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Dog Gates

Dog Gates

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 confined, including:

– 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 areas.
– 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 running off.
– 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 are:

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 solution.
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 take down.
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 dogs.
– 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, including:

– 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.


Styles
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 one hand.
– 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 to open.
– 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 one hand.
– 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.


Gate Accessories
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 gate


Safety Tips

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 and safety.

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.

Related Pages

Dog Gates – Pet gates are ideal for containment within the home

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