One of the first things you’ll need to do when you bring Fido home is pet-proof your home. You’ll need to keep your little guy safe from things that can hurt him… and protect your things from him, too! You’ll need to keep puppy in areas designated for him and gates allow you to do just that. When you’re shopping, you’ll notice a lot of these gates will say “infant” or “child-proofing.” Don’t worry; baby gates work for your furry babies, too.
We reviewed dozens of indoor dog gates to identify the best of the best. We looked at free standing gates as well as those that mount permanently. We found walk-through gates and pressure ones, too. If you’re looking for the best gate to keep your dogs where they need to be in your home, look no further – there’s a gate on this list that works for just about any configuration you may need.
Early in our research, we determined the Regalo Easy Step Walk Thru Gate simply had to be our top pick. With its mounting bumpers and pressure mounted design, along with its extended width and safety lock, it stands well above its peers.
The 5 Top-Rated Dog Gates
|Best Overall||Regalo Easy Step Walk Thru Gate||4.5|
|Runner Up||Internet’s Best Dog Gate with Arched Top||4.7|
|Best Budget Buy||Carlson Pet Products Lil’ Tuffy Expandable Gate with Small Pet Door||4.6|
|Best Walk-Through Dog Gate||Summer Infant Multi-Use Deco Extra Tall Walk-Thru Gate||4.6|
|Best Freestanding Dog Gate||Richell Wood Freestanding Pet Gate||4.6|
*Ratings are from Amazon at the time of publication and can change
Our Top Pick: Regalo Easy Step Walk Thru Gate
The Regalo Easy Step Walk Thru Gate is a walk-through gate that you can open with just one hand, making it especially useful if you’re also wrangling small children or often have your hands full. It locks in place with a safety latch that means your fur babies won’t be operating it, to be sure. In fact, if you’re only using it for your pup, you may not even need to use the safety lock, and just latching will suffice. (Without opposable thumbs, it’ll be difficult for your dog to open this, no matter how smart he is.)
Because of the installation options, this gate is probably best described as semi-permanent. While it is pressure-mounted, it also comes with hardware to drill additional bumpers into the wall if you’re so inclined and while that doesn’t keep your walls 100% unscathed, it does make the damage to the walls minimal. So rather than gaping dents and holes where the suspension has pushed into the wall over time, you’ll just have small screw holes, easily repaired by a touch-up. And to add to it’s appeal, the bumpers also mean that you can take the gate down when the need arises. So if you have a party, you won’t need to ask your guests to learn how to operate a safety gate.
There are an impressive number of customer reviews on Amazon, nearly 10,000. And while that leads us to take great confidence in the accuracy of the overall rating (4.2 stars) it also makes it rather obvious why it’s Amazon’s #1 bestseller for indoor safety gates, and why it’s our top pick.
Regalo Easy Step Walk Thru Gate Key Features:
- Wall-saving pressure mount
- Steel construction
- Walk-through gate
Our Runner Up Pick: Evenflo Soft and Wide Gate
The Internet’s Best Dog Gate with Arched Top not only looks sophisticated, but it’s also incredibly well-made and highly-functional. Its medium-density fiberboard is built to last, and its innovative Z-shape design makes it easy to use in a variety of places, from entryways, to staircases, to doorways.
If your pet is ambitious, this gate may be knocked or jumped over; it is only 24 inches high, but for the well-trained or small dog, it’s the complete package. If you’d like a higher gate, it also comes in a height of 36 inches. Speaking of choices, you can also choose between a 3-panel or 4-panel gate, depending on your needs.
Sitting at an overall rating of 4.7 stars on Amazon is already an outstanding achievement, but doing so with well over 1,000 customer reviews makes it all the more appealing. This gate may not be for all dogs, but for the right dog, it can be absolute perfection.
