The Best Fencing Options for Pets

    Cocker Spaniel Through the Fence
    source: Flickr: nippyfish

    If you’re a pet owner, you know cats and dogs can run away, get into fights, rummage through garbage, and annoy neighbors. So how do you keep your buddy safe yet at the same time give it room to run around? The solution is to install a fence and enclose your property. Consider these tips on fencing options for pets.

    Things to Consider

    First, what size pet do you have? The larger the pet, the higher and sturdier the fence needs to be since large dogs often jump on fences to see or escape. Over time this can weaken the fence. On the other hand smaller pets need smaller gaps in the fence to keep them in.

    Second, are you installing a fence just to keep your pet from getting out or also to prevent other animals from entering? If you have a severe rodent problem, get in touch with a pest control expert since these critters can often enter your yard by burrowing beneath fences.

    Chain Link

    A chain link fence will keep in any animal. It’s long lasting and won’t get damaged by your pet. However, it doesn’t provide any privacy and is not particularly attractive. If you want privacy, you can purchase plastic stripping and weave it through the fence’s holes. Better yet, grow climbing plants using the fence as a trellis.

    Split Rail

    Also known as "post and rail," this fence consists of vertical posts with horizontal boards running from post to post. A split rail fence is attractive but because of its large openings, is only be suitable for bigger pets. If you already have a split rail fence or are considering installing one, you can pet-proof it by adding chicken wire.


    Picket fencing can be made of either wood or vinyl and is both strong and attractive. Vinyl tends to last longer than wood and requires less maintenance, though it’s more expensive. The space between pickets can vary so if the gaps are too wide, you can have extra pickets installed.


    Privacy fences come in various heights and usually have no space in between the slats. They can be made of either wood or vinyl. A privacy fence will not only keep your pet from escaping but will also keep out intruders and provide your home with seclusion and privacy.


    Also known as an invisible fence, this type of fencing will prevent your pet straying, though it won’t keep anyone or anything else out. It consists of a wire cable set up along the perimeter of your yard, and an electric collar around your pet’s neck. If your pet approaches the perimeter, the collar generates a shock. The downside of electronic fencing is that your pet will inevitably get a few shocks until he learns the correct behavior, and if he manages to cross over the perimeter he’ll get a shock upon trying to return. In addition, for the fence to be effective, some training is necessary.

    Making the Choice

    Now that you know about the different types of fences available, consider the purpose of your fence and the features of your pet. Will it be happy fenced in? Does it prefer to know what’s going on outside or is it content playing in its own area? Contact a fence contractor and determine the best type of fence for your pet.

    Updated August 16, 2018.

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