While we all love our dogs, we don’t always love what they get up to in our homes or apartments when we are not around. Dog gates come in many different types, sizes, and with many convenient features. Yet even with so much to choose from, each one is of course made to provide a barrier that keeps your pets right where you want them. This is not only convenient and can make daily life much easier but often a necessary part of owning a pooch. So here’s a guide to help you learn all the basics.
The Top Reasons To Use Dog Gates
-Keep your dog out of certain rooms
Many dog owners don’t want or trust their dog in certain rooms of the house either all the time or when unsupervised. Whether it’s your office, bedroom, or living room there is a lot of damage a dog can do when their owner is out. Dog gates are an easy way to confine your dog to one room or keep it out of another.
-Keep your dog and cat separate
If your cat and dog don’t get along dog gates is a necessity. However, even if they do, they are the best way to keep your dog out of your cat’s litter box and away from the cat’s food. Unless they are very tall dog gates can also almost always be jumped by cats but not by dogs. This allows your cat can go wherever it wants, while your dog can’t. Some even have small doors just for your cat.
-Keep multiple dogs separate
As owners of multiple dogs know, dogs don’t always get along. Dog gates allow you to keep your dogs separate, giving them each their own separate space which prevents fights as well as rough play which can end in injuries and of course your things being broken.
-Keep your house cleaner
Keeping your dog in a certain area means less dog hair, muddy paw prints or messy accidents to clean up in other areas of the house.
-Keep your dog on one level of the house
Dog gates are also an excellent way to keep your dog only on one level of your home. Using one to block them from going up or downstairs will keep them out of rooms on a whole floor or level.
-Keep your dog safe
Dog gates are also a great way to keep dogs safe. Many owners use them to block the stairs preventing older dogs from falling or slipping. And of course if your dog is a chewer using a dog gate can prevent it from getting into rooms where it can chew on electrical cords or items which could be toxic.
-Keep your dog confined but not too confined
Using a dog gate allows you to keep it confined but still with space to move and of course lounge around without being nearly as confined as it would be if it were left in a dog kennel.
-Keep yourself stress and worry free
Not having to worry about your dogs safety, the safety of your possessions and furniture, and of course what kind of mess your dog is making in your home, is a huge weight off any dog owner’s shoulders, and one which allows you to go about your day feeling great.
Dog Gate Materials
Gates typically come in 3 materials: wood, plastic, or metal. Some are combination of more than one. Wooden dog gates are the most popular because of their durability, fairly light weight and the fact that wood is naturally good looking. There are actually wooden varieties of every type of dog gate. Metal is also a good looking option and is most often used in walk-thru gates or gates for larger dogs. Plastic is a light weight and inexpensive option however it is only used with pressure mounted gates and for small or medium dogs.
Dog Gate Sizes
Before purchasing any dog gate you need to measure the space or doorway in which you are planning to use it. While virtually all dog gates will fit in a standard sized doorway and even larger depending on the type you choose, you may need an extra wide dog gate in order to fit a very wide space or a tall gate to keep in your large dog.
Extra Wide Dog Gates
For dog owners who have an extra wide doorway, entryway, or hallway to block you will need an extra wide dog gate. Extra wide gates are usually either walk-thru gates, freestanding gates, or expansion gates many of which can open to more than 80” wide.
Tall Dog Gates
Large dog breeds or medium sized dogs that are good jumpers require a tall dog gate to keep them out of trouble. The sturdiest types of tall gates are the walk-thru variety because they are securely mounted in the door frame as well as the free standing type as they have sturdy feet to keep them upright. Most are around 36” high and made form metal or wood.
The Many Different Types of Dog Gates
Pressure Mounted Gates
These are by far the most common dog gates purchased by dog owners. These gates usually have a wooden frame with either plastic or wire mesh to keep your dog from getting through. They also can be all plastic and sometimes metal. Pressure mounted dog gates are spread out to the width of your doorway and then easily locked in place. They are lightweight which makes them very easy to carry, setup, or put away as well as very inexpensive starting at around $15 U.S.
This type is also easy to adjust so you can use it with different door frames of different sizes in your home. Most pressure mounted dog gates are around 24” high and can extend from about 26-42” depending on the brand. When purchasing one make sure that you buy a model which has bumpers which are advertised as non-marking, as you don’t want your gate to leave marks on your door frame. Keep in mind that while this type of dog gate is simple and easy to remove, you don’t remove it every time you enter or leave the room, you step over it instead.
