17 Dog Crate Alternatives Your Pets Will Surely Love

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Crates come with a whole host of benefits for dogs, but let’s face it – not every pet parent is keen on using them. Crates can seem a little restrictive for your fun-loving canine friend, and they might not be the safest option if you have a curious and determined pup on your hands.

But, don’t worry – there are plenty of dog crate alternatives out there!

Many of these alternatives offer the same benefits as crates – they can be used to train your dog, provide a space for them to rest and relax in, and most importantly, keep them safe and secure while you’re not around. So, what are the best dog crate alternatives out there?

17 Dog Crate Alternatives For Every Kind Of Dog

Whether you’re looking for an alternative to travel crates or want something that’s safer than traditional pet cages, we’ve got you covered. Here are 17 great options that will give your dog a cozy place to sleep or relax without feeling trapped.


1. Baby Gate/Dog Gate

BalanceFrom Easy Walk-Thru Safety Gate for Doorways

Some crate types can be converted into dog gates, which speaks to the practicality of gates in general. Gates work as an excellent dog crate alternative because they keep your pet secure and separate from other pets or children without actually locking them in. They also come with a whole host of advantages, such as being easier to clean than traditional pet cages and allowing dogs to still have access to a nice view.

While dog gates do require some extra money upfront, it’s important to invest in a reliable one. You don’t want your dog pushing or chewing their way out of the gate and potentially hurting themselves because the gate wasn’t sturdy enough. The best gates for dogs will be wide and long enough to accommodate larger breeds while still preventing them from squeezing through the bars.

If you have smaller dogs, baby gates might also work in a pinch. Just make sure to measure your dog before setting up a permanent baby gate, as you don’t want them to jump over the top of it. And if you have a particularly determined dog, consider adding an extra layer of protection to the gate, such as a baby blanket or pillows, to keep them from getting out.

2. Playpen

Frisco 8 Panel Plastic Exercise Dog Playpen e1640791008818

Yet another alternative option to the traditional dog crate is a playpen. TPlaypens typically work best if you have lots of space at home, and want to give your pup space to roam while keeping it safe and contained in a specific area. In addition, if your dog has had an unpleasant history with crates, a playpen can be a good way to introduce them to the concept of confinement in a safe and positive way.

There are two types of playpens: indoor and outdoor. An indoor playpen is typically made from wire mesh and can be set up in any room of the house. Outdoor versions include sturdy plastic panel playpens and canvas playpens that are weatherproof and can be set up nearly anywhere. You can also opt for an expandable playpen if you want to give your pup even more space.

In general, playpens are a good option for puppies who are still learning house training, as well as older dogs who need a little extra exercise. However, they’re not recommended for dogs who are prone to escaping or chewing.

3. Outdoor and Indoor Kennels

Lucky Dog® STAY Series™ 10L x 10W Presidential Kennel 1

Many vets and dog trainers believe that dogs need distinct spaces to call their own, which can help provide them with a sense of security and comfort. When you think about it, this makes complete sense. Though dogs may be social animals, they also need time to relax and decompress in their own space. Consequently, you may want to consider purchasing an outdoor or indoor kennel for your pup.

Numerous options are available for both outdoor and indoor kennels. The best options are large enough for your dog to move around in but not so big that they can relieve themselves in one corner and sleep in another. It is also worth noting that most dogs need a place to sleep, so make sure the kennel you choose has some form of bedding.

If you’re going to be using the kennel outdoors, make sure it’s made from a durable material that can withstand the elements. Likewise, if you’re going to be using it indoors, make sure you have sufficient room for an appropriately-sized kennel.

4. Dog-Friendly Room

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If you’re not able to take your dog to work with you, or if you simply want a space where your pup can relax and play when you’re not home, you may want to consider converting a room into a dog-friendly space. This is a good option for dogs who are prone to separation anxiety or those who just need a little more space than what’s available in a standard kennel.

There are a number of different ways to create a dog-friendly space. One option is to purchase an outdoor kennel and set it up in your backyard. This allows your pup to have their own private space, while also providing you with a place to take them when they need to go out.

