Choosing Pet Doors

Choosing Pet Doors

What to Know Before Buying a Pet Door


It isn’t always convenient to stop what you’re doing to open the door for a meowing cat or pawing dog. That’s why pet doors are a great option for owners who want to give their pets more independence.

Before providing your pet with an open door to the backyard or fully-enclosed “catio”, compose a mental checklist to make sure this is a safe option.

Could this door, for example, give wild animals access to your home? Also assess the yard for potential hazards that could make it dangerous for your pet to roam without your knowledge.

One Size Doesn’t Fit All

One of the first things to do is measure your pet to ensure the door you choose provides him ample room to fit through the opening. Give young pets room to grow. Keep resistance in mind since cats and small dogs may not have the strength to push through a weighty flap or may be intimidated by it.

You’ll also need to decide whether you want to install a temporary or permanent door and what your budget will be for this project.

There are a wide range of doors with a wide range of prices. Choices in wood, plastic and metal include magnetic, electronic, chew-resistant, storm proof, double-flapped for better insulation and security reinforced. There are even pet doors that work with sliding patio doors. Consider, too, the accessories such as draft stoppers, chargers, tunnels, locks and keys. Doors should also feature security panels to lock pet doors.

Before you start shopping, pick some options for placing the door. Doors can be incorporated inside existing doors and, for cats, in windows. Next, measure the size of the door or window area where the door will go.

Pet Door Options

  • Conventional pet doors usually just consist of installing a frame and flap inside a door.
  • Panels with a pet door at the bottom can be mounted onto the track of a sliding glass door. These are really simple to install and aren’t permanent so they’re terrific for renters. Panels come with locks so the security of the door isn’t compromised. You can also choose from different pane thicknesses for insulation benefits.
  • Pet doors in windows are ideal for cats. A panel with a pet door in the bottom fits into the track similar to the version that can be used with sliding glass doors. These are also idea for renters because you don’t have to permanently modify doors or walls.
  • Gadget inclined owners might prefer electronic pet doors. These doors are equipped with sensors that detect when the pet is within a few inches via a corresponding collar.
  • Consider installing a small pet door into a screen that pets can use when the patio door is open. Another option for owners is simply adding a pet door from the house to the garage where food or a litter box might be kept, but be sure to check your local building codes, since an opening in the door between house and garage could damage the ability of your door to block the spread of a house fire.

Once you have installed the pet door of your choice, introduce your dog or cat to the new feature, following directions typically included with the door. Tape the flap open for a while, encouraging him to venture out by placing a treat on the other side. Once the in-and-out is routine, adjust the flap so the bottom doesn’t full close, and offer more treats to encourage your pet to push the flap. Never force a pet through the flap! Praise, treats and a little TLC will assure your four-legged companion that his new pet portal is totally meow-velous.