Adding a dog run to your property is the perfect way to keep your dog active, safe, and happy. These residential runs prohibit pups from ruining grassy areas and gardens, and they ensure your pooch won’t come into contact with poisonous plants and chemicals.
There are so many dog run options for virtually any budget. Whether you’re looking for simple and practical or impressively imaginative, you’ve come to the right place! We’ve done our research, tried out a variety of dog runs, and compiled a list of 13 runs for your canine that you’re both bound to love!
Let’s dig right in!
1. Simple Dog Run
You don’t have to go the extra mile to install an effective dog run. Minimalistic versions are ideal for small spaces and budget-conscious homeowners. To build this particular run, you’ll need to pick up cinder blocks, along with cinder block tops, weed killer, soil, and sod. If you’re not keen on using real grass, a synthetic alternative is also a great option.
For step-by-step instructions on building this simple dog run, check out this easy-to-follow tutorial published on planitdiy.com.
2. Open, Spacious Dog Run
A wide, unrestricted dog run is best for energetic pups, as well as large breeds. These runs are typically created using fencing and sod or synthetic grass. Check out our recently published article, 13 Dog Fence Ideas, for tips and tricks on installing the best fencing system that’s best for you and your pet.
We absolutely love this wooden fence crafted by Big Dog Fence Company, which is perfect for privacy, as well as keeping your pet safe on your property.
3. Small but Mighty Dog Run
If your dog is tiny and/or not so energetic, a small dog run will suit your specific needs. This type of run is also great for apartment-dwellers and others with minimal outdoor space.
One of the cutest pet runs we’ve ever seen made its debut on The Spruce Pets’ website earlier this year, and we couldn’t possibly love it more! Some fencing, artificial turf, food, water, and a few of your pup’s favorite toys will transform a dull patio into a dream space for your canine.
4. Natural Dog Run
An open-air, Earth-friendly dog run is ideal for eco-conscious pet owners who prefer an au naturel appearance. We’re big fans of this practical and beautiful run crafted by AJB Services with its wooden exterior and cedar chip flooring.
Cedar chips are a great option for dog runs, as they repel insects, including pesky fleas. The chips smell great, and they give dogs a comfortable place to run, play, and rest. Some dogs are sensitive to cedar, and we definitely don’t recommend cedar chips if your pooch is a chewer.
5. Obstacle Course Dog Run
Whether you have an active pup or your fur kid enjoys agility training, a dog run equipped with an obstacle course will keep your pooch playing for hours on end.
Dog Park Outfitters allows you to customize your dog’s play/agility area with ready-made hills, hurdles, beams, boulders, and tunnels. For a budget-conscious alternative, we recommend this great DIY agility course guide published by This Old House.
6. Cobblestone Dog Run
Put an elegant spin on your backyard dog run with a simple addition: cobblestones. When added to a grassy run, these aesthetically-pleasing stones create an elegant ambiance while giving your pet various types of terrain to navigate.
We adore this cobblestone-enhanced run we found while perusing Pinterest. It makes an effective run and doubles as a cozy oasis for pet parents.
7. Pea Gravel Dog Run
If you love the idea of a dog run but you need a budget-friendly option, pea gravel is the way to go. According to Home Advisor, basic pea gravel costs anywhere from $15 to $75 per cubic yard, while colored varieties are slightly more expensive.
We recommend pea gravel as opposed to traditional gravel, as the stones have a smooth texture, making them more comfortable for paws.
8. Dog Run with Potty Area
Regardless of which type of run you choose, adding a potty area is a great way to ensure easy cleanup. As you probably know, urine burns grass, so a designated space for potty time will keep your yard green and lush.
To create a potty place for your pup, you can use pea gravel, river rock, mulch, or artificial grass. As mentioned above, be sure to opt for stones with smooth edges rather than traditional jagged gravel.
Check out this great guide published by Happyoodles for more information on creating a space for your dog to do his or her business.
