Dachshund puppy in a pen

The Best Puppy Playpen Australia -
An Overview

Our #1 Pick

The Best Value for Money

KUP Living Dog Exercise Pen

  • Flexible shape
  • Three sizes
  • 1-year warranty
  • Easy to assemble

You may think of a dog crate as an essential part of the dog owner’s toolkit, but rarely do we have the same associations with the unassuming puppy pen.

A puppy pen is the larger cousin of the crate, with many of the same features but way more space and slightly different uses. We think it is just as essential as a puppy crate and in this article, we will show you why!

Today, we break down the qualities of a great puppy pen and then give you our top recommendations for puppy pens in Australia. We hope this article helps you find the right option for your pup!


When To Use A Puppy Pen

When you think of cages to house your darling puppy, you may immediately think of dog crates.

Crates are fabulous inventions. They are great for housetraining your puppy. (1) They are also just fantastic refuge away from the world. (2) A place of solitude and calm for your puppy to call their own. These are fantastic qualities of a crate. But what a crate doesn’t have is ample space for your puppy to safely play and exercise without the fear that your puppy will run away or cause mischief behind your back.

Instead of a crate, you need a puppy pen. Puppy pens are fantastic enclosures that give you the security of a crate but ample space to play and exercise. It’s very much like having a baby cage that your toddlers and play in safely when your back is turned.

Puppy pens are perfect for when you need to leave your puppy unattended, but they are wide awake and wanting to have fun. Puppy pens can reduce separation anxiety by providing a safe and stimulating environment. (3)

“This kind of confinement helps to potty train your puppy, prevents destructive chewing, keeps them safe from household hazards, and helps them learn that being alone is nothing to worry about. Their puppy zone is managing their environment to help them make good choices about where to potty, what to chew on, and how to entertain themselves when you’re not around.” – Cathy Madison at the Preventative Vet 


What To Look For In A Puppy Playpen

Though crates are similar to puppy exercise pens, there are slightly different factors to consider when choosing the right one for you. Starting with...

Durability

Of course, you want a decent return on your investment when it comes to the right puppy pen. They aren’t the most inexpensive of dog apparel, so you’ll want them to stand the test of time. Not only that, but puppies can be quite rough when they play. Particularly if you have more than one pup! (5) They may even look like they are fighting. Your playpen has to stand up to being bashed around a bit.

It also needs to be sturdy enough not to collapse if they lean on the sides.

Most heavy-duty puppy pens are made of steels or iron wiring that is rust-resistant and waterproof. Soft fabric playpens are typically made of nylon as these have the same durable qualities.

Ease of assembly

The ease of assembly depends on what you are using the puppy pen for.

If you intend to set up the playpen and have it permanently fixed somewhere in your back garden or the house, the ease of assembly is not quite as important. Of course, it is great to have an easy assembly in all circumstances, but if it is a fiddly job that requires tools, it’s not a big deal if you only intend to do it once.

For most puppy parents, however, playpens are not in place all of the time. You might bring one out at specific times or even have the flexibility to move it around your home. Maybe you want an indoor puppy pen predominantly, but to always have the option to set it up outside when you need to. What then?

A no-tool assembly is therefore paramount to your ease of use. You’ll be glad to hear that most puppy pens are foldable. You unfold them to set them up and fold the flat again to pack them down. Easy peasy!

Ease of storage

This follows on nicely from the foldable nature of most puppy pens. If you are intending to use the exercise pen only at certain times, you’ll want it to be simple to tuck away when you don’t need it.

After all, some of these puppy pens can be quite large and cumbersome. If they are left standing when you don’t need them, they can take up a lot of valuable living space. You can also end up tripping over them which is a hazard for you, your family and any house guests.

So, a foldable mechanism that is simple to store is very useful.

Again, only apply this to your own life as it suits you. If you want an outdoor puppy pen that will have a permanent home in your garden, storage is less of a deciding factor.

Portability

You may think that ease of assembly and ease of storage are the key factors to portability.

And in a way, you are right. It is much easier to transport a puppy pen that completely flat packs and sets up without any tools.

But we would be glossing over a major component of a product’s portability. That is the weight.

As I mentioned, many puppy pens are made of metal. It may not be a particularly heavy metal, but after you have folded up 8 panels of steel, it’s still not a pleasant experience to cart around.

