Why small dog fences are important for keeping your pet safe!
Our dogs are beloved members in many households, but they can also be escape artists who love to explore beyond your property line! While most small dogs may not pose an escape risk over your fence (although some athletic breeds do!), many small dogs benefit from a dog fence barrier that inhibits their ability to easily squeeze through or dig underneath the fence. We’ve done our homework on the best small dog fence to keep your furry friend safe and secure while giving them the freedom to run and play outside.
Whether you have a tiny toy breed or small terriers, puggles, and beyond there are a variety of small dog fences on the market to suit your needs! In this article, we take a closer look at the best dog fences available, including their features, pros and cons, and how to choose the right one for you and your pets specific needs.
From traditional wooden fences to wireless and invisible fence options, we’ll help you find the perfect fence to keep your small dog safe and secure.
Criteria for choosing the best small dog fence
To help you choose the best small dog fence for your needs, there are several key criteria to consider and we’ve come up with a unique scorecard system to help decide which of the solutions below is best suited for you based on what you view as the most important!
Durability and strength: Whatever fence you choose needs to be strong enough to withstand the size and strength of your dog, as well as any weather conditions in your area. It should be made of high-quality materials that are resistant to rust, decay, and insect damage.
Ease of installation: Dog fences vary in their ease of installation so you should be very mindful of whether the option you selected will require an installer, and if you plan to do it yourself whether you have the right tools and equipment to get the job done properly. If you’re purchasing a DIY kit, make sure it comes with clear instructions and all the necessary hardware, and even take the extra step to contact the company’s support email or phone line to see how quickly they reply and if they have any helpful tips.
Safety and effectiveness: The fence you select should, of course, be designed to keep your dog safe and secure in your yard first and foremost. Consider the type of fence material you are purchasing and whether it solves for fence gaps, digging, and jumping. If your fence option is weak in an area, explore dog fence conversion options like those at Dog Proofer to prevent your dogs from digging, climbing, and squeezing through gaps in the fence. Also keep in mind the fence should be tall enough to prevent jumping over! While small dogs may not be known for their jumping some small breeds, like Jack Russell Terriers for example, can jump as high as 6 feet!
Flexibility and adjustability: If flexibility is a need of yours, make sure your fence is too! If you are renting, planning on fencing multiple areas, or plan to expand your fenced area over time, make sure the fence is adjustable to suit your needs. Many fences require concrete fence post footings, which may not be ideal if flexibility is important to you or your specific project!
Look and curb appeal: Some dog owners will want a high-quality but also stylish and likely expensive fence, while others are focused on effectiveness and not necessarily the look of your fence. Both outlooks are reasonable and will vary based on your unique circumstance! It probably would not make sense to spend $30 / foot for an installed wood fence across 1,000 linear feet of fence in a rural area, but it could for 100 feet in your suburban backyard!
Cost and value for money: Everyone wants the best bang for their buck! While there are varying prices out there, the most important thing to look at when evaluating the cost of the project is the value you get for the money spent. Your new dog fence should be durable and require minimal maintenance over time, as well as accomplish your primary goal – containing your furry family member so they can enjoy the outdoors!
By considering these criteria and doing your research (and following the scorecard to come!), you can find the perfect small dog fence to meet your needs and keep your furry friend safe and secure. Below, we have listed a number of options and scored each of them
Top small dog fences on the market
There are several types of small dog fences on the market, each with their own set of features and benefits. Here are some of the top options:
Wooden fences are a traditional option for small dog fences. They offer a classic look and can be painted or stained to match the aesthetic of your home. Wooden fences are durable and can be designed with pickets to keep small dogs in while still allowing them to see out.
Wooden Dog Fence Overall Score: 18/25 (72%) – Wood Fences scored an 18/25 on our scorecard! This makes them one of the better options for small dog fencing. Wood fences tend to be durable, stylish, and long lasting. However, once fence posts are set, it can be very difficult to make changes. Also, the durability of your wood dog fence can vary based on your location. Persistent critters and bugs such as termites can pose an issue in some locations. Lastly,perhaps the biggest risk when considering a wood fence is the effectiveness can vary! Be sure to consider whether your dog is a digger or, if installing a picket-style wood fence, whether the gaps are narrow enough to prevent a small breed from squeezing through. If these concerns are not addressed by the wood fence you chose,explore fence conversion options such as the dig-proofer andoptions for addressing wide-gaps in fencing.
CHAIN LINK FENCE
Chain link fences are a great option for small dogs that like to dig or who are persistent. Chain link is extremely durable and can be built with a galvanized mesh grid small enough to keep even the smallest toy dog breeds contained. The galvanized steel wire construction resists rust and corrosion and will last years.