9. Concrete Dog Run
There are plenty of reasons to splurge on concrete to create your dog run, including its resistance to stains and odors. It’s also easy to clean, making it ideal for pups in the potty training stage. The best part? Concrete is incredibly durable and easy to maintain.
One way to cut down on cost is to combine terrains. Consider adding a pea gravel border to your concrete dog run, or place a concrete path between pea gravel and sod or artificial grass so your dog has plenty of options for playtime and lounge time.
10. Dog Run with Swimming Pool
This just may be our favorite dog run idea ever, as it’s practical but fun! Adding a small pool to your pup’s running area is perfect for warmer climates. This dog run can be installed practically anywhere, from a large back yard to a small patio. As you can see from the photo, this iteration is more like a doggy deck. What dog wouldn’t love having his or her very own patio?
You don’t necessarily have to build a downsized deck for your pooch. A small swimming pool can be added to virtually any of the dog runs on our list. Just be sure to keep it filled with fresh water, as it will likely double as drinking water.
11. Dog Run with Attached Dog House
If your pup spends lots of time outside, or your area’s weather is temperamental, adding a dog house to his or her run is the perfect solution. We’re particularly fond of this do-it-yourself version from diynetwork.com.
If you’re not keen on building a dog house from scratch, there are plenty of ready-made options on the market. One popular option? This folding outdoor dog house by MidWest Homes.
Be sure your dog has access to fresh food and water when spending prolonged periods of time outdoors.
12. Dog Run with Water Fountain
While your four-legged family member is soaking up the sun, he or she will need plenty of H2O to stay happy and hydrated. A fun addition to your dog run? A dog-friendly water fountain. We love this fire hydrant fountain found on Pinterest.
13. Dog Run with Sprinkler
Another awesome way to keep your canine refreshed on warm days is by adding a sprinkler to your newly installed dog run. While a traditional sprinkler is a great option, we’re massive fans of sprinkler/splash pads, like this inexpensive version found on Amazon.
As an added bonus, sprinklers and splash pads offer a wonderful way for pups and kids to bond. If you have children, this purchase will serve a dual purpose, and who knows… You may even partake in the fun!
Which type of Dog Run is Right for Your Pup?
There are a few important considerations to keep in mind before choosing a type of dog run, including:
The size of your dog. It’s essential to build a run that will offer plenty of room for your pet. Most dog runs measure approximately 3 feet by 6 feet wide and 6 feet high. Larger dogs will need more space to run and play.
Your dog’s activity level. If your pooch is content to lay in the sun, you probably won’t need a massive run, but if he or she is active, it’s important to provide as much roaming space as possible.
Climate. It’s a good idea to consider your area’s year-round climate when installing your dog run. In most cases, your canine will need some type of roof or a dog house for added shelter. Also keep in mind that some materials are greatly affected by weather conditions, while others are virtually weather-proof.
Location. You’ll want to consider which area of your yard is used the least to ensure your dog’s run won’t interfere with your family’s outdoor activities. If at all possible, place your dog run in a spot with shade for those hot, sunny days.
Budget vs Longevity. While it may be tempting to go the low-cost route, be sure to consider longevity. Frequent repairs can add up, so a balance between affordability and durability is ideal.
No matter which type of dog run you choose, your fur baby will certainly appreciate his or her very own space to run, play, and relax. While venturing out beyond your property with your pet is important for variety, exercise, and socialization, having a designated area for fun and activity will enhance your dog’s physical and mental well-being.
The first time your pooch spots his or her new area to run and play, you’ll realize the time, energy, and money spent was 100% worth it.
Becky Simmonds is a professional dog walker and part-time rescue worker. In her local community she's known as the 'dog whisperer'! Her innate ability to understand and communicate with dogs (even if they're not hers) is quite incredible! Becky's loyal companion Chip, a German Shorthaired Pointer accompanies the group on their daily adventures!