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10 Best Dog Exercise Pens – Buying Guide & Reviews

Breeding Business is passionate about all sorts of domesticated pets. They have written dozens of articles across the web.
Published on
Sunday 24 November 2019
Last updated on
Tuesday 9 May 2023
best dog exercise pens
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Dog exercise pens are great for providing your dog with a safe space to freely run and dispose of its energy. Whether you’d like to keep some parts of the house out of bounds or would appreciate your chubby pooch getting some exercise, these pens could immensely help you in the process.

There are dozens of reasons why dog owners buy an exercise pen for dogs. However, one of the most common ones is to let their dogs play outdoors in an un-fenced yard.

Let’s just face it: dogs love the outdoors. But what stops us from letting them chase butterflies in the yard? That’s right–the fear of our dogs straying away or getting themselves into a car accident. Thankfully, dog playpens help us avoid such unfortunate circumstances.

What are Dog Exercise Pens?

An exercise pen for dogs is an enclosed area in which you can leave your dog without supervision or tether. As you’d expect, dogs love them. So much so that roughing up a chew toy in an exercise pen is right up there in the list of favorite activities for dogs.

Leaving your dog unsupervised outdoors is not a safe option at all. In that case, having one of these bad boys is the best thing for dog owners like us. But even if you’re looking for an indoor pen, it would provide a cordoned-off safe space for your pooch to dissipate its excess calories.

These pens for dog exercise are often made with sturdy materials like metal, wood, and plastic. However, indoor exercise pens are available in a soft mesh material, which can be a bit flimsy. All in all, a good dog pen should be able to easily hold the most energetic of dogs. With that, it should also allow dogs to burn their excess calories.

By purchasing such a playpen for your dog, you can rest assured that your dog is safe and indulged in healthy activities. Though, you’d want to make sure you check up on him after a while.

Types of Dog Exercise Pens

There are broadly two types of exercise pens for dogs:

  1. indoor x-pens, and
  2. outdoor x-pens.

Both have their own pros and cons, so you’d want to go through them before deciding on one that works best for you. Most dog owners living in a house will go with buying both.

Exercise playpens for dogs exist to keep your puppies and dogs safe when you are unable to monitor them closely.

Indoor Exercise Pen

As the name suggests, you’ll use an indoor exercise pen within the house. The material used in these is often a bit more flimsy as compared to the outdoor ones. Dog owners use these pens to confine their dogs to a particular part of the house. Not just that, but they’re especially useful for small dogs that you’ve not yet granted full-range access to the house. There are also high-quality playpens designed for puppies.

Outdoor Exercise Pen

With an outdoor dog pen, you’ll be able to let your dog out even if you don’t have a fenced front yard, outdoor kennel, or an outdoor pet enclosure. Without a leash on and with a safe environment to play outdoors, your pooch would be happier than ever. Just make sure you buy one that’s sturdy enough to bear the elements.

How To Choose The Right Dog Exercise Pen

There are a bunch of great exercise pens for dogs in this article. However, you might have noticed that they differ a lot from each other in factors like size, material, and purpose. You should consider all these factors to find an option that provides the highest quality as well as fits all your needs.

Easy to Assemble

Let’s get straight to chase–who likes to spend half a day assembling an exercise pen? That’s right; nobody! So, no matter what size your dog is or if you’d like an indoor or outdoor dog exercise pen, it’s absolutely essential for all of them to be easy to assemble.

A lot of manufacturers sent completely assembled dog playpens. In that case, all you’ll need to do is set them.


When you’re purchasing something for your pooch, durability always comes first. Remember, if anything looks like your dog could easily tear it apart, then you better believe it would. Look for a design that would hold up for possibly month and years to come.

Materials Used

Pens for dog exercise come in all types of materials ranging from a cloth mesh to metal. However, the stronger your material, the better it would hold up against a crazy (read: chewy) dog. For outdoors, in particular, metal is the best choice. But it might not be the prettiest!


It’s important to know beforehand where you’ll be placing your dog’s exercise pen. You see, buying an outdoor playpen is a lot different from buying one for indoor use. When purchasing for outdoors, you should look at factors like is the material water and rust-proof as well as resilient enough to survive the elements. On the other hand, indoor dog pens are also available in cloth materials and can be covered from the top.


Dogs come in all shapes and sizes. There are innocent toy breeds and large hunting breeds. Safe to say, buying an exercise pen for both would be quite different. Make sure you know the size of your dog and then tally it with the height of the exercise pen. Bear in mind that your dog can easily jump out of an exercise pen if given the chance. Also, consider the square-footage available for your dog to play in.

