Dog gates are a simple solution to the necessity of confining your
pet to a particular area or keeping him out of another. A dog gate
can be placed at the top or the bottom of a stairway, placed by
the kitchen doorway, or any other doorway that needs a gate. Dog
gates are not solid walls – therefore your dog can see through the
gate and still be part of the activity in the other room. Some dog
gates are portable so you can take them with you when you travel.
Some are wider for larger openings and taller for large dogs. Other
pet gates can swing open for your convenience.
There are a lot of reasons why you might want to keep your dog
– Protecting your home, especially when you are gone. Dogs have
been known to commit mischief when left alone. Confining him to
one area can keep the mischief from occurring, or at least keep
it to a minimum. It also will free you from worry about what might
be going on at home while you are gone. Besides the problem of mischief,
if you have a dog who for whatever reason cannot be trusted not
to have accidents, you will definitely want to keep him confined
to a relatively small, uncarpeted area in order to minimize cleanup.
– Protecting your children. Perhaps you have a crawling baby or
other small children and you just want to keep them and your dog
separated. Maybe your dog is large and rambunctious, or perhaps
he’s a guard dog who is not especially patient with children. Whatever
your reasons for keeping them separated, a good dog gate will be
invaluable for this purpose.
– Protecting your dog from various hazards. Among these are keeping
him out of places where he could get into things that might harm
him, such as a storage area where there are poisons like antifreeze,
or a food storage area where you don’t want him sampling the goods,
or even your fireplace or outdoor barbecue.
– Protecting other pets from your dog. If you have a cat or other
indoor pet, you may want to keep it separated from the dog. Or you
might want to restrict your dog’s access to a room where there is
a bird in a cage, or other caged pet(s).
– As a training aid in housebreaking puppies. If you are in the
process of housebreaking a puppy and don’t plan to use the crate
method, it’s almost imperative that you be able to confine him to
a small, uncarpeted area until he learns to go outside.
An important point to keep in mind about dog gates is that they
are often preferable to other means of containment, such as keeping
your dog behind a closed door or confined in a crate. Such methods
can and frequently do result in behavior problems due to claustrophobia
(fear of enclosed spaces), containment phobia (fear of being trapped),
or separation anxiety. A dog gate will help to prevent such problems,
and keep your dog safely confined while still allowing him to see
out and be a part of the household which goes a long way towards
ensuring his comfort and safety as well as convenience for the owner.
Uses of Dog Gates
Most dog gates are purchased for indoor use, but there are times
when you might want one outdoors, or when traveling. Some of the
many possible uses for dog gates might include:
– Confining a puppy or a sick or incontinent older dog to non-carpeted
– Keeping your dog confined to designated or allowable spaces when
traveling or visiting family or friends.
– Keeping your dog out of a room containing a litter box, cat tree
and cat bed, so the cat will have free access without concern for
possible spats. You may also wish to segregate your dog from other
pets, such as a bird.
– Keeping your dog safely in an adjoining room when having a party
or visiting guests.
– At the top of the stairs to your deck or other outdoor area, allowing
your dog to join you outside, but keeping him from the yard and/or
– Protecting your dog from dangerous places such as the barbecue
grill or fireplace.
– Preventing your dog from being underfoot while you are cooking
or engaging in other household tasks.
– Enabling you to keep bedroom windows open during warm weather
to ventilate the house but stopping your dog from entering the room
and sleeping on the bed!
– Restricting access to particular rooms when you are out.
– Allowing ventilation via door or window, yet keeping the dog inside
until you are ready to let him/her out.
– Keeping your dog from going up or down the stairs.
– Keeping your dog with you while reading or watching TV so that
you know where he is and what he’s doing.
Information You Need to Know
You may need a dog gate for any or all of these reasons, or you
may have other personal reasons not listed. Whatever your reasons
for deciding to get a dog gate, there are some things you should
know before simply going ahead and buying the first one you see.
Before you begin shopping for a gate, some questions to ask yourself
1. Where will the gate be installed. Will it be at the top or bottom
of stairs, in a hallway, between rooms, dividing a large open space,
or merely closing off a smaller one.
2. How wide is the opening. You’ll need to get an exact measurement
and write it down. Is a standard gate going to work for you or is
the opening a regular or irregular area where you’ll need a custom
3. What type of surface will the gate be attached to. For example
– is it solid wood, drywall, brick, concrete, metal, newel posts,
stair balusters, or wrought iron fencing.
