- Not able to secure to surfaces
- Easily outgrown
The Pet Playpen by AVS Design comes in five different sizes: SM, M, L, XL, and XXL. The XXL has a height of 122 cm for those large breed puppies that have some reach!
The eight panels include a door that measures 39.5 x 89 cm in the largest model.
AVS Design has made sure this can be used as both an outdoor and indoor enclosure. The company includes 5 ground pegs. Unlike other products on the market, each panel can be attached separately. This allows pet owners to have more control over the size of the setup.
Its flexible enough to be folded away for storage and shaped creatively. Separating the panels with clips is also an option.
The hinged doorway with a latch makes it easy to release larger or older pets without having to lift them out. Clips used to connect the panels can also secure it to a dog crate.
Do you have an energetic pup who needs space to run and workout that energy? AVS suggests buying more than one playpen and connecting them to make an extra-large play area.
While this is a great option for those with large breed puppies, the bigger sizes offered may not be appropriate for small household pets. Rabbits, chinchillas, rats, and other curious critters can possibly get out between the bars.
- 5 security pegs
- Clip-on panels
- Secure door
What we liked
- Large area for large pets
- Foldable design
- Removeable panels
- Large gaps in panels
- Easy to move
Bunny Business is the maker of a range of playpens used for not only puppies, but any other household pets that like to explore surroundings.
The 8 panel construction, when assembled, has a 24” height in both octagon and square shape.
It is available in two colours: stainless steel or powder coated black. Being a puppy parent doesn’t mean you need to give up aesthetic! Uncoated steel may look raw to some people.
Like other enclosures, this one can be folded down in seconds and stores easily. A clip on the front door panel creates security. Keep in mind that larger breed pups may be able to manoeuvre the door clips and escape!
Unfortunately, the location of the door makes it hard to use this playpen with a crate.
For added peace of mind Bunny Business also has a safety net available for purchase. The net stretches perfectly over the top of the corral to make sure curious pups don’t climb their way out.
Although the company notes that small animals can use the pen, it’s possible for limbs to catch in bars.
- 8 panel design
- Locking door
- Two colour options
What we liked
- Foldable design
- Light but resilient
- Panels lack straight edges
- No pegs or clips for security
- Not compatible with crates
When it comes to looks, CellDeal’s fabric option is definitely a standout on the list. Not only is it colourful, with hot pink, red, and blue options it’s also available in small or large.
Four metal hooks are included in your purchase for use outdoors.
This is a great product for pet parents who like to travel and bring their pet with them! The inclusion of a carry bag makes it easy to put in the backseat and take with you, or store in small spaces.
The fabric pen folds flat in a less-awkward way than other metal products on the market. The largest size reaches 51 x 62cm, with a diameter of 125cm. Polyester coated with PVC makes for a durable lining.
Have a messy pet?
CellDeal has guaranteed easy clean-up with the inclusion of a plastic, sewn in floor. Don’t worry about puppies that aren’t yet potty trained – the fabric is easily washed by hand.
For pet families looking for that added protection for their loved one, a removable mesh cover and zip-on shade create a safe space for playtime. The use of mesh windows provides airflow and visibility to check on your pet.
It also has two doors on either end and mesh storage pouches to store pet accessories. Because this product is made from durable fabric and not metal, your pet has no chance of getting limbs caught between bars!
- Secure metal hooks
- Double door entry
- Mesh windows and cover
What we liked
- Easy to clean
- Portable and light
- Less chance of injury
- Easily knocked over
Another foldable fabric option, BIGWING has come out with a dog pen only slightly less impressive than others on our list.
It comes in three sizes: small, large, and XL. The XL is big enough for a grown golden retriever to move about in comfortably.
Three different colours are also available to compliment your home! The 600D Oxford fabric can be ordered in blue, red, and coffee.
BIGWING is aware that the fabric isn’t as durable as it could be. They suggest supervising your dog, puppy, or other animal to make sure the siding isn’t ripped.
The panelled grid design allows for good ventilation. Large mesh windows on every panel, including the door, let pet owners see what exactly their mischievous pup is up to in there.
This pen is great for use indoors and outdoors. It folds down easily for travel and is lightweight.
The removable top and base add protection both from escape and any accidents that happen during training. BIGWING’s Oxford material is water resistant, meaning your floors and carpets will be safe.
They also guarantees up to 12 months of return service or exchange. A carry bag is included with your purchase.
