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Updated Mar 23, 2022 9:57 PM

No matter the breed, size, age, or shape of your dog, if he smells a chipmunk… he’s probably going to run for that chipmunk. Whether you are indoors, outdoors, or on the road, dog pens are an essential tool for pets and pet owners alike. They can safely keep a mischievous puppy from chasing other animals or gnawing on the living-room furniture, provide an exercise space as a dog run, or help with obedience or anti-anxiety training. Whether you’re searching for a dog pen for your living room, backyard, or to take on the road, here’s how to find the best option for you and your furry friend.

The best dog pens: Reviews & Recommendations

Best for small dogs and puppies: ESK Collection Puppy Dog Playpen

ESK Collection


The ESK Collection Puppy Dog Playpen is a great option for small dogs and small spaces. At 48 inches by 25 inches, this playpen is available in black, pink, red, and blue and it’s made with Oxford cloth and mesh material that is breathable, durable, and waterproof. This pen also features quality zippers as well as Velcro to keep your pup inside. 

Best for large dogs: BestPet Pet Playpen Exercise Pen



The heavy-duty, rust-resistant metal BestPet Pet Playpen Exercise Pen features 8 panels that can easily be set up into rectangle, octagon, and circle shapes that will keep your pooch intrigued when he enters. With a perimeter of 126 inches, your dog will be able to run around freely and safely solo or with other dog friends. The rust-resistant metal works both indoors and outdoors, and its foldable structure is simple to set up and break down. 

Best for indoors: North States Mypet Petyard Passage



The brown North States Mypet Petyard Passage creates up to 34.4 square feet of playroom, and includes a swinging doggy door, which you can lock as you please. It comes with eight panels, and can be made smaller by removing two panels at a time. The assembly is super simple thanks to it’s foldable panels, lightweight build, and carry-strap.

Best versatile: Richell Convertible Indoor/Outdoor Pet Playpen



Recommended for dogs up to 88 pounds, the Richell Convertible Indoor/Outdoor Pet Playpen can be used indoors or outdoors due to its easy-to-clean and durable plastic construction. It features specially designed caps that lock the panels for extra stability, customizable panels, a lockable gate door, and a convertible pet comfort mat (for the 6 panel hexagonal configuration) which can be used as a top for shade protection or a mat for paw comfort. This option is available as a 4- or 6-panel product.

Best for travel: EliteField Soft Pet Playpen



The EliteField Soft Pet Playpen is designed for safety, with both doors featuring locking zippers. It also includes two accessory pockets (never lose your treats or leash!) and a water bottle with holder. You’ll get a removable zip-off portion as well as a floor mat and top cover that can be put in the wash. The material is well-ventilated, lightweight, portable, and stylish (it comes in 8 different color schemes!).

Best budget: PETMAKER Exercise Playpen



The budget-friendly PETMAKER Exercise Playpen is ideal for pups up to 40 pounds. It includes eight ground anchors, four snaps for extra safety, and an easy-access door for the pooches to enter. It folds flat for convenient storage when you no longer need it, and is made with durable coated steel panels with a black epoxy finish that will protect it against the elements over time. 

What to look for when buying a dog pen

Dog pens are enclosed spaces that ensure your pet is safely confined (hello, owner peace of mind!), while not having him feel as limited as he would if put in a crate. They come in many different shapes and sizes, can be used in different environments, and have been designed for different purposes, like training and/or exercise. When thinking about which dog pen is best for you, consider these factors.

When choosing your first dog pen… remember that size matters.

Dog pens are meant to provide safe and enjoyable experiences for dogs and their owners alike. Your pooch won’t be so thrilled if this new enclosure feels like a jail cell, so it’s vital to ensure the space is large enough for your dog to trot around a bit and play with its dog toys. Plus, if your pup thinks that the dog pen is an awesome place to be, there will be no problems encouraging your pooch to get in next time! 

Not only do you have to consider the size of your puppy or dog (the larger the dog, the larger the pen), but you also need to bear in mind the measurements of the space you are planning on occupying (the smaller the room, the smaller the pen). Also consider your dog’s ability to run around and keep the height of the enclosure in mind so they can’t jump out. This is important for those crazy jumpers! Make sure the height makes sense as compared with the height of your dog’s typical jump.

Location is key

There are dog pens designed for indoor-only use, outdoor-only use, and some that can cover both categories. If you know it will be inside, you can basically have your pick of the litter of what type of material you want. If you plan to use your pen outdoors, you’ll have to consider the elements. You can easily find an outdoor dog pen that’s waterproof, rust-resistant, and durable enough to last.

Do you want to take your pooch on the road?

Consider you and your pooch’s lifestyle, too! If you like to hit the road and travel at times, you may want to invest in a portable playpen that is easy to transport—you’ll be able to get your adventures in while having peace of mind that your pooch is in a safe place. 

If you want to take your new dog pen with you on a trip, or simply put it in storage for some time, check out how easy or difficult it is to pack up and move. Some are made with this in mind, while others are better off staying put in one place. In line with portability, make sure you read the assembly instructions before buying so you know what you are getting yourself into!

Sometimes basic is best… and friendliest on the wallet

If you are hoping to keep your pup safely confined to one space, but don’t want to pay a pretty penny for a new product, look no further than this budget option.


Q: What should I look for in a dog pen?

When buying a dog pen, you should be sure to consider the product’s size, height, environment, durability, portability, and assembly requirements. Think about your lifestyle and the needs of your dog to find the best match for you. 

Q: How tall of a playpen should I get for my dog?

If the point of the playpen is to keep your dog safely enclosed, you’re going to need one that he or she can’t escape out of. Think about how high your dog typically jumps, and beat that height in your next playpen.

Q: Is a dog pen better than a crate?

Dog pens and dog crates serve different purposes and should not be used interchangeably. While crates are great for a night’s sleep or a safe space for one dog (and is also highly necessary when training puppies), a dog pen will allow for more room to roam. The dog pen should be used when you want to keep your pooch safe and confined, but still allow them to get some exercise in.

The final word on the best dog pens

There are many great options on the market for dog pens. Once you figure out where you’ll be situating your dog pen and match the size of the pen to your pooch (and possibly his or her doggie friends), you’ll be smooth sailing! Get on with your day while you enjoy total peace of mind.