The Best Dog Exercise Pens

It’s another beautiful day, and you’re watching your dog look at you longingly through the front window of your home while you work in the yard. Your yard isn’t fenced in, and Rocco just gets tangled in his run when he’s outside. The solution? An exercise pen. Designed to safely contain your dog to one area, an exercise pen has a wide variety of uses, including Rocco hanging out with you in the yard.

We reviewed dozens of dog exercise pens to identify the best of the best. We looked at open and enclosed pens, wire, plastic, and cloth pens, and those with doors and no doors. From small to large, and everything in between, we noted the stability, portability, and useability of the pens available.

Top Pick
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MidWest Exercise Pen

The MidWest Exercise Pen features a wide door, so it’s easier for your dog to enter and exit the exercise pen.

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$36.99 USD

We chose the MidWest Exercise Pen as the clear winner for its spacious size, durable frame, and easy set up. With five different heights to choose from, this pen accommodates a number of dog breeds.

The 5 Top-Rated Dog Exercise Pens

Editor's PicksBrandRating
Best OverallMidWest Exercise Pen4.5
Runner UpPet Trex 8 Panel Exercise Playpen4.3
Best Budget BuyPaws & Pals Dog Exercise Pen4.6
Best Portable Dog Exercise PenRuff 'n Ruffus Foldable Pet Playpen4.3
Best Modular Dog Exercise PenIRIS Pet Playpen with Door4.1

*Ratings are from Amazon at the time of publication and can change

Our Top Pick: MidWest Exercise Pen

The MidWest Exercise Pen has 16 square feet of space, and is constructed from strong wire. It’s covered in a black e-coated finish for durability and weatherproofing. Anchor the exercise pen to the ground with the eight ground stakes that are included for extra stability. Four thumb snaps are also included to fasten the two ends of the pen together. Alternatively, use the thumb snaps to attach the pen to a crate or another pen for added space.

Your dog can easily enter or exit the pen using the wide door. Lock it closed with the two latches, and even use one of the thumb snaps to secure the door to the pen. Setting up the pen takes just minutes, and it folds flat for easy storage. You also have the option of getting a wire mesh or sunscreen top for the pen, but they are sold separately. Thousands of customers love this exercise pen, and give it 4.5 stars.

MidWest Exercise Pen Key Features:

  • 1-year warranty
  • Easy to set up
  • Comes with ground stakes
  • Double-latch locking door

Our Runner Up Pick: Pet Trex 8 Panel Exercise Playpen

Runner Up
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Pet Trex 8 Panel Exercise Playpen

The 8-panel design gives your dog room to move.

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$48.99 USD

The Pet Trex 8 Panel Exercise Playpen is our runner up choice, though it was a close call. Similar to our top choice, this exercise pen has 16 square feet of space, and is made from heavy wire and sealed with an e-coat finish. The eight panels are connected and joined together with the thumb snaps that are included. Corner stabilizers are also part of the package, which can help keep the pen from slipping on hard wood, should you choose to use it inside.

For outside use, this pen comes with ground stakes in order to fix the pen to the ground. One of the panels is outfitted with a large door in order for you and your pooch to have easy access in and out of the pen. The door has two latches to lock the door safely in place, allowing you to secure your dog inside. With two heights to choose from, you can create a variety shapes to accommodate different spaces.

Hundreds of customers love how easy this pen is to set up, take down, store, and use. Many reviewers connected the pen to a crate, or extended the area with a second pen attached.

Pet Trex 8 Panel Exercise Playpen Key Features:

  • Black e-coat finish
  • Ground stakes included
  • Folds compact and stores easily
  • Double-latch, locking door

Best Budget Pick: Paws & Pals Dog Exercise Pen

Best for Budget
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Paws & Pals Dog Exercise Pen

Construct as many shapes as you wish with the eight interlocking panels.

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If every penny counts, the Paws & Pals Dog Exercise Pen is best for budget. The eight interlocking panels can be changed into various shapes to fit in different areas, giving your pup 16 square feet of room. Paws & Pals offers five heights to meet the needs of several breeds from small to large. The exercise pen is one unit, which makes for a quick and easy set up. Thumb snaps are included so you can secure the ends of the pen together.

This rust-resistant pen can be used indoors or outdoors, and comes with stakes for anchoring the pen to the ground. One of the panels has a doggie door, with two latches to secure the door shut. But unlike our top two choices, this model doesn’t allow for human step-through entry. When you’re done with the exercise pen, it folds flat for easy traveling and storing. Hundreds of reviewers love this pen enough to give it 4.6 stars.

