Anyone who thinks small dogs are easy to manage has clearly never kept one. Because of that, it’s even more important to have a good playpen for small dogs. Whether you want to provide your mutt with a safe place to play or to keep him occupied, a playpen would probably be one of the best investments for your dog.
Small dog playpens are a fantastic choice for dogs that are extra-energetic. What’s more, you can safely let your dog play in such a pen while you tend to your daily tasks.
What is a Small-Dog Playpen?
A small-sized dog playpen provides a contained place for small and toy dog breeds. Dog owners don’t necessarily use them for “playing”, but for keeping their dogs in a secure environment. Additionally, you can use them for puppies.
Most of us have heard the puppy pen vs crate debate. But it’s clear to us that both these items have their specific uses for puppies. Pet playpens provide puppies with lots of space for their food, water, toys, and running around. On the other hand, you’ll find crates to be rather cramped and dark. With this comparison, playpens might appear to be the clear winner for you. But there’s more to the story.
You see, crates allow puppies to burrow and snuggle; 2 activities that help them feel secure. So, if done right, crate training can improve your puppy’s emotional health. In my opinion, a mix of both crate and puppy playpens would work best for you.
Playpens for small dogs are not much different from regular playpens. It’s obvious that bigger dogs would need taller fences or outside garden enclosures, but smaller dogs require no special treatment in this case.
How to Choose the Right Playpen for Small-Dogs?
Choosing the right small dog playpen is not an easy process. In fact, there are several factors to consider when narrowing down your options. Especially as the marketplace is inundated with poor-quality products shipped from abroad.
Lucky for you, we’ve shortlisted the best ones. But before we present you the playpens that we’ve reviewed, it’s vital that we explain the factors that helped these products get their place on the list.
Here are the factors for choosing the right playpen for small dogs.
Just because you have a small dog doesn’t mean your playpen should be small as well. Remember: you’re buying this to let your dog have enough space to play. If the playpen is too small, then that kind of kills the purpose. Ideally, the playpen should be large enough to accommodate your dog’s litter box and toys.
A smaller-sized playpen might offer about 8 square feet of area for your canine buddy while some of the larger ones might offer more than 16 square feet.
This is a no-brainer. The material used in your small dog’s playpen is of paramount importance because a flimsy playpen would get torn within a week.
If you’re looking into a cute soft fabric playpen for indoor use, then buy something made of Nylon. These playpens also have mesh tops or sides for making them more breathable. Although that’s good on one end, make sure the mesh isn’t too fragile and can hold up against some scratching by a determined dog.
Otherwise, metal dog playpens are clear winners when it comes to sturdy materials that can withstand doggy rage.
Not all playpens for small dogs are portable. When buying one, you need to consider whether you’d like it to be portable and foldable or not. Now, who are the people that need portable dog playpens? They are adventurists, campers, travelers that like to take Fido along on their journey.
Usually, fabric playpens work well in this case. Most of them are easily foldable and come with carrying bags. When you want to use them, you can just pop them open and let Fido enjoy his own camp.
This is another important factor for all dog owners. If your playpen isn’t durable, there’s no way on Earth it can withstand some rough play from your dog. Just using a strong material isn’t enough. You’ll have to do some digging and read some reviews to understand whether the material used in the dog playpen is of supreme quality.
That’s exactly what we did while choosing our top 10 best small dog playpens. Most of the products on our list are highly durable, but we’ve tried pointing out if some didn’t meet our expectations.
Easy to Assemble
Let’s just face it; not all of us are enthusiastic DIYers. In fact, many won’t touch the toolbox with a 9-foot pole. For such people, it’s essential to buy a doggy playpen that’s easy to assemble and that requires no tools.
Most manufacturers keep this in mind and make it incredibly easy for dog owners to assemble their playpens. With that said, there are some that would still require you to screw on a couple of hinges or clips. So, make sure you research on how to assemble the dog playpen of your choice before buying one.
10 Best Playpens for Small Dogs
Right, so till now, we’ve covered everything you need to know before purchasing a playpen for small dogs. But that doesn’t cut it, right? You still have to go through hundreds of Amazon listings to find one that interests you.
Not at all! We’ve done most of the hard work for you and have assembled this list of the top playpens for your pooch. So, without further ado, here are my picks for the best playpens for small dogs.
1. Ruff ‘n Ruffus Foldable Dog Playpen
Do you want your pooch to accompany you on adventure trips? Then get your hands on the Ruff ‘n Ruffus Portable Playpen. You can use this playpen both indoors and outdoors. Additionally, the manufacturer used 600-D Nylon in its making, which is an immensely durable material. It also comes with a removable zipper. This makes it fit for use in the sunlight.
Made with lightweight, breathable material, it’s also one of the few portable puppy playpens on the list. Nylon provides an additional water-proof quality which further improves the outdoor experience. Once you’re done using this product, just fold it down and put it away. Want to use it again? Pop it back open and it’ll be ready for use.
