Fences and our four-legged friends go hand-in-hand. It allows you the peace of mind that your dog will not run off in the neighborhood amongst people and allows your dog more freedom to move around and explore than a leash will. If you have a medium or large sized dog, most iron or aluminum fences will keep them in so long as they cannot jump over it. But what about the little guys? We get a lot of folks with smaller dogs calling in and wondering if they can get in-between the pickets.
The air gap on all heights and grades of our iron and aluminum fences is 3.75 to 3.875 inches. National code typically requires the air gap between pickets to be less than 4″. Beware of ‘economy’ or cheaper fences that will widen that opening to use less material in the panel and charge less (or worst, the same) as a properly built fence.
To see if the standard spacing will work with your little guy, you need to measure their head and shoulders. Every dog is different (and unlikely to stay too still while you measure their head and shoulders) so err on the side of caution and go a little wider. For instance, if the widest part of their body is 4″, I would be willing to bet that they could wiggle through the standard opening with enough force.
If your dog is small enough to get through the standard opening, you can address this in a couple types of ways.
Temporary Plastic Mesh Fence
If you have a puppy that can get between the fence pickets, but will grow up to an adult size that won’t fit through the opening; a temporary solution may be all you need worry about. Most dogs reach adult size by 6-8 months, so you may just need a solution for right now that can be removed later. In that case, your best bet is something inexpensive that will look ok, but be easy to remove later. For this we recommend going with a plastic style mesh fence. You can find these by the roll in the fence section of most large home hardware stores. You simply roll out the plastic mesh fence and then secure it to the fence pickets with zip ties. You can cut the sections to fit between the posts or simply roll out the mesh in one large sheet. Once your puppy reaches adulthood, simply snip the zip ties and remove the plastic mesh fence.
Welded Wire Fence
If you have a small dog that isn’t going to grow larger than the 3.88″ gap between the pickets, welded wire fence makes for a cleaner and more permanent addition. Its an inexpensive solution that will complement the fence and get the job done. Welded wire fence can be found easily online and in some home hardware stores in rolls.
A 2ft height is usually sufficient and if you go with a black vinyl coated version, it will look like its part of your wrought iron or aluminum fence. Go with a heavier 16ga so that you have a more rigid frame that won’t sag. There is a variety of opening sizes you can go with. A smaller wire opening will be more visible than a larger one, but it will also prevent the dog from sticking their head through.
Like the plastic mesh fence, you will simply secure it with black plastic zip ties to the pickets. You can cut sections to fit between the posts for a cleaner look, or simply roll it out over the fence panels and posts in one piece. If your little one likes to dig, you can also bury a couple inches of the mesh fence below the surface to keep them from tunneling under.
Cast Add-on Decorations
If you are looking for something a little more upscale, but effective at keeping your little one contained, we offer a variety of cast pieces that affix to the picket. They not only complement the fence, but they are extremely beautiful. These pieces simply fit over the fence/ gate pickets and are secured with a self-tapping screw we provide. We offer 5 different add-on decorations that can be used to close in the picket gap:
- Cape Cod
- Butterfly Scrolls
Below are some examples of each utilized as a small dog barrier on some of our wrought iron fence pieces:
While there are other methods you can employ to keep your small dog in, we find these to be the most effective, easy to install and cost effective while still maintaining the look of the wrought iron or aluminum fence. If you have any questions on other solutions you want to employ or to get more information on the above options, feel free to call us at 800-261-2729 or email us at [email protected]. We’re here to help!