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best dog play pens

Best Dog Playpens & Exercise Pens: Indoor & Outdoor Romping!

Does your pooch cause mischief when you aren’t paying attention, but has too much energy to be happy cooped up in a crate? Maybe your pup steals shoes or chews on things he’s not supposed to play with.

In this article we are going to discuss different types of dog exercise pens and give you our top picks, so your pup let out his inner crazy without worrying about your house being destroyed!

See our quick picks below, or keep reading for full reviews!

Best Dog Play Pens: Quick Picks

Why Buy a Play Pen For Your Pooch?

Exercise pens provide a safe, contained space for your dog to romp around without having full range of your house. They are useful in a number of different scenarios:

Puppies and Chaos-Seeking Canines. Playpens are useful for dogs of any age that you want to keep out of mischief, but can be especially useful for a puppy (or a litter of puppies) that isn’t fully trained yet!

 Keep Out of Certain Rooms. A dog exercise pen might also be for you if you just want to keep your pets out of certain rooms or spaces. Some areas, like a garage, laundry room, or pool area, may contain dangerous elements or substances you want to keep your dog away from. Indoor dog gates can work well for this purpose too!

 More Space Than a Crate. If you are home but unable to give your pup 100% of your attention, an exercise pen allows you to focus on other things while at the same time letting your rambunctious pooch can have adequate space to move around, stretch, and play.

Things to Consider When Buying a Dog Play Pen

Dog Size. You’ll want to buy a playpen that is big enough to let your pooch move around and get some exercise, and tall enough that he can’t jump out!

Location of Pen. Are you planning to keep your dog playpen inside or outside? Depending on the location, you’ll want to consider whether you require a durable, waterproof unit that can withstand the elements, or a more attractive aesthetic model that may fit in better with your home decor, but lacks the same kind of toughness.

How Tough is Your Pup? If you have an especially rambunctious pup that can chew through or break out of anything, you’ll want to consider a tougher, more durable exercise pen to withstand those canine chompers (don’t worry, we have a few good durable suggestions below)!

Portability. Before choosing a dog x-pen, you may want to consider if you’ll be moving it around a lot, as some units are easier to transport than others. Some pens can easily be collapsed and adjusted, while others are more permanent fixtures that can’t easily be relocated.

To Adjust or Not to Adjust? If you are looking for a canine playpen that can meet several needs, you may prefer an adjustable pen that can change size with the removal or addition of panels. Depending on what type of space you are working with, there are differently shaped x-pens. Some can even be positioned against a wall to be used as a makeshift fence.

When One Door Closes, Does Another Open? Some dog playpens come with doors, which can be convenient if you have limited movement or have a larger dog that can’t be lifted over the fence. It can also be a good way to avoid introducing your pooch to the concept of jumping over the pen (which will quickly defeat the purpose of having a pen at all).

Stabilizing Stakes to Keep Things in Place. If you are interested in keeping your dog exercise pen outside, you might consider one that comes with stakes or stabilizers to keep it from being knocked over by a larger dog or blown away by strong winds.

Materials. There are many different materials to choose from when picking a pet pen that suits your needs.

  • Metal is the most common as it is sturdy and can be used inside or outside. However, it could be less ideal indoors as it is not the most attractive option and has the potential to scratch hardwood floors.
  • Wood is more aesthetically pleasing, but is not as durable for outdoor use. Wood can also be susceptible to avid chewers.
  • Plastic can be used indoors or outdoors, but also may not stand up to an aggressive chewer.
  • Mesh can work for indoor use as well, but is less durable and the soft fabric can be chewed through pretty easily.

Types of Dog Play Pens

INDOOR DOG PENS

It can be really nice to have an indoor dog pen to provide your pooch with more space to move around while still confining him to a specific area.

They can also be a valuable tool while you are housetraining a puppy, or to begin bridging the gap between the crate and having full range of the house. Starting with a small, safe space can be a good way to make a rescue dog feel at ease!

Eventually, you may consider graduating your dog to gates, which give your dog free run of an entire room within your home.