- Detachable cover
- Removable base
- Mesh panels for viewing
What we liked
- Spacious for all breeds
- Easy set-up, travel, and storage
- Not as waterproof as marketed
- No pegs/ties for security
- Easy to rip
Ellie-Bo’s Heavy Duty option allows pet owners a more secure space for new puppies or energetic dogs who need an area to tire themselves out. It provides 26 square feet for pets to roam around in.
The puppy playpen can be purchased with 6, 7, or 8 panels. All setups include a door with two sliding locks and a step up.
No tools are required for set up. Ellie-Bo describes this product as “modular,” meaning it can be set up in different shapes to fit the needs of your home.
If additional space is needed for larger dogs or larger litters, panels are available for purchase in sets of two. The pen folds down flat for easy storage. Since there are no accessories to secure the panels, its best for indoor use only.
If your dog is a chewer you might want to consider another product. Although the horizontal bars are sturdy, vertical bars can be easily snapped even by puppy teeth.
The pen is best used for larger breed litters of puppies as space between the bars could allow small breeds to slip out.
- 26sq ft
- Two sliding locks
- Modular shapes
What we liked
- Expansion panels available
- Heavy duty design
- Great for large breeds
- Occasional missing parts on arrival
- Instructions not included
- Scratches floor
Bunny Business is stepping it up with another heavy duty option for pet parents with large breed dogs or destructive puppies.
They offer so many sizes! Small, medium, large, extra large, and XXL. Whether you’re looking for a whelping corral or a safe area for your fur-baby to relax while you’re away, you’re bound to find a size that fits your needs.
The pen comes in gunmetal grey, a finish different than other products on the market. The sleek design and sophisticated colour will look great in any home.
This pen is great for either indoor or outdoor use. Unfortunately, no extra accessories come with your purchase.
Additional panels can be purchased from the company to expand the play area. The panels are very tall, making it hard for energetic pets to jump over.
Despite how sturdy this product is, it folds easily for storage and assembles quickly. The simple door can be made secure with a sliding lock and a step up, keeping curious pups in their area.
Pet owners have noted that the rods holding panels together are too long and stick out.
- Heavy duty
- Five sizes
- Gun metal colouring
What we liked
- Great for large breeds
- Sturdy product
- Easily foldable
- Additional panels for purchase
- No additional accessories
- Uneven on floors
FEANDREA’s iron dog playpen follows the market norm of having an 8 panel setup. Although only offered in one size – 77 x 60cm – it comes in colour options of black or grey.
The panel design makes it easy to fold and transport wherever it is needed. The iron has been manufactured with rounded corners and edges, guaranteed to prevent injury to your pets.
A powder coating follows a process of acid pickling and phosphating, creating durability for long-term use.
FEANDREA has thought ahead for pet owners concerned with wear and tear to their home. Each panel is coated at the base with silicone to protect flooring.
The silicone also adds stability for outdoor use, creating friction on grass and dirt. No worries about keeping your dog indoors for safety!
The door has been designed to protect against energetic and boisterous pets. L-shaped bolts keep it secure. You won’t have to worry about supervising your pup as setup is quick and easy with no tools needed.
Unfortunately, no carrying or storage case is included. FEANDRA has focused more on the needs of keeping your home as well as your pet safe, and the thoughtful design of this product proves that.
- Iron build
- Black or grey colour choice
- Safety door
- Silicone covered panels
What we liked
- Doesn’t scratch floors
- Rounded corners and edges
- Sturdy design
- Hinges weak
- Panels are short
- No accessories included
Doggy Style is keeping it simple when it comes to their version of a heavy duty whelping pen. Although they’ve targeting new puppy parents, this enclosure would also be perfect for small breed dogs or small household pets.
Two sizes are available in a medium or XL. The highest panel measurement is 90cm. A door in one of the panels allows for easy access to your pet and can be locked with a double catch to keep them safe.
Perhaps the most attractive thing about this product for puppy parents is the plastic floor tray, which fits easily under the pen. The heavy duty tray is easy to remove and clean, and adds extra support to the panels.
For added safety there is a step up at the door panel, keeping puppies inside and safe. This enclosure is great for both outdoor and indoor use. The plastic tray adds stability to outdoor use.
A total of six panels are manufactured from tubing painted a gun metal grey. The panels fold flat for storage and assemble quickly.
Pet owners report that the material does rust easily and may stain floors.
