Portable dog fences can provide your pet with a secure indoor or outdoor space. Here’s our guide to choosing one, along with five of the best portable dog fence reviews.
Not all portable fences are equal though. While there are high-quality options available, the cheapest fences are often weak, heavy, and difficult to construct. Some may even be dangerous if they topple onto your pet.
In this guide, we’ll discuss how to choose the best portable dog fence for your pooch. I’ve also recommended five fences to help you make a decision.
A simple fence that does a great job
If you’re looking for a versatile portable fence, the MidWest Wire is our top pick. It features a durable design that’s suitable for both indoor and outdoor use, due to the e-coat finish. It also comes with ground anchors, stabilisers, and is available in a variety of sizes.
A portable dog fence creates a safe and enclosed space for your dog. The best fences are easy to assemble, have a folding design, and come in a variety of sizes to suit different breeds.
Some examples of when portable fences can be useful include:
Portable fences aren’t suitable for all dogs though. Anxious or excitable dogs may try to escape, and this could be dangerous for them. If you have a giant breed, the fence may also need to be impractically tall – especially if you want it to be portable.
Putting your dog in a fenced area should also never be a substitute for proper outdoor physical exercise and enrichment. They are only designed to be used for short periods.
Tip: You shouldn’t expect your dog to instantly enjoy spending time inside a fence. Make sure you offer fun toys, yummy chews, food dispensing puzzles, and other things that create positive associations with the space. It’s also essential to introduce the fence with small sessions.
You shouldn’t leave your dog unsupervised behind a fence for long periods. These fences are not escape-proof, so some dogs may attempt to jump, climb, or dig to get out. Even if your pet doesn’t escape, he could injure himself in the attempt, especially if the fence tips over.
Listed below are five of the best portable dog fences. It’s worth reading the details in each review, as the one that’ll work best for you and your dog will depend on a variety of factors.
|Rank||Name||Type||Why Choose It...|
|#1||MidWest Wire Dog Exercise Pen||Wire/Metal||Durable, easy to assemble, and suitable for outdoor use|
|#2||Precision Pet Products Soft-Sided Dog Playpen||Soft-Sided||Great for puppies due to the popup design|
|#3||Frisco 8-Panel Plastic Dog Exercise Pen||Plastic||Plastic makes it less likely to scratch hard floors|
|#4||Frisco Wire Dog Exercise Pen||Wire/Mesh||Relatively compact wire fence for outdoor or indoor use|
|#5||Yaheetech Heavy Duty Foldable Fence||Metal||Large fence that's great for creating big enclosed spaces|
The MidWest Wire Dog Exercise Pen is my top pick for a portable dog fence. The durable design is suitable for both indoor and outdoor use, so it’s a versatile option. It’s also available in a range of sizes, making it a good choice for most breeds.
As you would expect from a portable fence, the MidWest is easy to assemble. Once put together, it doesn’t require tools to erect and folds flat for transportation. The secure double latch door provides quick access for both you and your dog, while keeping him secure when shut.
The MidWest is suitable for outdoor use due to the black e-coat finish. It’s not designed to be left outside all the time, but the pen should last a long time without rusting. The MidWest also comes with ground anchors to secure the fence when outdoors, which are important for safety, and stabilisers to prevent the fence tipping over.
There are five heights available. The tallest is a generous 48 inches, making it a good choice for larger breeds, or smaller dogs with impressive jumping skills. All heights provide a floor space of 16 square feet, which is decent for a basic pen, but not big enough to be used for long periods.
Perhaps the biggest drawback is that the metal design could scratch hard floors if you’re not careful. Weighing in at 29 pounds for the 48 inch version, this also isn’t the lightest dog fence. Taking it camping could be a pain!
Overall, the MidWest Exercise Pen is a versatile fence that can be used both at home and outdoors. The various heights also mean it’ll work for dogs of most sizes. It’s probably not the best option for hardwood floors though.
