4 Dogs Buyer's Guides Dog Play Pens

Best Dog Playpen for Large and Small Breed Dogs: 2020 Buyer’s Guide

cute puppies in pen

Using the best dog playpens will give pet owners the ability to leave their puppy or dog in a safe and enclosed environment when their pet is unsupervised. But considering there are dozens of top selling models on the market, finding the best one for your specific pet may not be as simple as it sounds. I’ve created this in-depth buyer’s guide to help walk you through the process of finding the perfect model for your pet, whether you have a puppy or a small breed dog. I’ve also tested out several of the best-selling models, narrowing it down to four of the best playpens, each of which are built tough, easy to use and clean, and are incredibly durable. Below, you’ll find a comparison chart that lists each of the models that made it onto my best of list, including their top features and how they rated.

Dog Playpen Comparison Chart

ProductBreedsMaterialSize OptionsRating
Zampa Portable
Pet Playpen

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SmallNylon/Mesh3
Amazon Basics Foldable
Metal Pet Playpen

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Small, Med, LargeIron Metal5
IRIS USA Exercise
Playpen Dogs

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Extra Small, SmallPlastic1
X-ZONE PET Portable
Foldable Playpen

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SmallNylon3

Zampa Portable Foldable Pet Playpen


Our Rating: (5/5)

This is an indoor/outdoor playpen that will work for small to large breed dogs. This model is available in three size options, so you can choose based on the dog’s space needs and how much space you have in the home. This is an eight-panel model that is made out of material that’s durable and water-resistant. This model features mesh panels that are designed to improve breathability. The lightweight foldable design also makes it easy to store and transport, so it’s a great choice for vacations, camping trips, or even an afternoon at the park. Considering the lightweight design, I would not recommend this for large breed dogs, even though there are slightly larger sizes available. A large breed dog could easily escape or tear through the material. Instead, this model is a better choice for small breed dogs and puppies.

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Foldable
  • Highly portable
  • Designed for indoor and outdoor use

Cons

  • Not designed for destructive dogs
  • Not recommended for large breed dogs

Conclusion

This lightweight, highly portable playpen is a great choice for small breed dogs and puppies, but it’s not durable enough or tall enough to contain and secure a large breed dog. It’s well built and folds up easily, so it’s a great choice for indoor and outdoor use, and for vacations, camping trips, and in any situation in which you need to keep your pet secure when you’re unable to keep an eye on them.

Amazon Basics Foldable Playpen


Our Rating: (4.5/5)

This model is designed for both indoor and outdoor use and measures in at twenty-four inches by forty-eight inches, providing up to sixteen feet of space. The playpen is made out of durable iron metal and features a rustproof design, so you can leave it outdoors, rain or shine, and not have to worry about it getting rusty. The design consists of eight connected panels that unfold easily, so setting up the playpen inside or in the yard can be done in a matter of a few minutes. This set also includes a total of eight ground anchors that can be used when the pen is set up outside. This will prevent the pen from getting knocked over. This model is a good choice for small to large breed dogs, as well as puppies.

Pros

  • Easy and fast setup
  • Rustproof
  • Foldable design
  • Low price

Cons

  • Will slide on hardwood floors

Conclusion

This model is highly portable, easy to set up, and will fold up flat for storage and transport. The panels come pre-connected, so assembly is also fast and simple. This set is a better choice for outdoor use, since it can slide on slick surfaces indoors, such as tile or hardwood floors. Overall, this playpen is well-built, sturdy, and tough enough to handle even large breed dogs, but it’s definitely a better choice for outdoor use.

IRIS USA Exercise Playpen


Our Rating: (4.5/5)

This four-panel playpen is a great choice for indoor and outdoor use. It’s made out of tough molded plastic and it’s a great buy for extra-small and small breed dogs and puppies. The manufacturer also allows buyers to purchase extra panels to make the pen even larger. The plastic is tough and won’t wobble or shake even if a hyper puppy is jumping up on it. The pen itself features the type of rugged design that makes it suitable for puppies during the chewing phase and features a foldable design that allows for easy transport and storage.

Pros

  • Expandable
  • Durable
  • Indoor and outdoor use
  • Easy assembly

Cons

  • Not designed for medium or large breed dogs

Conclusion

This playpen is perfect for growing puppies or small breed dogs. It’s not tall enough to accommodate larger dogs, since they would be able to easily jump over the lower walls. However, it’s a perfect choice for any type of extra-small or small breed dog and offers the type of durable, stable design that all pet owners are looking for.

X-ZONE PET Portable Foldable Playpen


Our Rating: (4/5)

This model is easy to set up, no assembly required. The pen is highly breathable, thanks to the eight-panel design that features mesh material that promotes airflow, making this model great for hotter weather. The foldable design allows you to fold up the playpen, so that it’s completely flat. This makes it easier to store and transport. This model also comes with large side pockets, so you can store supplies, such as puppy pads, a leash, treats, and more. The pen is a better choice for indoor use, although it’s marketed as both an indoor and outdoor playpen. This model is designed for small breed dogs but will also work well for puppies or even cats.