Not to mention the inherently bulky nature of how metal cages pack down.

So, the portable puppy pens tend to be the soft fabric ones. They may even come with their own storage bags. You can start using them on the go straight away.

Shape & size

Finally, we have sizing and shape. When it comes to sizing, the size of your puppy is less of a factor than with crates. For example, a Chihuahua puppy and a Labrador puppy could happily use the same size puppy pen. It just depends on how much exercise room you are giving your pup.

If you have more than one puppy, you’ll want a larger size too.

The height of your puppy is more important to measure as you don’t want to buy a puppy pen that your dog could easily escape. Defeats the purpose entirely.

In the same vein, the shape of the puppy pen you choose is completely down to your preference. Some models have flexible panels, enabling you to create your own shape that will best suit the room you are using. It might be worth deciding where you are going to locate the puppy pen before you purchase one. Then you’ll know the best shape and size to go for.


Best Puppy Pens Australia Reviewed

Quite a few factors to think about aren’t there? Well, not to worry dear reader. We’ve got you covered! Whether you need a super durable heavy-duty puppy pen, or a lightweight, portable puppy pen, we have chosen the selection below specifically for you. We aim to always give a range of price points and styles so you can find the best one for you. We hope this round-up is helpful for you in your search!

#1: Best Overall: KUP Living Dog Exercise Pen

  • Flexible shape
  • Three sizes
  • 1-year warranty
  • Easy to assemble

Sometimes it’s the simplest of products that pack the most punch. This exercise pen is the perfect puppy pen for your needs. No bells and whistles. Just a traditional dog exercise pen that you can fill with plenty of toys and treats to keep your pup entertained.

It comes in three heights so you can purchase the one that would suit your puppy and your space the best. On all of the models, the panels are 79cm in width. The small size has panels 61cm in height. The medium model has panels 76cm in height. Finally, the largest size has panels 101cm in height. It is, therefore, suitable for puppies and dog of a good range of ages and breeds.

There are 8 panels with each model enabling you to fully customise the shape of the pen. Maybe you want to make more of an L-shaped enclosure to suit the room they will be in. Or perhaps, you are using the pen outdoors and want the maximum amount of space. The hexagonal configuration is ideal in that case. The flexibility is fantastic and definitely a sign of a good product that is fit for purpose.

The opening has two latches for extra security and the fences are not harmful at all to your dog. The rounded edges ensure there are no sharp joints that can scratch and injure your dog. They are made of a rust-resistant, black lacquered metal that is durable and suitable for both indoor and outdoor use.

As for portability, this wouldn’t be the best for travelling, but it does fold down incredibly easily. Assembly and disassembly are also simple, so you can whip it out whenever you need to inside or outside the home.

It is a pretty average price point for the size ranges and the style of the pen. The good reviews also attest to the quality and great customer service the manufacturer provides. To top it all off, the manufacturer also offers a 1-year warranty should you have any issues or concerns with the product. A winner all rounds!

Pros

Cons

  • Flexible shape
  • Not the best for travelling
  • Three sizes
Cell
  • 1-year warranty
Cell
  • Easy to assemble
Cell

  • Nice design
  • 4 sizes
  • No-tool assembly
  • Can latch onto your dog’s crate for more living room

If you don’t want or need a puppy pen that can contort into crazy shapes, the TOPET is a nice little option with a slightly more appealing look to it.

The KUP Living model may be a bit cagey for you, so this one is the antidote to that. The TOPET very much looks like a baby cage, complete with white-lacquered aluminium alloy.

This time the size range is measured by panels. Each panel is 45cm in width and 70cm in height. The packs can induce 8, 10, 12 or 14 panels depending on the size you would like. The cage comes as a flat pack that you simply unfold into a large rectangle and secure. No tool assembly is always a thumbs up for us!

The gate side has two latches that keep the playpen secure. You can even latch this gate onto the side of your dog’s crate to create an even larger enclosure. An area for sleeping and an area for playing.

This playpen is perfect for puppies up to 60cm tall. If your pup is a small dog breed, they can even keep using this exercise pen well into the future. A great investment.

We would love for the shape to be more flexible but if you want a rectangular exercise pen that will do the job and do it well, you can’t go wrong with the TOPET model.

