Puppy Pen vs Puppy Crate – Which Is Best For You?

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Puppies are adorable, little bundles of pure joy, but one thing is certain – they sure get into HEAPS of trouble!

You have to watch them with an eagle eye, not just for the sake of your belongings and furniture, but for their sakes as well.

Puppies love to chew and can get into dangerous situations quickly, especially if your house is not fully puppy-proofed.

By Adeline Ee.

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You’ll need to confine them when you cannot keep an eye on them… and that’s when puppy pens and crates come in.

However, in the never-ending debate on puppy pen vs crate – which is best for you, how do you pick?

What Is A Puppy Pen?

A puppy pen is a special enclosure for small dogs and puppies, giving them enough room to walk, roll, and play.

Designed to keep your pets safe and comfortable, it typically consists of a large, fenced pen that is equipped with all the essentials: food and water bowls, beds, toys, and more.

But perhaps the most important aspect of a puppy pen is its support system and structure.

Made from tough materials like metal, plastic, or durable cloth, many pens have separate panels that you can add or remove to fit your puppy’s size and the amount of space needed.

Puppy pens are generally intended for indoor use but can also be used on supervised porches and patios.

Think of your puppy’s pen as his home in your home.

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What Is A Puppy Crate?

Dogs are naturally denning animals that want to feel safe in their homes. If a puppy pen is a home, then the crate is the bed.

When crate training is done right, the crate is an invaluable tool that will speed up potty training and keep your dog safe when you can’t keep an eye on them.

Contrary to some misconceptions, the crate isn’t a doggy jail.

When done right, your pooch will see the crate as his haven, a safe place where he can relax, spend some alone time, and sleep.

Crates must be sized right for puppies. A dog crate should only be big enough for your dog to lie down stretched out comfortably, stand upright, and turn around.

Some people use crates to train their dogs, while others use them as a way to keep their furry friend out of mischief when they can’t watch them.

Whatever the reason, crates can be a great asset for any dog owner.

Always make sure to introduce your dog to the crate slowly and patiently, as some pups can be hesitant at first.

Puppy Pen vs Crate – Which Is Best For You?

Whether you buy a playpen or a crate depends on why you want to confine your dog.

Let’s look at when to use each one and the pros and cons.

When To Use A Puppy Pen?

The playpen is an ideal dog enclosure if you need to keep a young puppy confined for more than two or three hours, especially if your puppy is already house-trained and knows how to use pee pads.

The puppy pens are big enough for your puppy to play around in, and you can keep pee pads inside if you cannot bring your pup out every three hours or so.

Young puppies have teeny bladders and cannot hold their pee for very long and will struggle to hold their pee in their crate.

A four-month-old puppy might need to go potty every three hours or so. So if you cannot take them out frequently for their breaks, you might need to use a pen.

Pros of Puppy Playpens

  • The size can be adjusted to grow with your puppy.
  • Sufficient food and water bowls, beds, and space for toys to keep your dog occupied.
  • Your puppy can hang out in the pen and still have some freedom to jump and play while you go about your day.
  • It also helps your puppy become more self-reliant, which is important for his self-confidence.

The playpen provides the puppy with freedom of movement and space for puppy pads, so your pup won’t have to hold their pee if you cannot take them out frequently enough.

Cons of a Playpen

  • Not effective as a potty training tool. Puppies can still pee in a corner of the pen without soiling themselves.
  • Energetic, dynamic, or large puppies may learn how to jump and climb out.

When To Use A Puppy Crate?

If you intend to crate-train, start as early as possible.

A crate is an excellent potty training tool, a way to keep your pup safe when you cannot watch them, and an easy way to transport your dog.

Most dogs naturally “hold” it in a small space.

Just make sure you take your puppy for a restroom break every two hours, after every meal, and every time he wakes up from a nap.

You can gradually reduce the frequency of potty breaks as your pup grows older and is physically more capable of holding the pee.

Pros of a dog crate

  • Accelerates potty training by leaps and bounds.
  • Many puppies learn to see their crate as their personal space whenever they can rest or are anxious or overwhelmed.
  • Great for traveling.

Crate training will help your dog stay safe and comfortable in the crate, whether you’re visiting a veterinarian or driving around the country.

Cons of a dog crate

  • Crate training takes time and patience. Some puppies initially hate crates and can be frustrating and annoying to pet owners.
  • Crates are extremely restrictive and you should only crate for short periods at a time, especially for young, energetic dogs.

The only long period spent in the crate should be when your pooch is asleep.

Crates and puppy pens serve different purposes, but they both have one thing in common – they keep your pooch safe when you cannot watch him.

You can rest easy knowing that your pup will not get into trouble with electrical cables or toxic foods!

Photo by Hannah.