You can also create a dog-friendly room indoors. Many companies now sell dog-friendly furniture and accessories, which can make creating a dog-friendly space much easier. However, even if you don’t have any of this furniture, there are still plenty of things you can do to make your home more pup-friendly. Simply ridding a room of dangerous items and furnishing it with interactive dog toys can go a long way,

5. Fenced Gate

Fenced Gate

Dogs that spend most of their time outdoors need to be kept safe and away from the dangers of the street. One way to do this is by installing a fence around your property. However, not all homeowners have the ability or desire to install a traditional fence.

If you’re in this situation, you may want to consider purchasing a fenced gate instead. Fenced gates are similar to traditional fences, but they require less installation and maintenance. They also provide your dog with a way to get outside and explore the backyard without having to be let out by you periodically.

Though fenced gates are typically sturdy, they may not be the best idea if you have a pup that’s fond of digging or chewing. If this sounds like your pup, you may want to purchase an outdoor kennel or set up a wire playpen instead. Speaking of pens…

6. Exercise Pens

Lucky Dog Exercise Pens

Exercise pens are a great way to give your pup some extra space to play when you’re not home. They differ from playpens in that they are typically much bigger and more durable. However, they serve the same general purpose, which is to provide your pup with a place to play that’s both safe and secure.

You can use these pens both indoors and outdoors. They’re suitable for all types of weather, though you will want to avoid using them during inclement weather to prevent your pup from getting soaked or chilled.

Rather than purchasing an exercise pen, you can make one yourself by creating a simple wire frame and covering it with some type of fabric. Wire playpens are typically easier to set up, though they will need to be periodically monitored to ensure that the frame doesn’t collapse under your pup’s weight.

7. Fenced Yard

Empty spacious backyard area with wooden fence e1640794189700

If your pup is lucky enough to have the entire yard to itself, this may be a suitable alternative to having your dog crated. While many people are content to simply let their pup loose in the yard, you should make sure you have an escape-proof fence before giving them free rein of the outdoors.

What makes a fence escape-proof? For the most part, this means that your fence should be high enough to stop your pup from scaling it (usually around six feet tall), and you should always close the gate behind you when you let them outside. This prevents your dog from getting into the house through an open portal and potentially causing trouble.

Using a fenced-in backyard is the ultimate canine convenience; if your pup is good about not digging, jumping, or climbing it may be one of the best crate alternatives. Which dog doesn’t appreciate a good romp in the yard now and then?

8. Dog Door

PetSafe Electronic SmartDoor e1640796209873

There are few dogs who can resist the lure of a dog door, especially if they’re able to come and go as they please. Dogs that are left to their own devices for extended periods of time can and will often take advantage of a dog door, using it as an easy way to escape the house. This makes dog doors a noteworthy alternative to dog crates as a means of confinement.

Dog doors work by allowing your dog to push through a flap with their head or paw, granting them access to the great outdoors. This allows them to relieve themselves and get some much-needed exercise without having to wait for you to let them out. As an added bonus, many dog doors also have a weatherproof flap to keep out the rain and snow.

Though dog doors can be a great way to give your pup some freedom, they should not be left unsupervised. If your dog is prone to chewing on objects or escaping from your property, a dog door can be a death sentence. When using this method to crate-proof your home, be sure to have it installed by a professional and get an escape-proof flap to go with it.

9. Wireless Fence

PetSafe Wireless Containment System

A wireless fence uses a containment system to keep your dog safely in the yard, without forcing them to stay there. How does it work? The containment system emits a wireless signal that creates an invisible boundary around your property.

If your pup tries to cross this boundary, it’ll receive a mild (painless) shock or a warning beep, depending on which system you choose.

Though wireless fences may seem harsh, they are often the best options if you have dogs that are truly determined to escape the confines of crates and front yards. We’ve all heard horror stories of dogs getting seriously injured in the process of figuring out how to escape.

Wireless fences can help prevent this from happening, while still giving your pup enough freedom to roam safely about your property.

