How to Choose The Best Exercise Pen for Your Pet
Author: Vebo Pet Supplies Date Posted:6 December 2019
As a specialised supplier for pet enclosures, we often get asked by a lot of people on how to pick the right exercise pen for their pets, in particular, dogs. There are many things you would need to consider, so we will try to guide you through the thought process.
How much area do I need?
This obviously depends on the size of your pet and how long you intend to keep your pet in there. A large dog will need a much bigger area than a small dog, and a pen for keeping your dog for 8 hours per day will need to be much bigger than a pen that is only used for an hour. We would say the bare minimum for the smallest toy dog would be approx 1m by 1m.
On the other extreme, council requires a minimum space of 10 sqm for a large dangerous dog if it's going to be in there pretty much full time. Also a common mistake that people make is they forget to take into account their dog is a puppy, therefore will grow rapidly throughout the first year. In these cases, it is handy to choose an exercise pen that will allow you to expand by inserting more panels, such as the dog exercise pens shown below:
How tall does the exercise pen need to be?
Unlike the last one, you cannot "expand" the height later so it's quite important you get the height right from the start, and it's usually better to be safe than sorry. Rabbit and other small pets are usually fine in 60cm tall pens, as are small dog breeds that aren't particularly acrobatic. Some small dog breeds like toy poodles are surprisingly good jumpers, so we normally recommend 75cm to 90cm in height for these breeds. The best thing to do is to check with your breeder and trainer.
What type of exercise pen should I get? Fabric, plastic or metal?
This mainly depends on how much you need to move your pen around (i.e. how portable). Obviously some materials (like fabric and plastic) are lighter in weight so they are great for traveling, but your pets may be able to push the panels around so they are usually only good for small pets, or dogs that are fairly well trained to not lean / push on a playpen. Heavier metal exercise pens are generally more suitable for training young dogs.
In fact, over 80% of exercise pens we sell are metal through out the years. Some people opt for fabric or plastic exercise pens because they worry that metal playpens could scratch the floor, which is a valid concern. However, this could be easily overcome by getting a large piece of vinyl flooring from Bunnings and putting it under the playpen. Also some exercise pens are better for outdoor use, such as the one shown below, where it has a rust resistant coating and the connecting pins can be hammered into the ground.