Dog Crates, Gates, and Exercise Pens: What's the Difference?

We all like it when our pet is with us, but sometimes that’s just not practical. Indoors, you may be busy in the kitchen and not want that new puppy underfoot. Or you may have a serviceperson or contractor in the house and need to keep your pet from being in the way. If you’re hosting a party, you may want to keep your dog away from the canapés. Some people like certain rooms off-limits all the time.

Fortunately, there are many products on the market that can help you keep your pet safe and out of the way from time to time.


The first and most basic containment device is the crate. Crates keep dogs and cats contained in cars and can serve as a bed in the house. If you’re having a party or expecting visitors, a crate keeps your pet from running out an open door.


If you can give your dog a bit more freedom but still want to keep him out of a particular area, use a gate to block the doorway.

Exercise Pens

Exercise pens are another way to contain your dog, rabbit, or guinea pig. (Most cats will just climb over.) These wire pens come in foldable sections and are great for traveling. You can also extend an exercise pen and use it as a temporary fence between buildings or along a porch or patio.

Containment Considerations

With gates and exercise pens, always observe to see if your dog is able to jump over them. Also, no matter how well made, some dogs are happy to settle down and chew a hole in a gate. Then you’re back to needing to use a crate. Crates don’t give the dog as much freedom, but it’s rare that a dog can ever escape a crate.

We all love the idea of giving our pets complete freedom, but sometimes for either safety or convenience, we need to restrain them. Crates, gates, and exercise pens are quick and easy solutions.