Like any outdoor playpen, this one might also need the occasional wash. For that, you can use soap and water, however, don’t put it in a dishwasher. Not to mention, you’ll get a free carry pouch with this pen and a collapsible food bowl. With that said, this playpen uses fabric material that dogs can tear through.
2. IRIS Dog Playpen with Door
On our list of the best small dog playpens is this 24-inch pen by IRIS. With heavy-duty plastic, it’s certainly one of the sturdiest options in the market. IRIS provides 8 square feet within this pen, which is just enough for a puppy or small dog. What’s more, this comes with secure locking latches to avoid gates from accidentally opening. You can even open this playpen and turn it into a gate or fence for your pooch.
An interesting addition to this pen are the non-skid rubber feet on the bottom. If you were wondering how to keep your playpen from moving, then these would certainly help as they grip the floor and avoid sliding. If that isn’t enough to convince you of the sheer quality of this small-sized dogs playpen, then you’d want to know that it’s completely manufactured in the US.
However, this pen isn’t that tall. This allows active dogs to make their way out of the pen. Since this is overall a very cost-effective and sturdy product, dog owners have ended up keeping the playpen and fashioning a top for it, if need be.
3. Midwest Foldable Metal Exercise Pen
If you wanted something more spacious and roomy, then Midwest has just the thing for you. This dog exercise pen provides 16 square feet of area for Fido to stretch his muscles. That’s double than what IRIS offers in its playpen. It contains 8 square panels, measuring 24” on each side. These panels have a double-latch locking system which further secures your doggo. Also, this playpen comes with ground anchors. This pet playpen has an e-coat, making it resistant to corrosion and environment-friendly. Not to mention, its assembly is super easy and requires no tools at all.
Although this pen doesn’t come with a top, MidWest offers you to buy one separately if you want. Additionally, you’ll receive a 1-year warranty with this playpen, so there’s not much to lose.
Bear in mind that the welding clamps between the panels and the lock edges are quite sharp. You can cover these with some tape.
4. ESK COLLECTION Puppy Playpen
With 600D Oxford cloth, the 45-inch ESK Collection Playpen is number 4 on our list of the best small dog playpens. Its 8-panel design is spacious and provides enough space for a small dog to play around. Additionally, the mesh material used in this pen is breathable and lightweight. With a zippered mesh top, this is an incredibly safe option for puppies and toy breeds that tend to escape uncovered playpens. The top and bottom used to be secured with velcro tape, but that wasn’t much effective against dogs. ESK Collection now uses zippers for both, and they’ve held up quite strong till now.
It comes with a 48-inch diameter and panels that stand 25 inches high. You’ll also find storage compartments on the sides of this pen where you can place your dog’s toys (or even yours!) What’s more, with this pen, you’ll get a no-questions-asked money-back guarantee. All you need to do is tell ESK Collection that you didn’t like their product and get your investment back.
With that said, this one isn’t for dogs exceeding 20 lbs in weight as they are often able to push the kennel around like a hamster ball.
5. EliteField 2-Door Soft Playpen
If you’re looking for a puppy playpen with a floor, then stop right here because EliteField has just the thing for you. This soft playpen is fantastic for dogs that like to have a safe enclosed space to play. With 7 different size options, you’ll be sure to find one that’s perfect for your small dog. What’s more, it’s higher than many other options in the market with a zippered top that makes it safe for all pooches. You can also easily wash the top and the bottom, meaning that you won’t need to discard this pen if your dog pees in it.
There are a lot of small features that customers love about this small dog playpen. For one, it has many small compartments for putting your dog’s stuff or water bottle. This comes in handy for making sure your mutt has everything he needs for a good evening. Not to mention, you get a staggering 2-year warranty with this playpen.
EliteField cautions its buyers to take the sizing chart seriously. According to them, 90% of the customers that return a pen do so because they bought the wrong size. So, make sure you size your dog properly and calculate the space you have for your playpen before you make a purchase.
6. Parkland Foldable Dog X-Pen
Number 6 on our list is this foldable playpen by Parkland Pet. It’s easily one of the most budget-friendly options out there when it comes to portable dog playpens. You can assemble the whole thing within seconds, and when done, you can fold it back flat and carry it with you. With an industry-standard zippered top, it’s safe for dogs of all types. Make sure you choose the right size based on your dog.
Customers appreciate how sturdy this playpen is. Although it might seem like a regular mesh playpen, the fabric used in it is extremely sturdy and it doesn’t tear that easily as well. Also, its size is a lot bigger than what one would expect, allowing it to accommodate medium-sized dogs as well. With that said, it seems like the zipper on this product isn’t that well-made. But if that turns out to be a problem for you, then you can easily cash in on the 2-year warranty.
