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All it takes is a single moment of distraction for your puppy to find a way to make a mess. If you’re lucky, that’s the worst thing that happens. If you’re not, your puppy could cause damage to your home or your belongings, or even worse, he could hurt himself or get lost. A puppy playpen could be the perfect solution to keep your puppy safe and where he belongs—with you!
A puppy playpen is simply an enclosed area that gives your puppy the freedom to play while confining him to a safe, contained space. Puppy playpens come in all shapes and sizes, and some options work best for puppies of certain breeds, sizes, or ages.
Raising a puppy is a 24/7 job, but you can’t possibly keep your eye on him every second of the day. Crating your puppy is certainly an option, but it may not be the best option for every situation. If you’re looking for a safe and simple way to keep your puppy out of trouble—at least, as much as it’s possible to do so—consider a puppy playpen.
With so many options to consider, we’ve outlined some of the most important considerations and selected a few of our favorite pens to help you with the selection process.
The primary purpose of a puppy playpen is to keep your puppy contained. Depending on how small your puppy is, that might not be difficult to achieve. As your puppy grows bigger and stronger, however, you’ll be glad to have a playpen durable enough to withstand a little chewing and large enough to keep your puppy from climbing out.
Here are some things to look for when shopping for a puppy playpen:
- Durable materials. A puppy playpen needs to withstand some rough treatment from sharp puppy teeth to rambunctious puppy behaviors.
- Appropriate size and height. In addition to being tall enough that your puppy can’t climb out, it should provide ample space for play.
- Easy to set up. Whether you’ll be using your puppy playpen on a daily basis or taking it on the go, it needs to be quick and easy to set up or you won’t use it.
- Portable and storable. When you’re not using your playpen, you don’t want it taking up valuable space in your home, so choose something that folds flat or stores easily.
- Easy to customize. Some puppy playpens are made up of interlocking panels so you can add or remove panels to change the size or shape of the pen.
When choosing a puppy playpen, you need to consider the layout of your home or the outdoor space where you plan to use the playpen. Most outdoor puppy playpens can be used indoors, though the opposite is not always true so keep that in mind. Consider portability as well if you plan to use your puppy playpen both indoors and out.
Crate training is widely recognized as one of the most effective methods of housetraining for puppies and most puppies get the hang of it within just a few weeks. When used properly, your puppy will come to think of his crate as a safe and cozy environment that he can call his own. This doesn’t mean you should keep your puppy in the crate for longer than necessary, however.
To succeed with crate training, you should keep your puppy confined overnight and when you’re not at home. When it comes to daytime hours, however, a playpen is a much better way to keep your puppy out of trouble. It gives your puppy a safe place to play without you having to watch his every move. Playpens should not, however, be used as a potty-training aid.
Whether you’ve brought home a tiny Chihuahua or a big-eared German Shepherd, there are playpens for puppies of all sizes and energy levels. Keep in mind that if you intend to use your playpen throughout your puppy’s life, you’ll also want to factor growth and other physical changes into your decision.
While it may seem obvious, if you plan to keep multiple puppies in one pen, you need to plan not only for the additional space but the increased wear and tear. A pen that’s stable for one puppy might not be suitable for an entire litter of rowdy puppies romping all day long.
With so many options to consider, we’ve done some research and selected some of our favorite puppy playpens for a variety of budgets and individual needs.
Here are our top picks for the best puppy playpens of 2019:
Affordable, portable, and washable, this pen has top user ratings among small dog owners and those who like to travel.
It collapses to fit into its own bag and can be easily packed in the car for your next adventure with your puppy.
It features a roomy eight-panel design with protected seams and reinforced corners. Plus, it is made from water-resistant materials in case of an accident and for outside use.
Best of all? No assembly required!Buy Now on Amazon
This exercise playpen comes in five different sizes with 8 panels ranging from 24 inches to 48 inches high.
Affordably priced and made from lightweight but sturdy metal wire, this puppy playpen is portable and easy to configure in a variety of different shapes.
