A puppy playpen can be seriously invaluable when there’s a puppy in the house, you might not have considered it much but when you can’t have eyes on your puppy, what are you going to do? Puppies can get into all sorts of mischief when left unsupervised… think swirling Tasmanian devil level destruction! A puppy play pen will most likely save the day and the furniture!

I know they can be a bit bulky and unsightly, but doggy play pens, really do help to keep your puppy safe and your house sparkling, clean and of course unchewed. It only takes a minute for a puppy to pee on your favourite rug, or chew that laptop charger, honestly we’ve seen it all!

So if you think that you might need to try out a puppy play pen, look no further, there’s a lot of choice out there so let us guide you through finding the best one. We’ll explain:

  • What puppy play pens are
  • Why you should probably get a puppy play pen
  • What the differences are between a puppy crate and a puppy play pen 
  • Which puppy play pen is best for you as well as your puppy

As always, we have a great app that will help you with all things puppy training; the Zigzag puppy training app. Alongside all of the marvellous training, we also have a team of puppy coaches, (fully qualified dog trainers and behaviourists) ready to answer any questions you might have. We’re there to support you seven days a week. Download for free and get in touch today.

white puppy rolling on grass and playing with toilet paper
Photo by Daniël Maas on Unsplash

What are puppy playpens?

A puppy playpen is an enclosed high sided area that keeps your puppy safe, similar to a crate but with more room, almost like a portable fence for your puppy. It gives your puppy space to play, sleep, and eat while also keeping them away from hazards in your home or damaging soft furnishings, carpets, and more! 

Puppy proofing a house is pretty important for a harmonious start to you and your puppy’s life together. As many of us now live open plan or want our puppies near us, but not necessarily free roaming, a puppy play pen gives us peace of mind that our puppy, and our home furnishings will be safe. 

Outdoor puppy pens are useful if you have a large garden, especially if it’s unfenced and you spend a lot of time there.  It means your puppy can hang out outside and be near you. If you’re using an outdoor puppy pen, then make sure your puppy has some shade. Even in cooler climates, it gets very hot when the sun is out and your puppy won’t be able to regulate their temperature through sweat like we can. 

An outdoor puppy pen also provides a safe environment for your puppy, away from potentially poisonous plants in your garden, and it also protects your garden from puppy digging

While crate training your puppy is an excellent idea, a puppy play pen can be used in times you need to leave your puppy for longer periods. You can have your puppy’s crate, food and water, toys and even a toilet area in their playpen, and they can cope better if left for longer periods vs in the small confines of a crate. 

Why should I get a puppy playpen?

There are quite a few benefits to getting a puppy play pen – much like a crate, they contain your puppy in their safe zone and give you peace of mind. Yes, peace…remember that?

A puppy play pen keeps your puppy out of trouble

As we talked about already, having a puppy play pen means you can be sure the environment you leave your puppy in is free of hazards and dangers. Leaving your puppy in the playpen means you’re free to be in another area of the house and know they’re going to be ok. It will also help your puppy get used to you coming and going and help them learn to cope better on their own.

Your puppy can have a safe place to play in their doggy playpen

You won’t need to keep your eyes on them all day….. Provided the playpen is comfortable for your puppy and not too far away from you, it’ll be a perfect daytime play zone for your puppy,  as well as somewhere they can switch off and sleep.

Having an outdoor puppy pen means a no digging zone

If you have a puppy who loves to dig, or perhaps they like to chew on your border plants, then getting an outdoor play pen will mean you keep them safe and contained while you’re enjoying your garden. Some plants like daffodils are dangerous for puppies to eat, and who wants the garden trashed anyway? 

If you have a digger, you might want to think about making them a digging pit. Creating a digging pit gives them an appropriate outlet for what is perfectly normal and natural puppy behaviour! 

Puppy playpens can be useful when travelling

If you’re off staying somewhere new or going to someone’s house, having a puppy playpen means you don’t have to worry about your friend’s rugs getting peed on or expensive hotel cleaning bills! Having a doggy playpen for your puppy also keeps their set-up reliable and dependable. Yes, puppies really do like routines

Having a puppy play pen will protect your floors

Some puppy play pens come with a waterproof liner (or you can buy one separately) so if there are any accidents, (hey, even a tossed water bowl can soak into varnished floors, never mind the lack of toilet training), then your floors will stay protected.

black and white puppy playing on grass with yellow pig squishy toy
Photo by Justin Veenema on Unsplash

What is the difference between a playpen and a crate?

Are you confused about the difference between crates and playpens? Or perhaps you’re just not sure why you need a puppy play pen when you have a crate already?

Well here are some of the key differences between a puppy play pen and a dog crate:

Doggy play pens give your puppy more space 

Crates are often smaller in size and feel much more enclosed. With a puppy play pen, you can connect panels together to make them quite big, giving your puppy more room to run about. Puppies are very active and need space to explore and carry out everyday activities such as mischief!

You can use a doggy toilet in a puppy play pen

While it’s really not a good idea for your puppy to toilet in their crate, having a toilet area in the puppy playpen, well away from the sleeping area, means your puppy can use the toilet when you’re not there with them. You could choose a pee pad holder or a fake grass toilet for your puppy, both tend to work well.  

Puppies often get on better in a puppy playpen than a crate

The restrictive size of a crate can be troubling for some puppies. So, while you’re taking the time to teach your puppy that crates are actually a nice thing, using a puppy play pen is often an easier way to keep them settled as well as safe.

You can increase the size of the playpen as your puppy grows

Of course you can always keep buying bigger dog crates as your puppy grows, but with a puppy playpen, you can add more panels to make their enclosure bigger. Being able to scale up a puppy play pen is particularly useful for larger breeds of dog who will need more room quickly!

two puppies running towards camera through the bushes
Photo by Alvan Nee on Unsplash

Which puppy playpen is best?

When thinking about what puppy play pen is best for your individual puppy, it will depend on a few factors such as your puppy’s size, whether you want to be able to travel with the playpen, whether you want to use it in the garden, and a few other things we’ve thought of when compiling this guide.

Best puppy playpen for large dogs

If you have a large breed of dog such as a Labradoodle, Doberman or Great Dane then a high sided and heavy duty playpen is the best for you. 

Best puppy play pen to use outside

When looking for an outdoor puppy pen choose one with a sunshade to provide some shelter from the sun. Use pegs so the playpen can be secured to the ground. 

Best puppy play pen for travel

If you want a lightweight puppy pen suitable for travel, then material playpens can be folded and are lightweight, making them nice and portable. 

Best puppy playpen that’s washable

If you’re a bit of a ‘Monica’ (aka clean freak) then a wipe clean puppy pen might be ideal for you. 

Best puppy play pen with a floor

Either buy a separate liner on your existing puppy play pen, or get one that has a liner included. Your floors will thank you! 

We hope you’ve found this guide to how to find the perfect puppy play pen useful. While you’re here, have you checked out our best puppy crates article? 

Don’t forget to start your free trial of the Zigzag puppy training app today. Not only has it been designed to work through your puppy’s key life stages but it’s also breed specific so is completely tailored to your puppy’s breed type..clever or what?

Here at Zigzag we know our Afghans right through to our Zuchons (Bichon Frise crossed with Shih Tzu in case you were wondering) and everything in between. Different breeds have different needs and motivations so require bespoke training and activities… it’s all there in the app. You can even chat to our team of puppy coaches via the app, seven days a week, they would love to hear all about your puppy’s foibles.