4. Is this going to be a temporary or permanent installation. Are
you interested in having a mobile gate that’s easy to set up and
5. How sturdy must the gate be. Take into account your dog’s size,
temperament and past behavior – does he chew, jump, or try to escape,
or is he small and docile.
Once you’ve determined your requirements, you’ll want to study
the different types of dog gates available in order to see which
best meets your particular needs.
Types of Dog Gates – Installation
– Pressure Mount dog gates require no tools, hardware, assembly
or installation. They attach to a doorframe or wall by means of
adjustable feet that can be expanded to tighten against two solid
surfaces to hold it in place. They should not be used on hollow
walls, however, as this type of wall has some “give” and can retract,
thus loosening the fit and making the gate insecure. Some models
of pressure mount gates have a gauge so you can properly adjust
the pressure. Others have a “memory lock” that remembers its locking
position when removed.
– Clamp Mount gates are another temporary solution, and can be used
if you are planning to place the gate, for example, between two
newel posts, or fastened between two sections of wrought-iron fence.
– Hardware Mount gates are a more permanent installation, and are
mounted with screws directly into a wall, doorframe or post. This
type of installation provides the maximum strength and security,
an important factor to keep in mind especially for larger, heavy
– Combination Mounts can have a standard screw-type mount on one
side, with a clamp mount on the other as, for instance, when installing
on a stairway with a wall on one side, and a balustrade on the other.
Materials – Dog gates come in quite a variety of materials,
– Wood. Some of these are just plain, while others are made of
fine, furniture quality woods to match the hardwood flooring, or
other wood accents in your home.
– Metal gates can be of plain metal, steel or aluminum tubing, or
coated with plastic or vinyl for a more attractive finish.
– Plastic. These gates are usually white in color, and fairly inexpensive.
– Wood/Mesh gates are a combination of a wood frame with nylon,
plastic or wire mesh.
– Metal/Mesh are a combination of wire mesh with a metal frame,
though some might also have a plastic or nylon mesh.
– Fabric gates are either steel tubing with a fabric insert, or
a retractable type of gate made entirely of fabric that rolls out
from one wall to fasten against the other.
– Electronic gates are not, strictly speaking, gates at all, but
allow you to set up “containment areas” by use of a transmitter
combined with a computer collar.
There is a wide selection of styles of dog gates, ranging in price
from under twenty dollars to several hundred. Whatever your taste
and needs, there is sure to be a gate to suit you. If not, there
are also customizable gates that you can personalize to fit your
needs, or a custom option that will allow you to order a gate designed
and made specifically for you. Below are listed a variety of pet
gates that will fit any need of any dog owner.
1. Basic gates are merely barriers placed in an opening, made of
the materials listed above. They’re low enough for you to step over,
but high enough so that your dog cannot. Simple and inexpensive,
they are a good choice if you have a well-trained dog, or a fairly
small and light one.
2. Pet safety gates also known as baby gates are commonly used
to confine puppies (and babies!) to safe areas in the home or in
the case of potty-breaking puppies to non-carpeted areas.
3. Walk-through gates are the next step up in convenience, as they
are hinged, allowing you to open them for ease of passage. Variations
on this style include:
– One hand latch gates allow you to open and close them easily with
– Auto-close gates will do just that: close behind you automatically,
eliminating the need for you to manually latch them behind you.
– One-touch pet gates have a button latch that you merely touch
– Door-in-a-door gates have a smaller pet door inset within the
gate, so you can allow your cat or small dog to come and go freely,
while keeping your larger dog confined.
– One hand latch gates allow you to open and close them easily with
– Swing gates open in both directions
– Foot pedal operated gates are a hands-free option, making use
of a foot pedal with the safety feature that it must be operated
by an adult, preventing its use by your dog or a child.
4. Sliding gates are not hinged, but are in sections that slide
against each other to provide an opening for passage.
5. Retractable gates are either of the fabric type mentioned above
that rolls into a holder on one wall, or the familiar accordion-style
wood mesh gate that squeezes together on one side. Another style
of retracting gate has sections that fold up fan-style against one
side of the opening.
6. Adjustable gates may be of either the fixed or walk-through
style, but have sliding sections, which can be locked once in place,
thereby accommodating a range of widths.