Paws & Pals Dog Exercise Pen Key Features:

  • Easy set up and take down
  • Ground stakes included
  • Double-latch locking door
  • Folds for compact storage

Best Portable Dog Exercise Pen: Ruff ‘n Ruffus Foldable Pet Playpen

Best Portable Dog Exercise Pen
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The Ruff ‘n Ruffus Foldable Pet Playpen comes out on top for best portable exercise pen. The soft, enclosed playpen covers a wide variety of uses, and is easy to take on the go. With its easy set up, you can create a safe area for your dog inside or outside. The durable, water-resistant nylon is lightweight but sturdy, and the corner seams are reinforced for stability. This playpen comes in three sizes to accommodate different breeds.

This portable exercise pen comes with the option to close the zippered mesh roof, which provides airflow and shade. Seven of the eight panels are mesh windows, generating plenty of air circulation. The eighth panel is a zippered mesh door you can roll up and fasten with Velcro to keep the door open. The floor of the pen is attached to the rest of the enclosure so your pup can’t wiggle his way out of the bottom.

Thousands of customers give this pen 4.3 stars. It folds together to fit neatly in the carrying bag that’s included. It also comes with a collapsible travel bowl.

Ruff ‘n Ruffus Foldable Pet Playpen Key Features:

  • Removable, zippered, mesh roof
  • Attached floor mat
  • Carrying case included
  • Made from durable, waterproof nylon

Best Modular Dog Exercise Pen: IRIS Pet Playpen with Door

Best Modular Dog Exercise Pen
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IRIS Pet Playpen with Door

This heavy duty plastic pen has four interlocking panels, with the option of using additional panels to increase the size.

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$33.49 USD

Our favorite modular dog exercise pen is the IRIS Pet Playpen with Door because it has the option to purchase additional panels. This allows you to create a number of shapes and sizes to meet your own spacial needs. The panels are made from a heavy duty, molded plastic – gentle enough for indoors, but strong enough for outdoor use. It’s outfitted with rubber feet so it won’t slide around on your floor, or scuff up your hard wood.

The panels interlock with full-length rods for extra tight corners, but the corners are flexible enough to configure the panels into any shape you want. The unit comes with four panels, and each panel measures 24 inches in height. This gives your pooch 8 square feet of roaming room. She’ll have easy access with the small door that’s built into one of the panels. And you’ll be able to secure the door with the two durable, locking latches.

Thousands of customers love this product, but note it is for smaller dogs and puppies. The exercise pen is easy to set up and fit multiple items, such as a bed, toys, and food and water bowls.

IRIS Pet Playpen with Door Key Features:

  • Additional panels available, but sold separately
  • Full-length corner rods
  • Double-latch, locking door
  • Made from molded plastic

Who Should Buy a Dog Exercise Pen

Many dog owners, perhaps yourself included, have thought about getting a dog exercise pen. Others have found themselves, at one time or another, wanting or needing one for a variety of reasons. Since they come in assorted shapes and sizes, exercise pens have many uses. Made for small to large dogs, an exercise pen can give your dog freedom where otherwise he might not have it.

Exercise pens are great for isolating an injured pet, separating doggie siblings, or rearing a puppy. The pen allows your dog to rest, play with her toys, or run around a safe part of your yard. Exercise pens give your senior dog a quiet place to retreat, or a nervous dog a safe spot to decompress. Whatever your need, an exercise pen can be a handy accessory to have.

Top Pick
Buy Now
MidWest Exercise Pen

The MidWest Exercise Pen features a wide door, so it’s easier for your dog to enter and exit the exercise pen.

buy now
$36.99 USD

Important Features to Consider

A dog exercise pen should be large enough for your dog to move around comfortably. There are other important features to consider, however, when selecting an exercise pen:

  • Size. In order to select the correct exercise pen for your dog, consider the size of the pen. But more notably, pay attention to the height. In conjunction with the size of the pen itself, you need to factor in whether or not your dog is an escape artist, a jumper, or climber. Some dogs can be contained with a pen height that is just above their head, while others might need something that is several inches higher. As you think about the size pen you want for your dog, keep in mind what else you might put in there with her. Don’t forget to measure the area you want the pen. This will also help determine the size.
  • Structure. You will need a stable exercise pen to keep your dog safely confined. This is also a matter that depends on the personality of your pup. If you have a very strong, determined dog, look for an exercise pen that is heavy duty and durable. If your little hellion prefers to try and dig her way out, look for a pen that has an attached floor. Likewise, if you have a climber who just wants to scamper over the side, consider a pen with a roof. Choose an exercise pen that matches your dog’s character.
  • Portability and storage. Exercise pens can be permanent structures or temporary pop-ups. If you need to put the pen away on a regular basis, find one that’s portable and easy to store. Many exercise pens fold or collapse flat for more compact storage. This also makes them great for traveling, camping, or hanging out at a friend’s house.
  • Location. Location is more of a concern if you are putting up a permanent structure, but it’s still important to consider when the pen is portable. An exercise pen should keep your dog safe, and away from dangers. It should never be placed in direct sunlight unless your dog has the option to take cover in the shade as well. A pen should give your dog a comfortable, peaceful place to hang out, so the environment in which you place the pen should also be peaceful.
  • Safety. Aside from the safety of the exercise pen itself, consider how your dog may act in the pen. An overly rambunctious pooch may not do well in a completely enclosed pen. A small dog with small paws might not do as well in a wire pen with the larger openings. A bouncy dog that might leap out of the pen will need some type of roof. Consider each feature of the exercise pen, and whether or not it would be safe for your dog and his unique traits.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a dog exercise pen?