The soft-sided Precision Pet Playpen is lightweight, easy to assemble, and highly portable. While it’s not as secure as metal pens, it’s great for providing puppies with a den-like space.
One of the great things about the Precision Pet is that it has a popup design. It’s easy to fold down when not in use and weighs just over 10 pounds, making it a convenient choice for travelling. Precision Pets has also included a removable mesh roof for extra protection against a jumping dog.
A potential drawback of soft-sided pens is the lack of air circulation. To minimise this problem, the Precision Pet has ventilated mesh panels to help keep your pet cool. The non-metal sides also mean the pen doesn’t make much noise when bumped, which is great for nervous dogs.
There are a few drawbacks to this design though. The biggest issue is size. The largest option is only 28 inches tall and not that spacious compared to the MidWest. For this reason, it’s only suitable for small dogs or puppies.
The fabric design also has several downsides compared to metal or plastic. The polyester mesh isn’t as durable, so it’s not a good choice if your dog is a chewer. It’s also not designed to be left outside in all weather conditions. If it gets damp, make sure the pen is fully dried out before folding it up, otherwise you could have issues with mold.
Of course, accidents on the fabric pen floor are also more difficult to clean. You’ll need a strong stain and odor remover to get rid of any traces of urine on the base.
In conclusion, the Precision Pet Soft-Sided Dog Fence is great for small dogs and puppies that need a secure and easily transportable space. Just be aware of the limitations for large dogs and those that like to chew.
If the clattering noise and potential of scratches on your floors puts you off a metal pen, then the Frisco 8-Plastic Exercise Dog Pen could be a suitable alternative.
Offering up to 21 square foot of floor space, this pen provides your dog with more room than the MidWest and Precision Pet designs. The non-skid rubber feet also help to keep the pen from sliding around the way the MidWest design can.
Because it’s made from plastic, rather than metal, it doesn’t make the same noise if your dog bumps the walls. Also, if the dog does manage to move it around the floor a bit, you won’t have to worry about it causing scratches on wooden flooring.
The door makes it easy to get your dog in and out. It’s an enclosed door, however, so it’s not as easy for humans to access the pen. If you don’t want to step over the sides, the MidWest is a better option.
The design is only available in one panel height (34 inches), which is a shame. It’s fairly tall, but probably isn’t enough for giant breeds. On the upside, Frisco offers this design in four and eight-panel options, depending on how much space you have or need.
While the plastic design is lightweight, it isn’t as durable or sturdy as metal fences. You’ll need to watch out for your dog chewing it, and it’s easier to tip over if your dog is determined.
Overall, the Frisco Plastic Exercise Pet Pen could be a good choice if you want to protect your floors and are looking for something lighter than metal dog fences. Just don’t expect it to be quite as durable.
If you’re looking for a tall metal pen that doesn’t take up as much floor space as the MidWest, the Frisco Wire Dog Exercise Pen may appeal.
Like the MidWest, it’s available in sizes up to 48”, but the enclosed floor space is smaller. A reduced area can be useful if you have limited space, but also means the pen isn’t suitable for leaving your dog for longer than short periods.
Other features include a step-in door, double-latch design, and e-coat finish. The Frisco Wire Pen also has metal anchors to secure it outdoors and an easy-to-fold design.
Sadly, the Frisco metal pen isn’t quite as durable as the MidWest. The trigger hooks that hold the shape of the pen can break with rough treatment. It’s also prone to sliding around if your dog pushes the sides, although this is an issue with most metal fences.
If you’re looking for a pen that’s more spacious and versatile than the others on this list, then the Yaheetech Heavy Duty Foldable Metal Pet Fence is worth considering.
The 16 panel version can provide a massive 66 square feet of space. This makes it perfect for keeping your dog safe in a garden or large camping site, while still providing space for exercise. You can also split up the panels to create smaller spaces if needed.
The panels are made from powder e-coated iron, making them hard-wearing and suitable for outdoor use. It only has a single latch door, but this is well-made and has a step-through design to make it easy to enter the pen. The pins can also be pushed into the ground to keep it stable.
