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It only takes a moment for your puppy 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 belongings, or even worse, could hurt themselves or get lost. Puppy playpens are a great tool to keep your puppy safe, engaged, and where they belong—with you!
Raising a puppy is a 24/7 job, but it’s impossible to keep your eye on them every second of the day. A puppy playpen is simply an enclosed area that gives your puppy the freedom to play while confining them 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.
Crating your puppy is certainly an option, but it may not be best for every situation. If you’re looking for a safe and simple way to keep your energetic 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 pick the best choice for your home.
EliteField Two-Door Soft-Sided Playpen
Soft-sided, yet sturdy, this easy-to-clean enclosure offers plenty of ventilation.
Tips for Choosing a Puppy Playpen
The main purpose of a puppy playpen is to keep your puppy contained. Depending on how small your puppy is, that might not be difficult. As your puppy grows bigger and stronger, however, you’ll want 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 or jump out, it should provide ample space for play.
- Easy to set up. Whether you’ll be using your puppy playpen on a daily basis in the house 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.
Puppy Playpens as Training Aids
Crate training is widely recognized as one of the most effective methods of house-training 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 their crate as a safe and cozy environment they can call their own. This doesn’t mean you should keep your puppy in the crate for longer than necessary—they’re for overnight and when you’re not home. That’s where puppy playpens come in.
When it comes to daytime hours a playpen is much better than a crate. It gives your puppy a safe place to play without you having to watch their every move. Note that playpens should not 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 our favorite puppy playpens for a variety of budgets and individual needs.
Our Favorite Puppy Playpens
If your puppy wants a change of scenery during playtime, this puppy playpen can go anywhere you go. It’s ultra-portable and lightweight and even comes with a convenient carry bag. Available in six sizes and colors, this pen is durably constructed from steel tubing and nylon and features a washable floor mat, two zippered mesh doorways, and stakes for stabilizing outdoors. Note that the fabric may not withstand aggressive chewers or extra-rambunctious behavior.
EliteField Two-Door Soft-Sided Playpen
Soft-sided yet sturdy, this easy-to-clean enclosure offers plenty of ventilation.
This eight-paneled exercise playpen comes in five different sizes, ranging from 24 to 48 inches high. Affordably priced and made from lightweight but sturdy metal wire, this puppy playpen is portable and easy to configure into different shapes and sizes. Metal anchors allow for outdoor use and can easily be linked with additional pens to create a larger space. When not in use, the pen folds flat for storage.
Frisco Dog Exercise Playpen
This affordable metal wire pen comes in a range of sizes and can be configured different ways.
If you want something a little more durable than the basic wire playpen, this adjustable indoor/outdoor option features eight panels durably constructed from heavy-duty, rust-resistant metal for increased longevity. No tools are required for assembly and a sturdy, step-through door allows your puppy to enter and exit the pen without you having to take it apart.
BestPet Extra Large Indoor/Outdoor Puppy Playpen
Heavy-duty, this pen stands up the elements and comes with a step-through door.
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. Durable plastic makes this a great lightweight option, but it may not stand up against heavy chewing as well as metal playpens.
MyPet Eight-Panel Plastic Dog Pen
This lightweight plastic pen is easy to set up indoors or out.
If you’re looking for a puppy playpen that your large-breed puppy can grow into, this eight-panel exercise pen comes in five different sizes—including giant. As with some of the other wire options, the panels easily configure into different shapes—no tools required—with a solid hinge design that makes it easy to fold down for storage and travel. It also features a large step-through door and a convenient snap hook assembly so you can attach it to a wire crate.
Petmate Wire Exercise Playpen
Snap hooks make this pen for larger dogs a breeze to assemble.
A pricier option, this well-made pen provides plenty of space for multiple dogs and can accommodate larger breeds. It comes with 16 panels made from heavy-duty, rust-resistant metal and works well outdoors as well as indoors. This pen might be a good match for pet parents who need to corral a litter of puppies or cordon off sections of their home. Plus, it comes in 40- and 48-inch heights.
S Afstar Large Puppy Playpen
Great for multi-dog households, this tough pen has lots of room.
Available in a six- or eight-panel design, this portable dog playpen is lightweight and easy to take on the go. The metal frame collapses to fit into its own bag and features a roomy design with reinforced stitiching, plus it’s made from water-resistant materials with an easy-to-clean nylon bottom. Bonus? You can attach and detach the mesh canopy top.
Regalo Deluxe My Play Portable Soft-Sided Playpen
Foldable with a sturdy metal frame, this pen comes with a removable top.
If you’re looking for an inexpensive indoor/outdoor puppy playpen, this plastic version is a great option. Made from durable, heavy-duty molded plastic that is perfectly versatile, this playpen features four interlocking panels with rubber footings for traction and to protect flooring, plus two built-in twist locks. Measuring 24 inches high, it’s a secure pen for small dogs, but may not withstand heavy chewing.
Iris Plastic Exercise Dog Playpen
Made in the U.S., this durable plastic pen comes with double locks.
An affordable option that offers greater security than some wire playpens, this MidWest pen features a full step-through door with a stable door locking system. Eyelets and a handle lock keep the door securely shut in place, keeping your pet safe during playtime. The eight wire panels sport a durable electro-coat finish for long-lasting protection against rust and corrosion.
MidWest Wire Dog Exercise Pen
Rust-resistant, with a secure locking system, this is one tough pen.
This six-panel all-steel design stands 28 inches tall and can even be used as a pet gate, giving you 144 inches of barricade. It features hinged points to offer a wide variety of shaping possibilities and a double-locking handle on the door for maximum security. This playpen is durable enough for both indoor and outdoor use.
Carlson Pet Products Convertible Wire Dog Pen
This 6-panel steel pen converts into a pet gate.