A dog exercise pen is typically made up of wire panels that are connected together to form a contained area, though pens can also come in a plastic or cloth material. Some exercise pens are open at the top, while others have some type of roof to enclose them. Exercise pens are used to confine your dog as an alternative to a run, leash, or crate.

What size exercise pen does my dog need?

The exercise pen you choose for your dog should be large enough for her to effortlessly move around. She should be able to sit, lie down, turn around, and be comfortable. The height of the pen should be slightly taller than your dog’s head. Unless, of course, your dog is skilled at scaling walls, and needs something even higher.

How long should a dog stay in an exercise pen?

The length of time your dog can stay in an exercise pen depends on why she’s in there. A dog trying to heal from an injury or surgery may need to stay in a pen – indoors – for a long period of time. Puppies that require close supervision may also be in a pen longer. An average, healthy dog could spend anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours in a pen comfortably. Dogs should always be supervised in a pen, and not left in one for an extended amount of time.

Can you use an exercise pen instead of a dog crate?

Exercise pens and crates are two different items you can use to confine your dog. They are not typically interchangeable, but depending on the reason for the confinement, you might be able to use an exercise pen instead of a dog crate.

Dog crates help keep your dog in a small space so he doesn’t soil his surroundings, destroy the furniture, or otherwise cause chaos and mischief. They’re used to help new dogs acclimate to their new home, give them a safe place to sleep, or as part of the potty training process.

While an exercise pen can be used for most of those reasons, they’re not as small as crates. Most exercise pens are also not as securely closed-in as a crate. If you have a Fido Houdini, a crate may be a better choice depending on your reason. Likewise, a crate is a better choice if you are potty training. An exercise pen is large enough that your dog may not associate the pen as only his sleeping quarters.

Other Dog Exercise Pens We Reviewed

Top Pick
Buy Now
MidWest Exercise Pen

The MidWest Exercise Pen features a wide door, so it’s easier for your dog to enter and exit the exercise pen.

buy now
$36.99 USD

We looked at 20 other dog exercise pens. Even though they didn’t make our 5 best dog exercise pen list, they’re still excellent options for your dog. The information you need to compare each one is listed below.

Soft, Enclosed Exercise Pens

Best Choices Products Pet Playpen

Best Choices Products Pet Playpen

Two zippered doors give your dog convenient access to this cloth-made exercise pen.

Key Features:

  • 8 panels with mesh windows
  • Carrying case included
  • Waterproof oxford cloth material

Cost: $34

ESK Collection Pet Exercise Pen

ESK Collection Pet Exercise Pen

Resembling more of a tent, this exercise pen is made from a soft, flexible material.

Key Features:

  • 45-inch diameter
  • Waterproof cloth material
  • Zippered mesh panels

Cost: $42

Parkland Pet Foldable Playpen

Parkland Pet Foldable Playpen

Exercise your puppy on a regular basis in this soft, enclosed playpen. It’s easy to use and folds flat for storage.

Key Features:

  • Tarp flooring
  • Removable zippered top
  • Zippered front door

Cost: $38

Zampa Pet Playpen

Zampa Pet Playpen

This soft playpen has an attached waterproof floor mat so your dog can’t crawl out the bottom.

Key Features:

  • Reinforced corners
  • 100 percent money back guarantee
  • Carrying case included

Cost: $55

24-inch High Exercise Pens

BestPet Pet Exercise Playpen with Door

BestPet Pet Exercise Playpen with Door

Rust-resistant metal creates a durable, weatherproof exercise pen that can be used outside in all seasons.

Key Features:

  • Double latch locking door
  • Multiple space configurations
  • Easy to set up

Cost: $65

IRIS 24” Exercise and Pet Playpen

IRIS 24” Exercise and Pet Playpen

This 4-panel exercise pen provides 8 square feet of secure space for your puppy to play in.

