You should ideally aim for something as large as possible. This will likely be where your dog sleeps, eats, plays and uses the toilet, so all of these areas need to be spacious.
If you have a large breed, buying something suitable for a toy poodle would be pointless. Also bear in mind that your dog may really like their pen so could want to use it as a safe haven even when they are a bit older, in which case it will need to be large enough for them when they grow.
The most vital thing when thinking about size is perhaps the height. The best for you depends on whether your dog is a bit of a climber or jumper. Something around 2-3 feet is usually the standard, so you may need a crate with a top or a cover if yours could jump over this, or look for one which is extra tall.
Many pens are meant for puppies, so wouldn’t be tall enough if you have an active larger dog.
There are two choices here – a metallic pen, or a fabric one. The former is the most traditional, and it still allows your dog to look out and see what is going on around them. It is also unchewable and the bars are close enough to prevent squeezing out.
Metal pens also usually come as separate sections, so you can extend them or make it smaller by adding and replacing panels with a secure fastening.
A fabric model is usually just easier to transport or use as a temporary solution. Many people may prefer a soft fabric pen if it is used indoors on a hard floor so it doesn’t scratch everything. Be aware that they could be chewed through and may be harder to clean if there are any accidents, so they are usually best suited to dogs who are used to being confined.
Bases and Trays
The majority of pens don’t have bases, so they will be on your floor and you will need to put down the appropriate covers or blankets.
But a base can be good if your dog is toilet training or if they have a history of moving the crate around when inside, as they won’t be able to push the sides.
Dog Pen Tips
Your playpen is not a prison, and you should never keep your dog in there for prolonged periods. It is only for temporary situations when they can’t be supervised, such as overnight or when you’re out of the room.
Don’t use the pen as a form of punishment, as they can grow to hate their space. Your dog must see their pen as a positive place, where they can be comfortable and they can go if they need space.