- Gun metal colouring
- Plastic floor tray
- Double lock on door
What we liked
- Easy assembly and storage
- Easy to clean
- Panels rust if wet
- Newborns may get stuck in bars
- No added accessories
How to Pick A Dog Playpen
At the top of every pet owner’s list is safety.
Although it’s great to have an independent animal, it’s still important to make sure they’re secure and comfortable.
Here are a few things to take into consideration when you’re looking to buy a pen:
When considering exercise playpens out on the market, size is an important aspect. Some companies only offer one option, while others offer a wide variety.
Dogs come in all shapes and sizes.
While you might think your pup is on the small size, the breed could actually be considered medium or even large.
Get the height right
Your pet’s height is most important.
Animals can be easily injured by running or jumping too quickly through an opening that is not appropriate for them.
Getting the right height depends on a few measurements.
You’ll want to keep an eye on the height of the panels and the pen itself. Some pets are impressive jumpers, and if left unsupervised for a moment, escape might be possible!
Durable and safe materials
A puppy playpen need to be made from sturdy materials that can withstand a torrent of chewing, gnawing and rough treatment. Luckily most of them are made from metal.
Style doesn’t have to be sacrificed for quality. While many of these products are made from iron or steel, they can also be coated in attractive materials or colours.
Keep in mind that if your pup is a chewer, you’ll want to watch them. These coatings are probably not safe for consumption.
Added safety features may include rounded or polished edges and conscientiously spaced bars.
Easy to set up
This is more for you than your cute doggie. If the set up is tricky and takes a long time, chances are you're not really going to be putting it up.
So go for one that gets set up in a jiffy.
A lightweight exercise pen can be easy to set up and manage. However, a large breed can easily move it or topple over it.
On the other hand, a heavy duty would be ideal for larger breeds but won't feels like a permanent furniture.
It all depends on how you want to use it and whether your fur-ball is a Houdini level escape artist.
Easy to customise
Most pens come with multiple panels that are interlocked to create a play area. Much like a lego. So, it's wise to choose one that give the most flexibility in shapes and design.
You'll appreciate it a lot when you have to fit the pen into awkward parts of the room or simply to stimulate your puppy with different shapes of play area.
Indoors or outdoors?
The location of the pen will help you determine whether you need an indoor or outdoor one. Perhaps you want one that can be used for both?
Whilst outdoor pens come with metal stakes or hooks to stabilise them to the ground, those won't be useful indoors.
Stability and security
Some products will come with metal or plastic pegs to secure the pen in outdoor areas. In this case, read the instructions to find out where placement works best.
For indoor use, lighter playpens are harder to keep secure. It’s helpful to have the contraption set up against walls or furniture to allow for bracing.
New, energetic puppies don’t pay much attention to boundaries.
Whether on purpose or not they’ll most likely tumble or push against the sides.
To keep them safe, make sure the setup has support.
Heavy duty for larger breeds
If you have a large breed or particularly boisterous pup who regularly escapes as a pastime activity, it might be a good idea to look into the heavy duty products.
The downside to the panel design used by many companies is that once toppled, they can potentially collapse in on your pet.
The question of stability also covers product quality. If a company is churning out products, they’re less likely to focus on quality.
Panels should meet the surface they’re on entirely, with no angles or spaces. An insecure pen makes for easy injury and accidents.
Storage and portability
Travel accessories make taking your pet with you an option. Playpens add a safe space to any trip and keep hotel rooms or outdoor areas pet friendly.
The great thing about available products is that they’re often made up of panels, whether they’re metal or fabric. Due to this design, panels are able to fold in on themselves easily and quickly.
If your enclosure doesn’t come with instructions it should be simple enough to figure out with a little manoeuvring.
Before breaking it down make sure you’ve safely removed any additions that would hinder storage, such as roof covers or floor trays.
Some companies may include a carry or travel bag to store your pet’s play area or take it with you on adventures.
Playpens as training aids
If your pet has never used a playpen before, it may take some coaxing to convince them.
Starting small with setting up and letting them check it out is a good idea. Put food inside and give them space to explore on their own.
When they seem accepting of the pen, leave your pet in the area for short periods of time.
Using treats and positive attitude will go a long way.
Creating safe spaced for your pet can help with anxiety and insecurity.
Accessories and toys: a cosy home
The overall area available for play is important as well. Make sure you can fit necessary accessories. Purina hits all of the essentials in this article about raising a puppy. Beds, access to water, toys for curious minds, and food.
The keyword in playpen is play.