OUTDOOR DOG PENS

If you don’t have a fenced-in yard and don’t trust your pooch to not run away, but want to give your dog the ability to play outside unsupervised and off-leash, an outdoor dog pen could be just what you need.

But don’t forget to find a durable, rust and decay resistant material to withstand the elements! For a larger, more permanent outdoor option, you may also want to consider outdoor kennels.

Best Dog Exercise Pens: Our Top Picks

1. Midwest Exercise Dog Pen

About: The Midwest Dog Exercise Pen works well as an outdoor dog pen to give your pup space to play and hang around in the outdoors (although it functions fine indoors as well).

Color: Black and Gold Zinc

Size:  16 square feet of enclosed space. Eight 24 inch panels

Height: Comes in heights of 24, 30, 36, 42, and 48 inches

Additional Features:  This exercise pen can be purchased with or without a door. It comes with 8 ground anchors and a durable e-coat finish to protect against rust and other elements for outdoor use. As a bonus, it folds flat for convenient storage, so it’s easy to put away when you’re not using it.

PROS: Owners like that this dog playpen comes with two door latches, and also love the ability to easily customize the shape of the exercise pen. The different height options make it an excellent choice for small to large dogs.

CONS: Some owners report their dogs climbing out of the shorter models, as well as knocking over the panels (so it may not be heavy duty enough for rough and tough dogs). With the gold zinc model, some users found the zinc coating wearing off over time.

2. Iris Plastic Puppy and Dog Play Pen

Color: Blue, Blue Moon, Brown, Chrome, Dark Grey, Frosty White, Pearl White, Pink, Red, Turquoise, and White

Size: 21 square feet of enclosed space. Eight 24.6 inch panels.

Height: Comes in heights of 24 and 34 inches

Additional Features: This puppy playpen comes with a door that measures 14.5 inches in width by 20 inches in height. Made in the USA with durable molded plastic, it’s designed to withstand the elements and can be used indoors or outdoors.

Each panel has a rubber foot to protect your floors, making it a great x-pen for hardwood floors that you don’t want to get scratched up. As a bonus, there are panel add-ons that can be purchased separately to provide your dog with even more space. There are other add-ons that can be purchased as well, including pad holders to better protect your floors and roofs for extra security.

PROS: Users love how sturdy and roomy this dog exercise pen is, as well as its aesthetic appeal. Some owners reported buying two and combining them to give their pups even more room to run around!

CONS: Some owners report that their dogs are able to push over the panels and get out, while others have dogs that are able to climb out.

3. Precision Soft-Sided Dog Playpen

Color: Navy / Tan

Size:

  • Small: 29” x 29” x 17”
  • Medium: 36” x 36” x 21”
  • Large: 46” x 46” x 28”

Additional Features: This portable dog playpen is made of mesh material that can be folded down easily for storage or quick transportation, making this a great exercise pen for travel.

The Precision Soft-Sided Playpen comes with eight mesh water-resistant panels with ground stakes included for outside use. The floor and tops of pen are removable and washable for convenient cleaning. In addition, this pen comes with a nylon carrying case that includes a shoulder strap and side pockets for transportation.

This is one of the few dog pens with a floor (made of fabric), which can be an added bonus for owners who want to keep their floors scratch-free. However, the bottom floor panel can also be removed if you’d rather have your dog sit on the grass.

PROS: Users love how easy this puppy exercise pen is to set up and say it is great for traveling. The mesh roof can keep animals in that otherwise might try to jump out.

CONS: Some users report pets being able to pull up the bottom panel. Mesh may not stand up to aggressive chewers. Some people struggled with collapsing this pen after it had been set up and wish it came with instructions.

4. Richell Convertible Indoor / Outdoor Dog Pet PlayPen

Color: Tan

Size: Available as 4 or 6-panel playpen

  • 4 panel playpen: 33.1 x 33.1 x 36 inches
  • 6 panel playpen: 63.8 x 33.1 x 36 inches

Height: Available in low, medium, or tall

Additional Features: The Richell Convertable dog playpen is high-quality and one of the more durable, heavy duty pet playpens on this list. This pen includes a swinging, lockable door and is designed to be convertible between a rectangular or hexagonal shape, as well as the option to become a freestanding room divider.