Internet’s Best Dog Gate with Arched Top Key Features:
- Durable construction
- Choice of 3 or 4 panels
- Choice of 24 inch or 36 inch height
Best Budget Pick: Carlson Pet Products Lil’ Tuffy Expandable Gate with Small Pet Door
If your best friend is a little guy, the Carlson Pet Products Lil’ Tuffy Expandable Gate with Small Pet Door is an adorable house gate that may be just the solution for you. No walk-through is needed here: it’s only 18″ high, so stepping over is no problem. It’s a pressure-mounted install, but with a bar running horizontally down the center, it is more sturdy than you may expect.
You’ll find the Carlson patented small pet door for your little ones to pass through in this gate as well, so you won’t need to pull the barrier down for them. That will work perfectly for little dogs who get free reign while still holding back kids or bigger dogs (and for cats who absolutely know the rules don’t apply to them). And if all you need for your bigger dog is a physical reminder of his boundaries, this is a perfect solution for that, as well.
The overall rating on this gate is nothing to scoff at; 4.6 stars and that is earned with over 6000 customer reviews. But the real selling point on this product has to be the bang you get for your buck. You can pick up one of these for right around $25 – a total steal!
Carlson Pet Products Lil’ Tuffy Expandable Gate with Small Pet Door Key Features:
- Small pet door
- Rubber bumpers
- Only 18″ tall; stepping over is a breeze
Best Walk-Through Dog Gate: Summer Infant Multi-Use Deco Extra Tall Walk-Thru Gate
Installing the Summer Infant Multi-Use Deco Extra Tall Walk-Thru Gate will keep you from constantly climbing over or taking down your safety precautions. Because of it’s height, an impressive 36 inches tall, you can count on this to hold back even your larger breed dogs. Plus you’ll be able to open the latch one-handed, making it a gate that won’t hinder your day-to-day activities.
It’s pressure-mounted, also, so you can take it with you, and with optional hardware you can still maximize the stability for a longer install, should that be a more effective use for your family. You’ll also have your choice in two colors so you’ll be able to ensure that even if you can’t match your decor exactly, you’ll at least be able to minimize the color clashing.
With over 16,000 customer reviews on Amazon, it makes the overall rating, 4.6 stars, all the more impressive. There’s every reason to believe that you’ll be one of the literal thousands of satisfied customers, should you purchase this gate.
Summer Infant Multi-Use Deco Extra Tall Walk-Thru Gate Key Features:
- Pressure-mounted to prevent wall damage
- Auto-close and stopper to prevent gate from opening both ways
- 36″ tall to block jumpers and bigger dogs
Best Freestanding Dog Gate: Richell Wood Freestanding Pet Gate
The Richell Wood Freestanding Pet Gate is a free-standing gate that is portable, so it can move with you. The side panels add additional stability without encroaching on room space. The wood and metal design gives it a classy and functional feel. You can expand the barrier from 39.8″ to 71.3″ and the one-screw addition will keep the size from changing unintentionally. And, should this size be just a bit out of your needs, there is a small size available as well. Combined with the three wood options, this is sure to customize to your home perfectly.
You can easily step over this gate, but because there’s no installation you may just want to slide it in and out of the way when you’re going from room to room. And because it has the sides also fenced, you can easily use this as just a barrier to your entertainment center for the extra curious dog.
There are over 4,000 customer reviews on this gate, giving it an overall rating of 4.6 stars. That’s more than enough to convince us and we think one look at the reviews will have you more than tempted, as well.
Richell Wood Freestanding Pet Gate Key Features:
- Side panels add stability
- Design options: 4 wood colors
- Easily installed and portable
Who Should Buy a Dog Gate
Whether it be protecting your guests from an over-zealous pup or protecting your furry friend from the room in your home where you store toxic cleaners and anything else that can be a danger to your pet, a gate will help you and your new four-legged family member adjust to life together. Blocking your buddy off into a room with a closed door where he can’t see you and he’s not getting as much air ventilation isn’t going to make your dogs big fans of yours and even if you do still keep him in his own room for a period of time, you’ll still want him to get a good look at what’s going on elsewhere. A gate that he can see through will still let him feel involved and not as alone and isolated – but still keep everything and everyone protected.