Pros

  • Waterproof
  • Perfect for small breeds
  • Foldable design
  • Locking zippers for safety

Cons

  • Not recommended for medium or large breed dogs

Conclusion

This foldable playpen will be a great buy for dog owners with puppies or small breed dogs. Setting it up is fast and simple, so you can take it pretty much anywhere, including your next camping trip or family vacation. Due to the low walls and smaller design, this model is not suitable for medium or large breed dogs.

Dog Playpen Buyer’s Guide

Using a dog playpen can provide numerous benefits, such as keeping your pet safely contained when you’re not able to closely supervise them. It will also prevent them from accessing rooms or areas in the house that they shouldn’t be in. Pet owners that have a very large open yard, or small dogs that are prone to ruining flowers and other landscaping features, will also benefit from using one of these playpens, for a less destructive, and safer outdoor time. Below, I’ll go over a few benefits of using one of these playpens before I dive into the must-have features to look for before you hit that buy now button.

Dog Playpen Benefits

happy dog

  • As I mentioned above, one of the biggest benefits of using one of these playpens is to keep a dog safely contained when the pet owner is not able to closely supervise their pet. This can prevent a dog from escaping the yard or exhibiting destructive behavior on patio furniture or landscaping.
  • Puppies can get into plenty of trouble if they’re not closely supervised. This is especially true if they’re in a new environment. So, if you’re planning on traveling and taking a road trip with the family and the family dog, bringing along one of these playpens to grandma’s house is a great way to ensure your puppy doesn’t take out their excitement on grandma’s furniture.
  • If you’re planning a camping trip and you’re concerned that your small breed dog or puppy may get loose during the night or while you’re building a campfire, then taking a puppy playpen along for the trip is a great way to make sure your pet stays safe and happy on your next outdoor camping adventure.
  • If you’re currently potty training a puppy then a playpen is a great way to get the job done. Potty training is all about consistency. However, if you don’t have time to take your pet out every two to three hours, or they often have accidents during the process, then using a playpen is a great way to contain the mess. Setting up puppy pads on one side of the playpen and a sleeping space on the other will prevent your dog from inappropriately eliminating around the house and encourages them to use the puppy pads instead of eliminating on their bedding. Basically, A playpen can save your carpet plenty of wear and tear.
  • If your dog is new to the home and keeps getting picked on by the family cat, then placing them in the playpen when you’re not in the room can help to prevent any negative interactions until both animals have learned to adapt to the new living situation.

Other Important Features

A playpen will allow your dog to enjoy the freedom of the outdoors without getting lost. Instead a pet can be confined in a pen on the grass and enjoy the sunshine and fresh outdoor air without owners fearing their dog will run into the street, fall into the pool, or get into trouble. Essentially, these playpens can make life much easier for dog owners. Property destruction will be minimized, training will be a cinch, and pet owners will have peace of mind knowing where their dog is at all times. A large and spacious playpen will also allow your pet to have more room to move around as opposed to crate training.

Additionally, playpens can also be used as a way to help reduce anxiety in pets who experience an increase in anxiety when their owners are not home.

A dog that’s left to wander around the home when their owners are away can often lead to destructive behaviors and inappropriate elimination. Playpens can be thought of as small rooms that can be used to make a dog feel safe and secure and comfortable while their owners are away. There are many different types of playpens to choose from, although the most popular types are designed for puppies and small breed dogs. However, you can also find models that are designed for medium and large breed dogs, although these are more designed for outdoor use only. Playpens design for puppies and small breed dogs can be used either indoors or outdoors.

Types of Playpens for Dogs

The right type of playpen for your pet should be made out of durable material and should feature a spacious design that will give a dog plenty of room to get up and move around.

Below, you’ll find a list of the different types of playpens to choose from.

Indoor

This type of playpen is meant for indoor use only. These are the models that you want to use inside to keep your puppy or a small breed dog contained in the home while you’re napping or running errands. Basically, there are a great choice if you’re not able to keep an eye on your pet 24 hours a day. Since it’s designed for indoor use only it doesn’t offer the same type of durability or level of protection that an outdoor model can. However, you can also find hybrid models that can be used for both outdoor and indoor play. Hybrid models offer the type of versatility that many pet owners are looking for, especially those who have small breed dogs and unfenced backyards.

Outdoor

cute pup in pen

An outdoor pen is much more durable compared to an indoor style playpen. These models are often made out of materials that are rust resistant and designed to handle the elements without corroding or degrading. If you want to ensure that your dog enjoys some much-needed outdoor time, then this style of playpen is a great choice.

Exercise Playpens

These models are very versatile and can be used outdoors and indoors. An exercise playpen is much larger than most indoor playpens and they’re designed to allow your dog to run around and play in a spacious environment. If you have a puppy that is going to grow very large then investing in a large playpen is a great idea. Keep in mind, these pens should be tall enough that your dog will be unable to jump over it.

