Keep Fido from fleeing with these pet-friendly fences
When you have a dog, you’ll probably need to have a fence. A fenced-in yard lets your pup run around, play, and sniff all the smells, all while keeping him safe. But which fence you need depends on your yard, your dog, and your preferences.
With the cost to install a dog fence between $1,500 and $8,000, it’s important to do your homework before writing a check. Here are some of the best Fido-friendly fence options to choose from.
1. Chain Link Fencing
A chain-link fence costs $10 to $20 per linear foot. Sure, it might not do much in the way of curb appeal, but it’s easy to maintain, affordable, and could be a decent option for your dog.
But there are some drawbacks to consider. For one, any broken pieces of the fence can be a safety hazard that can cut or poke your pup. If your dog is a digger, he could also tunnel underneath the fence with relative ease. If you choose a chain-link fence, inspect the perimeter of your yard regularly so your dog doesn’t get hurt or make an escape.
Escape artists can climb over or dig under
Not the most visually appealing option
2. Vinyl Panel Fencing
A busy homeowner's dream, vinyl panel fencing is easy to maintain. Vinyl panels offer dense, solid protection around your yard that keeps out views and disturbances from the street. Its density means it’s durable—perfect for keeping your dog from sprinting after neighborhood squirrels.
Vinyl is often much less expensive to purchase and install than an option like wood fencing (the typical cost to install a vinyl fence is $10 to $35 per linear foot). You don’t have to worry about painting or sealing, either—a good power washing once a year should be all the upkeep you need to keep your vinyl fence sparkling.
Potential to plant shrubs by fencing to dissuade digging
Dogs don’t scratch vinyl as easily as wood
No nails or broken chain links to worry about
More expensive than chain link fences
Homeowners may prefer visual aesthetics of other options, like wood
3. Wood Fencing
Wood is a pricey fencing option (installing a wood fence can run you $11 to $45 per linear foot), but it also adds classic charm to your yard—and gives your pup a safe space to play safely.
When the wooden boards are placed solidly side-by-side, you won’t have to worry about your dog wiggling between the posts in pursuit of a smell. This will also keep other animals, like a passing bunny or neighborhood cat, from wandering into your yard. Wooden privacy fencing is also a great choice if your dog is a jumper (some active breeds can jump 6 feet high!).
Visually pleasing and easily customizable for your yard
Good sound and visual barrier
Pets usually cannot jump over tall wooden fences
Dogs can potentially dig under the fence to escape
Wood fencing requires regular maintenance
Loose nails can hurt your pet
4. Metal or Wrought Iron Fencing
Metal fencing has traditionally been used as pool, driveway, and landscaping fencing. However, this option has caught on as a choice for dog fencing in recent years due to its attractive, sleek look. Metal fencing can allow you to fence your entire yard without blocking views or creating a "closed off" look. Though, it does come at a price—the cost to install wrought iron fencing is $25 to $35 per linear foot.
So, will a metal fence work for your doggo? It all depends on his needs. If your pup has a high prey drive, which is a built-in instinct to chase prey like a rabbit or squirrel, he might be a little too excitable for a wrought iron fence to keep him happy. These fences are also not ideal for small dogs who can wiggle (or, in the case of teeny-tiny pups like Chihuahuas) just walk out between the bars.
So, unless you have a moderately sized, calm, lazy woofer, a wrought iron fence might not be the best fit.
A sleek look
Doesn’t block views of potential distractions for dogs
Needs to be tall enough to keep your dog inside
Crafty dogs may squeeze through openings to escape
5. Electric or Invisible Dog Fencing
Invisible dog fencing costs $2.50 per linear foot. Also called electric fencing, it might be your only option if your HOA has fencing rules or if you have a large property and don’t want to invest in the high costs of installing a traditional fence. Some areas are also simply not easily fenced, especially if it’s an area with rough terrain or many slopes.
However, there are many points to consider. For one, these invisible fences deliver shocks to your dog. Some people have strong feelings against using invisible fences and do not feel they are safe for dogs.
