There are many reasons why you would need your dog to be out of your way. When you are cleaning around the house, or if visitors arrive are just two examples.
Sending them to their bed doesn't always work because they can simply get out of it again, so the perfect solution is a dog run or playpen.
These are simple cages with a door, which are easily erected and give your dog plenty of space to play, and keeps them out of harm's way, trouble, or both!
Best Dog Run Reviews
1. Ollieroo Dog Playpen
This dog run can be set up indoors or outdoors, so it is a great solution for allowing your dog to play in the garden or yard when the weather is fine.
Setting it up is easy, and takes no more than a few minutes.
It can also be folded down and transported, so if your dog is traveling with you somewhere, you have a safe place for them to play when you arrive.
Its metal wire construction is finished with a black coating which will resist rust and corrosion to prolong the life of the product
- GOOD DESIGN: Black E-Coat finish resistant to rust and corrosion; The panels are strong and coated so they will not rust
- PORTABLE: Easy to Set Up, Fold Down, and Transport
- Size of each panel: 24" x 30", one door access available; Comes with 3 clips to make it one piece or attach to a crate
- Durable pet playpen ideal for indoors and outdoors use
- You can combine it into many different shapes whatever you prefer; Long rectangle, Octagon shape, Square shape, multifunctional item
What's to like about the Ollieroo Dog Playpen
This playpen can be set up in several shapes to either suit the area it is being set up in, or to provide some variation to your dog's playing time.
Ground stakes are provided so that it remains secure when being used outdoors.
What's not to like about the Ollieroo Dog Playpen
Door opening seems small compared to the size of the pen, so larger dogs might have to squeeze their way in or out.
2. MidWest Homes For Pets Playpen
This very simple dog run can be easily set up without the need for any tools and can be used either indoors or outdoors.
To prolong its life the mesh has rust protective coating which guards against corrosion especially if the product is used mainly in the yard or garden.
The dog run consists of eight panels which are 2 feet wide, and it can be set up in a number of configurations.
For outdoor use, 8 ground anchors are supplied to ensure the pen remains static.
It folds flat when not in use, or if you wish to transport it to another location.
- Each panel measures 24"W x 24"H, Exercise Pen / pet Playpen folds flat for convenient storage
- Exercise Pen provides 16 square Feet enclosed area (1.5 meters) for Your dog & other pets; Dogs up to 25 pounds
- 8 ground anchors for outdoor use and 4 thumb Snaps for Easy assembly Included with Exercise Pen / pet Playpen
- Durable Black E Coat Finish, Provides Long Lasting Protection, Features Secure Double Latch Door
- Easy set up ; no tools required for assembly; Exercise Pen Includes 1 year manufacturer's Warranty
What's to like about the MidWest Homes For Pets Playpen
It can be connected to a dog crate so that your dog has access to both their bed/crate and their playpen via the same door.
Very competitively priced compared to other dog runs of a similar standard and size.
Optional extras are available such as a sunscreen roof and soft bedding.
What's not to like about the MidWest Homes For Pets Playpen
The door hinge connection only opens 45 degrees which can cause the pen to twist or move slightly.
No protection for delicate surfaces such as wooden floors
3. IRIS Pet Playpen
This dog run bucks the trend somewhat in that it is made from heavy-duty plastic, rather than metal which is the case with most of the other playpens.
Being plastic, there are obviously no issues with regards to rusting or corrosion to be concerned about.
Putting the playpen together is about as easy as it gets as it only has four panels, that are held together using connecting rods. To say it can be put together in less than two minutes is not an exaggeration.
The base of the pen has rubber feet so your flooring is protected, and ensures that the playpen doesn't move around when your dog is playing inside it.
- Safe, convenient enclosure for your pets
- Includes 8 interlocking panels made from commercial-grade plastic
- Hinged access door with double steel latches, panels interlock securely with full length connecting rods
- Easy assembly; suitable for indoor or outdoor use
- Entire Unit- 63.0 x 63.0 x 34.3 Inches,Each Panel - 26.3 x 1.5 x 34.4 Inches, Door Opening- 15.25 x 20.75 Inches
What's to like about the IRIS Pet Playpen
The run comes in a standard white color, but if that is not to your liking, you have the choice of several other colors including pink, blue, red and green.
There is also an option to purchase two additional panels if you want to create a bigger dog run or have a larger dog. A mesh-roof is also available if you plan to use the pen outdoors.
What's not to like about the IRIS Pet Playpen
The spaces between the bars are rather large so there is the possibility that if they are not being watched, small dogs and pups might use them to climb out.
4. Pet Trex Playpen for Dogs
This dog run consists of 8 panels which are each 30 inches high, therefore it is more suitable for medium or larger dogs.
It is very easy to assemble and doesn't require any special tools. The panels are already connected using hinges and there are corner stabilizers to prevent any movement if the playpen has been assembled outdoors.
The dog run is made from black-coated metal so it is protected from rust and corrosion, and it can be configured to be either square-shaped or hexagonal.
A smaller size is available with 24-inch panels if you have a smaller dog.
- Includes 8 panels measuring 24 inches wide by 30 inches high.
