In this review, we’ll discuss some quality dog crate alternatives that are currently popular in 2022. Of course, you can’t go wrong with any of them, but they all have different features to help you decide which one is best for your dog.
In our top picks for the best dog crate alternatives, we reviewed some of the best dog products on the market that you can buy for your pet. But first, we’ll discuss why some dogs may not like being crated and why they may need an alternative to crating.
There’s no shortage of pet products to choose from, but it’s also essential to choose the right product when it comes to safety, comfort, size, and design for your furbaby.
What’s Best for Your Dog? Crate, Playpen, Baby Gates, or Carriers?
Whether it’s containing him for a short period when guests arrive or for a trip to the vet, there are a few things that you need to consider when choosing the right product for your pet.
When leaving your pet contained at home with some bedding and toys inside a carrier or crate, you’ll need your pup to positively associate with his crate so that it becomes less stressful for him to use.
Size is an important consideration, and a crate or carrier should be large enough to accommodate your dog so that he’s able to turn around, stand up, sit and lie down comfortably.
If your pup gets stressed out using a crate, it’s best to introduce this slowly and leave the gate open so that your dog can go in and leave as he pleases. The bottom of the crate should have a mat or bedding that is easily removable and can be washed regularly. You should also add a few dog toys and favorite treats.
Positive crate training is an essential part of raising a pup, and if done correctly, your puppy should have no problem using his crate or being transported in a carrier. Of course, you should never use a crate to punish or confine your dog for hours while you’re at work or running errands. This may trigger a negative response.
You should also take note of pet products that are easy to use. For example, carriers, baby gates, crates, and playpens should all be easy to use. Size, safety, and materials are essential when purchasing alternatives to crates.
You should continually optimize safety, comfort, and space when looking at crating alternatives. Also, look for ways to allow for mental stimulation if your pup is being contained so that he’s not alone and bored.
In a rush? Here are the top picks!
This is an excellent crate alternative! It is expandable and has many uses. For example, you can use it as an indoor/outdoor playpen for your dog to stay confined in, or you can use it as a barrier to keep your dog out of certain areas around the house like the kitchen, dining room, etc.
Each panel measures 24 “W x 36 “H and folds flat for convenient storage. It provides 16 square feet enclosed area (1.5 meters) for your dog & other pets.
This exercise playpen for dogs features eight ground anchors for outdoor use and four thumb snaps for easy assembly. We like this exercise playpen for dogs because dogs can move around comfortably, and it features a durable black e-coat finish that provides long-lasting protection against rust and outdoor elements. It’s also super easy to set up with no tools required. This product features over 53,000 positive reviews. Here’s the takeaway:
- Over 53,000 positive reviews
- Choice of models for all dog breed sizes
- Black electro-coat finish for anti-rust protection
- Features 5 different heights.
- No tools are needed for set up
- 1-year warranty
- It can be used indoors or outdoors
- Reputable brand
The Cumbor baby pet gate features an adjustable gate height, is pressure-mounted, and swings closed automatically. The double locking system provides ultimate safety for children or pets. This pet barrier is perfect for doorways, hallways, or any room in the home and works with most doors.
We like this baby gate because the steel design baby gate can defend up to 150-pound impacts by Husky, Alaska, etc., without budging at all! You do not need to worry about a hyperactive pup pushing down the baby gate. This product has over 8,700 positive reviews.
- Measurement: 30.5 Inch height & 29.5-46 Inch width
- Over 8,700 positive reviews
- White durable steel design baby gate
- Easy installation
- 46″ inch extra wide gate to fit doorway, stairs & kitchen
- Crafted with an auto-close lock
This product has over 56,800 positive reviews that praise its durability, safety, and ease of installation. Its pressure-mounted design makes it perfect for open floor plans without the necessity to drill holes in your walls.
We like this gate because the kit includes a 6-inch comprehensive extension kit and four pressure mount spindle rods. The all-steel design is durable and convenient with a walk-through door. This gate is also certified to both JPMA and ASTM standards.
One reviewer who had a dog said they originally intended to purchase a pet gate but decided on this model instead because it has a lock system that is good enough to keep pets out of the baby’s room.
Another reviewer said their main concern was finding a product that would be quick and easy to install while still being sturdy enough to keep their child safe. However, they did warn that the gate only opens in one direction, so if you are not careful when opening it, you can get your hand caught.
