5 min read

How to Choose the Right Pet Gate for Your Fur-Babies



Welcoming your pet into your home is a wonderful way to make them feel like a much-loved member of the family. But sometimes you need to ensure that certain areas of the home remain off-limits to pets — the kitchen or the baby’s nursery, for example — which is where a pet gate is a wise investment.

A secure pet gate helps keep your fur-baby safe and your house clean, and can also come in handy if you have multiple pets that need to be separated at mealtimes. But with so many products on the market, how can you find the best pet gate for your home? Keep reading to find out.

Why get a pet gate?

Indoor pet gates can be useful in a wide range of situations, including:

  • When you’re still housetraining your puppy and you want to ensure that they don’t have any “accidents” on the carpet.
  • When you want to keep your older dog away from hazards, like stairs.
  • When you want to stop your counter-surfing pet from helping themselves to your dinner.
  • When you have 2 pets that don’t get along and they need to be separated.
  • When you want to keep your fur-baby away from babies or toddlers in the home.
  • When you need to keep your dog out of the cat’s litter tray.

Are dog gates easy to install?

You don’t need to be an experienced handyperson to install a dog gate, but the level of difficulty of the installation varies depending on the type of gate you choose. 

  • Freestanding gates are the easiest option as they only need to be put in place.

  • Pressure-mounted gates are also quite easy to install. They don’t require the use of any tools, and you don’t need to worry about drilling any holes in the wall. Instead, the gate is secured in position using tension, usually by turning knobs on the gate.

  • Hardware-mounted pet gates are the most complicated option, but they’re still relatively straightforward. These gates can be attached permanently to the walls and typically come with included mounting hardware.

Of course, if you’re not particularly handy or you just want to make sure the gate is as secure as possible, you can always get in a professional to do the job for you.

brown shar pei puppy looking up at a black dog gate blocking a set of stairs

What to consider when choosing a pet gate

Keep the following factors in mind to make sure you find the right pet gate for your needs.

Type of gate

Freestanding gates are easy to install and move around the home but are less secure than other options. Pressure-mounted pet gates are sturdier but can still be moved around the home if needed. Hardware-mounted gates are the hardest to install but also the most secure, so it all depends on what suits your requirements.


Most indoor dog gates are metal, plastic, wood, or a combination of plastic and mesh. If your dog is a chewer, a wood gate won’t be the best choice, while a plastic gate may not be sturdy enough for a large, boisterous dog.


How tall should a dog gate be? How wide? The answer depends on a few factors:

  • The size of the doorway or gap you need to block
  • Your dog’s size
  • Your dog’s athletic (jumping) ability

So not only will you need to measure the size of the area you want to block, but you’ll also need to think about exactly what your pet could be capable of when they’re determined to get to something on the other side of the gate. As a general guide, pet gates range in height anywhere from approximately 20 to 40 inches.

In terms of width, some gates can be extended to cover gaps of 80 inches or more, so shop around to find the right size pet gate to suit your home.

Adjustability and versatility

Want a gate you can use in different areas of your home, or that you can take with you if you move? Look for a model that can be adjusted to suit different widths. There are also retractable gates that can allow easy passage through a door or hallway when not in use, but make sure this type of gate is sturdy enough for your pet. 


Check the locking mechanism to see how easy it is to use. You want it to be secure enough so that it can’t be opened (either unintentionally or otherwise) by your pet, but also easy enough for you to unlock quickly so you can move around your home. 

Ease of installation

If you’re getting a hardware-mounted pet gate, check what’s involved in the installation process and whether you’ll be able to handle it yourself.


Make sure the gate you choose doesn’t have any sharp edges that could cause an injury. Also, watch out for gaps where a curious pet could get a paw or even their head stuck.

Cat door

Some gates are designed to restrict a dog’s access to a certain area of the home, but also contain a cat door so your feline fur-baby can still come in and out. 


If aesthetics are important to you, look for a gate that complements your interior decor.

Are baby gates good for dogs?

There are plenty of dog-specific gates on the market, but you also have the option of using a baby gate to contain your pet. In many cases, this is a perfectly adequate solution — there are plenty of gates to choose from, and they work in exactly the same way as a pet gate.

However, you’ll need to make sure the gate you choose will be able to stand up to the rigors of whatever your dog may throw at it. If it’s not strong enough to keep an excited large-breed dog at bay, if it’s not tall enough, or if it could be damaged by chewing, you’ll need to consider other options.

brown and white dog with paws propped up on a white pet gate

Do gates keep cats out?

Got a “furbulous” feline with a nose for mischief? You might be considering getting a pet gate to stop them from getting themselves into trouble. 

In many cases, a pet gate can be a fantastic way to keep your cat away from areas you don’t want them to access. But given that cats are well-known climbers and leapers, you may need to choose a taller gate for the best chance of success. 

Of course, if your cat is particularly athletic, you'll want to look for a gate with plenty of height. But even if your cat is capable of ginormous jumps, a gate can still be a useful deterrent — unless there’s something on the other side of the gate they feel they absolutely must get to right away, the presence of a gate should encourage them to turn their attention elsewhere.

Where can I buy dog gates?

You’re spoiled for choice when shopping for pet gates. You’ll find them at department stores, online retailers, pet supply stores, and retailers that sell baby products. With so many options to choose from, it’s a good idea to shop around for the best deal on the gate you want.

Got a high-energy dog who’s not a fan of pet gates? Book them a walk with  Wag! to give them the exercise and mental stimulation they need to stay happy and healthy.

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