It comes with metal anchors for using the pen outdoors and can easily be linked with additional pens to create a larger space. When you’re not using it, the pen folds flat for storage.Find it on Chewy
If you want something a little more durable than the typical wire playpen, this indoor/outdoor playpen is a great option.
It features 8 panels durably constructed from heavy-duty, rust-resistant metal for increased longevity. It is simple to assemble with no tools required and can be configured in a variety of shapes.
Choose from three different heights, all equipped with a sturdy step-through door so you can enter and exit the pen without taking it apart.Buy Now on Amazon
A solid structure with a lockable pet door, this pen is rated for indoor and outdoor use. Multiple panels offer flexible configurations and can accommodate larger dogs.
Because it is made from durable plastic materials it is a relatively lightweight option in terms of portability, but it may not stand up against heavy chewing as well as metal playpens.
It comes in a 4-, 6-, and 8-panel design to suit your needs.Buy Now on Amazon Find it on Chewy
If you’re looking for a puppy playpen that your large-breed puppy can grow into, this 8-panel exercise pen comes in five different sizes, including large, extra-large, and giant.
It features 8 wire panels that can easily be configured into different shapes—no tools required—with a solid hinge design so it is also easy to fold down for storage and travel.
This playpen also features a large step-through door and a convenient snap hook assembly so you can attach it to a wire crate.Buy Now on Amazon Find it on Chewy
It comes with 16 panels that allow for many sturdy configurations and, because it is made from heavy duty, rust resistant metal, it works well outdoors as well as indoors.
This pen might be a good match for owners who need to corral a litter of puppies or cordon off sections of their home. Plus, it comes in a 40-inch and 48-inch height for maximum protection against escape.Buy Now on Amazon
If your puppy wants a change of scenery during playtime, the Zampa Pet Folding Playpen is the perfect option for you.
With an ultra-portable, lightweight design, this puppy playpen can go anywhere you go, and even comes with a convenient carry bag.
Available in three sizes and four colors, this playpen works for all dogs from small puppies to adult dogs, though the fabric materials may not withstand heavy chewing or rambunctious behavior.
It is durably constructed, however, from water resistant materials with an attached floor, reinforced corners, and protected seams for safety.Buy Now on Amazon Find it on Chewy
If you’re looking for an inexpensive indoor/outdoor puppy playpen, this 4-panel exercise pen is a great option.
It is made from durable, heavy-duty molded plastic that is perfect for outdoor use, though it may not withstand heavy chewing.
This playpen features four interlocking panels with full-length connecting rods for security that can be arranged in different shapes according to your needs.
It measures 24 inches high and has a small door with double-steel latches in the bottom so you can let your puppy out when needed but you don’t have to worry about an escape.Buy Now on Amazon Find it on Chewy
An affordable option that offers greater security than some wire playpens, this MidWest Exercise Pen features a full step-through door protected by the security of a stable door locking system.
Numerous eyelets and an ergonomic handle lock keep the door securely shut in place, keeping your pet safe during playtime.
The playpen itself comes in eight wire mesh panels with a durable electro coat finish for long-lasting protection against rust and corrosion.Buy Now on Amazon Find it on Chewy
The Carlson Pet Products Convertible Pet Yard features a 6-panel design, each standing 28 inches tall and 24 inches wide.
When used as a pet gate, this gives you 144 inches of all-steel containment or, as a puppy playpen, 12 square feet of space.
This pet yard features hinged points to offer a wide variety of shaping possibilities and a double locking handle on the door for maximum security.
Plus, because it features an all-steel construction, it is durable enough for both indoor and outdoor use.Buy Now on Amazon Find it on Chewy
Finding the perfect puppy playpen will check an important item off your shopping list of puppy essentials, but don’t forget about puppy food and accessories!
Puppies grow up quickly and require a balanced diet to ensure that they develop properly. Check out our guide to the best puppy food to learn more about your puppy’s nutritional needs and to help narrow down your decision. We’ve also compiled lists of our favorite puppy harnesses and cute puppy clothes for puppies of all sizes.
For a more comprehensive guide to surviving the first week with your new puppy, check out our handy step-by-step guide. Best of luck with your new puppy!