Beagle sitting in front of dog gate at the top of the stairs

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Many dogs have an insatiable curiosity and boundless energy, often requiring them to need their own spaces for their safety or the safety of the house and your guests. Setting boundaries at home with your dog using dog gates can help you keep your dog safe by keeping them out of rooms and areas with potential hazards.

Dog gates allow you to define spaces for your pet, whether creating a puppy-proof play area, safeguarding off-limits rooms, or preventing your dog from escaping when you come home. Keep reading to learn more about dog gates, including their uses and types available, along with tips to help you use them in your home.

What Is A Dog Gate?

A dog gate is a barrier that restricts your dog's movements within a certain area of the home or outdoor space. Dog gates are often used to prevent pets from accessing specific areas of the home, such as the foyer by the front door or a particular room, where they might cause damage, make a mess, or be exposed to potential hazards.

These tools allow you to create safe spaces for your pet where they can play to their heart's content while creating boundaries to limit how much of a mess an untrained puppy can make.

Benefits Of Dog Gates

Dog gates prevent your dog from accessing hazardous areas like the front door, stairs, kitchen, and rooms with potentially dangerous areas. However, they also help you set boundaries with your pet. For instance, you might not want them in your office when working from home with pets. Other scenarios when you might use a dog gate include:

  • Training: When training, dog gates can help establish boundaries and reinforce behaviors like waiting at the gate until given permission to move through it. This process can aid in obedience training and teach your dog patience.
  • Creating a relaxing space for guests: If your dog greets guests with a little too much excitement, you may benefit from a dog gate that allows you to restrict their access to certain rooms. Then, you can let them back in the room once they've fully calmed down. Additionally, you can use dog gates as a Thanksgiving pet safety tool for your pup and guests. With a gate, your dog won't be able to run out the door, and your guests won't have to worry about an overexcited dog greeting them.
  • Introducing new pets: If you bring home a new pet, keeping them and your dog separate is always recommended because you won't know how either will react to the other. A dog gate allows you to separate the two pets while slowly introducing them over time to ensure they build a positive relationship.
  • Holidays: Holidays can be stressful for dogs, especially if they come with fireworks and lots of guests coming in and out of the home. You can use dog gates as a 4th of July pet safety tool by restricting your dog to your deck if you're unsure when the fireworks will begin. Of course, keeping any dogs inside during fireworks is recommended because they can get scared and run off.

Types Of Dog Gates

Types of dog gates from freestanding dog gates to DIY dog gates

There are several types of dog gates available to choose from. Dog gates are made from a variety of materials, such as wood, metal, and plastic. Many are temporary, allowing you to easily move them around the home, while others are more permanent. The ultimate goal is to make them functional for humans and safe for pets to ensure your peace of mind.

Freestanding Dog Gates

Freestanding dog gates are standalone units that don't require installation onto walls or door frames, making them the most convenient for pet parents who want to move their dog gates regularly. These gates usually consist of hinged panels that can be placed and adjusted to create a physical barrier.

They're portable and easy to move, allowing for temporary use in apartments or houses. In addition, you can use them in your living room to create a dog play zone and other areas without suitable mounting surfaces.

Hardware-Mounted Dog Gates

If you're looking for something a little more sturdy, try hardware-mounted dog gates. These indoor gates for dogs are securely attached to walls or door frames using screws or brackets. They provide a sturdy barrier dogs won't be able to push through, and the enhanced stability and security make them suited for larger and more active dogs.

Keep in mind that hardware-mounted indoor dog gates require you to drill holes and use hardware for a secure attachment, so they're not ideal for renters.

You can also find hardware-mounted outdoor dog gates ideal for decks and outdoor stairs.

Pressure-Mounted Dog Gates

If you're looking for an indoor dog gate with minimal installation, you might prefer a pressure-mounted dog gate that uses pressure against walls or door frames to stay in place. They're easy to install and remove without screws or power tools, making them ideal for temporary setups or areas where you want to maintain the integrity of the walls and door frames.

Pressure-mounted dog gates are perfect for hallways, but they're not suitable for dogs that can push or lean against them with significant force, potentially causing them to dislodge.

Retractable Dog Gates

For a more aesthetically pleasing indoor dog gate, choose a retractable one. These dog gates operate like roller blinds and have a mesh or fabric panel that can be extended across an opening and retracted when not in use. They offer versatility and can be adjusted to fit various widths while being less intrusive than regular gates because you can see through them on the other side.

Keep in mind that these gates are not as sturdy as some others on this list. Dogs can easily damage them with bites or scratches because they're made from fabric or mesh, so they're not a good option for all pets.

DIY Dog Gates

If you can't find the perfect solution for you and your pet, you might consider creating your own dog gate, complete with all the features you need to ensure their safety. You can use wood, PVC pipes, fabric, and other materials depending on your design. However, you'll need some carpentry skills to create an effective dog gate. Knowing how to use saws, drills, screws, and hinges will be useful.

Options for the type of gate you create include hinged gates, accordion-style gates, or you can even repurpose old furniture and doors.

Make sure your DIY dog gate is constructed for safety, and regularly checked for signs of wear and tear to maintain its integrity. Your gate should be stable and not easily topple over, especially if your pet gets excited and tries to jump on it.