Chain Link Dog Fence Overall Score: 18/25 (72%) – Chain Link Fences scored a solid 18/25 on our scorecard! This makes them one of the more effective options for containing your small dog. The biggest benefit of chain link fences is their durability and value – for quite a bit less cost than a traditional wood fence of similar size you can get a rugged fencing option that will withstand nearly any environment! While not necessarily as attractive of an option according to some, chain link more than makes up for it in value and durability. The primary shortcoming of chain link in our rating was on flexibility, once set, chain link can be quite difficult to remove (especially when installed properly with concrete footings).
Chain link is a great solution to contain your dog. The primary things to keep an eye on when it comes to containing Fido with a chain link fence is 1) is the chain link tall enough and 2) is your dog a climber. The rigid metal mesh of a chain link fence makes for good footholds for escape-artist dogs. If height or climbing is of concern, consider a more affordable solution than doubling the height of your fence! Explorestraight fence extension arms for your athletic small dog orcurved fence extension arms for your determined climber dogs!
Vinyl fences are a popular option for small dog fences because they are durable, easy to clean, and come in a variety of colors. They are resistant to rot, decay, and insect damage. They are also generally more expensive than wood or chain link fences.
Vinyl Dog Fence Overall Score: 19/25 (76%) – Vinyl dog fence scored a resounding 19/25 on our scorecard! They scored well across all categories. Vinyl fences have a variety of benefits: they are fairly durable and not prone to insect damage, they can effectively stop dogs getting out and critters getting in, they look nice, AND compared to many options they are relatively easier to reconfigure (depending on the type you buy!).
Vinyl fence’s biggest shortcoming is its cost, as vinyl tends to be a more expensive option by 25-50% in most markets! In conclusion, vinyl fences are a good option to secure your yard. They will have similar issues to wood fences in terms of dog-proofing, so again considerdig-proofing your fence and using awide gap kit to address spaces between fence posts (if applicable). Also, if you have an athletic breed prone to high jumping, and you decide to pursuedog fence extensions, you’ll want to ensure you also get aspeciality vinyl wall kit for smooth installation.
WIRELESS & BURIED WIRE FENCE
Wireless radio fences are a good option for small dogs who may be prone to wander but respond quickly to corrections. Wireless fences work by creating an invisible boundary around your property using a radio transmitter and an electric collar for your dog. They are perhaps the easiest to install and can be adjusted to suit the size of your property. Similarly, an invisible fence uses a buried underground wiring to create the boundary. They are also easy to install and can be easily adjusted to suit the size of your property. They are also more expensive than wireless fences.
Wireless & Buried Wire Dog Fence Overall Score: 17/25 (68%) – Theelectronic dog fence options scored a 17/25 on our scorecard! They scored well in flexibility, curb appeal, and most are a decent value too! Wireless and radio fences can be set up and taken down, readjusted, and configured in many different ways, making them possibly the most flexible solution on the market! They also don’t have much, if any, visibility, although sometimes you will need boundary flags to denote where the fence is buried or where the radio boundary ends which, while not entirely appealing, are minimally invasive/less noticeable than a full fence.
In terms of value, for the right dog and owner pairing, these can provide a great value which helps remind and train your dog to stay on the property for less expense than a full fence system! The biggest downfall of radio and invisible fences is they are 1) fairly easy for any dog to escape making them prone to failure in terms of containment and 2) invisible and radio fences tend to degrade substantially faster than traditional fencing options which are designed to withstand 5-10 years outdoors. If you are considering a wireless fence, also be sure toinvest in an experienced dog trainer who can make sure your dog clearly understands the fence system and is trained to get the appropriate response, otherwise your furry family member may not understand why they are being shocked which could increase anxiety -learn more about how to avoid this reaction with the experts. Lastly, it could be beneficial to invest in a GPS collar in the event your dog is too excited or stimulated to be contained by the wireless fence while learning to safely remain inside the boundary (for example, if they see wildlife like deer and want to chase).
PET FENCE / SMALL DOG FENCE
Pet specific fences are, like it sounds, fences specifically designed to contain your dog! These fences can vary in their size and materials used, but generally they seek to address the primary factor associated with containing your pet which is preventing climbing/jumping, eliminating wide gaps, and stopping digging.
Pet Fences / Dog Fences Overall Score: 21/25 (84%) – The dog-specific fence scored a 21/25 on our scorecard! Somewhat unsurprisingly for an article posted on a dog fencing website rating fences based on their ability to contain small dogs (or any dog for that matter), a dog fence is undoubtedly the most effective solution on the market!
Dog fences like thefree-standing dog fence are highly durable and made from powder coated posts and steel mesh or 650 lb break-strength black polymer mesh, each designed to withstand years of outdoor exposure (similar in durability, but perhaps not as robust, as chain link fence). These small dog fences are also DIY designed, for quick and easy installation in hours, not days, and with the flexibility to easily rearrange or expand the fence with substantially less effort (no concrete footings to contend with).
