Choosing a Doggie Door
28 August, 2012

If you have a dog (or outdoor cat) and have just moved into a new place, you will most likely need a new dog door installed.  Or maybe your puppy is now big enough to go outside on his own.   With so many different gates on the market, how do you choose one and what should you consider in buying one.

Type of Dog

Although it might seem like any dog could fit through the same pet door, different animals have different levels of strength. They also could differ in their ability and willingness to push against a heavier flap, or safely wear an electronic collar to open limited access dog doors.   Therefore, make sure that your dog is amenable to pushing a door open on his or her own.  You can test it out with a regular door.  Keep it ajar and see if he or she opens the door on his own.

The Size of your Dog

Many people measure their dog (or cat) from the ground to the top of their head and then try to find a pet door that size.  However, it is best to measure your dog’s height at his or her shoulder (typically this is the highest part of their back). Pets will automatically duck their heads and lift up their feet when they go in and out the door.  This measurement should be the minimum height for your new pet door.

You might need to add a couple of inches if there is a ledge or stoop they need to step over. If you have more than one pet, size the door for the taller animal.  Also, consider growth. A puppy, even one approaching a year in age, might grow more.

Where to put your Doggie Door

Dog doors can be installed in walls, entry doors, garage doors, sliding glass doors and double-hung windows. You can also install a pet door in some other window types if you’re willing to have custom glass work done.  The choice of where to place the dog door depends on your home’s design and the location of safe, accessible entrances and exits. Some people are hesitant to cut holes in walls and exterior doors.

Security

We’ve all heard about cases where a burglar entered a house through a pet door.  Although it’s unlikely that any human could fit through most pet doors, you will probably have a time when you don’t want your cat or dog using the door. And you certainly don’t want the neighborhood raccoons or squirrel showing up in your kitchen!

The security level of pet doors ranges from none (a simple flap) to doors with locks, slide-in panels, and even pet doors that work with electronic collars that only allow animals wearing the collar can enter or exit.

Energy Efficiency

With energy costs through the roof, everyone is concerned about saving money on heating and air conditioning costs. An inefficiently designed or incorrectly installed pet door can take a chunk out of your energy budget. But a properly installed door can actually save you money over opening and closing a regular door multiple times a day.

Obviously, the right pet door for your pet and home are very specific to your needs.  Hopefully the tips above will give you a little more insight before you purchase or build your doggie door!

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