As promised, here is my review of the soft-sided, fold-up ex-pen I bought for our new puppy, Jasmine. It is called "Best Pet Folding Play Pen - Blue - Medium," and I bought it on Amazon:
I have almost entirely good things to say about this ex-pen. I bought the medium rather than the small, as I hope to use this for some years, and it appears larger than I expected (or maybe it's just that my house has small rooms
). The inside is large enough for bed, pee pad, water dish, toys, etc. The bottom of the pen is not detachable, and made of waterproof material that is easily washed. The sides and zip-on top are a strong mesh. So far Jasmine's sharp little claws have not made any rips in any part of the ex-pen, so it appears that it is made of quality, strong material. I do not know if it would stand up to chewing, as she has not tried to chew it. The pen looks attractive as well, which matters to me.
We were concerned at first about leaving Jasmine in this ex-pen when we left the house, and so at first kept her in a large metal crate when gone. However, when she exhibited no propensity to chew or otherwise attempt to get out of the soft ex-pen, we began leaving her in it with the top zipped on when we go out and have had no problems. I did notice today that when it came time to serve dinner to her she managed to move the ex-pen a little across the floor by jumping on the side. This is not typical of her behavior, though, so I don't anticipate this being a major problem (just when I'm about to serve dinner
). However it's something to be aware of if you have a very energetic dog who likes to try to escape when confined.
I haven't tried to travel with this yet. It folds up and comes with a 24"x19"x2" carry case. I travel on a charter airline that allows you to bring any number of oddly shaped things onto the plane (it's a six-seater so everything is essentially "carry on"), but I'm not sure how it would work traveling by commercial airline with this. The best case scenario would be if the ex-pen carry case would fit inside a larger suitcase, but it may be too large for that. The small size ex-pen folds up smaller, I imagine, so might be a better choice for those traveling by commercial airline.
My one problem with this ex-pen is that the zippers are difficult to work, especially the ones on the side doors. They require quite a bit of finagling and yanking, etc., to close (opening is not a problem). There is a trick to it and it gets easier after a few tries, but is still a bit annoying. Because I love everything else about the pen, I can live with this.
I'm not sure how this pen would work for a dog who does not like being confined, is highly energetic, or is a chewer. It appears strong but I'm sure wouldn't stand up to a dog determined to find a way out! The zip-on top is mesh and I can imagine having it zipped on all the time if my dog were a jumper (or when she gets bigger), but so far we just leave it unzipped and hanging over one side of the pen.
If you have any other questions about it, leave them in the responses and I will try to answer!