- Dimensions: 38.5 x 2 x 30 inches
- Over 56,800 positive reviews
- Expands to fit openings between 29-34 and 35-38.5 inches wide
- Ease of set up and use
- Adjustable with a 6-inch comprehensive extension kit and four pressure mount spindle rods
The Ruff ‘n Rufus portable foldable pet playpen is another excellent alternative to crating. Instead of confining your pet to a small space that has very little room for movement, this portable playpen lets your pet roam freely around the house.
It’s ideal for pets traveling through different household areas or if you want them to have some freedom while you are busy doing things around the house. You can use it with cats, dogs, and other small pets.
This product is made of a steel frame with a plastic coating that is durable and weatherproof. There is also an easy-to-clean floor tray that’s removable and machine washable to make it easier for you to keep everything clean in the playpen area. The shade cover provides your pet with room protection from the sun and rain.
This playpen is easy to assemble and folds flat for easy storage. You can use the carrying case that comes with it or even order a custom-made bag for longer trips with your pet. This also makes an excellent alternative to crates for dogs on long trips. Additionally, there’s a free travel dog bowl included, so you don’t have to worry about feeding your pet a proper diet even if they’re constantly on the go.
The Ruff ‘n Rufus portable foldable pet playpen is available in three different sizes (Medium, Large & Extra Large) – 29 x 29 x 17 inches, 36 x 36 x 23 inches, and 48 x 48 x 23.5 inches – so it’s perfect for both small and large pets.
Prices range from $38.97 for the medium size to $44.97 large and $55.97 for the extra-large, which is an excellent deal since you’re not just getting a dog playpen but also a carrying case and a free travel bowl too. Here’s the takeaway:
- Three sizes medium, large, & extra large
- Comes with a convenient carry case and a collapsible 16 oz. food bowl.
- Aqua color
- Roomy 8-Panel design with protected seams and reinforced corners.
- Over 22,700 positive reviews
The IRIS USA dog playpen features over 25,700 positive reviews and is priced affordably. If you tend to leave your front door open, this 31 square foot playpen is perfect for containing and protecting your furry friends from the outside world.
The IRIS USA dog playpen is freestanding and made of durable molded plastic. It features 4-8 different panel sizes as follows.
We like this dog playpen because add-on panels are available to create a more oversized pet playpen. It’s also easy to set up with each panel securely snapping together. There are also built-in locks on the door for easy entry. With the non-skid rubber feet, the pet playpen won’t slide around.
It’s an excellent choice for big puppies and small dogs, ensuring good airflow. And, because it’s lightweight with a carrying handle, you can always have your dog playpen on hand when needed.
- Over 25,700 positive reviews
- Crafted with durable molded plastic
- Provides 8 square feet of play space for pets
- Three sizes: 4, 6, 8-panel options
- Made in the US
The Parkland pet portable foldable playpen is another best seller with over 15,500 positive ratings. We like this playpen because of its quick and easy mobile design. This playpen is collapsible, making it very easy to take anywhere, such as camping, traveling, or even visiting family and friends. Instead, it has a removable mesh sunshade to protect your pet from the hot sun rays and biting insects.
The best part about this foldable playpen is that it can be used as a mobile home no matter where you go. For example, your furry friend will have the freedom to run and play while safe from other animals, insects, or getting lost. Instead, it comes with a carry bag for easy storage and transport.
This life-saver is 100% waterproof, mildew resistant, and non-toxic. Check out the many positive reviews from pet owners who have already tried this product.
“I travel quite a bit for work this has been a life saver. It’s super lightweight and portable. We were camping in the desert for a week, it kept my dog safe while letting him have fun.”
- Over 15,500 positive reviews
- Two sizes: small, seven medium
- Available in a stylish chocolate color
- Suitable for small and medium breeds
The ultimate pet containment is the Nova Microdermabrasion dog pen pet playpen kennel fence, outdoor indoor play yard puppy exercise barrier. A 16-panel playpen dog kennel provides more than 66.5 square feet of area to contain pets!
This is a 16-Panel Playpen design that allows for multiple shape configurations such as the shape of rectangle, square, or octagon.
It can also be split into two eight panels to meet your needs. We like this dog playpen because it has a lot of space for pets to exercise and move around. It’s also easy to carry and quickly put away or moved as needed.
The durable metal frame with a black e-coat finish provides long-lasting protection against rust and outdoor elements. This is a long-lasting pet product made of durable materials for increased longevity and durability. It’s also easy to set up and store.
- 16-Panel Playpen design
- Affordable for multi-pet homes
- Easy to set up
- It can be used for multiple pets
- Durable powder-coated iron that does not rust
- It gives pets plenty of room to move about
- Secure double latch gate door offers optimal safety.