Durable and easy to clean, this pet playpen is designed for indoor or outdoor use. This model is recommended for dogs up to 88 pounds, so it’s a great option for small to large dogs.

A comfort mat and floor tray are available to be purchased separately with either the 4 or 6 panel pen.

PROS: Owners note that this x-pen is sturdy, durable, and easy to assemble/disassemble. Users love how easy it is to convert between closed shape and open room divider. The pen’s vertical bars also make it easy to contain dogs that are prone to climbing.

CONS: While this large dog exercise pen is considered quite sturdy by most, some owners report their dogs being able to open the door, so this may not be the best choice for super clever Houdini dogs.

5. OxGord Folding Exercise Playpen

Color: Grey

Size:

  • Octagon Diameter: 73 inch. Eight panels.
  • Height: Comes in heights of 24, 32, and 40 inches

Additional Features: The OxGord Dog Pen is a heavy duty pet playpen made of metal and suitable for larger-sized dogs.

This outdoor dog pen’s rust resistant coating makes it great for using outside, and it comes with stakes as well that can be used to secure it to the ground. However, this pen would work fine inside too!

The unit is collapsible and easy to break down, assemble, store, or transport (although the metal means it is quite heavy, so you wouldn’t want to move it around constantly).

This metal exercise pen includes a door with a latch to keep pets secured, and the all-metal construction includes sturdy rods to hold the panels together. The pen can be configured in multiple shapes, and multiple pens can even be combined to create an even bigger play space!

PROS: Users love how durable and sturdy this canine playpen is. They also report the ease with which they set it up, take it apart, and transport it.

CONS: A few users noticed rust after outdoor use. Several owners also reported their dogs getting paws stuck after jumping up to try and get out, so it’s best not to leave your dog unattended.

Dog Play Pen Safety 101: What to Watch For

It is important to make sure your puppy playpen is a safe environment for your pooch! There are a few different dangers to be aware of:

  • Metal playpens can sometimes rust, which over time can make the metal prone to breaking, leaving your pup exposed to sharp edges. To remedy this, make sure to frequently check the condition of your metal x-pen and keep an eye out for rust.
  • Plastic playpens are more easily chewed, and if your dog is an avid chewer he might be at risk of ingesting lots of little plastic pieces or even choking. This could lead to injury and even expensive surgery.
  • Some playpens have bigger gaps in the walls of the panels, so be sure to find one where your dog won’t get his paws stuck!

Before picking a canine exercise pen, first think of your pooch and try to predict what kinds of shenanigans he may get up to – there’s sure to be the perfect playpen for you and your pup!

In this video from The Urban Puppy, they go over a bit more info about how to use a x-pen for your puppy:

Introducing the Play Pen To Your Dog

When you first introduce your pooch to his new playpen, it is important to make sure the first experience is a positive one! There are several steps you can take to make sure your pup loves his x-pen.

Leave The Door Open. If your new pen comes with a door, it can be good to leave it open at first so your dog doesn’t think of it as a trap (if there is no door, you can just leave two of the panels unlatched so there is an opening).

Make The Playpen a Fun Place! When you first get the pen, go in with your dog and give them some meals or treats in there so they know it’s a fun, comfortable place. Adding your pooch’s favorite toys or blankets is a good way to show him that the space is his. Avoid turning your dog’s playpen into an area of punishment – you don’t want your dog to think of it as a “bad place.”

Start Early and Go Slow. The younger your pup is when you introduce him to his pup playpen, the better! And no matter what age your pooch is, just let him take his time and become comfortable with the pen at his own pace. Eventually, your dog will love going into his playpen – it will be a place of his own that he can feel comfortable and safe in!

Do you have a playpen at home for your dog? How does he or she like it? Share your thoughts and stories in the comments section below!

Last update on 2018-08-16 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

About the Author Ingrid Mangold

Ingrid Mangold lives in Burlington, Vermont and is taking classes to become a Certified Vet Tech. She is an aspiring dog owner who makes do at the moment by petting every dog she sees!

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