- Easily Sets Up & Folds Down
- Durable, Satin Black Electro-Coat Finish Provides Years ofProtection
- Secure Double Latch Door Access
- Includes Ground Anchors & Corner Stabilizers
What's to like about the Pet Trex Playpen for Dogs
Given that this is suitable for larger dogs, it is great to see that the door has been designed to open all the way to the top of the panel.
This makes it a lot easier for larger dogs to enter and leave the playpen compared to some, which have very small doors.
What's not to like about the Pet Trex Playpen for Dogs
Once again, we find a playpen that does not have any protection on the feet so there is a possibility of it scratching wooden or other types of delicate flooring.
5. SmithBuilt Dog Playpen
The panel heights of this playpen are 36 inches high which make it suitable for large and even some very large dogs to play in.
The entire pen is made from 6-gauge steel wire which has an epoxy coating for rust protection. Given that larger dogs will be using this dog run then it is good to see that strong metal has been used in its construction.
Assembly is extremely easy, and you have the choice of setting it up in hexagonal, square, or rectangular configurations, which may help it fit better, especially if it is being used indoors.
If you need to move the playpen or are taking your dog with you on a trip and want to use the playpen when you are there, it can be folded flat to just 2 inches.
To protect it, and make it easier to transport, it is supplied with a very welcome carry case.
There are options for even higher panels which go as high as 48 inches if your dog is a bit of a giant.
What's to like about the SmithBuilt Dog Playpen
The carry case is great little extra, but the main advantage of this playpen is its construction and protection level.
Rather than having the standard powder or electro coating, this uses epoxy protection which gives enhanced protection from rust. The higher-grade steel mesh also means it is more suitable for the larger dogs who will be using it.
The multiple configurations are also very useful, with the additional option of using the playpen as a 16-foot fence if one is needed.
What's not to like about the SmithBuilt Dog Playpen
Despite being made for larger dogs, the door opening on this pen does not go all the way to the top of the panel, so your dog may need to duck their head when entering or leaving.
While a dog run or playpen might seem to be a very simple product, choosing one that is right for your dog, needs more than a few seconds thinking time.
Your dog's size, where you are going place the playpen, its construction, and how well your dog behaves, are just some of the things you need to factor in.
You also want to make sure that their playpen will be a safe and suitable place for them to play, especially if they are likely to be spending a lot of their time in there.
Most playpens are made with a steel wire mesh construction, which makes them durable, but also at risk from rusting or corrosion if they are used mainly outside.
They'll all be coated with protection, but the grade of these coatings varies so check this.
Plastic playpens are also available, mainly for smaller dogs. They may not be as strong as metal runs but they do give you a choice of color on some products.
Check to see if the dog run you are considering can be assembled in more than one configuration.
This has many advantages such as making it more likely to fit in awkward spaces, an option to use it as a fence, and can create a play space that suits your dog more.
This won't be relevant if you are only going to use your dog run outside, but if you are going to use it indoors, then this is important.
Many playpens have feet which are designed to protect your flooring from scratching, so if your floor is wooden or has another surface prone to scratching this will be most welcome.
Unfortunately, there some products which do not have this protection and therefore need something placed beneath them so that your floor does not get damaged.
Dog Runs FAQ
Is a dog run or playpen a replacement for my dog's bed?
They are more suited as a play area for your dog than where they can sleep at night. A dog's bed should be a cozy and comfortable place which is normally a different location from where they play.
Are dog runs and playpens difficult to assemble?
Absolutely not. Many can be up and ready to use within a couple of minutes, and you generally do not need any tools to assemble them.
Which is best? Plastic or metal?
They both have their good and not-so-good features. Metal is a stronger material, but it is prone to rusting, especially if left outdoors all the time. Plastic obviously doesn't rust, but it is not as durable as metal, so is probably more suitable if you are buying a playpen for a smaller dog.
How do I know which size to buy?
Most standard playpens have panels which are 24-inches high and this should be a sufficient height for most smaller sized dogs. This assumes that they are not prone to jumping out of the playpen.
For medium, to very tall dogs you can select panel heights ranging from 30 inches to as high as 48 inches with the rule of thumb being to choose a panel height which is at least 6-inches higher than the height of your dog.
Is my dog playing in their dog run a substitute for taking them for walks?
While your dog can get some level of exercise playing in their pen, it is no substitute for proper walks, especially if their playpen is located indoors. All dogs need regular exercise to stay trim, fit and healthy so always ensure they are taken out for a walk or a run at least twice a day.
There are a lot of similarities between the dog runs we have reviewed so choosing a winner was no easy task. However, just edging out in front, and thus our #1 choice is the SmithBuilt Dog Playpen.
Given that a dog run or playpen is going to be a place where your dog plays, then it needs to be able to withstand the inevitable bumps and scrapes that are likely to happen. The SmithBuilt Dog Playpen's superior grade metal and enhanced rust protection means it can do so, better than the others.
On a practical level, it also has several configurations, so you have the maximum flexibility when locating it and setting it up. The inclusion of a carry case for when you need to transport it, gives this dog run another advantage over the others.