- Sturdy & secure
We like the Easy Baby Products Retractable Baby Gate. It’s one of the most versatile baby gates we’ve used and is well made with high-quality materials.
The Easy Baby Products gate also has a handful of additional safety features that make it a better option than some other gates, including a double locking system for extra security and an easy to step over design. In addition, some pet parents may find the lack of door hardware aesthetically pleasing.
This baby gate is a good option for pet parents to limit their dogs’ openings. When fully extended, this Retractable Gate Fits doors up to 55″ wide and is 33″ tall. This product features over 14,800 positive reviews and comes with a 1-year warranty.
- Over 14,800 positive ratings
- Indoor & outdoor use
- Retractable gate is hardware mounted
- Fits openings up to 55″ wide and is 33″ tall
- Meets ASTM or EN safety standards.
- Available in stylish white, black, or grey options
- Durable & long-lasting material
Top Reasons Dogs Don’t Like Being Crated
There are many reasons dogs don’t like being crated! Crating a dog is a tough decision for both the dog and pet parent. If you have a young puppy, they have not yet been taught to control their bladder or hold it all night long.
For this reason, many dogs will need time to get accustomed to sleeping in a crate. For example, a crate could also remind your dog of a visit to the vet where he’s had to stay overnight or have been restricted from movement.
In both of those instances, the dog is in a tight place where he can’t easily see what’s happening around him and feels he’s being held captive.
So if your dog has separation anxiety, being locked up in a crate could intensify that feeling or create new issues if not used correctly. You should try to consider your dog’s reactions when you first introduce a crate and never use one as punishment. That said, when looking for crate alternatives, take your dog’s temperament and needs into consideration first, so that you can ensure you choose the right alternative for your dog. This allows for peace of mind and optimal safety and comfort.
We’ve been through many crate alternatives before finding the eight best options available in 2022. There are several benefits to using different arrangements for your dog, but it will require work on your part to make sure your dog is comfortable enough with the new arrangement.
Crating a dog for too long can be bad, as it can cause them to feel trapped and anxious. For example, if you have to leave the house all day, try leaving your dog with a pet sitter or at a doggie daycare. You can also use a gated-off portion of the house with food, water, and toys.
How to Make the Crate Appealing?
If you have a dog who has been properly crate trained but is still anxious when in his crate, there are ways to deal with this. One way is to place treats and toys inside the crate so that your dog will enter on its own accord.
If your pup is anxious, this may calm him down a bit. You can also add a radio or white noise machine to the room with the crate to further soothe your dog while you’re gone.
Key Points for Choosing a Dog Crate Alternative
Here are some key points for choosing a dog crate alternative:
The quality of the product you purchase is essential and should be considered very carefully. A good crate alternative will last long and withstand multiple uses without falling apart.
Most products come with at least a one-year warranty to ensure that you can return or exchange them for a new one if anything goes wrong while using it.
The size of the product you buy is also important! First, make sure you purchase a crate alternative that fits your dog properly. A good option will be slightly larger than the length and height of your dog to ensure that they can sit or lay down comfortably inside it. Many alternatives are expandable so that they can “grow” with your dog.
Last but not least, the price is a significant factor in determining which product to purchase. Many crate alternatives will vary in price depending on the manufacturer and where you buy it from. Be sure to shop around for one that meets your budget!
Pet Gates and Barriers
Pet gates and barriers are most often used to designate the boundaries of the pet area in the house. This is mainly done by putting up a barrier, separating different pets, or keeping them within their respective areas.
Baby gates allows pets to pass through while keeping young children from entering places they shouldn’t go into. Designs of pet gates and barriers can either be functional or decorative.
Pet gates and barriers are an excellent way to keep dogs in one room while letting other family members go into different rooms. They work great in kitchens, where a pet may be a danger to themselves or others if they were running around.
Often, these gates are made to be easily dismantled and moved around if need be, allowing for ease of use. Pet gates and barriers are most commonly used in houses with dogs, especially large breeds.
They are also suitable for keeping smaller pets within their boundaries without putting them in crates or pens. Pet gates and barriers come in many different kinds, materials, designs, and sizes.
- Mesh gates for the front or back door to keep the pets out while allowing for ventilation.
- Baby gates for smaller rooms, hallways, and stairs to prevent pets from getting through.
- Fabric playpens for small, young pets to stay contained in smaller play areas.
- Mesh/steel fencing so that pets can have an outdoor run without escaping.
- Solid wood, vinyl, aluminum, plastic, wire mesh, fabric materials… the list goes on and on.