Ultimately, whether or not wireless fences are the right choice for you and your dog is a personal decision, and you’ll want to weigh the pros and cons before making it.

On one hand, they give pups enough freedom to roam without making them feel like they’re incarcerated – but on the other, many models come with a hefty price tag and may require regular maintenance.


1. Doggy Daycare

Veterinarian works at doggie daycare e1640863086134

Want your dog to have a little bit of freedom without having to worry about them escaping? Consider doggy daycare! This is a great option for busy pet parents or those who live in busy areas. Doggy daycare provides your pup with a fun and safe environment where they can play and socialize with other dogs all day long.

Most doggy daycare centers will require your dog to be groomed and up-to-date on vaccinations before they can attend, so make sure to take care of that beforehand. If you’re also worried about how your pup might do in a new environment, you can opt for the less expensive drop-in daycare option.

This will allow you to bring your dog to the center for a few hours and see how they do before committing to a full day.

In addition, be sure to only leave your dog in the care of trained professionals. This will ensure that they know how to handle a variety of situations with dogs and keep your pup safe during their time there. Well-run doggy daycare can be a great crate training alternative for pet parents who want a little more freedom for their furry friends.

2. Constant Supervision

American bully dog watch over the house e1640865480931

On the other end of the spectrum, constant supervision is the best way to ensure your dog’s safety when you’re not home. This means that you, or another designated person, should be watching your dog at all times. If you can’t be home to supervise your pup, they should be crated or confined to an area where they can’t get into trouble.

Through constant supervision takes up a lot of time and effort, it’s the most foolproof way to keep your dog safe and sound while you’re away. By keeping a watchful eye on your dog at all times, you can catch potential problems before they have a chance to escalate. It’s much easier to prevent trouble than it is to clean up after the fact.

If you’re not able to keep an eye on your pup at all times while you’re away, consider hiring a dog walker or pet sitter who can watch them for you. This is especially if you have a new dog or puppy that needs a little more attention. Though this may cost a bit more money than other crate alternatives, it’s well worth the peace of mind that comes with knowing your dog is safe while you’re gone.

3. Pet/Dog Sitter

Pet sitter and dogs in walk e1640865651604

If you’re not comfortable with using a traditional crate, why not try a pet or dog sitter instead? This option can be especially great for larger dogs who might not feel comfortable in a small crate. A pet sitter will provide your dog with a safe, comfortable place to stay while you’re away and can even play with them or take them on walks.

Some pet owners might feel apprehensive about simply leaving their dog with a pet sitter, but there’s no need! If you use a reputable organization or individual, they should have plenty of experience and knowledge caring for dogs. They’ll know how to provide the right care for your dog in your absence. Some of them even have a vet on call to help with your furry friend’s routine care.

Another great option is to go with a neighborhood pet sitter, as they’ll be familiar with your dog’s routine and will be able to take better care of them. Plus, you won’t have to worry about transportation costs or figuring out the logistics of leaving your pup with someone who can’t travel to your area. The best part? It’s an excellent way for your dog to meet a potential play-mate in the neighborhood!


1. Activities for Your Dog (Dog Watching TV)

Dog watching TV e1640867787538

Here’s a fun fact: dogs can watch television! In fact, there are a number of programs and movies specifically designed for dogs. This is a fun option for those who want their dog to have some down time while they’re at work or if you’re traveling and don’t have anyone to watch them. While it may seem silly, you’d be surprised by how much dogs enjoy watching television!

To do this, simply set up a comfortable spot for your dog near where you’ll be watching TV. Make sure they have plenty of water and somewhere to rest their head. You can find a variety of dog-friendly shows and movies on Youtube, Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, and other streaming services. Typically, these programs will feature moving animals and quiet sounds that won’t startle or excite your dog.

While this is a great option for pups that are more low-energy and better behaved, it’s not a good idea to leave your rambunctious dog unsupervised around the TV. This could lead to them tearing up your furniture or getting into other mischiefs. So, if you think your dog might be too rowdy for TV time, stick to more traditional options like daycare or a pet sitter.

