From chewing on the TV remote to eating food off the counter, there are lots of ways your dog can get into mischief when you’re not watching. It can be hard to completely puppy-proof your whole home, and if you want to keep your dog out of trouble when they’re alone, it might be time to invest in a dog playpen. 

These movable enclosures provide a safe space for your dog to spend time when you’re not around (or even if you are around but just need to keep your pup contained for a bit). They’re a popular alternative to traditional dog crates, especially if your dog will be unsupervised for longer periods of time. 

Our Top Dog Playpen Picks

All featured products are chosen at the discretion of the author. However, Vetstreet may make a small affiliate commission if you click through and make a purchase.

Best Dog Playpens: 10 Top Picks for Indoor and Outdoor Use

If you’re looking for a way to keep your dog safe while giving them a little room to roam, the following are some of the best dog playpens for use both inside and outdoors. 

Best Overall Dog Playpen

Our pick: MidWest Metal Dog Exercise Pen

MidWest Metal Dog Exercise Pen

The MidWest Metal Dog Exercise Pen is a great option for most pups. This metal playpen can be set up inside or out, and it comes with ground stakes to help anchor it in place on grass. There are several heights to choose from, ranging from 18 inches to 48 inches; you can also select whether or not you want a door panel. The brand even sells compatible wire mesh and sunscreen cover options for dogs that are prone to jumping or escaping. When it’s not in use, the playpen folds flat for easy storage.


  • Choose from several height options
  • Available with or without door
  • Folds flat for storage
  • Covers options sold separately
  • Great price point


  • Ends don’t connect tightly, leaving a small gap
  • Tricky to anchor indoors

Best Indoor Dog Playpen

Our pick: IRIS USA 34-inch Exercise 8-Panel Pet Playpen

IRIS USA 34-inch Exercise 8-Panel Pet Playpen

For indoor use, the IRIS USA Pet Playpen is a lightweight option made from durable plastic. It features eight panels, one of which is equipped with a doggie door, and the sides are 34 inches tall, making it suitable for most small and medium dogs. The walls have non-skid rubber feet on the bottom to prevent them from moving around and damaging your floors, and you can expand the pen, if needed, by purchasing additional panels. Plus, if your dog is an escape artist, the brand sells a compatible mesh top to keep them from climbing out. 


  • Lightweight design
  • Non-skid rubber feet
  • Expandable system
  • Mesh cover available separately


  • Some customers noted that the gate door assembly can be confusing
  • May not be tall enough for larger dogs
  • Higher price point

Best Outdoor Dog Playpen

Our pick: Amazon Basics Metal Pet Playpen

Amazon Basics Metal Pet Playpen

This outdoor dog pen can easily be set up in your yard, giving your best bud a safe space to play. It’s available in several heights, ranging from 24 inches to 48 inches, and you can also choose a model with or without a door panel. The wire construction even has a rust-proof finish, so you don’t have to worry about it getting wet. Ground stakes are included for added stability, and the pen folds flat for simple storage when not in use. 


  • Several height options
  • Available with or without door
  • Rust-proof metal finish
  • Includes ground stakes
  • Simple storage and no-tool assembly


  • Material is somewhat thin and may not be enough to contain strong dogs

Best for Large Dogs

Our pick: FXW Rollick Dog Playpen

Some playpens are too flimsy or small for bigger breeds, but the FXW Rollick Dog Playpen will keep canines of all sizes contained. It has a durable metal frame and stakes into the ground for stability, and it comes in several heights up to 50 inches tall. Plus, you can choose how many panels you want, ranging from six up to 48, making it ideal for creating a large dog playpen to enclose a more expansive space. This pen is specifically designed to be used outdoors, and its door has a heavy-duty latch that automatically closes, reducing the risk of your dog escaping. 


  • Heavy-duty construction
  • Available in heights up to 50 inches and with as many as 48 panels
  • Automatic door latch
  • Stakes into the ground for stability


  • Only designed for outdoor use
  • Larger sizes are fairly heavy and more expensive than other playpens (but they cover a lot more ground)

Best for Small Dogs

Our pick: IRIS USA 24-inch Exercise 6-Panel Pet Playpen

Looking for a small dog playpen? The IRIS USA Pet Playpen is a compact and lightweight option that can be used inside and outside. It’s made from durable plastic, and the 24-inch tall panels snap together for easy assembly. You can opt for four, six, or eight panels (one of which includes a locking doggie door), with additional panels sold separately. This pen also has non-skid rubber feet to keep it in place on your floor. 