Using a pen as a safe place for your dog to feel comfortable and relax is great. But, if you’re a new puppy owner or raising a litter, there’s little chance that they’ll be calm and quiet.
Toys are important not only to provide stimulation, but distraction. If your puppy or dog is busy playing, they’re less likely to chew on the panels, try to push through it, or potentially hurt themselves.
The size of a pen depends on your dog’s age, weight, and size. For a puppy, an indoor playpen with at least 4 panels should be a good start.
If you have a small breed adult dog 4 to 6 panels can be a good option. A medium size dog would need 6 to 8 panels.
For larger breeds, 8 or more panels are needed to provide ample space for playing.
Toys, a comfy dog bed, blankets, and a potty pad.
Secret is in the name. Playpen. You can put a range of toys: soft toys, chew toys. They will distract your puppy from chewing your furniture and fingers! They're also good to coax them into using the pen.
Puppies use lots of energy, so they need rest. A comfy bed and some warm blankets can help turn the playpen into a highly desirable area.
Make sure the floor is slip-proof by using a non-slip mat or linoleum flooring under the pen. Carpets would stink if incontinence is an issue.
If possible, put the pen to one or two walls to provide better stability.
Use heavy furniture as anchors where the pen is not supported by walls.
Use zip-tags to connect each panel to the adjacent one for added stability.
Playpens are a great way to add training to your dog’s lifestyle and create a space for them to relax and have fun in.
Families in the midst of whelping a pup will find pens to be indispensable as it’s almost impossible to have eyes on the curious critters at all times.
Choosing a product will be based entirely on your needs as a pet owner:
Best For Potty Training
For those beginning new friendships or raising pups, Doggy Style’s heavy duty whelping pen is a wonderful option. They’ve included a plastic base – making it a standout on our list – that is easy to clean.
Potty training can take quite a while, and accidents happen. We want you to spend your time enjoying the new additions to your family instead of cleaning up messes.
Best Fabric Playpen
BIGWING is also a strong contender, though they may be initially overlooked by pet owners worried about the sturdiness of the product.
Their fabric corral creates a safe, quiet space for pets to relax. They’ve included an easy-to-clean, detachable base as well as a mesh cover.
Best Heavy Duty Playpen
FEANDREA has also put a lot of thought into not only the needs of the pet, but the owner. Their iron playpen is easy to set up and take down, rust-resistant, and has a base coated in silicone to protect all types of flooring from scratches.
We all want the best for our pets, and when it comes to playpens, there’s just as much to take into consideration when looking for a safe but fun product.
Haven't decided yet? Here is the top 9 in a nutshell:
Our Top Picks
- Fully erected in less than 15 seconds thanks to its concetena construction
- Lightweight galvanised steel construction
- Can be used indoors or outside
- Suitable for Dogs, puppies, cats, rabbits and other small animals. Please...
- Foldable so easy to fold away and store when not in use.
- Can be used indoors or outdoors, perfect for in the home or in the garden.
- Assembled octagon of 55" x 55" / assembled square of 47" x 47" approx x 24"...
- Available in stainless silver or powder coated black.
- Easy to erect and folds flat in seconds for storage.
- 4 Metal Hooks for holding pen on ground firmly.
- Folds flat and comes with a free carry bag for easy transportation and...
- Panel Size: 51 x 62cm (Approx); Diameter: 125cm(49 inch) (Approx).
- Portable Puppy Playpen:Great for Indoor and Outdoor use. Lightweight, yet...
- Easy Use Dog Playpen: Pops up in seconds with no need for an assembly....
- 8-Panel Pet Playpen:8-Panel design with protected seams and reinforced...
- Heavy Duty Whelping Play Pen - 26 sqft of area
- Folds Flat for easy storage
- Easily erected, no tools required
- ENCLOSURE SIZE : 105L X 105D X 79H CM / 40" X 40" X 31"
- Suitable for either indoor or outdoor use
- Made from heavy duty tubing painted in gun metal grey
- HIGH QUALITY: Coated with powder after acid pickling and phosphating, this...
- FINE WORKMANSHIP: Rounded corners and edges will prevent injuries for your...
- PERFECT DESIGN: Equipped with two L-shaped door bolts, this cage is safer,...
- Enclosure size : 49"L x 34.5"D x 35.5"H / 125 x 80 x 90cms
- Suitable for either indoor or outdoor use. Made from heavy duty tubing...
- Folds flat for storage / Simple assembly / Removable plastic coated floor
Which one did you like the most?
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