A more permanent option, walk-thru gates, are pressure or tension mounted on either side, and have a door in the center allowing you to walk through. These are a good idea for home owners who want to leave their gate in one doorway for an extended period of time and don’t want to deal with the hassle of stepping over it every time they enter or leave the room. The fact that you don’t have to step over them makes them much safer than other types of gates because you’re not at risk for falling down. They are an especially smart and safe idea for use at the top of a staircase because stepping over another type of gate could end in a serious injury from falling down the stairs.
Installing a walk-thru gate also makes it easy for you to let your pet into the room when you want to because all you have to do is open the door, as opposed to having to lift your pet over it or take the entire gate out of the doorway. This type fits all normal door frame sizes and there are extra-wide and extra tall versions available too. Walk-thru gates are very popular with large dog owners because they come in sizes high enough so that big dogs are not to be able to get over and are very tough. They are usually either made from wood or different types of metal and have bars instead of using mesh panels. It always a good idea to choose a model which locks easily and that has a door which swings both ways.
Free Standing Dog Gates
Another option which many owners like and are very popular are free standing gates. These are more expensive than other types of gates but are much more luxurious looking and can compliment your home very well as they are usually made from various beautiful hardwoods like walnut and cherry. Free standing dog gates have two feet, one on each side to hold it up and have 2-3 panels which you can spread apart until the gate is the length you need. They can be placed inside your door frame, just in front, or behind it, it’s up to you. Many people actually purchase them to use in a hallway or a double-door entry.
This type of gate often can extend to cover a much longer area than your door frame depending on how many panels it has. A small free standing gate can usually fit a door frame as small as 26” and open up to around 40” while some extra wide gates can extend to around about 80”. When buying one, make sure to purchase a model that has rubber feet so your floor will not get scratched when moving the gate. A good option for someone who does not want to step over the gate every time they go in and out, are models which have a walk through door which allows the owner to open it and walk through but that locks when you close it so your dog cannot. Another good feature to look for is that the gate can fold together for easy storage. Free standing dog gates do require assembly; however it’s pretty easy and should take only about 10-20 minutes.
Modular Free Standing Dog Gates
Also called folding gates, convertible gates, or configurable gates, these gates are also freestanding but a little different. They don’t have feet and are made up of double hinged panels which can be placed straight, configured to fit in odd spaces, or even to form a pen around your dog. Light weight and easy to move, you can also fold one panel onto another for easy storage.
This type is also normally made from good-looking hardwoods and can both function to keep your dog in a certain room and also compliment your home as well. Most modular free standing dog gates don’t require any assembly and can conveniently be used right out of the box.
Expansion Swing Dog Gates
Perfect for wide doorways or hallways, expansion gates can expand from the width of a normal doorway to one which is extra-wide. They are convenient to use because the whole gate swings open in both directions and functions as a door which is easy to open, close, and lock even with one hand. Expansion dog gates are made from wood and come with mounting hardware which usually only require a screwdriver to mount in the door frame or wall.
Because they swing open its important to purchase one with a rubber base so that it does not scratch your floor. Another good feature that many gates have which is very convenient is that they can be lifted right out of the hinges or mounts and quickly stored. Most expanding dog gates are around 32-33” tall and many can open up to around 84” wide. They are a good option because they are cheaper than freestanding gates but can still provide the length of extra wide dog gates.
***Dog Gate Tips***
-Dog gates also function as gates for small children. So whether you are expecting kids in the future or have them already, installing a dog gate can function to keep both your dog and children out of trouble. In fact many of the gates designed for big dogs are much sturdier than the ones made for kids anyway.
-When using a pressure mounted dog gate drawing a small line next to the correct notch for your doorway is a quick and easy way to remember what setting to use without wasting anytime. You could even use different colors for different sized doorways.
-If you have a large dog or one which is a good jumper and have a pressure mounted gate, walk-thru gate, or expansion gate, installing it a few inches higher from ground level, but not high enough for your dog to get under, will give you a few inched of height for free.
– If you own one of the small dog breeds make sure the bars of the model you purchase are close enough so as not to let your dog get through.
– When purchasing a dog gate for a puppy that will in the future become a large dog, choosing one that you can use when the dog is full grown as well is a smart idea that will save you from having to buy more than one gate as your puppy grows.
– Free standing dog gates are an excellent way to block off expensive items in your home. You can use them to keep your curious child or dog away from speakers, TV’s, and other things that would be easy to knock down and very expensive to replace.
– If you want to confine your dog to one room while you are out, the kitchen is usually the best as messes and accidents are easier to clean up on non-carpeted kitchen floor.
– When using any dog gate its always a good idea to leave dog beds, toys, or bones for your pet to enjoy while you are away.
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