Material Types

A dog playpen is available in a wide variety of materials including canvas, plastic, metal, and nylon. The type of material you choose will depend on the size of the animal and whether you need a model for indoor or outdoor use, or both. In many cases, models that are made out of nylon are easy to knock over, so they’re not a good choice for medium or large breed dogs.

Plastic

Models that are made out of plastic are considered the most popular type of indoor pen. Additionally, they’re very budget-friendly, durable, and lightweight. The style usually works the best for small breed dogs and puppies, due to the lightweight design. Because of how light they are, models made out of this material may not be a suitable choice for hyperactive dogs.

Metal

Models that are made out of metal will be more durable and sturdier compared to plastic playpens. This can make them a more suitable choice for hyperactive dogs and larger breeds. You’ll find a wide variety of heights available to choose from based on breed size. The biggest drawback to models made out of this type of material is the fact that they are significantly heavier than playpens that are made out of plastic. Additionally, without the proper coating, they can also rust over time.

Mesh

Considered the lightest of the playpen options, models that are made out of mesh are highly portable and designed for puppies and small breed dogs. The fact that they’re so easy to transport makes them a great choice for road trips and camping adventures. Considering how light they are and their lack of durability, they are not a good choice for large breed dogs, or dogs with destructive behaviors such as chewing.

Dog Playpen Training

  • A dog or puppy can be a great addition to the family. But many new dog owners fail to realize how much supervision puppies and new dogs need especially the first year at home. Playpens offer the perfect solution and one that will keep your dog safe and secure when you’re unable to supervise them. But teaching your dog how to stay in their pen without whining, frantically trying to get out, and how to use their puppy pads while they’re in their playpen, is a lot easier than it sounds. Because of this, I recommend using a playpen as soon as you bring your new dog home. Set up a playpen on day one and use it as a type of training tool. Doing so can help to prevent separation anxiety and will also save your personal items from being destroyed by an overactive puppy or an anxious older dog.
  • If you’re dealing with a puppy, then the first part of their training is often potty training. After you’ve taken the dog outside to eliminate, return them to their playpen, which should be placed in a quiet and safe location in the home. This will teach the puppy that the playpen is their den and since dogs do not like to urinate or defecate where they sleep, they will soon learn how to hold it until they’re next potty break.
  • Since younger dogs tend to have plenty of energy, take advantage of the playpen and allow your dog to burn up their energy before bedtime. Add some toys, which will also provide mental stimulation as they play.

Introducing a Dog Playpen to Your Pet

Make sure that you’ve chosen the right size pen for your dog. In order to ensure that your dog is comfortable using their own, try to introduce playpen time in a calm and positive way. The pen should never be used as a form of punishment. Instead it should be looked at like a reward of sorts. The pen should contain toys, a safe warm place to rest, and It can also include a few of your dog’s favorite treats. It should also be placed in a location that makes it very accessible to your dog. Begin by leaving the door to the pen wide open so that the puppy learns how to go in and out of it on their own. During this time, it’s also very important that you’re patient with the process. Bringing home an energetic new puppy and locking them up immediately can be the start of a very unhappy relationship. It can also lead to behavior issues.

Because all dogs love food, you can also use the pen for feeding time. This will teach your dog to associate the pen with good things such as food and treats.

Frequently Asked Questions

dogs in pen

Is a Dog Playpen a Good Idea?

Yes. With the right type of playpen for your dog, you can keep them safe, while providing them with a spacious comfortable area that they can call their own. It will help young puppies stay out of trouble and can also prevent destructive behavior in adults.

Should I Keep My Puppy in a Playpen?

Puppies tend to sleep a lot, so yes, using a playpen can be a great way to allow your puppy to rest during the day, in a contained space. This can prevent them from eliminating in the home, tearing up personal items, and can also prevent them from escaping the yard when you’re not able to supervise outdoor time.

How Long Should I Keep My Puppy in a Playpen?

Most vets recommend a maximum time of two hours. A puppy should not be left in a pen for a longer period of time since this can make them feel isolated. If you need to keep your puppy in their playpen for more than two hours, make sure you or someone can take them outdoors for a bathroom/play break.

Final Thoughts

Using the best dog playpen can allow you to run errands or do chores around the home, without the fear that your new dog or puppy is going to get into trouble. They’re also a great solution for dog owners who have a front or backyard that’s unfenced. Since playpens are supposed to keep dogs safe, it’s important that you choose the right one, based on the size and age of your pet. If you have a puppy, then choosing an indoor model for use inside the home can be the perfect way to give your puppy a safe place to rest and play while you’re at work or cooking dinner. If you want your dog to spend more time outdoors, but you want to prevent them from digging up your flowers, or escaping the yard, then the right playpen can give you much-needed peace of mind. This guide and my product recommendations will point you in the right direction, so you can choose a playpen that’s durable, secure, and large enough for your pet, based on your pet’s size, age, and unique needs.

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