Top 10 Best Dog Exercise Pens

As you might have guessed, there’s a lot that goes into buying one of these bad boys. But we’ve tried minimizing the effort for you by finding the best of the lot. Here’s our list of the ten best dog exercise pens.

1. Yaheetech Heavy-Duty Dog Exercise Fence

Yaheetech’s Heavy-Duty Fence comes with 16-panel sizes that provide huge spaces for dogs to freely play. Their largest size provides about 66 square feet of enclosed space which is the largest out of all the playpens on this list. You can also split the 16-panel design into two 8-panel ones if you’d like. This playpen boasts powder-coated iron which adds to its sturdiness. But not just that, Yaheetech has rounded all edges in this pen for dog exercise so there’s no danger of unintentional cuts.

Interestingly, a lot of customers buying this playpen are actually using it to fence their front yard. If you run the math, it’s probably going to cost you half the price to fence your yard with this exercise pen instead of a regular aluminum fence.

However, it seems that the latch on this playpen can open from the inside. So, there are chances smart dogs could open it if they figure it out.

2. Midwest Foldable Exercise Pen for Dogs

With a double-latch system, this Midwest xpen is as secure as they get. The panels in this pen are of a good size, measuring 24 by 30 inches and providing a 16 square-feet area for your pooch to play in. Midwest also coats this playpen with a protective e-coat to prevent rusting. For dogs weighing 26-40 lbs, this is the real deal.

Dog owners love a number of features of this pen, including its double-latch system. This allows the door to hold its shape even if the dog applies pressure. What’s more, it’s solid and has a good weight so it’s not that easy for a dog to push this one around. With that in mind, it’s important to consider the sharp edges of the lock. This could potentially cause some injuries so it’s best to get them covered with some sort of padding.

3. AmazonBasics Foldable Metal Exercise Playpen

This foldable playpen by AmazonBasics is a must-have for dog owners that need an exercise pen for indoor and outdoor use. It’s available with and without a door, though we’d recommend the former. This exercise pen stands 42 inches tall and is suitable for dogs up to 26 inches in height. Also, the setup for this dog exercise pen is extremely simple–just unfold and connect.

What most customers have loved about this product is the robust quality of its metal. It’s extremely sturdy and well-built for a playpen on a budget. However, the latches seem to have caused some problems as some puppies learn fast how to open them and escape. With that said, a few customers suggested using binder clips to hold the playpen close.

4. New World Foldable Metal Exercise Pen

If you have a dog that measures not more than 20 inches tall, then this might just be the best option out there. With this foldable metal exercise pen, you’ll get an enclosed space of 16 sq ft. It also comes with a protective coating to avoid rust and fight the elements. Not to mention, the assemblage for this product is as simple as can be–just unfold and set.

This product brought much satisfaction to its customers, with many using it alongside their puppy’s metal crate. What’s particularly great about this product is the ease of assemblage. All you need to do is just unfold it and set it up. But not just that, you can just as easily remove this pen and place it somewhere else.

This exercise pen, however, has one downside; by pushing in the right places, your dog can push the panels apart from where they’re clipped together. So, you might want to overlap the sides properly to ensure that your dog doesn’t get itself stuck between the panels.

5. IRIS Playpen for Dogs

If you’ve got a little trouble-maker that needs an exercise pen, then IRIS might have the best solution. This sturdy playpen covers only 8 square feet of area and is perfect for puppies and small dogs. But if you’re looking for something bigger, you can use the extra panels to create a bigger space for your doggo. What’s interesting is that even though most exercise pens are available in a single color, IRIS produces this pen in more than 6 colors.

The thing that strikes right off the bat with this dog exercise pen is its beauty. It’s extremely elegant as compared to the usual metal playpens. However, many dogs seem to have found a way to climb out of this dog pen. So, to combat this problem, you can use some sort of a lid.

6. ESK Collection Puppy Exercise Pen

This is our first cloth-material exercise pen on the list and is easily one of the best in the market. The material used in it is 600d waterproof and quite comfortable. Such material often keeps puppies relaxed as it’s breathable. With a 48-inch diameter and 25-inch height, this playpen would do particularly well for puppies and small dogs.

Customers seem satisfied with the comfort that comes with this playpen. What’s better is that it doesn’t look like a cage which is much-appreciated by dog owners. Interestingly, many customers are using this product for a special purpose; as a permanent home for their old dogs. As it’s super-comfy and provides enough space for a dog to comfortably lie down, it seems to serve the purpose well.

With that said, this exercise pen is good for puppies and smaller dogs only. A larger dog would damage this pen quite easily.

