A new puppy owner has a lot on their mind, from choosing the right food to working on training. One item you may be considering for your puppy is a playpen, to both keep them away from hazards in your home and out of your hair. But is it an accessory you really need? Do I need a playpen for my puppy? The following guide will examine this question in-depth so you can make the appropriate choice for both your household and your furry friend.
Are Puppy Playpens Worth It?
You don’t strictly need a playpen for your puppy, but having one is a good idea. Like a crate, a playpen provides your puppy a safe space of their own while you are busy around the house. Playpens are better than crates in this regard because they give your puppy room to exercise, explore, and gradually get used to their new home. All of their needs can be met inside a playpen, because there is room to place food and water dishes as well as toys and a comfortable bed. Family members can also easily enter the pen to play and cuddle with your puppy.
When choosing a puppy playpen, take into consideration your puppy’s size. Most playpens come in multiple sizes to accommodate puppies of different breeds or ages, so buy one that’s appropriate. It should also have sides that are high enough to prevent your puppy from climbing over the playpen to escape. You should attempt to get a playpen without solid sides so your puppy can see and get used to the sights and activities of your home. Dogs in general can get very frightened of things they can’t see. Also consider the playpen’s security and whether a rambunctious puppy can easily knock it over. It may be that you’ll need to prop the playpen up with extra weight.
What Are The Benefits Of A Puppy Playpen?
The one who should benefit the most from having a puppy playpen is your puppy. Playpens have several benefits to puppies, with the most important being they allow your puppy to explore their new home safely. This can prevent the need for cumbersome baby gates and other barriers that can be troublesome to navigate for people. You can gradually allow your puppy greater access to your home as they grow and adjust.
If your puppy isn’t housetrained yet, a playpen can keep them off of carpet or other surfaces that are more difficult to clean in the event of an accident. Hard surfaces are better for this purpose. You can put down protective cloths or other safeguards to protect your floors if this is a concern. Some pens even come with bottoms for easy cleaning. Playpens also make it simple to keep your puppy away from things you don’t want them chewing on and destroying, like furniture.
Because most puppy playpens are made from connecting panels, they don’t take up much storage space when you want to take them down and store them. All you have to do is fold the pen up and it should be relatively easy to store in most places. This makes them convenient for owners to set up, move, and take down.
Puppy playpens can also be taken outside. This can help with housetraining because it can help a puppy establish a “spot” they prefer to use. It’s also a great solution if you have a yard that is not fenced in or otherwise inappropriate for your puppy to be loose in.
What Are The Downsides Of A Puppy Playpen?
The first downside of a puppy playpen is that it takes up a significant amount of space. This can be inconvenient for you, especially if you live in a small home or apartment without a lot of extra room. Fortunately, some puppy playpens are adjustable so you can make them a little smaller if need be. The playpen won’t have to become a permanent feature in your house either, as your puppy will outgrow it eventually.
Another potential downside is that a particular playpen might not be safe for your puppy. If it is not secured properly to the floor, it might fall over onto your puppy while he or she is inside, causing injury. They may chew on it, which can also cause injury to teeth and gums. Some products might be made of materials that could splinter or even be toxic to your puppy. Thoroughly research the products available to you before you buy and be sure to purchase a quality option from a reputable brand.
If used outside, be mindful of the weather and don’t leave your puppy unattended. Dangers can include wild animals, thieves, injury, or illness. Puppies explore with their mouths and might consume something outside that will make them sick, or being in direct sunlight for too long could cause heatstroke. If you set up the playpen outside for your puppy, do so responsibly.
How Long Should You Leave Your Puppy In Their Playpen?
You can leave your puppy in a playpen unsupervised for short amounts of time but you should never leave them in there unwatched for too long. The length of time your puppy can be alone in a playpen largely depends on their age, but also how well-trained they are. The general advice is that puppies under ten weeks old should not be left alone for more than an hour. If they are three months old, they can be left for three hours. This increases by an hour for each additional month until six months, where puppies can safely be left alone for around six hours.
Playpens are not absolutely necessary when caring for a puppy but they are a very good idea. They offer a number of advantages for both you and your puppy by giving your new family member a safe place to be that isn’t as confining as a crate. If having one seems like a good idea for your situation, be sure to place a good, sturdy puppy playpen on your shopping list.