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Puppy Pen vs. Crate

5 Puppies on a porch in a puppy pen

Leaving our puppy alone at home is always a tricky situation for all of us. Not only can these cute, little pups lay waste to our homes, but they can also harm themselves. Hiring a professional to attend to your dog when you are away can solve the problem. However, this is NOT a feasible alternative for everyone because it can be expensive.

In these circumstances, we are left with two choices: a puppy pen or a crate. Both these dog enclosures are extremely efficient for providing comfort and safety to your puppies.     

Puppy Pen

The playpen is a sturdy, portable fence that can be set up as a safe place for your puppy. It is usually made from heavy-duty metal wire or plastic so that it could withstand all kinds of dogs. A puppy pen offers plenty of space and we can place all the accessories of our pup inside it. For instance, you can have his/her food bowls and toys in there to make it a cozy living space.

Most puppy pens come with easy-to-assemble panels that can be adjusted according to our needs. This means that we can increase the room inside a puppy pen as our pooch grows older. This portable structure can also be used in the yard if your canine friend prefers an outdoor setting.

Dog Crate

German Shepherd Puppy in a dog crate

A crate is basically designed as a substitute for a den. This is the place that provides safety and comfort to a dog. This dog enclosure is particularly useful for training your puppy. Whether we want to housetrain our pet or looking to leave him/her alone at home, a crate can come to our aid.

Although dog crates are made from heavy-duty material, most of these products are only suitable for indoor use. They come in several different sizes to meet the specific needs of every pooch.    

Crate vs. Playpen: Differences

Puppy in puppy pen on deck biting bars

There are two primary differences between a puppy pen and a crate: size and design.


A puppy pen has a lot more room than a crate. This allows the owner to place all the accessories (food bowls, toys, and bed) of the dog inside the playpen. On the other hand, a suitable crate is just big enough for the dog to turn around in it.


A dog crate is designed as a safe place for your pup. It has four sides, a bottom, and a top that gives the puppy a feeling of safety and comfort. The limited space of a crate makes it suitable to teach some house manners to your pet.

In contrast to that, a playpen doesn’t have a top. It’s more like a playing area for our canine friend with a lot of space to walk around. Hence, it’s not a good idea to use a puppy pen for housetraining a dog.   

Dog Pen vs. Crate: Similarities

Corgi laying on its back in the doorway of a dog crate

Safe Refuge  

Both these dog enclosures give canines a safe (and private) place to spend their time. Although there are marked differences between these products, this is one similarity that puts them in the same bracket.


 It is incredibly convenient to use both these products because they are completely portable. The fences of a puppy pen and the body of a dog crate can be easily folded when they are not required.

Playpen vs. Crate for Puppy: What is More Suitable?

Dog owners are often confused about whether they should purchase a puppy pen or a crate for their canine companion. Many pet parents also use the combination of both these dog enclosures. Although it’s a feasible strategy, accommodating a puppy pen alongside a crate will require a significant amount of space. Therefore, it’s only recommended if you are living in a big house.    

In the case of limited space or budget, it’s better to purchase the most suitable of these products. Keep reading to know some useful points that can help you make the decision.

Who Should Get a Puppy Pen?

Puppy in a playpen

Some of the most common situations in which a playpen can prove handy are discussed below.

Need to Confine a Puppy for Long Spells – If you have a busy schedule and need to leave your pup alone for long spells, it’s better to get a playpen. This is because a dog crate can become uncomfortable if the dog is confined in it for several hours.

Alternative to Puppy-Proofing – It can be a very challenging task to puppy-proof an entire home. Instead, you can purchase a dog pen and place it in different spots without any worries.    

Who Should Get a Dog Crate?

Puppy in a dog crate

Some of the circumstances in which a crate can be a better choice than a playpen are as follows.

Potty Training – A crate is an excellent confinement tool for housetraining. Dogs don’t like to eliminate near their beds and will hold it much better in a crate. The probability of accidents is significantly high in puppy pens because they have a lot of space.

Need to Confine a Pup for a Few Hours – Whether you are going to the market or wants to cook, a dog crate can keep your puppy occupied and safe. You should NEVER crate a puppy for more than 2 hours (continuous) during the day.  

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