7. Ruff n Ruffus Portable Pet Playpen

What has eight panels, is waterproof, and includes a removable zippered-top cover? It’s the Ruff ‘n Ruffus’ Playpen, of course! This dog exercise pen is extremely light-weight, making it perfect for travelers and those who like to change the location of their dog’s playpen. What’s more, you won’t even need to assemble this playpen is it pops open when needed. After use, just fold it back.

For most people who aren’t great handymen, assembling an exercise pen can be a tough ask. However, Ruff ‘n Ruffus eliminates the whole assembling process with this portable pen. But not just that, you also get a carry case and a dog food bowl free with this product.

The only problem customers faced with this pen for dog exercise was that the fabric at the bottom was a bit flimsy. This allowed some pets to claw their way through.

8. EliteField 2-Door Soft Pet Exercise Pen

Available in a variety of colors, this 2-Door Exercise Pen from EliteField brings the A-game to the table. Both the doors on this pen are zippered, a trait that most playpens lack. You’ll also find two extra pockets on this exercise pen along with one for a water bottle. It has a removable top and washable bottom which helps in cleaning after puppies that are still housebreaking.

There’s a lot of praise out there for this soft exercise pen, however, a comment that seems to surface quite regularly is that this playpen is taller than most in the market. This makes it a lot easier and safer to contain your pet. It also provides more room so your pooch doesn’t feel suffocated.

With that said, a few customers complained about the quality of the mesh used in this dog playpen. As the holes are slightly bigger, dogs find a way to tear the fabric open.

9. Parkland Dog Portable Playpen

If your dog spends time both indoors and outdoors as well as enjoys traveling, then you need a portable and lightweight playpen like this one. This dog exercise pen has a zippered door as well as a top. This would allow you to keep both open, if and when required.

Customers highly appreciated the fact that Parkland didn’t just use flimsy mesh material in this product. Instead, they used a durable cloth that could be compared to that of a tent.

10. Pet Trex High Panel Playpen For Dogs

This exercise pen for dogs contains 8 square panels with 24-inch dimensions. The doors have a double-latch for extra security. So, your dog can’t easily undo the latch to escape. With an impressive e-coat finish, this dog playpen is completely rust-proof as well.

What’s good to see with this playpen is that it’s already assembled when received. All you need to do is take it out and set it which is far better than having to join the panels altogether.

However, this exercise pen is quite light-weight. This allows incessant dogs to push the whole playpen if it’s not anchored to the ground.

Exercise Pet Pens – FAQ

We know how confusing it can be for new dog owners to buy an exercise pen for their pooch. And there must be loads of questions on your mind. In this section, we’ll take a shot at some of the more common questions asked by our readers.

Do all dog breeds like play and exercise pens?

Yes. Dogs, by nature, are active animals. However, there are some who do not enjoy physical activity as much as others do. Being this lazy is not healthy for dogs and providing them an exercise pen for a safe space to play can help bring them back in shape.

Even if your dog doesn’t get much exercise in, chances are it would love the feeling of having a cordoned off place just by itself.

Are exercise pens okay for puppies?

Yes, dog exercise pens are great for puppies, especially in the housebreaking phase. When your pooch is little, you’d want to cordon it off in a specific part of the home. Dangerous places like the kitchen and garage should be completely off-limits for the little guy. Having a nice exercise pen for your pup would make sure this requirement is met.

It’s also worth mentioning that puppies need a lot more calories in their diet as compared to adult dogs. More calories mean there’s more of them to be burnt. And having a dog exercise pen provides more opportunities for these pups to stay in shape and get themselves in the habit of playing regularly.

Do I need to supervise my dog when in an exercise pen?

If you’ve bought a quality exercise pen for your dog, then there’s no need to have constant supervision on your dog. However, do make sure you check up on it every now and then. Leaving your dog alone for extended periods of time is not a good option, regardless of whether it’s in an exercise pen or not.

Also, don’t forget that exercise pens can have sharp edges and a number of other safety hazards due to which you’d want to keep an eye on your pooch.

Does my dog need an exercise pen?

If your dog yearns for the outdoors but you consistently deny its wish for not having a fenced backyard, then it might be time to buy an exercise pen for your dog. It’s also perfect for lazy and overweight dogs who need to get some exercise.

With that said, many dog owners also buy an exercise pen simply because their dog has too much energy. A zippy dog would love having an exercise pen. Not to mention, having one would make sure the dog discharges its excess energy safely.

Can exercise pen be an option as a crate?

Certainly. In fact, an exercise pen provides a lot more space than a crate. So, you can keep your puppy’s food and water bowl along with its litter box in the exercise pen while leaving more space to play and move around.

However, that doesn’t mean that an exercise pen is always a great substitute for a crate. A lot of times, puppies prefer having a small crate with a soft blanket to sleep on. Such an environment makes them feel safe and secure at all times.

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