And even if your dog has free reign in your home and guests just have to deal (hey, it’s your home, you share it with your guests and your furry buddy however you choose), you may still need a dog gate. There will always be a time in your pup’s life that he’ll need held back from one thing or another. If for no other reason, then for his safety. For example, you may never use a gate for your dog, except when you’re moving and he needs to be protected from being stepped on by movers who aren’t used to him. You can bring the gate with you when you take him with you on trips and save yourself a lot of escape worries. And, having a gate “just in case” means you won’t be limiting your visitors to people who love dogs. (Keep in mind, you may have or make friends with special needs and there may come a time where you just can’t reason with the guest’s fear of your pup.)
Sometimes you don’t have the layout in your home for a traditional indoor dog gate, so you may not think your home is a good candidate for such a purchase. After all, all dogs have different needs, and so do different homes. The good news, though, is that there’s a gate that can suit just about any setup, whether you need to block access to a room or create a free-standing play area, if you have a wide or narrow doorway, or need a gate that can expand for use in different areas. Safety for your home and your pup exists. You might also want to check out our reviews of the best large dog crates and the best small dog crates. For convenient options for traveling, we’ve also reviewed the best dog travel crates in a separate post.
Important Features to Consider
An indoor dog gate should have a few important features. Here’s what to consider when selecting an indoor gate for your dog:
- Permanent mounts. If there’s a room or area in your home where you know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that there will never be a time you want your pup to enter, why bother with anything but a permanent mount? You won’t want to have to constantly bother with taking it up, or re-positioning it. The biggest selling point for any gate that you have screwed or nailed into the wall of your home is the stability. It won’t wobble or fall, and re-positioning won’t be necessary at all.
- Pressure mounts with bumpers. With any pressure mount, the best part is either the portability or the protection to your wall. It may be slightly less stable or need more adjusting to fine tune the security, but you won’t need to drill into your walls – unless you want to. You can sometimes drill bumpers that fit the pressure pads of the gate allowing you to install the gate without the larger damage that those pressure pads being installed and re-installed can often cause. With the addition of bumpers, though, you can add the stability and keep the wall safe as well as keep it a temporary, or at least a semi-permanent fixture.
- Walk-through. Permanent or not, if you plan to have the dog gate up for more than just occasional use, you’re very likely going to appreciate the ability to walk through the gate without having to uninstall it. While you can have a walk-through in multiple ways, pressure, swing, or sliding gates, there’s a fairly good chance it’ll be a permanent installation. A walk-though gate will make installation of a pressure mounted gate a bit more difficult, to be sure but once you have it installed and secure you may not even notice the difference between the pressure mount and the permanent install.
- Portability. Clearly a pressure mount will be more portable than something permanently installed into your wall, but that’s not the only thing you should consider. Consider also, how compact the gate is while you’re transporting it. That is, how “flat” will it lie? Or is it so thick that it still won’t slide under the couch? Free-standing gates are portable enough that you can use them anywhere without ever installing and they won’t damage your walls even a little. But when they fold “flat” they’re most often still fairly thick; a few inches at least.
- Wood vs. plastic vs. metal. Most of the, “What material is best for a dog gate?” question is up to personal preferences. Not only is there such a wide range in quality of even the most durable steel, there are huge selling points for other materials as well. Wood is generally inexpensive, plastic is lightweight, metal is hearty. Wood is less durable, plastic will often be easily tackled by your big dog and metal can be pricey. Your preference, your dog’s breed and your price range will be the three determining factors, but you can find a quality product of each.
- Doggie door. It may not make sense right away to have a doggie door in a gate intended to block your dog’s access to certain areas, but consider the possibilities that open up with doggie doors. Not only will you be able to keep the gate as a permanent installation if you use a dog door for the occasional times your pup is allowed into a certain area, this can be just the solution you need if you have more than one pet. It will come in particularly handy when you have a well-behaved small dog or cat and a rambunctious big dog that needs to have his access limited. You can leave the door open but the gate up, making the cat able to reach specific area; for example, a room with her litter box, while keeping your dog from being gross with it.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a dog gate and how does it work?