2. Take Your Dog to Work

A woman with her dog in her workplace

Not many people have the option to take their dog to work with them, but if you’re one of the lucky ones, it can be a great way to keep them entertained and out of trouble. In fact, many companies are now starting to see the benefits of allowing employees to bring their dogs to work.

Dogs provide a number of benefits for both employers and employees. For employers, having a dog-friendly workplace can help attract new talent, improve morale, and increase productivity. As for employees, allowing dogs at work can improve job satisfaction while also reducing stress levels. Working for long periods of time without a break can be tough, but with a furry friend by your side, it’s much easier to take a break and recharge.

If you’re thinking of taking your dog to work, there are a few things you should keep in mind. The first is that not all workplaces are dog-friendly. Make sure to check with your boss or HR department to see if it’s allowed. The second is that not all dogs are suited for the workplace. If your dog is prone to barking, jumping, or has other behavioral issues, it might be better to leave them at home.


1. Well-Trained Dog

Boy Training Goldendoodle at Park

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, well-trained dogs are less likely to get themselves into trouble. If you train your dog to perform the tasks it needs to stay out of trouble (e.g. sit, lay down, come when called), they’re unlikely to misbehave when you aren’t around to keep an eye on them.

Of course, training a dog takes time and patience, but it’s well worth the effort in the long run. Not only will you have a well-behaved pup, but you’ll also have the peace of mind that comes with knowing your dog is safe and secure when you’re not home. Dogs that know not to chew on furniture or pee in the house are much easier to manage than those that don’t.

The best part of using dog training as a crate alternative? This method takes up minimal floor space! All that’s needed is a room where you can perform training exercises with your dog, and some room to stretch out when your pup is ready for a break. For tips on getting started, check out this basic obedience training guide.

2. Surveillance Apps

Controlling Video Surveillance with a Smart Phone e1640869887837

So you’ve found a perfect, safe space for your dog to play, relax, or sleep. But what if you’re still worried that they aren’t safe from the perils of your home? Fortunately, a growing number dog surveillance apps are now available. These handy tools have made it easier than ever to keep tabs on your pup no matter where you are.

There are many options available for smartphones, including simple apps that deliver push notifications anytime the camera detects motion in your home. Other smartphone surveillance systems will actually allow you to watch live feeds from your property via a secure online portal. Though this may be a more expensive option, it’s perfect for those who want to be able to check in on their pup at any time.

For those with a home security system that already includes cameras, many of these systems also offer pet-specific features. The best systems even allow you to speak to your dog via the camera, providing a sense of reassurance and comfort.

3. Smart Dog Collar

Smart Dog Collar e1640870853188
Image Source: tryfi.com

Smart dog collars have come a long way in recent years, and are now able to do everything from tracking your pup’s activity levels to providing remote training. Many of these collars also come with GPS tracking capabilities, which can be a lifesaver if your pup gets lost.

Though they may not be as popular as traditional dog crates, smart dog collars are a great alternative for owners of high-energy pups. These collars allow your dog to have more freedom while still being protected from dangerous traffic, predators, and other dogs. With tons of configuration options, there’s sure to be a smart collar that’s perfect for your pup.

Just like a wireless fence, smart dog collars should be used with caution if you have an escape artist on your hands. Your pup may very well use the opportunity to test their boundaries (and your patience) by trying to remove the collar. If your dog is prone to mischief, be sure to keep a close eye on them when they’re wearing a smart collar.


There are a number of different ways to keep your dog safe and contained without using a traditional dog crate. From surveillance apps to smart collars, there’s sure to be an option that’s perfect for your needs and lifestyle. Be sure to do your research before making a purchase, and always read the manufacturer’s instructions carefully. With a little bit of planning, you can keep your pup safe and happy without resorting to a dog crate.

As always, thanks for reading! Don’t forget to share this article with your friends and family, and please leave us a comment below if you have any questions!

Meet our writer

Alison Page was brought up with dogs and various other pets! For a few years, Alison worked as a Practice Manager in a small animal veterinary clinic. Alison is now a full-time writer, specializing in creating articles on the care and training of dogs, cats, and fish.

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