What is a Pet Playpen?

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon
Young kittens.
Young kittens.

A pet playpen is a portable enclosed pen which keeps small pets safe while they play. Pet playpens can be carried along on trips to ensure that animals have a secure environment to play in, and they can also be used around the house to confine pets to a specific area. Pet playpens are also used by animal shelters with mobile adoption programs, so that their animals have room to play when they are taken out to adoption events. Many pets stores sell a wide range of pet playpens, along with enrichment tools to make playpens more enjoyable for their occupants.

Baby chicks can be confined in a pet playpen.
Baby chicks can be confined in a pet playpen.

There are two basic variations on the pet playpen design. One design consists of a series of panels which fit together to create a pen with an open top; this design is ideal for dogs and rabbits, who are unlikely to jump out. Totally enclosed pet playpens can be used with cats, ferrets, and birds; this style has a covered top which prevents escape. In most cases, a pet playpen is made from enameled metal or plastic for easy cleanup, and the play pen is usually designed to fold for storage and transport.

Pet rabbits might enjoy a paneled playpen with an open top.
Pet rabbits might enjoy a paneled playpen with an open top.

An enclosed pet playpen may also have features like ladders, climbing poles, and sleeping platforms. The multi-level design makes the interior of the playpen more fun for curious and active pets like kittens and ferrets. In the case of a pet play pen which is designed for indoor use, a space is usually provided for a litter box, and snap-on additions like food and water are often available as well. If an animal is going to be enclosed in a playpen and left, water should always be made available.

An open-top playpen can be good for dogs.
An open-top playpen can be good for dogs.

Open pet playpens are often quite useful outdoors. Using an open pet playpen, pet guardians can accustom young animals like puppies to the textures, smells, and sights of the outside world. A pet playpen can also be used to confine ducklings, chicks, and other young farm animals to slowly introduce them to the outdoors without endangering them by setting them loose. Be aware than small pets are at risk of predation from raptors; do not leave animals unattended in an pet playpen when they are outside.

Although many pet playpens are designed to be sturdy and durable, and some even resemble cages, they are not usually suitable for animal transport. In a multi-level pet playpen, animals could be thrown or jostled from different levels in the playpen, potentially injuring themselves. The collapsible design of a playpen could also be compromised in a vehicle accident or in a sudden driving maneuver.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a AllThingsNature researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a AllThingsNature researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

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Discussion Comments

gravois

I have a small pet playpen for my pet iguana. It is not huge but it is bigger than the aquarium that I keep him in and it is a way for him to have some space and variety.

I know that if I spent all my time in a little glass box I would start to feel pretty cooped up to.

whiteplane

This may sound horrible but I actually have a pet playpen that I use for my baby. I try to treat it like an outdoor crib.

I like to work in my garden on nice days and I need to keep the baby close to me. She can crawl and take a few tentative steps but she is not too mobile yet. If I put her in the playpen she can move around in the grass but she is also corralled so I do not need to be staring at her constantly. It works out for both of us.

ZsaZsa56

I have a pet rabbit and I like to take him with me on trips or to the park. If I bring the pet playpen he can get a little bit of exercise and eat some grass and not have to be cooped up in his carrier or held in my arms.

His name is Burt and I have had him for three years. I feel the same way about Burt that a lot of people feel about old dogs, it is almost a family love. I want Burt to be able to enjoy the outdoors just like I do so a pet playpen is a must.

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    • Young kittens.
      Young kittens.
    • Baby chicks can be confined in a pet playpen.
      By: Anatolii
      Baby chicks can be confined in a pet playpen.
    • Pet rabbits might enjoy a paneled playpen with an open top.
      By: rusugrig
      Pet rabbits might enjoy a paneled playpen with an open top.
    • An open-top playpen can be good for dogs.
      By: Gelpi
      An open-top playpen can be good for dogs.