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A dog gate or playpen can be a useful tool for dog parents, whether you need one to keep your dog away from potential hazards or simply to confine him in a certain area so he can’t get into trouble. Dog gates 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 put up quickly, or something more permanent?
- How tall does the gate need to be to prevent your dog from stepping or jumping over it?
- Do you prefer a pet gate made from certain materials to match your home décor?
- How much are you willing to spend?
Types of Dog Gates
To help you answer these questions, here is a quick overview of the most common types of dog gates:
- 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 take down, so you may find yourself stepping over the gate.
- Hinged Dog Gates: These gates can often 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 Top Dog Gates and Playpens to Safely Contain Your Dog
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.
If you’re trying to keep your dog out, don’t waste your money on a flimsy pet gate. This MidWest gate is ultra-sturdy, constructed from tubular steel, and it comes in an attractive white or textured graphite color.
This gate is completely chew-proof (as well as free of pet-harming toxins) 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 them.
Available in white, black, or gray, this extra wide Frisco gate should discourage your furry Houdini from making a break for it. Also, if you need a barrier that won’t be a headache to relocate, this could be the gate for you. Lightweight and pressure-mounted, it’s simple to move from room to room.
Frisco Auto-Close Pet Gate
Durable yet lightweight, setting up and taking down this Frisco gate is a breeze.
Whether you need a sprawling room divider or an enclosed pen, this convertible dog gate features hinged points for a variety of potential configurations. Shoppers should note that while this gate hits high marks for versatility, it’s not recommended for dogs over 28 inches.
With its handsome matte bronze finish, this sleek dog gate won’t detract from your home’s aesthetic value. It also features extra secure mounting hardware and a latch that can be operated with one hand. Plus, there’s no treacherous threshold to cross.
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 a 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.
Pawland Wooden Freestanding Foldable Dog Gate
Simply fold and unfold this portable gate in a wood finish.
Sometimes you need something you can quickly 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 simple and affordable option. 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.
Evenflo Tall Pressure-Mount Wood Dog Gate
Position and lock this gate anywhere you need it; plus it comes in two non-toxic finishes.
Another affordable option in pressure-mounted dog gates, this barrier is made from heavy-duty steel. It fits standard doorways, extending from 29 to 31.5 inches, and stands 29.5 inches tall to keep dogs from jumping over it.
It also comes with a handy step-through door so that, when you need to get through, you can simply press the release button and lift the handle.
A dog gate works well to keep your dog out of certain areas, but what if you’re trying to keep them 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 their range.
This model stands 34 inches tall and provides 21 square feet 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.
If you’d rather avoid drilling holes into your walls, this free-standing dog gate could be the answer. Designed for humans to step over, it’s ideal for keeping smaller dogs contained. And the premium wood finish with black steel isn’t so bad, either.
With eight possible configurations, this pet gate also serves as a dog pen or free-standing room divider. And although it’s constructed of all-steel, it’s still lightweight, portable, and easy to store. Extra safety features include a self-closing door, dual-lock system, and a swing gate that opens in either direction. To achieve the configuration you want, remove (or add!) panels as you see fit.
Frisco Configurable Playpen and Gate
A configurable gate (or pen) for dog owners who need versatility.
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, with two doors and zip-up top, folds up easily and packs into a carrying case. The playpen comes in four different sizes and includes helpful accessories such as a pocket and a water bottle holder.
Frisco Soft-Sided Exercise Playpen
Portable, this soft-sided pen is great for indoors, outdoors, and travels well.
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.
We selected this vehicle pet barrier from Pawple for its reasonable price, universal fit, and easy installation.
Pawple Pet Barrier for Vehicles
Contain your pet on the road with this steel-frame vehicle barrier.
With a dog gate, your dog has a higher degree of freedom over what they have in a crate while still staying safe and out of trouble when you’re not able to supervise
However, finding the perfect dog gate is only half of the equation. No matter how well-mannered your dog may be, they’re likely to get bored after a few hours alone and that’s when destructive behaviors tend to appear.
Keeping your dog busy when they’re alone is all about providing the right combination of toys that will keep them entertained and stimulate their 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.