The process of selecting the best dog gates for indoors can be overwhelming with the wide variety of options currently on the market. There are so many different styles, sizes, materials, and price points that you may be wondering where to begin. Don’t worry, we have you covered!
In this guide, we’re going to dive into details surrounding dog gates and their uses including discussing how they can be used as a valuable training tool, when they should be used for safety reasons, and how to find the perfect gate for your home. By the end, you will be ready to purchase the best dog gate for every space in your home.
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When to Use a Dog Gate Indoors
There are many situations in which dog gates may help you to provide a safe and comfortable home environment for your pup as well as the entire family. Most dog parents are aware of their purpose when bringing home a young puppy, but the functionality of a high-quality dog gate doesn’t end there. Gates can be used to care for and protect your dog at every stage of his life.
The use of dog gates inside often starts right from the beginning, when you first bring your new puppy home. At this stage of their life, puppies are curious and want to explore everything that they can. Unfortunately, this inquisitive nature can lead to some big clean-ups and even hefty vet bills if your pup gets into something that he shouldn’t. Use a gate to restrict your puppy to a single room or ‘safe zone’ which has been carefully checked over to remove any potential hazards.
Potty Training/Containing Accidents
During the housetraining process, your dog is going to have accidents. They are still young and learning, and that’s a process that doesn’t happen overnight. A dog gate will make it easy to limit the space that your dog has access to at any given time, especially when he’s unsupervised. This will keep the ‘mess’ contained in a single area, preferably one with an easy to clean flooring option like tile.
This concept may come back into consideration as your dog enters his golden years. Many senior dogs will suffer from urinary incontinence or urinary leakage. Your dog doesn’t mean to make a mess and their accidents aren’t their fault in any way, however, they can still be frustrating to clean from carpets and other difficult-to-clean surfaces. At this stage, you may wish to limit your dog’s access at night or when left unsupervised for an extended time.
If you have multiple pets, there may be times that you wish to keep your pets separated. This is especially true for homes with both dogs and cats. They can be used effectively in the beginning, when introducing pets, but limiting the amount of time that they are together as they get used to one another. Then, as they find the balance in their ‘pack’, a gate is a great way to create a safe place for your cat to escape to where they feel safe and secure.
In many homes, including our own, a specific area of the home is blocked with a gate to create a ‘cats only’ location. This is an ideal space to keep your cat’s food or litter box so that your dogs can’t get into it. This can be done by setting up your gate strategically in a way that your cat can get past it, but your dogs can’t, or by purchasing a gate with a smaller cat door.
Separating Pets and Children
In addition to separating your pets from one another, you may also need to separate your pets from the children in your home (either your own children or those that are visiting). Children can be taught to interact with animals respectfully, but even then, it is not recommended to leave a dog and a child together unsupervised. There are too many factors that can go wrong, creating a potentially dangerous situation. It’s better to be safe than sorry!
Restricting Access to Stairs
If you are caring for a dog with mobility issues either due to an injury or simply due to old age, the stairs could be a daunting task. It is often best to limit the use of the stairs to times where it’s necessary, such as going to bed at night. The rest of the time, you can block access to the stairs with the use of a dog gate at the top and/or bottom.
Keeping Your Dog Contained
If you prefer to give your dog a little more room to move around when you’re not home, you may prefer to use dog gates for house containment in place of a standard dog crate. This allows you to keep your dog in a smaller area, removing any temptations or potential hazards so that they can be safe while unsupervised. You can contain your dog in a single room, or allow your dog to have access to the main living space while restricting access to areas where he could get into trouble such as a children’s playroom full of toys that can be chewed up or swallowed. They are also a great option if you have workers coming in to do a job in the house and you need to keep your dog out of the way.
Is your dog currently recovering from an injury or recent surgery? If so, there’s a good chance that your doctor recommended that he rest and not be allowed to do overly active things like running after his toys or racing up the stairs. Dog gates are a great way to keep your dog contained during his recovery to keep his activity level down as much as possible and encourage him to rest.
It should be noted, however, that while dog gates are a great safety measure, they should not be used as a substitution for proper training. If you are limiting your dog’s access to your home due to a fixable problem, you should consider reaching out to a dog trainer in your area to help guide you on how to find a better long-term solution.
Types of Indoor Dog Gates
Selecting the best dog gates for your home will depend largely on the location where the gate will be used. Some gates will provide a safe, secure barrier in a smaller doorway but fail to hold safely on a stairway. Others are designed for larger, open spaces but are too bulky for use in a basic doorway. Ensuring that you have the right gate for the job will help to eliminate tripping hazards, prevent damage to your home, and provide assurance that your pet is not going to be able to easily knock the gate free.
Each of these gates can be purchased in a variety of different materials, styles, and designs. Your gate can even match your home decor, adding to the space aesthetically while still offering functionality.