This negative reinforcement can also lead to dogs associating boundary lines with punishment. And the shocks don’t always deter every dog—over time, smart dogs may learn how the fence works and simply run across, regardless of the shock. As a dog security fence, this may not be the best option. Plus, since there’s no physical barrier, other animals and even people could easily walk onto your property.
No need to install traditional fencing
No need to worry about a fence obstructing views
Painful to your pet
May not always work for every dog
The collar battery can die unexpectedly, leaving your dog free to run off
Doesn’t keep other animals out
6. Picket Fencing
Picket fences are shorter than traditional fences and are 3 to 4 feet tall. It’s possibly a good fit for you if your dog is calm and hasn’t shown an interest in escaping. Though visually pleasing, these fences are usually not enough to contain large dogs or dogs that love to run off whenever they get a chance.
One of the most affordable types of fencing at $10 to $75 per linear foot
Visually appealing and adds to your home’s curb appeal
Won’t contain most pets
Dogs can squeeze through pickets, jump over, or dig under
7. Brick or Stone Fence
Consider brick or stone fencing if you want a super solid fence. Dogs usually can’t climb brick fences as long as they’re tall. It’s a very durable option that’ll withstand the test of time.
Stone fencing is similar to brick fencing in that it’s very durable. However, stone fencing tends to be shorter, so it’s not the best option for bigger dogs that can jump high.
Brick and stone fences are far costlier than other types of fences for dogs, as you can expect to pay $80 to $480 per linear foot. It’ll be closer to the end of the range for a 4-foot fence, while an 8-foot fence will be toward the higher end.
Brick fencing can work well to keep dogs safely inside
Both brick and stone fencing can be decorative
Dogs won’t be able to dig their way out
This is a costlier option, so it’s best for smaller yards
Unless they’re tall, dogs can jump over these fences
What to Consider When Choosing the Right Dog Fence for You
There are a lot of different fence options for dogs, and some are bound to work better for you and your pet than others. Here are the most important points to keep in mind.
First off, you’ll want to consider your budget. Because there’s a range of pricing for each type of fence, you might want to figure out your top two or three options and call dog fencing installers near you to get estimates.
When you compare the different types of dog fencing for yards, you’ll notice that vinyl can be a good deal, especially since it doesn’t have some of the downsides of other cost-effective options, like chain link, picket, and electric fences.
Size of Your Yard
Consider the size of your yard, whether you have a smaller yard or over 10 acres of land. If your yard is smaller and you’re covering less space, you may have a bigger range of options because even the most costly fencing type may be within your budget.
On the other hand, if you have a substantial property spanning 5 to 10 acres or more, you may consider an invisible fence. The range of fencing depends on the brand, so be sure to research and ensure the product you choose will fit your needs.
Like with any home addition, you’ll want to consider the style. Some fence options, like vinyl and wood, are versatile with different customization options. In other words, you can find the exact color and style that matches your home’s exterior.
If you have an energetic dog, then the durability of the fence will be a big part of your decision. For example, a chain link fence may not be sufficient, and you may need to opt for vinyl or a brick fence.
You can also take steps to increase the durability of your fencing. You can bury the fence about 2-feet underground, so when the dogs dig, they hit a wall. You can also reinforce holes with chicken wire, concrete, or a layer of gravel.
Some fence types are easier to maintain than others. Also, if you have a dog that may be destructive, then consider what kind of damage and maintenance your fence may require over time.
Generally, vinyl and chain link fences are easier to maintain than wood fences. Brick and stone maintenance requires annual cleaning and sealant, while electric fences require regular voltage checks.
Last but certainly not least, take your dog’s personality and behavior into account. A small, well-behaved dog may be fine with a low picket fence, while a large, highly energetic dog may need a tall, vinyl fence with concrete poured at the base.
Besides your dog’s current behavior and traits, it’s helpful to find out why some dogs are so antsy to escape. It may be anything from pure boredom to anxiety or not being able to keep their cool around squirrels and other animals.
Scott Dylan Westerlund contributed to this piece.