7. AmazonBasics Foldable Exercise Playpen
Turning our focus back to metal playpens, here’s one by AmazonBasics that you’ll love. It comes with 8 24-inch panels that provide a 16 square-feet of area for your dog to play. That’s a lot more than what you might expect a fabric dog playpen to offer. To set it up, all you need to do is unfold and place it; no tools required. After use, just fold it back. If you’re looking to use this metal playpen for small dogs, then you might be interested in knowing that it comes with 8 ground anchors. These are exceptionally important for keeping your playpen stable.
Interestingly, this dog exercise pen comes in 2 varieties; with and without a door, so you get to choose one according to your preference. Many customers are buying multiple playpens and joining them together to create larger ones. However, with this approach, you’ll have to experiment and set them in a shape that would keep the playpen stable.
8. AmazonBasics 8-Panel Plastic Pen
This 8-panel pen uses commercial-grade plastic as its building material. This makes it quite a sturdy one. The gate used in this playpen can be locked and is properly hinged. In essence, it contains one of the most secure gates in the dog playpen industry.
Since it’s strong against the elements, you can use it both indoors and outdoors. Also, this pen has black rubber pegs on the bottom which hold it in place. If your dog tends to push its playpen around, then this might be the answer.
With that said, this playpen for small dogs is a bit on the flimsy side.
9. Zampa Foldable Playpen for Dogs
With the Zampa Portable Playpen, you get stylish side pockets for holding your or your dog’s stuff. You’ll also get a bottle holder on the side. It comes in 2 sizes, small and medium, which means your small dog or puppy would easily manage within it. You can zip the mesh top, allowing your pooch to feel safer in the pen. The package will also include metal spikes for outdoor use as well as a case for carrying this portable small dog playpen.
Like most other foldable playpens, this one requires no assembling. Just pop it open when you want to use it and fold it flat once you’re done. What’s more, this dog playpen comes with protected seams and corners to avoid any possibilities of injury for your pooch. Customers mentioned that this portable pen is far more spacious than what they’d expected. Not to mention, it’s quite sturdy and will easily last through the years.
10. BestPet Puppy Playpen
To end the list, we have this metal puppy playpen by BestPet. This manufacturer applied an e-coat to this pen which helps in increasing its strength. It’s also useful for improving resistance against corrosion and helps it withstand the elements. Also, you’ll get sufficient space in the playpen due to its spacious 8-panel design. Not to mention, it’s so easy to assemble this pen that a kid could do it. All you need to do is unfold and place it. Once done, just fold it flat. BestPet has added 2 doors to this small dog playpen so that you can contain even the naughtiest of mutts. It also has a useful step-in gate that’s easy for pets to walk into.
There are lots of things to love in the BestPet Puppy Playpen. But what customers appreciated the most was how easy it is to set up. According to BestPet, it won’t take you more than a minute to assemble their playpen, and that held true for most customers. BestPet sends the panels in a connected state. All you need to do is place them in the shape you want and clip the first and last one together to create an enclosed space. With that said, this isn’t the toughest playpen of the lot. So, we don’t recommend it for a medium or large-sized dog.
Playpens for Small Dogs FAQ
So, there you have it, folks. That was our list of the best playpens for small dogs. Even though we’ve tried covering everything about these playpens, you might still have some queries in mind.
So, in this section, we’re going to answer some of the commonly asked questions about playpens for small dogs.
When to use a playpen for my small dog?
You can use a playpen for your small dog when he’s in the housebreaking phase and even after that. There’s no set age limit to use playpens for dogs and it’s safe to use them whenever you want to provide a safe place for your small dog to have some fun.
Playpens aren’t a compulsion for small dogs. In fact, they’d do okay without them. However, for anyone who’d like to place his dog in a safe place while he goes about his daily chores or work, having a playpen is a fantastic choice. You can use it outdoors and let your dog play in the backyard or place one indoors and cordon off your pooch while you tend to daily chores.
Are playpen for small dogs comfortable?
Manufacturers try their best to make playpens for small dogs as comfortable as possible. With that said, dog playpens are certainly a lot more comfortable than crates.
However, not all playpens need to be comfortable. For example, an outdoor metal dog playpen just serves as a metal fence and it has no floor or top cover. In that sense, comfort isn’t really a factor to consider. However, if you’re buying a fabric playpen, then having a soft, comfortable fabric is important to the experience.
Are small dog playpens useful for training?
You can use dog playpens for training your dog during the housebreaking phase. For that, you can buy an indoor dog pen with a water-proof floor and keep your dog’s litter box in it as well. This will make sure that your dog only pees inside the pen and doesn’t ruin your floor or carpets.
In other aspects like improving behavior or teaching tricks, puppy playpen training isn’t of much use.
Is a small playpen better than crate?
Whether a small playpen is better than a crate depends on what you want to use it for. A small dog playpen provides pooches with enough space to play and explore. On the other hand, a crate with soft bedding offers a warm, fuzzy place for puppies to burrow.
Neither of these two is essential for your dog’s survival. However, both of them can help in your dog’s emotional or physical development.