  • Non-skid rubber feet
  • Lightweight design
  • Includes doggie door
  • Snaps together without any tools
  • Multiple sizes available


  • Dogs who chew may enjoy biting the plastic 

Best Portable Dog Playpen

Our pick: Ruff ‘n Ruffus Portable Pet Playpen

Ruff 'n Ruffus Portable Pet Playpen

If you’re taking your dog camping or on vacation, the lightweight, foldable option from Ruff ‘n Ruffus is an excellent choice that travels well. Available in three sizes to fit small and medium breeds, this pop-up portable dog playpen features mesh at the top and sides to help keep your pup secure, as well as a zip-on fabric cover for sun protection. It even comes with a handy carrying case to simplify packing for your next trip, as well as a collapsible dog bowl for on-the-go meals. 


  • Available in three sizes
  • Pop-up design
  • Removable zippered sun cover
  • Folds down for storage
  • Includes carrying case and collapsible dog bowl


  • Not suitable for larger dogs

Best Dog Gate Playpen

Our pick: Unipaws Extra-Wide Freestanding Walk-Through Dog Gate

The Unipaws Freestanding Dog Gate pulls double duty: it can be used as a gate to block off doorways or certain areas of your home, or the ends can be connected to form a playpen for dogs. It has a faux wooden frame with metal wires and optional support feet to prevent your furry friend from escaping, and while six panels are included, the brand sells extension kits to make the enclosure bigger. The panels are 31.5 inches tall and each have rubber pads on the bottom to keep your floors safe from scratches. 


  • Can be used as gate or playpen
  • Includes support feet
  • Protective rubber pads on bottom
  • Extension kits available separately


  • Moderately high price point
  • Made from MDF, not wood

Best Heavy Duty Dog Playpen

Our pick: Lucky Dog Modular Kennel Kit

If you want a large, durable playpen for your dog, the Lucky Dog Modular Kennel Kit is a heavy duty outdoor option. The modular design forms a 10-by-5-foot enclosure with 6-foot walls, and the whole thing is made from commercial-grade steel with a powder-coated finish, ensuring it can stand up to even the biggest breeds. It has a large gate that’s easy to walk through, and a built-in latch keeps it securely locked when your dog is inside. 


  • Heavy duty metal construction 
  • Modular design
  • 6-foot high walls
  • Large gate with integrated latch


  • Only suitable for outdoor use
  • Very high price point

Best Covered Dog Playpen

Our pick: X-ZONE PET Metal Pet Playpen with Top Cover

Designed with 24-inch high panels, the X-Zone Pet Playpen comes with a breathable suncover that provides shade for your pet while keeping them from climbing out. Unique “fixing buckles” help attach the corners of each panel, providing added stability to the enclosure, and ground anchors are also included for use outdoors. The pen can even be connected to your dog’s crate to create a large indoor play area for them. Plus, the folding design promises simple storage.


  • Includes suncover and ground anchors
  • Buckles help keep fence stable
  • Can be connected to a crate for a larger play area
  • Folds flat for storage


  • Only one panel height available

Best Plastic Dog Playpen

Our pick: North States MyPet Petyard Passage

The North States MyPet Petyard Passage is an eight-panel playpen that’s designed with heavy-duty plastic. It’s lighter and less bulky than metal pens, and the panels are 26 inches tall, making it suitable for most dog breeds. There’s a small doggie door on one panel to let your pup in and out, and this plastic dog playpen even has skid-resistant feet that protect your floors and keep it in place. Plus, you can even remove panels if you want to create a smaller footprint to keep your pup out of trouble. 


  • Lightweight plastic design
  • Includes carrying handle
  • Skid-resistant foot pads
  • Panels can be removed


  • Doggie door isn’t large enough for all dogs
  • Only one panel height available

What is a Dog Playpen?

Dog playpens are made up of a series of panels—usually metal or plastic—that connect to form an enclosed area. They come in a variety of shapes and sizes, and the enclosure provides a safe space for your dog to spend time during the day. “Because a playpen has room to include a dog bed, potty spot, dog bowls, and space to play, it can be used to confine a dog for longer periods of time than a crate,” explains dog trainer Jennifer Malawey

Dog pens are also a useful training tool for puppies and young dogs, keeping them from getting into trouble while unsupervised. “Like a crate, playpens are fantastic tools for housetraining and chew training,” Malawey says. “They do take up more space, but dog-proofing one playpen area is a lot easier than dog-proofing an entire home. They offer more room to your dog while still keeping them—and your home—safe.” 