The primary shortcoming is, in my opinion, their curb appeal. They are not as stylish as many vinyl or wood fence options, however the black finish of theDog Proofer free-standing fence is intentionally designed to blend naturally and be less noticeable than chain link fences. As far as value goes, these fences cost anywhere from 15-50% less than traditional fences while being nearly 100% effective at containing all dog breeds, making their value per foot one of the highest. One final consideration when researching dog-specific fence options is to thoroughly check the material quality – several low budget options and imitation products exist which will not have the same durability or effectiveness as Dog Proofer!
Portable fences are a great option for small dogs who are not inclined to try and escape and just need some boundaries! They are easy to set up and take down, and can be used to create a temporary boundary for your dog. They are available in a variety of materials, including plastic, metal, and mesh fabric.
Portable Fences Overall Score: 13/25 (52%) – The Portable Dog Fence scored a 13/25 on our scorecard! The most advantageous thing about a portable fence is 1) you can take it down and set it up in minutes (highly flexible) and 2) you can stow it away when not using it. While this is somewhat of an overgeneralization, portable fence solutions typically do not do an effective job containing any small dog with any level of determination to escape. Particularly those made with fabric mesh or low quality plastic. There may be some more premium options with higher walls, heavier frames, and stronger materials that can be used for dogs without a high determination, but if you are concerned with ongoing safe outdoor access for your dog, we would recommend one of the aforementioned options first.
That said, there is possibly a time and place for a portable fence solution such as while camping, when your small dog is a puppy, or if you intend to hang out with them inside the portable fence. While this fence option may not tick the boxes of what we were looking for in this article, there are always other advantages to keep in mind!
Which one is right for me?? How to choose the right small dog fence for your needs
Choosing the right small dog fence for your needs can be a bit tricky. Here are some things to consider about your specific circumstances to help you make your decision:
Breed of your dog:The breed of your dog will be a major factor in determining the type of fence you need! A small toy breed dog will require a different type of fence than a larger small breed dog. Also think about how strong or springy your dog is – a puggle will usually have less athleticism than a Jack Russell Terrier (generally speaking). Be sure the fence you choose is suitable for the size and ability of your dog.
Budget: Small dog fences can range in price from a few hundred dollars to several thousand. Consider your budget when making your decision. Chain link, welded wire fences (pet-specific fence), and invisible fences are generally more affordable than wood or vinyl fence.
Layout of your property:The layout of your property will also play a role in determining the type of fence you need. If you have a large yard with a lot of space, you may be able to use a wireless or invisible fence. If you have a smaller yard or a more complex layout, a traditional wooden or chain link fence may be a better option.
Dog’s behavior: Do you have a focused or energetic breed known for escaping or digging? Or does your dog have an urge to pursue wildlife? These factors will affect what type of fence you go with and what dog-proofing options are most appropriate. If your dog is more prone to jumping, you may need a taller fence, if they like to dig, a dig/chew guard may help.
Maintenance: Consider the maintenance requirements of the fence you choose. Wooden fences can require regular staining or painting over the years, while vinyl fences are virtually maintenance-free other than some light cleaning. Wireless and invisible fences will require battery replacement and monitoring for deterioration over time. It is a good idea to maintain your steel fence (chain link or welded wire) with rust-inhibitors over the years if the galvanization/powder coat is worn away by many years of outdoor exposure (you can add as much as 5-7 years to the life of your fence doing this!)
Safety:Safety is the name of the game when considering fence options for your dog (big or small!), and will always be a top priority when choosing a small dog fence. Make sure the fence you choose is designed to keep your dog safe and secure.
Now that you know what factors to consider for your own buying experience, let’s get to the good stuff because you may be thinking to yourself: “This is the best article I’ve ever read about dog fencing, but what do you recommend for ME?”
Well let’s get to it!
Summary of the best small dog fences available
We’re here to keep our pugs, terriers, and toy breeds safe while they play and explore outside! A resilient and effective fence is an essential tool for keeping your furry friend safe and secure while giving them the freedom to run and play outside.Based on what you find to be most important to you, here is what we recommend:
So there you have it! Based on what is most important to you, you can use the carefully designed and scientifically irrefutable table and chart above to help decide which fence option is best for you and your dog.
And don’t forget!Whether you choose a fence option which is purposefully designed to keep your small dog in like afree-standing fence, or whether you choose a traditional fence option and decide to adddog-proofing fence modifications after the fact, the most important thing is you and your dog can share safe, enjoyable outdoor access together – now let’s go spend some enriching time outdoors with our furry family members!