Keep in mind that the pins can bend if you have to push them into hard ground. It’s also not the most portable option, as the large number of panels makes it heavy and time-consuming to assemble (the 40” 16 panel version weighs 82 pounds!) It’s a good choice if you’re driving to a campsite and staying in the same spot for a week, for example, but probably not the best option if you’re moving each night.
To summarise, the Yaheetech is brilliant if you need a large portable dog fence for your dog. It’s less convenient to move than other options, but the trade-off is that your dog gets much more space.VIEW PRICE
Aside from selecting a durable design, there are several other considerations when choosing a portable dog fence. I’ve outlined the most important below.
Pay close attention to the internal area measurements. You want enough room for your dog to be comfortable, but the fence also needs to fit the available space. Unfortunately, some supposed “exercise pens” are barely big enough for a dog to turn around!
Regardless of the size, your dog shouldn’t be left in a pen all day. However, if you want to leave them for longer than just ten or fifteen minutes, they’ll need enough space to move freely.
Some portable fences are modular and can be expanded with extra panels. These are great for providing more space and can sometimes be arranged in different shapes, but the joints aren’t as strong as those with fixed panels.
Note: Having a large fenced play area isn’t enough for a dog. It’s also important to provide mental enrichment, lots of human interaction, and daily walks.
If you plan to take the fence camping or want to use it outside, it’s important to check the folded size and weight. As a general rule, metal panels are the heaviest, and larger pens are more cumbersome to transport.
You’ll also want to look for a fence with easy assembly. If it’s tricky and you have to dismantle and re-erect it regularly, this could quickly become tiresome.
The height of the fence panels is important. If they’re too short, large breeds or agile small dogs could jump or even climb out the pen.
You should also consider how your dog can get in and out of the pen. If there isn’t a door, you’ll need to lift your dog in and out. This could be tricky if the sides are high or your dog is heavy. In most cases, an easy-access gate is the most convenient option, as long as it has a secure lock.
The type of material used will impact on the durability of the pen. There’s no “best” option here – the right choice depends on your requirements.
Soft-sided crates are lighter, quieter, and less likely to scratch the floor. They aren’t as durable, however, and sometimes may not be as stable. They also tend to be smaller, and so are only suitable for puppies or small breed dogs.
Metal fences last longer and are often more stable. The fence will, however, be heavier and less portable as a result. You’ll also have to watch that it doesn’t scratch hard floors if you’re using it inside.
Opting for a plastic fence offers a middle ground. These are lighter than metal fences, but are usually more durable and bigger than a soft-sided pen. They are also less likely to damage flooring during indoor use compared to a metal fence. A downside is that plastic isn’t chew-proof and is less stable than metal.
For outdoor use, a weatherproof metal dog fence is nearly always the best choice. These typically come with ground stabilizers to prevent the fence from tipping over. Most outdoor fences also have e-coating to prevent rust.
Note: Despite having weather proof coating, metal fences are not designed to be left outside permanently.
Invisible fences rely on your dog receiving a shock or uncomfortable vibration when they move beyond a certain point. The Dog Clinic is an advocate of positive training methods. This type of “fence” relies on fear and pain, which is why we don’t recommend them.
Apart from causing pain to your dog, invisible fences have other undesirable effects. These include:
A portable dog fence provides your pet with a safe space to relax. They are great for camping trips, securing a garden without a fence, or for assisting with indoor management (particularly for puppies!)
My top pick is the MidWest Wire Dog Exercise Pen. It’s a durable fence that provides a decent amount of space for your pup. It’s also available in a variety of heights and is suitable for outdoor use.
Whichever fence you choose, it’s important not to leave your dog unattended for long periods. Portable fences aren’t escape-proof and shouldn’t be used to confine your dog for prolonged periods each day. All dogs need plenty of human interaction, outdoor physical exercise, and other enrichment.
I hope this article has helped you choose a portable dog fence for your pet. If you have any questions, please let me know in the comments section below.