Pros

Cons

  • Nice design
  • Only supports a rectangular shape
  • 4 sizes
  • List Element
  • No-tool assembly
Cell
  • Can latch onto your dog’s crate for more living room
Cell

#3: Budget-Friendly Pick: 30” Dog Exercise Pen

  • Economical
  • 1-year warranty
  • Easy to assemble
  • Durable

This is another simple exercise pen from KUP Living but at a much more economical price.

If you don’t want to pay over $100 for a puppy pen, and don’t mind forfeiting the flexibility and quality a bit, this is not a bad choice.

This exercise pen comes in one size with 8 panels. Each panel is 61cm wide and 76cm tall, so it is quite large overall. There is some flexibility in the shape, but it is not quite as bendy as the top choice we mentioned before. You can form it into a perfect square or an octagon.

As for the looks, the caging is slightly closer together with thinner poles in between the joints. It makes the exercise pen look a bit more cagey than the first two picks here. Not nearly as attractive as the TOPET, but certainly a good simple, black exercise cage.

The black iron wire is durable and safe for your dog. There are two latches on the gated side for extra security as your puppy plays.

This is another no-tool assembly, as it folds down completely for easy storage. We would still say this isn’t the best for travelling. We have other recommendations for playpens on the go.

The manufacturer offers a 1-year warranty on the product should you have any issues with it at all. As an economical exercise pen, this is a fabulous choice.

Pros

Cons

  • Economical
  • Not as flexible with the shape as other models
  • 1-year warranty
  • Thinner metal wiring looks more cagey
  • Easy to assemble
Cell
  • Durable
Cell

#4: Most Travel-Friendly: Zampa Portable Foldable Puppy Playpen

  • Easy to transport
  • No-tool assembly
  • Comes with a storage bag
  • Comes in 4 spacious sizes

We have mostly focused on at-home puppy playpens so far, but what about playpens for when you are travelling? Perhaps you love to camp with your pup and want somewhere secure for them to play. Maybe you are taking a cross-country road trip and want to make sure you have breaks for your puppy to exercise safely on your route.

Whatever your reasons for wanting a portable puppy playpen, the Zampa is the ideal choice for you.

This soft-sided exercise pen is completely designed with travel in mind. To start, the heavy-duty fabric material is much more lightweight than the metal playpens we have already mentioned. This makes it so much easier to carry around.

You then have the storage. This playpen comes with its own soft carrier bag that it completely folds into for easy portability. No tools are required for assembly or disassembly. This is the perfect travel companion.

Onto the quality and durability of the product. The Zampa is one tough cookie. Despite not being metal, the manufacturer has taken great care to use hardy, water-resistant materials for use both indoors and outdoors.

This is an 8-panel playpen that comes in 4 sizes. The extra-small is 73cm x 73cm x 43cm. The small size is 92cm x 92cm x 60cm. The medium is 114cm x 114cm x 60cm. Finally, the large is 155cm x 155cm x 76cm. So, as you can see, the size range is very impressive!

Zampa also offers this playpen in 4 cool colours! The main sides are a tan canvas colour but there are different coloured trims to choose from. You can choose blue, brown, red and light pink.

Overall, the Zampa portable puppy playpen is economical, durable and well-reviewed. The perfect trifecta. We are happy to recommend it!

Pros

Cons

  • Easy to transport
  • Can only be assembled into an octagonal shape
  • No-tool assembly
Cell
  • Comes with a storage bag
Cell
  • Comes in 4 spacious sizes
Cell

  • Large size
  • Easy to store
  • Durable material
  • Removable roof and mesh windows for ventilation

If you are after an extra-large puppy pen, the largest Zampa is pretty impressive. The next best thing is the AUSWY Extra-large Soft Pet Playpen.

Let’s start with sizing. This measures 120cm x 120cm x 60cm which is plenty of space for your pup to run around. It is also the only puppy pen on this list that is almost completely circular, which maximises the space your puppy has to play and exercise inside.

This is a highly portable playpen that completely folds down into a handy storage bag. The storage bag is made of the same durable Oxford nylon fabric as the main playpen itself. We mention nylon a lot here as it is imperishable, long-lasting, water-resistant and heat resistant.

There are two large storage pockets on the sides of the playpen should you need them to hold treats or toys.