A dog gate is a fence that will go inside your home to protect it and your dog and set boundaries for your pet. By putting a gate in your home, you’ll be able to keep them out of the trash and away from harmful substances, or maybe just away from your guests. You can have a temporary gate put up that you can move from room to room, containing him for a party or for when you have workers in your home. You can limit your pet’s access to your home while you’re away to make sure they’re not revenge-peeing on your pillow in anger of you abandoning them. (For 10 minutes or 10 hours, your dog’s sensitivity can be unpredictable, so protecting your belongings can be a be help.)
There are three main designs that you can utilize for your pet gate: pressure mounted, wall mounted, and free-standing. Any of these can have a place where you can walk through, but you’ll find them primarily in the more permanent wall mounted gates. You can also pick them out in a variety of materials; mainly wood, plastic, and metal. You can coordinate the gate to your home or you can opt for the least expensive or most portable. If you want to make sure your home is perfectly customized to your dog, dog gates are a good way to accomplish this.
Can I use a baby gate for my dog?
You can absolutely use a baby gate for your dog. For the most part, they function the same. There are a few things you’ll want to check to make sure when you’re getting it, though. You’ll need to take in mind your dog’s demeanor with limitations as well as his strength. If he’s a big dog who doesn’t like to be reminded where he should and shouldn’t be, you’re going to want to make sure your gate is stronger than what you may consider is typical of baby gates. If the gate is strong enough, you’ll next need to keep in mind that dogs, unlike babies, can jump; get a taller gate if your dog’s a jumper.
What is the tallest pet gate available?
The generic size of a pet gate must be a minimum of 22 inches, but really, that will hold very few breeds of dogs back. You’ll very likely want something a bit more restrictive for your pup. The tallest standard pet gate is 42 inches high. You can always figure out extensions and work around that will add length and, while it’s not especially sturdy, you can use pressure mounted gates, one on top of the other. There are also special order gates like these from the Rover Company, that can cover nearly the entire height of your door (6 feet).
In case you were wondering, just like with the height, the width is definitely something you can build on. Most gates can’t just be connected side by side, so purchasing two won’t work (unless you get free standing gates). But there are a lot more width extensions for dog gates, especially metal gates that have wall mounts. You can just add a few extensions to cover a wider area. Bear in mind though, you may lose a bit of the stability with additional expansions. Most gates width will naturally expand to cover a standard door and a little bit extra, but not much. (Standard entry doors are 36 inches wide, and the typical interior door is somewhere between 28-36 inches.) If you have an over-sized entry to an area that your pet doesn’t belong, you may be looking for a pretty robust gate with several panels joined together and mounted to the wall on either side.
Are pressure mounted baby gates safe for top of stairs?
Again, just to reiterate, “baby gates” will apply to your “fur baby,” too. Both baby and dog gates will need to be especially high and durable at the top of the stairs because the risk at the top of the stairs is as high as the gate. On a level surface, knocking over a gate will likely just cause a bit of a mess and maybe a scratch or bruise. But from the top of the stairs, the fall from a knocked over gate could cause serious harm. For that reason, we highly recommend a very secure and tall gate at the top of the stairs. Not only will your little loved ones be less likely to knock it over, but jumping will be more difficult as well. The easiest way to ensure the security is a permanent installation with a walk-through gate.
A gate at the top of the stairs that will prevent your dog from entering a place he should not be and if your pup doesn’t sleep with you, a gate keeping him downstairs may help the nighttime routine go a little easier and keeping him upstairs out of the basement can help keep him out of the materials that can harm him. Blocking the stairs is important for older dogs who cannot get up and down the stairs easily and will unintentionally injure themselves as they try to maintain their independence. You may want a gate at both the top and the bottom.