Tips For Selecting The Right Dog Gate

Safety features to look out for when choosing a dog gate

Every dog is different, and every gate has its own unique features. Finding the right dog gate for your canine companion is essential to ensure their safety. Factors to keep in mind when choosing a dog gate include:

  • Consider your dog's size and behavior: Always choose a dog gate appropriate for your dog's size and behavior. A small gate may not be effective for large dogs. Meanwhile, if your dog is a jumper or may try to push the gate, choose one that's robust and tall.
  • Determine where you are going to place the gate and why: Before buying a dog gate, always choose and measure your location, whether it's a doorway, between rooms, or at the top or bottom of stairs. You should also consider when you need an indoor or outdoor dog gate.
  • How hard is the gate to set up and operate?: Look for a gate that's easy to install and doesn't require too many modifications to your home. It should be easy for humans to open and close but difficult for the dog to escape from.
  • Does the gate have a secure latch?: Safety features are crucial for dog gates because the whole point of them is to restrict your dog's access to a certain area. The latch should be secure enough that your dog can't open it but easy enough for you to operate. Some gates also come with double-locking features for additional security.
  • Is the gate durable?: Always choose a durable gate, especially for more excitable dogs that may try to scratch or bite at it to escape. The choice of material may also depend on your home's decor and overall preferences. But remember, the dog gate should keep your dog contained and unable to get out, so you may have to compromise on aesthetics for their safety.

Making The Most Of Dog Gates

Dog gates are an effective tool that can keep your dog safe, facilitate introductions, and keep your home clean. Here are a few tips for using dog gates inside or outside of your home.

Some gates for dogs are easier to install than others and are designed to be more temporary. However, follow the instructions closely to ensure your dog can't escape once it's set up.

Unfortunately, some dogs might experience anxiety when they're put behind a gate. If your dog is panicking, discuss this with your vet immediately. They will have tips and strategies to help your dog feel at ease or teach you other ways to keep your dog out of certain areas in your home.

For example, they may suggest making the process more comfortable for your dog by training them to use the gate and feel at ease behind it. Once your dog is on the other side of the gate, give them commercial or homemade dog treats. Then, you can increase your distance slowly over time while continuing to use positive reinforcement. Clicker training is another good option for teaching your dog to be content behind the gate. However, they'll need the clicker training foundation to understand what the click means.

One thing to keep in mind is that you don't want your dog jumping or pushing on the gate. If you see them doing this, ignore it and only give them a treat once they've stopped. If you plan to leave your dog behind the gate for long periods, consider leaving them with a treat dispensing toy that will reward them for you and help them stay occupied.

You should also regularly check the gate for signs of wear and ensure it's still sturdy enough to contain your dog. You can use a pet camera when you're not home to monitor your dog behind the gate and ensure they're not finding any ways to escape.

Dog Gates: FAQs

Are baby gates the same as dog gates?

Baby gates and dog gates are similar but have subtle differences. For instance, some dog gates have smaller gaps to prevent small pets from squeezing through, while others are designed for larger breeds that might be able to jump over a traditional baby gate.

How high should my dog gate be?

How high your dog gate should be depends on your dog's height and jumping ability. Typically, a gate with a height of 32-36 inches will be high enough to contain most dogs. However, taller gates are available if you're worried about your dog escaping.

Is it better to put a dog gate at the top or bottom of stairs?

Whether it's better to put a dog gate at the top or bottom of stairs depends on the gate's purpose. A dog gate at the top of the stairs prevents your dog from falling down the stairs. However, at the bottom of the stairs, it prevents them from accessing the upstairs area.

Dog standing upright with paws on dog gate and stuffed animal in mouth

Final Notes

Ensuring the safety and well-being of your pet is your top priority. Dog gates are an essential tool that can act as barriers to restrict access to specific areas of the home, protect valuable items, and provide a safe, contained area for your pet to play and rest. These gates prevent accidents, limit destructive behavior, and offer peace of mind.

Unfortunately, some dogs may experience anxiety behind a dog gate, called confinement distress, somewhat similar to separation anxiety. Additionally, dog gates can't solve your dog's behavioral problems. Talk to a Dutch vet today if your dog suffers from anxiety and destructive behaviors. We can diagnose and treat dog anxiety to help your dog live a happier, healthier life. Try Dutch.


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Frequently Asked Questions

Who is Dutch?

Dutch is an online veterinary pet telehealth service, created by pet parents and board-certified veterinary specialists. We use a science-backed approach to provide pets relief for their everyday physical and behavioral health issues. Dutch connects you with licensed veterinarians over video chat and messaging to help you get care for your dog or cat quickly wherever you are — without the stress or expense of a vet visit. We also partner with pharmacies who can deliver prescription medication (in applicable states only) and over-the-counter treatments directly to your door. Dutch isn’t a veterinary practice or pharmacy, but a company that helps facilitate these services for pet parents to make veterinary care more accessible to all.

What is a visit with Dutch like?

When booking a video call with a vet, you'll be asked a few questions about your pet’s health issue. Depending on the issue, you may also be asked to fill out a longer questionnaire about their symptoms and share photographs of them so our veterinarians can better understand what’s going on. You’ll then pick an appointment time that works best for you.

During your video call, one of our licensed veterinarians will talk to you about the symptoms your pet is experiencing, ask you questions, review your pet’s medical history if you’ve provided it, and answer any questions you have. The vet will ask to see your pet and their environment. And they may ask you to perform some simple checks on them if needed.

After your video call, the vet will send you a message with a custom treatment plan to help your pet feel better, including a link to buy any recommended prescription or over-the-counter medications. Place your order and we’ll ship it free.

How much will it cost for Dutch to treat my pet?

The Dutch membership starts at $7/mo for unlimited access to the vet. No more long waits for appointments or surprise bills.

In addition to the base membership plan, our veterinarians may also recommend additional medication (Rx and/or OTC) that you will have the option of adding to your plan at an additional cost.