Baby Gate Reviews Pet gates

How to Choose the Perfect Pet Gate

Puppy playing - pet dog gates

We thought our baby gate days were behind us – then the kids fell in love with the idea of a puppy! We relented, and our gorgeous chocolate cockapoo, Lulu, joined the family. Like all puppies, she’s excitable and curious and she loves to chew – and just like a toddler, needs a bit of containment to keep her safe. An added problem for us is that she is so dark that she’s camouflaged against our kitchen floor so she’s become a bit of a tripping hazard!

If you want to keep your dog in or out of a room or area of your house, you might want to consider investing in a robust dog gate. 

But what kind of pet gate do you need? You’ll need to consider a few things before you start shopping, just like baby gates for kids there are lots of options depending on the size of your dog (or cat) and where it is for. Here are the most common types, and reviews of some of the best dog or pet gates for each type.

Types of pet gate


A freestanding pet gate does just that – it stands freely without being attached to the wall or doorframe. Freestanding dog gates are great if your dog isn’t likely to try to barge into it and if you want a gate that’s portable and can be moved from room to room.

Pressure mounted

Pressure fit pet gates are held in place by pressure pads at every corner. They’re very easy to set up, it’s just a case of adjusting the pads by twisting them, and because there are no screws involved won’t leave holes behind. It’s also great it you want a dog gate that you can move around the house.


Retractable pet gates are fixed with hardware onto your doorframe which makes them super sturdy. You might think that because they’re made from reinforced fabric rather than metal bars that they’re not up to the job, but it really depends on the size and weight of your dog. You might find there’s a bit more light cleaning involved though since it’s a solid panel (but usually coated and easily wipeable).

Hardware mounted

If you want maximum sturdiness this is the mightiest of them all. Fixed to the wall with brackets and screws hardware mounted gates are great to use around stairs when you need that extra peace of mind and are great baby gates for large or heavier dogs. Extra tall gates are available too. They will leave holes in your walls though, worth bearing in mind if you don’t want to touch up your woodwork when you’re finished them.

Pet gate reviews

Pet gates for small dogs

Baby gates or pet gates for small dogs, or cats, obviously don’t need to work quite as hard as others, so there are more options available to you – including freestanding gates, which a larger or heavier dog could easily push over.

Freestanding pet gates for small dogs

The PETMAKER free-standing ‘step over’ pet gate is lightweight, made of wood and is ideal for small dogs and cats. Because it’s foldable it’s great if you have different sized doorways to think about – just adjust the fold and you’re done!

puppy sitting beside a freestanding dog gate

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Richell Wood’s freestanding pet gate will contain dogs from 3-8kg. It is fully adjustable but a bit more fiddly than the folding gates since you have to undo a few screws to alter the size – that’s the trade off with something a bit more sturdy. Owners of this gate love that it’s solid and robust and won’t slide around thanks to little rubber pegs underneath.Wooden freestanding dog or cat gate large

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Retractable pet gates for small dogs

The Summer Infant Retractable gate. I’m a huge fan of retractable baby gates and this is my all time favourite. It’s discreet, strong, tall enough for most small to medium sized dogs and it can be used at the top or bottom of stairs because it is mounted onto the door frame.

Summer Infant retractable gate for babies toddlers cats and dogs

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Indoor pet gates for small dogs with pet door

This baby gate with a pet door from Carlson extends from 30.5 – 37.5 inches and stands at 30 inches tall. It’s pressure mounted, so no screws or damage to worry about, and it’s great if you want to allow small pets through and keep larger pets out. Great for multi-taskers too: easy to open with one hand and it’s auto-closing.

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Best extra wide pet gate for small dogs

The Regalo Extra WideSpan Walk Through gate is expands to massive 57 inches wide and is pressure mounted. It’s made of steel so it’s super tough and comes in white which looks great. Importantly the bars are far enough apart so as not to allow smaller dogs’ heads through.

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Pet gates for medium dogs

Retractable pet gates for medium dogs

The Regalo 192-Inch Super Wide Adjustable Gate is a beast! It opens to a whopping 192 inches wide, stands at 28 inches tall and has a handy walk-through door. Never mind blocking off doorways, it can take of just about anything – stairs, angled openings, entire rooms, you name it. It can be used as an 8-panel play yard too if you also have a baby to keep safe.

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Indoor pet gates for medium dogs

Extra wide gate for medium dogs

The Carlson Extra-Wide Walk-Through Gate expands to fit stairways and openings between 29-37 inches wide, standing at 30 inches tall. Again, this is pressure mounted so not the best choice around stairs but that does mean that it’s quick to set up and is good to your walls. It has a small pet door measuring 10 x 7 inches, letting small pets pass through and everyone else out. It’s all-steel construction makes it robust and sturdy for enough for ambitious medium-sized dogs, and it’s great value to boot.

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Pet gates for large dogs

Gates for large dogs can be a challenge – and it really depends on the size and agility of your dog – but here are the best buys we’ve found.

Retractable pet gates for large dogs

I talk about this one a lot, and I mentioned it earlier in the article, but I don’t think you can beat The Summer Infant Retractable Gate. If there’s a better retractable gate I want to know about it.

If you want an extra-tall retractable gate for your dog then I’m afraid you’re out of luck. At the time of writing extra tall retractable gates don’t exist.

Extra-wide gates for large dogs 

Carlson has a pretty impressive extra-wide pet gate which expands from 51-59 inches and has a small pet door for cats. It is pressure mounted – so bottom of stairs use only – and is durable with a reassuring locking function. Installation requires a bit of patience (doesn’t it always?!) but once in place it is a great option for wider spaces.

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I hope this is useful – feel free to let me know in the comments if you’ve found any better solutions, I’d love to hear them!

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