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If you want to keep your dog confined to your yard when he’s outside, you put up a fence. Yet while a fence is a simple and practical solution for keeping your dog confined outdoors, what do you do inside? A dog gate or playpen could be the ideal solution for indoor pet containment.
A dog gate or playpen can be used to keep your dog away from potential hazards or simply to confine him in a certain area so he can’t get into trouble. They can also be used to separate pets that have trouble getting along or to protect your property against damage from curious teeth and sharp nails.
When it comes to shopping for dog gates, there are just as many options as there are reasons to use them. Before you start, however, it’s important to ask yourself some practical questions.
Are you looking for an expandable dog gate you can throw up quickly or something more permanent? How tall does the gate need to be to prevent your dog from stepping over it? Do you prefer a pet gate made from certain materials to match your home décor? And how much are you willing to spend?
To help you answer these questions, here is a quick overview of the most common types of dog gates you should consider:
- Freestanding Dog Gates: These gates stand on their own, so they are easy to move from one location to another. They vary in size and can be custom adjusted to fit certain spaces.
- Adjustable Tension Gates: This type of gate is generally used in doorways to create a temporary barrier. They are easy to install but some models take longer than others to put up and down, so you may find yourself stepping over the gate.
- Hinged Dog Gates: These gates are often able to stand on their own and can be linked to create a playpen, if desired. They are also typically foldable which is great for storage and travel.
- Walk-Through Dog Gates: Perfect for more permanent applications, walk-through pet gates can be freestanding, tension, or hinged gates with a walk-through door for convenience.
The best dog gate for your home will depend on your dog’s size and temperament as well as the intended location of the gate and what you plan to use it for. As you think about these details, take a look at our top picks for the best dog gates and playpens below.
The Top Dog Gates and Playpens to Safely Contain Your Dog
If you’re looking for a sturdy dog gate that you can use in a variety of different ways, try the Richell Freestanding Pet Gate.
This freestanding gate is both functional and attractive, with a hardwood frame and black metal fencing. The side panels have rubber feet to keep them in place, allowing the gate to stand on its own and stay put.
The barrier stretches between 39.8 and 71.3 inches wide, but its height (just over 20 inches) works best for smaller dogs weighing 20 pounds or less. It can also fold up nicely for travel.Buy Now on Amazon Find it on Chewy
If you’re trying to keep your dog out, don’t waste your money on a flimsy pet gate. The MidWest Homes for Pets Steel Pet Gate is ultra-sturdy, constructed from tubular steel and comes in white or an attractive textured graphite color. This gate is completely chew-proof (as well as lead-free and non-toxic) and expands from 29.5 to 38 inches to fit most standard doorways. It features a convenient walk-through door that you can operate easily with one hand, but it latches securely to keep your dog where you want him.Buy Now on Amazon Find it on Chewy
Designed as much for its attractive appearance as its durable construction, this sturdy steel and hardwood gate requires no tools for assembly, and it goes up easily, held in place by four pressure-mounted springs.
Adjustable for a variety of doorways, this dog gate fits openings between 29 and 44 inches. The door opens easily with a latch and secures simply by closing, allowing you to pass through without moving the barrier.
At 38 inches tall, this model is best for small to medium-sized dogs.Buy Now on Amazon Find it on Chewy
For very large dogs, the average pet gate is easy to jump (or even step) over. If you’re looking for an extra-tall option to keep big dogs contained, try the Carlson Extra-Tall Expandable Dog Gate.
Extremely easy to install, this gate fits doorways 26 to 42 inches wide and stands 32 inches tall. Pressure mounts lock the gate into place, and the smaller gate in the lower corner opens to let smaller pets through. This is a great feature if you have both cats and dogs.Buy Now on Amazon Find it on Chewy
For some dogs, a visible barrier is all it takes to keep them out. If you’re looking for a simple but sturdy freestanding dog gate, the Pawland Wooden Freestanding Foldable Dog Gate is tall enough to keep puppies and small dogs in their place but easy enough for you to step over.
It features a folding design that fits a wide variety of openings and it has an attractive wood finish with nonslip rubber feet to protect your flooring. Simply unfold the gate to set it up and fold it back down for storage.Buy Now on Amazon
Sometimes you need something quick you can throw up in a doorway to keep your dog in (or out). There are plenty of heavy-duty dog gates on the market, but they can fetch a hefty price.
This pressure-mounted wood dog gate is a great option if you’re looking for something simple and affordable. It’s incredibly easy to move and resize (reaching from 31 to 50 inches wide), if you need to section off different parts of the house at different times.Buy Now on Amazon
Another affordable option in pressure-mounted dog gates, this dog gate is made from heavy-duty steel so it is much more durable than the previous model.
It fits standard doorways, extending from 29 to 31.5 inches and stands 29.5 inches tall to keep dogs from jumping over it.
Unlike the previous model, however, it comes with a handle step-through door. When you need to get through, simply press the release button and lift the handle.Find it on Chewy
A dog gate works well to keep your dog out of certain areas, but what if you’re trying to keep him contained to a more limited space?
Dog playpens allow you to create a buffer zone inside or outside, giving your pet space to roam while controlling his range.
This model stands 34 inches tall and provides 21 square foot of space. It’s made from heavy-duty molded plastic, and rubber feet keep it in place without scratching your floors.
Plus, the door latches securely or swings freely to allow pets to come and go when you’re home to supervise.Buy Now on Amazon Find it on Chewy
If you have an extra-wide or oddly shaped opening you want to cover, a standard dog gate simply won’t work. The Carlson Pet Products Flexi Extra-Tall Walk-Thru Gate is the perfect option for these situations.
It features an accordian-style all-steel construction measuring 38 inches high and extending up to 76 inches wide. It mounts quickly to your wall and features a walk-through gate with a sliding lock handle.
It also features a small door in the bottom to let smaller pets pass while keeping your dog where you want him.Buy Now on Amazon Find it on Chewy
If you’re looking for a sturdy option with a convenient walk-through door, this Paws & Pals model is a great choice. It comes in three heights—24, 32, and 40 inches—to house small, medium, or large dogs.
The durable steel construction creates a sturdy perimeter that can be easily set-up and disassembled, so you can create a “chill zone” at home or while traveling.Buy Now on Amazon Find it on Chewy
This playpen is ideal for puppies that get a bit mischievous while you’re washing the dishes or cooking a meal but also works for small and medium-sized dogs alike.
The open mesh design is durable and waterproof, and the entire set folds up easily and packs into a carrying case. The top is optional, and the playpen comes in several different colors.Buy Now on Amazon
Who said a dog gate only belongs in the home? Dog gates can also be used in your vehicle to create a separate compartment to keep you distraction-free and safely confine your dog for drives to the park or longer road trips.
This steel-frame barrier installs in minutes—no tools needed. It stretches between 31 and 45 inches tall and 39 to 65 inches wide, fitting most wagons, vans, and SUVs.Buy Now on Amazon
Choosing a dog gate over a crate gives your dog a higher degree of freedom while still keeping him safe and out of trouble when you’re not able to supervise him.
However, finding the perfect dog gate is only half of the equation. No matter how well-mannered your dog may be, he is likely to get bored after a few hours alone and that’s when destructive behaviors tend to appear.
Keeping your dog busy when he’s alone is all about providing the right combination of toys that will keep him entertained while also stimulating his mind to relieve boredom.
To learn more about how to occupy your dog when you’re not around, check out our handy guide to keeping your dog busy, and for further reading about other fencing, gate, and playpen options, check out the links below.