The base is completely removable making it easier to clean. The roof is removable too in case you want a completely open-air experience for your pup. The playpen is very well ventilated whether the roof is on or not though. There are mesh “windows” all the way around the walls of the circular pen.

For security, the AUSWY model uses two zippable doors to let your dog in and out of the playpen.

The cons of this product would be the assembly. It is not quite as easy or as clear as the others on this list. For extra support, you are provided with fibreglass rods that insert in certain locations to maintain the shape of the playpen. These are a little tricky to insert and not very clear. But once they are in, they hold up the shape of the product perfectly for use. A bit fiddly? Yes, but certainly worth it.

If you are in the market for an economical, large puppy pen, this is a great option for you!

Pros

Cons

  • Large size
  • Not as easy to assemble
  • Easy to store
  • Mixed reviews
  • Durable material
Cell
  • Removable roof and mesh windows for ventilation
Cell

The Final Verdict: Best Puppy Exercise Pen

As you can see, the humble puppy playpen comes in all sorts of shapes, sizes and materials. The best one for you is definitely the one that best suits your purposes. For a great all-round at home puppy playpen for indoor and outdoor use, the KUP Living range is ideal. They have a great selection of sizes and the shape flexibility is unbeatable. You can really customise this product, despite how simple it may seem from the outside.

If you intend to travel with your puppy and want an exercise pen for them during your adventures, the Zampa is the best portable playpen we could find. Durable, lightweight and easy to assemble, it ticks all of the boxes!

FAQ

What is the difference between a puppy crate and a playpen?

The first difference is the intentions behind using it. Crates are used for housetraining puppies and dogs. (6) It can also be used as a calm resting place when your dog is unattended.

Playpens are primarily used as play and exercise spaces. You can even join your puppy in their playpen and play with them to associate that space as “playtime”.

The second difference is the sizing requirements. For a crate to feel safe and cosy, it needs to be quite a snug fit for your puppy. (7) Whereas puppy pens need plenty of space for your dog to roam. 

How long should you keep your puppy in a playpen?

When crating, the rule of thumb is no longer than 3 hours for a puppy under 6 months. No longer than 6 hours for an older puppy.

The same rules generally apply for playpens. It is generally kinder to have your puppy in a playpen for long hours of confinement, than a crate. Simply because the crate is a small space, while playpens are more open and freer.

You can always combine the two by connecting the door of your dog’s crate to the door of your dog’s playpen. You then have a very spacious, multifunctional space that your dog can comfortably roam whilst you are away!

References
  1. Scott, D. September 8, 2020. “6 Steps To Successfully Crate Train Your Puppy”. Dog Naturally Magazine. Retrieved January 11, 2021. https://www.dogsnaturallymagazine.com/crate-training-a-puppy/
  2. Leigh, P. November 30, 2015. “Crates are Forever – Not Just for Puppies”. American Kennel Club. Retrieved January 11, 2021. “https://www.akc.org/canine-partners/crates-are-forever-not-just-for-puppies/ 
  3. Humane Society of The United States. “Does your dog freak out when you leave?”. Retrieved January 11, 2021. https://www.humanesociety.org/resources/does-your-dog-freak-out-when-you-leave 
  4. Madson, C. November 24, 2020. “Puppy Zone: How to Set Up a Long–Term Confinement Area”. Preventative Vet. Retrieved January 11, 2021.
    https://www.preventivevet.com/dogs/how-to-set-up-puppy-long-term-confinement-area
  5. Shojai, A. March 3, 2020. “All the Ways a Puppy Likes to Play”. The Spruce Pets. Retrieved January 11, 2021. https://www.thesprucepets.com/puppy-play-how-puppies-play-2804905
  6. Nicholas, J. July 14, 2020. “Everything You Need to Know About Crate Training Your Puppy or Adult Dog”. Preventative Vet. Retrieved January 11, 2021. https://www.preventivevet.com/dogs/everything-you-need-to-know-about-crate-training-your-puppy-or-adult-dog
  7. Sharpe, S. December 23, 2019. “How to Crate Train Your Dog in 9 Easy Steps”. American Kennel Club. Retrieved January 11, 2021. https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/training/how-to-crate-train-your-dog-in-9-easy-steps/
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Olivia De Santos

Olivia is a professional writer and animal lover. She loves spending time with her Podengo and Flat Coated Retriever, and writing pieces to help people to be better dog owners

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