Dog Gates for Doors
These gates can be purchased in a variety of different heights, allowing you to find the best solution for your dog. A larger dog or one that is capable of jumping greater heights may need an extra-tall gate to prevent them from simply hopping over the gate. These gates are also available in different widths including those for standard door frames, narrow door frames, wide door frames, and expandable options for if you’re unsure or are looking to use your gate in more than one location.
Gates that are designed for use in doorways can be installed in one of two ways, either hardware-mounted or pressure-mounted. Hardware-mounted gates require the gate to be permanently installed in the doorframe. They often come with a higher price tag, but they are sturdier and not likely to be knocked out of place by a larger dog.
Pressure-mounted gates are a temporary solution that can be moved from one space to the next with no damage to your door frame. For this reason, they are a popular choice for renters. These gates use the application of pressure against each side of your doorframe to hold them in place, however, if your dog is large enough, he could use his weight to push the gate out of the doorway entirely. One big perk to using a pressure-mounted gate is that you can bring it with you when traveling.
Dog gates for doors can be purchased either as a single solid barrier or with walk-through capability. This means that all or a portion of the gate can be unlatched, swinging open on a hinge to allow you to pass through easily. This allows you to keep the gate in place to contain your dog, while still moving freely through your home as needed.
Dog Gates for Stairs
When selecting a gate for use on your stairs, you may want to put a greater emphasis on the ease of use when moving through the space. This is due to the fact that you will not only be navigating the gate and anything that may be in your hands, but also the added complication of the stairs themselves.
Most hardware-mounted gates can be used either at the top or bottom of your stairway, however, there are some additional considerations when choosing the right gate size. Unlike doorways, stairwells can vary even greater in width. Stair banisters are not always a simple flat surface to work with, which can make the process more complicated.
In an effort to allow for more dog parents to use dog gates for stairs, companies have created mounting kits that overcome the uneven design of most stair banisters. For renters, there are even mounting kits that secure a hardware-mounted gate without creating any holes in your stair banisters.
Freestanding Dog Gates
Freestanding dog gates are the most versatile gate option on the market simply because they don’t require a stairwell or doorway to be used. They can be purchased in a wide spectrum of widths ranging from a single panel gate that would be comparable to a standard doorway gate, right up to a multi-panel gate that includes at least 6-8 panels and can even be circled around on itself to create a dog playpen.
Since the gates are not secured using either hardware or using a pressure-mounted system, they are easier to knock over than the other options on this list. For this reason, they aren’t recommended if your dog is an escape artist. However, their freedom from the doorway means that they can also be used easily to create a barrier in the middle of a room. They are incredibly easy to move from one spot to the next due to the lack of installation required, making them a great choice for a quick temporary barrier.
Dog Gates with Cat Accessibility
If you are setting up a dog gate with the intention of allowing your cat to move freely through the space, there are some great gate options that include a small cat door. These small doors include a locking feature, allowing you to open them up when desired but also close them off if you need to also keep your cats contained for any reason. This cat door can come in two different styles, either a doorway style that opens sideways on a hinge or a pet door style that flips up as the cat passes through.
These gates often come with a higher price point than the standard models. They are available both in pressure-mounted and hardware-mounted designs, meaning that they can be installed permanently or temporarily depending on your personal preferences.
Retractable Dog Gates
Another option when choosing dog gates for indoors that is often overlooked is the retractable model. These gates are made from a strong mesh that rolls up when not in use, saving you space in your home. They are a permanent solution involving the use of hardware both to mount the gate itself on one side as well as to install the locking mechanism on the other side of your doorframe or stairway. However, the retractable design means that they can be used for a wider spectrum of doorways without worrying about width. Despite being hardware-mounted, they often come with a lower price tag.
While the mesh used in these gates is strong enough for smaller dogs, it isn’t recommended for dogs that weigh 50lbs or more. It’s also not a good solution for persistent chewers, regardless of their size.
The use of dog gates in your home can help you provide a safer environment for your dog from the young inquisitive puppy stage right up to his golden years. They offer an added level of security for both your dog and the rest of your family as well as a reliable and easy way to keep your dog contained, regardless of the reason. They are a must-have in our home and in the homes of countless dog parents with dogs of all breeds and life stages.
Have you recently purchased a dog gate for indoors? If so, what style of gate do you use around your home?
About the Author: Britt Kascjak is a proud pet mom, sharing her heart (and her home) with her ‘pack’ which includes her husband John, their 3 dogs – Daviana, Indiana, and Lucifer – and their 2 cats – Pippen and Jinx. She has been active in the animal rescue community for over 15 years, volunteering, fostering and advocating for organizations across Canada and the US. In her free time, she enjoys traveling around the country camping, hiking, and canoeing with her pets.