How to Build a Dog Pen (or Cat)

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An outdoor dog pen can be useful to you and your dog(s)and/or cat(s). Pens are ideal to keep pets safe. I have a lot of wild coyotes so having a dog door that opens to a close-able pen allows them to go outside nights when I can't trust the backyard fence to be enough. Pens are also great to contain your pets when you have company, builders or need to confine them for any other reason. You can also stash an extra visiting animal in the pen.

Things You'll Need

  • Chain link fencing and hardware
  • Floor mats
  • Optional roof material
  • Select a place for the pen where it will be used. You can attach it to the house with or without a pet door for easy pet access to the house itself. You can also build a free-standing one elsewhere. Just make sure it's close enough to be convenient.

  • Chain link fencing is ideal as it doesn't absorb smells or stains and handles all kinds of weather.

  • A top cover is useful if the pen is in sun and there is a possibility your pets will be in it for any length of time. You'll also need one if your pet is a good jumper. I use shade cloth since I'm in a hot climate. A water-resistant cover might be wise where there is a lot of rainfall.

  • Add a door for human access. You will want to get inside for maintenance and you may, at some point, have to collect a pet hiding inside who needs special attention.

  • Make sure the pen is big enough. I'd suggest at least 6'x6'. Make it bigger for more or larger pets. If cats will use the pen, make sure there is no way for them to escape. In this case a roof is a must!

  • You can build your pen on the ground where no floor is necessary. Gravel can be used over bare ground. Or you can build a floor with pavers or brick laid on a base of sand. If you are putting your pen on a concrete pad, patio, brick walk or the like, you may want to cushion the floor and mediate floor temperatures. Rolls of inexpensive fake grass work well, but must be hosed clean regularly. I prefer perforated mats. Again, you will want to use a material that you can clean thoroughly and frequently.

  • There are ready-made pens available at retail stores, pet suppliers and home stores. Or you can build your own. Either way, an outdoor pen will make your life much easier and your pets safer and more contented.

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