7. 4-or-5-in-One gates come with a variety of mounting solutions,
allowing you to choose the one or ones that meet your needs, or
change the mounting as your needs change. These can include pressure
mount for immediate use; door sockets for extra holding power; rail
sockets for use between wrought iron railings; between wall and
wrought iron railing; and swing gate.
8. Configurable or build-your-own gates or gate systems allow you
to custom fit the gate to unusual or asymmetrical areas or openings.
9 Stair-top gates feature a one-way hinged opening that swings
inward only, with a locking mechanism to prevent the gate from swinging
out over the stairs.
10. Large pet gates capable of covering up to a 5 foot width and
higher than standard gates and easily operated with only one hand.
11. Extra wide pet gates expand from 53 inches to 96 inches wide
(8 feet!) that mount easily in doorways, hallways, or larger openings
as a barrier for your dog.
There are a number of features available to make using your gate
easier, convenient, or more secure.
– Alarms will sound and alert you if the gate is opened accidentally,
by your pet, child or other unauthorized party.
– Locks are available that will prevent the gate from being opened
by anyone not in possession of the key. These include electronic
locks which require the use of a remote device.
– Expansions are sections that can be added to many gates to accommodate
a very wide opening.
– Vertical extensions can be attached to the top of some gates to
make them more secure for very large or tall dogs.
– Gate bracket kits help you to attach the gate to unusual surfaces,
such as wrought iron railings, hollow walls, or wooden banisters.
Brands of Dog Gates
There are quite a number of companies manufacturing dog gates.
Some names are immediately recognizable, while others are less so,
but all have something to offer and some specialize in particular
styles. Some of the better known brands are:
– Cardinal (US)
– Evenflo (US)
– Four Paws (Canada)
– Kidco (US) – one of the best known brands, its gates pass all
USA standards in addition to the stringent European requirements
for taller, stronger, narrower slat spacing and latches that are
easy for an adult to operate. One unique product is the Kidco Hearth
Gate, which is specifically designed to offer premier protection
from the heat and fire of fireplaces and wood burning stoves. This
gate is very flexible as it can also be used for protecting large
irregular shaped openings. Expansion panels are available.
– Lindam (UK) – full line of easy fit wood and metal gates
– North States Industries (US)
– Orvis (US) – specialize in furniture-quality wooden gates
– PetSelect (China) – inexpensive wooden gates
– RadioFence (US) – two styles of gates, one plastic 5-way, the
other an extra-tall wire mesh gate
– Regal-Lager (US) – KiddyGuard gates, a full line.
– Richell (Japan) – “One Touch” and “Pet Sitter” adjustable gates.
– Stacks and Stacks (US) – makes a wooden, pressure-mount, door-in-door
As with all products you use for your dog, gates require you to
be aware of safety issues. Take the time to get the right gate for
your dog and your situation in order to maximize both convenience
Points to keep in mind are:
1. Most importantly – if the gate has slats, be sure they are not
so far apart as to allow your dog to get his head stuck between
them. If you have small children, the same advice holds true. The
newer standards require no more than 2.5 inches between slats. Take
your ruler and measure!
2. Be sure the gate cannot be tipped over or opened when your dog
leans on it. Test it to be sure. If it can, you may need to look
into a different mounting or a sturdy lock.
3. If your dog chews, get a metal gate. Plastic and wood can be
chewed, as can the plastic coating on some metal gates. Bare steel
or aluminum tubing is not as pretty as wood or plastic, but where
safety and convenience are concerned it’s a small compromise.
4. If the gate is to be mounted at the top of the stairs:
– Do not use a pressure mount installation. This is just too insecure
to trust in this application.
– Do not use the type of door with a horizontal piece or “trip bar”
along the bottom. This can be very dangerous at the top of stairs.
– Do get a gate with a “swing-top mechanism” that will prevent it
from swinging out over the stairs.
The Bottom Line:
Purchasing a dog gate can be a good investment in safety, convenience
and peace of mind. But you’ll be happiest with your decision and
your choice if you take the time to educate yourself first. Assess
your needs and your dog’s needs as well as his behavior and temperament.
Decide where the gate will be installed, take appropriate measurements,
study the types and styles of gates available and then select and
purchase your gate. Take the time and care necessary to install
the gate properly or, hire someone to do it for you if you don’t
trust your skills. Test the gate after installation to be sure it’s
secure and operates as it’s intended to do. If you follow these
steps, you will be able to enjoy the security and convenience of
a well-chosen dog gate for years to come.
Gates – Pet gates are ideal for containment within the home
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