- Pet owners use these to keep their pets away from areas that pets aren’t welcome, like kids’ rooms and places with delicate furniture or electronics.
- Dog breeders often use pet gates and barriers to section off parts of their homes for specific functions, such as whelping and birthing.
That’s it for our review of the best dog crate alternatives. We hope you came up with some good ideas to keep your dog in an enclosed space without crating them.
Other articles you would like:
Frequently Asked Questions
Are pet gates better than pet doors?
Pet gates are often used as an alternative to pet doors. Some pets do better with a gate because they are afraid of a pet door’s noise when it opens and closes. Pet owners who have more than one floor in their homes, but don’t want the hassle of installing multiple pet doors, may opt for a gate. Gates are also suitable for pets that push open or knock down doors.
Unless your pet is highly agile, they’re not likely to be able to get over the gate. However, some gates do come with extensions that can give pets extra height if needed…
How do I know which size pet door is right for my cat or small dog?
There are many things to consider when choosing the right pet door. It must be the right size for your pet. The flap must not be too heavy or obtrusive but sturdy enough so it can’t easily be pushed open by a larger animal.
The locking mechanism should be secure and interlock tightly with any other closures in your home, such as your doors and windows. Third, the flap should be easy for pets to push open and not so stiff that it is difficult to use.
If you have a young puppy or kitten, you may consider purchasing one of the pet door models with adjustable flaps. These usually come with plastic panels that can be removed when your pet is old enough to use the flap.
Are playpens safe for dogs?
Yes, playpens are safe for dogs when used correctly. Playpens can help pet owners keep their pets safe in a smaller area while at the same time allowing them the freedom to roam around and have fun.
You should never leave your dog unattended in a playpen or pen, even if you think they’re having a good time. The pens also should not be used to confine pets to punish them.
What is a pressure mount pet gate?
A pressure mount pet gate has the following features: Slips over any doorway with no installation required. Gate can be quickly taken down without tools for storage. Made of plastic and steel – very sturdy, but it will not make indents or scratches on your doorways or walls.
Why should I use a playpen for my dog?
There are many reasons to consider using a playpen for your dog. If you have small children, it provides an extra layer of protection so that your pet does not accidentally hurt your young child.
A playpen also keeps your pet confined in one area so they don’t roam around your home and get into things they shouldn’t. Playpens are also ideal for pets that need a place to stay when company comes over so they won’t be underfoot, possibly causing an accident.
Can dogs knock over freestanding gates?
They’re sturdier than pressure-mounted gates, and large dogs won’t knock them over. Pressure-mounted gates don’t use hardware, are easy to install, and you can move them whenever you like. However, determined dogs can push even the most securely installed gates over.
However, if you buy a freestanding gate, you should not leave your dog unattended until you know for sure that they cannot push it over.
What kind of material are pet gates made from?
There are several different kinds of materials from which pet gates are made. They include the following:
Plastic is lightweight and durable, but some pets chew on it. It can also fade or warp if left out in the sun for an extended period. Wood is more sturdy than plastic but is generally more expensive and requires installation. If you’re going to be moving the pet gate often, you may want to choose a lightweight material like plastic instead.
Metal is the sturdiest type of gate. It’s durable and rarely gets damaged but can rust if left outdoors in harsh weather conditions for an extended period. You’ll need to consider your pet’s habits and how often you plan on moving the gate when choosing the suitable material for your pet gate.
What should I do if my dog is too big for his playpen?
If you have a puppy, you may consider purchasing one of the playpens with adjustable panels that can “grow” as your pet does. The bottom of the pen can be covered with a blanket, mat or towel to give your pet a soft place to sit or lie down. If you have an older dog that is too big for the playpen, then you may want to consider purchasing one of the freestanding gates so he can move freely throughout your home without being confined.
Claudia Bensimoun is a writer who specializes in dog content and veterinary topics! Aside from writing for We Love Doodles, Claudia also writes for other major dog blogs like Fido Friendly, Animal Wellness Magazine, and the United States Dog Agility Association (USDAA). She has a ghostwritten over 50 different dog e-books. Her passions include animal welfare, veterinary research, and wildlife conservation.
Why Trust We Love Doodles?
At We Love Doodles, we’re a team of writers, veterinarians, and puppy trainers that love dogs. Our team of qualified experts researches and provides reliable information on a wide range of dog topics. Our reviews are based on customer feedback, hands-on testing, and in-depth analysis. We are fully transparent and honest to our community of dog owners and future owners.