How We Selected Our Dog Playpen Picks

puppy with paws up on inside of dog pen

When choosing our top dog playpen picks, we considered the following:

Materials/durability. Let’s face it—dogs can be tough on everything from toys to furniture, especially when they’re larger in size or more boisterous in personality. With that in mind, we made note of what each dog pen is made of, calling out those that are likely to hold up for the long haul and those that may not be best for certain types of pups.

Size/design. Of course the size and type of pen you choose depends primarily on the space in which you’ll be using it, as well as the size of your dog. We made sure to highlight the picks that allow you to add or remove panels, as well as those that transport and store easily.

Reviews. We zeroed in on the review sections to get a feel for what pet parents liked, and what they didn’t, for each pick.

Price. Since the price point for dog playpens can vary, we made sure to include options for a range of budgets.

Dog Playpen Buying Guide

When shopping for a dog playpen, there are a few key things to keep in mind before making a purchase.

Stability and durability. This is especially crucial if you have a larger dog. “The stability and durability of the pen are important because a pen that can be climbed or knocked over increases the risks of physical injury and, just as importantly, lasting fear,” says Malaway. You may want to look for a playpen that has special features to keep it in place, such as ground stakes for outdoor use or stabilizing feet for indoor pens. 

Height. It’s also important to find a pen that’s tall enough to contain your dog. “When choosing a playpen, you want to select one that is tall enough that your dog can’t jump over and stable enough to withstand your dog leaning on it,” recommends Malawey. To minimize the risk of your dog climbing or jumping out, consider a pen that includes a cover. 

Materials. Finally, be sure to select a dog playpen that’s made from strong materials, especially if your pup is prone to chewing. “Consider your dog’s chewing behavior,” says Malawey. “Some dogs may gnaw on plastic, wood, or mesh, so metal is the most durable option.” 

Playpen Safety Tips for Dogs

To keep your dog safe while in the playpen, it’s essential to choose one that’s built to last. The walls shouldn’t collapse if your pet tries to climb out of the pen or leans on them, and you may want to anchor the pen to the ground outside or a wall in your home to improve its stability. It’s also important to make sure your dog can’t reach any unsafe items from their pen, such as power cords.

The first few times you put your dog in the playpen, stay nearby to monitor them. This will allow you to assess if they try to climb out of the pen, jump over the panels, or chew on the walls.  

Finally, keep in mind that while playpens can help keep puppies and young dogs out of trouble, you still need to train your dog how to behave properly in your home. “Putting a puppy in a playpen is no replacement for training,” says Ali Smith, dog trainer and founder of Rebarkable, noting that playpens can sometimes be overused by pet owners. “You must train your dog, and you must integrate them into the family.”

Dog Playpen FAQs

How can I keep a dog playpen from moving?

One common issue with dog playpens is that the panels can move around if your dog leans or jumps against them. If you have the playpen outdoors, ground stakes will help hold the panels in place. For indoor pens, furniture anchors can be used to attach the panels to a nearby wall and keep the pen from shifting around.

Can a dog sleep in a playpen?

Once your dog is used to being in their playpen, it can be a safe and secure space for them to sleep. Playpens are a popular alternative for pet owners who choose not to crate train their dogs. Much like dog crates, however, playpens should not be used as a space for pups to do their business and may not be the best option for those that are not yet housetrained.

How big should a dog playpen be?

The best size for a dog playpen will depend on the size of your dog. In terms of how tall the panels should be, these height recommendations can provide a good starting point:

  • 24 inches tall for small dogs
  • 36 inches tall for medium dogs
  • 40 inches or taller for large breeds

When in doubt, it’s best to get a taller playpen to prevent your dog from jumping or climbing out. 

How long can a dog stay in a playpen?

Many people choose to keep their dogs in a playpen during the night or while they’re at work, but in general, your dog shouldn’t be left in a pen for more than eight hours at a time. After all, they need time to stretch their legs and go to the bathroom. You’ll also want to work up to these long durations—dogs need time to acclimate to their new enclosure before they can be left alone for several hours.