One of the first steps to becoming pet-friendly is creating safe outdoor spaces for dogs! Securing this space with a reliable and sturdy fence will give pet owners peace of mind and ensure that pets can play safely. Choosing the right type of fencing for your outdoor spaces is an important decision! Read on to learn about the pros and cons of different fencing options and create your perfect play yard within your budget!

The types of fencing typically used for dog play yards include wood, chain link, vinyl, and metal. Each material can be suitable for safely containing pets and has unique properties that may work better for your specific location and needs. Some types will last longer while others provide substantially more privacy. Let’s examine some common examples of each kind of fencing to see what it can provide for your pet space!

Our Top 4 Fencing Recommendations
  1. Chain Link
  2. Wood
  3. Vinyl
  4. Metal
#1 - Chain Link

Chain link is one of our most frequently used materials for building play yards and pet relief areas. This style of fencing allows staff and pet parents to see into the play yard and monitor from far away. Chain link is traditionally the go-to material for dog fencing when dogs will be left alone for long periods. It is rot-resistant and durable; even the most determined pups will have trouble chewing through it!

The cost of chain link fencing depends on a variety of factors, including the fence height and length, the gauge of the wire, and any additional features or customizations. A standard, 6-foot chain link fence typically costs between $15 and $30 per linear foot.

If you would prefer to make your play yard more private, you can add privacy slats into the chain-link fabric. Privacy slats are easy to install and create a visual barrier while allowing some sunlight to filter through.

It’s very important to note that not all chain link fences are built for pets. When installing chain-link fencing or having a fencing contractor install it, it’s important to consider the following modifications to make it pet-safe.

Installation Tips:

  • We suggest using 9-gauge fabric, which is stronger and more secure than a lighter gauge. Fabric is the technical term for the weaved metal fence material.
  • Opting for commercial-grade support posts instead of thinner, residential-strength vertical supports will extend the life of your fence and make it much stronger.
  • Installing the chain link fabric inside the play yard will create a stronger barrier when dogs jump on it.
  • Make sure all bolts face towards the outside of the yard so that paws won’t get caught or scratched by any hardware.
  • Our most important recommendation is the addition of a bottom-line rail. Typically, residential chain link fencing only has a top rail. This bottom rail will anchor the base of the chain link fabric to prevent dogs from pushing under or digging their way out.
#2 - Wood

Wood fencing is a great option to keep pets safe and enclosed while maintaining privacy. It comes in many styles, is relatively inexpensive and simple to install, and is an excellent choice for shelters near other commercial and residential buildings.

When constructing this fence, it’s essential to use pressure-treated wood (wood treated for exterior use) to ensure its longevity. For even more durability, you can also swap out your wooden support posts for a metal or composite option. This will provide greater structural support to your fence and prevent wood rot. However, these additions will also increase cost.

While the type of wood you choose can greatly impact the cost of your fence, the average cost for a wood fence is between $17 and $22 per linear foot.

Compared to other fencing materials, wood does require a fair bit of maintenance. Wood fences should be pressure washed and re-sealed every 2-3 years. In particularly wet climates, wood may swell, pushing out nails and screws and leaving pickets and rails loose. Make sure to check your fence periodically to address weak spots!

If you’re using a wooden fence to contain pets, be sure to discuss this with your contractor. To prevent wood rot, it is common to leave a small gap between the bottom of the fence and the wet ground. However, this space may allow small pets to escape and may not be appropriate for your build. Wood fences are also vulnerable to chewing by bored pups. For this reason, it may be best to avoid using wood in areas where pets are left unsupervised.

#3 - Vinyl

Vinyl fencing is often considered a leveled-up version of wood privacy fencing. It can be a great option for your play yard as it is easy to clean, low maintenance, and isn’t prone to splintering or rot. It has many of the benefits of a wooden fence, except that it doesn’t need to be treated with any product to be rot-resistant. Regular pressure washing can keep your vinyl fence looking great for many years!

While there are very few costs associated with maintaining a vinyl fence, the upfront cost of materials and installation is not inexpensive. A standard 4-foot or 6-foot tall vinyl fence, you should expect to spend between $15 and $40 per linear foot.

When choosing a style of vinyl fencing, it’s best to choose a solid panel style or one that has minimal spacing between panels to ensure that pets cannot escape. Like wood fencing, the space between the bottom of the panel and the ground must be minimal to reduce the risk of small dogs squeezing under.

While vinyl fencing is generally considered durable, changes in weather can affect its lifespan. Freezing temperatures can cause vinyl to become brittle and crack or even shatter upon impact. Similarly, if your area experiences significant sun-exposure, you may find that your vinyl fence degrades faster due to ultraviolet radiation.

#4 - Metal

Metal fencing is attractive, long-lasting, exceptionally durable, and requires very little maintenance. It also tends to be the most expensive fencing option. A variety of different types of metals can be used for fencing, including steel, aluminum, wrought iron, and cast iron. Although all metal is subject to rusting over time, these fences will typically last many years with minimal maintenance. While not required, metal fences can be painted with rust-proof paint, which can help keep moisture away and improve longevity.

There are many different styles and types of metal fencing, so you need to be mindful that the style you choose is conducive to housing pets. More ornamental styles may include irregular gaps that allow small dogs to escape or become stuck.

The cost of metal fencing can vary greatly based on the type of metal you choose and the level of ornamentation. While the materials and labor for a simple, corrugated aluminum fence may cost between $15 and $40 per linear foot, an ornate wrought iron fence can easily break the bank at $41 to $76 per linear foot.

Author Profile

Nate Borger is a Senior Program Manager with Greater Good Charities Rescue Rebuild. As a member of the Don’t Forget the Pets team, Nate uses his design and construction expertise to create customized floor plans, mock-ups, and cost estimates for shelters across the country. He holds a degree in Wildlife and Conservation Management from Delaware Valley University.

Author Profile

Gabbie Vilanova is an Assistant Program Manager for Greater Good Charities. With a B.S. in Animal Science, she uses her expertise to help construct pet-friendly spaces at shelters throughout the country.