Key Features:

  • Add-on panels available and sold separately
  • Made from heavy duty molded plastic
  • Made in the USA

Cost: $34

Majestic Pet Exercise Kennel Pen

Majestic Pet Exercise Kennel Pen

Build your own exercise spot with an 8-panel design, or purchase additional panels to expand it for more space.

Key Features:

  • Multiple shape configurations
  • Ground anchors included
  • Can be used with other pens

Cost: $50

ShinShop Heavy Duty Pet Exercise Playpen

ShinShop Heavy Duty Pet Exercise Playpen

Create multiple shape configurations for your dog’s exercise pen using two sets of eight panels each.

Key Features:

  • Black e-coated finish
  • Ground stakes included
  • Hinged door with lock

Cost: $181

Yaheetech Heavy Duty Metal Pet Exercise Playpen

Yaheetech Heavy Duty Metal Pet Exercise Playpen

This heavy duty exercise pen is made of powder-coated iron for extra durability.

Key Features:

  • Rounded edges for safety
  • 16 metal stakes included
  • Multiple shape configurations

Cost: $182

30-inch High Exercise Pens

AmazonBasics Foldable Pet Exercise Playpen

AmazonBasics Foldable Pet Exercise Playpen

Eight stakes and corner stabilizers are included to help ground the exercise pen.

Key Features:

  • Double latch locking door
  • Black e-coated finish
  • 1-year warranty

Cost: $37

New World Pet Products Foldable Exercise Pen

New World Pet Products Foldable Exercise Pen

Eight panels make up this exercise pen. The pen can be connected to a New World crate for added space.

Key Features:

  • Ground stakes included
  • Folds flat for storage
  • Secure locking snaps

Cost: $34

Ollieroo Dog Playpen Exercise Pen

Ollieroo Dog Playpen Exercise Pen

Your dog can trot around 16 square feet of space while staying safe.

Key Features:

  • Easy to set up, take down, and store
  • Black e-coated finish
  • Multiple shape configurations

Cost: $45

Petmate 8 Panel Exercise Pen with Door

Petmate 8 Panel Exercise Pen with Door

This easy-to-assemble exercise pen will give your dog some room to play while she is safely secured.

Key Features:

  • Stakes included for grounding
  • Double latch locking door
  • Folds flat for storage

Cost: $43

36-inch High and Higher Exercise Pens

ALEKO Heavy Duty Pet Playpen

ALEKO Heavy Duty Pet Playpen

Keep your dog safe and secure while he gets in a good run.

Key Features:

  • Folds flat for easy storage
  • Able to connect more panels for extra space
  • Rust-resistant galvanized steel

Cost: $54

Oxgord Heavy Duty Exercise Dog Playpen

Oxgord Heavy Duty Exercise Dog Playpen

Your dog will enjoy roughly 30 square feet of space to prance around in.

Key Features:

  • 1/2-inch tube frame
  • Rust-resistant metal
  • Rounded edges for safety

Cost: $90

Precision Pet Courtyard Kennel Exercise Pen

Precision Pet Courtyard Kennel Exercise Pen

Made out of galvanized steel, this durable, rust-resistant exercise pen will give your dog room to move while staying safe.

Key Features:

  • Ground stakes included
  • No tools required
  • Silver crackle finish

Cost: $136

Richell Convertible High Pet Playpen

Richell Convertible High Pet Playpen

Use this exercise pen inside or outside. The durable plastic is easy to clean.

Key Features:

  • Can be used as a divider gate
  • Lockable gate door
  • Multiple shape configurations

Cost: $224

SmithBuilt Crates Dog Playpen with Door

SmithBuilt Crates Dog Playpen with Door

Adjustable, expandable panels let you create a multitude of shapes for your dog to run around in.

Key Features:

  • Carrying case included
  • Black e-coated finish
  • 6-gauge, all-steel wire

Cost: $45

Other Dog & Puppy Exercise Pens

BestPet Pet Metal Exercise Pen

BestPet Pet Metal Exercise Pen

This exercise pen has a double latch lock on the door to keep your dog safely inside the pen.

Key Features:

  • Multiple shape configurations
  • Easy to set up and take down
  • Rust-resistant metal

Cost: $76

North States MyPet 8-Panel Petyard Passage

North States MyPet 8-Panel Petyard Passage

Use indoors or outdoors, the durable plastic structure is outfitted with skid-resistant pads.

Key Features:

  • Small dog door with lock
  • Made in the USA
  • Multiple space configurations

Cost: $82

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