Top 6 Tips to Choose the Best Dog Door for Your Furry Friend

Four golden retriever puppies in a playhouse door.
Four golden retriever puppies in a playhouse door

If you’re a dog owner, chances are you’ve heard of or even used a dog door. Dog doors are great for allowing your pet access to the outdoors while securely keeping them contained indoors at all other times. These handy little portals can also help prevent unwanted external pests from entering your home and make it easier for them to go outside when they need to eliminate waste or just enjoy some time in the sun.

So what exactly is a dog door? A traditional pet door is installed in an exterior wall with its flap vertically aligned so that animals can come and go as they please through their private entrance (but only when activated by an electronic sensor). This type of entrance allows pets—especially small ones like cats and rabbits—to go outside without disturbing anyone inside who might be trying to sleep.

If you have never used one before, it would be wise to look up a dog door company and get one installed professionally. You would also need some help choosing the right dog door for your canine companion. Here are the best tips to help you choose the best dog door for your furry friend.


Consider the Location Where You Want to Install the Dog Door

Consider the location where you want to install the dog door. If you’re going to be getting a new dog door, it’s probably because your current one is no longer working properly or has become too old and broken. Therefore, it’s important that when deciding on a new one, the location of installation will be easy for both you and your furry friend.

First things first, make sure that wherever you choose for placement will not cause any harm or damage at all. This means avoiding spots near electrical outlets and other sources of heat or light because these could cause unwanted effects on your furry friend (and even yourself). 

Secondly, make sure that whatever area you choose isn’t too close to high traffic areas. Prevent stairs or hallways as it could cause issues later down the road when trying out different techniques with training dogs using doors themselves.


Figure Out Which Type of Dog Door Will Work Best for You

The first step to choosing the best dog door for your furry friend is figuring out which type of dog door will work best for you. There are three types of doors: hinged, sliding, and electronic. Hinged doggie doors are the most common option, but sliding and electronic doors also exist.

You’ll want to consider how difficult it will be to install each type of door in your home or car (if applicable). Does your home already have a hole cut out? If not, then a hinged door might be more difficult to install than the other two options because you’ll need some very specific measurements taken by someone with experience installing these types of things before they make any cuts into your wall or house siding. 

If so, then a sliding or electronic one may work better since they can just slide right onto existing openings without needing any new holes drilled into walls or floorboards (which is especially helpful if you rent).


Measure Your Dog and His Needs

To get started, you’ll need to measure your dog and his needs.

  • Measure the size of your dog: To figure out what size flap or door that fits your pooch, measure the width and height at its shoulders. The extra inch or so will make sure they don’t squeeze through when going in or out.
  • Measure the size of the dog door: Once you’ve measured your pup, head to a pet store and pick up a few different doors that fit those measurements (plus an extra inch). These should be standard sizes like 18 inches by 28 inches or 24 inches by 36 inches. The exact dimensions aren’t as important as making sure that it fits nicely into whatever space you have available for it.
  • Measure the opening in the wall: If there isn’t already a hole cut out in your wall where you plan on putting this new addition, measure both its height and width so that once installed, it won’t look too large or too small against its surroundings.


Decide What Features You Need

You’ll also need to decide which features you want in your dog door. Below are the three most important dog door features.


  • Weatherproofing: Is your dog going to be spending most of his time inside or out? If he’s a kennel dog, chances are you’ll want something that can keep him dry and protected from the elements. If he’s an indoor-only pooch, perhaps a magnetically-latched flap door would work best.
  • Insulation: Does your pup have long fur or a thick undercoat? Some doors are designed specifically for dogs with extra insulation. For example, those with climate control features like the PetSafe Elite Ultra Pet Door or the Advantek Heavy Duty Aluminum Dog Door are better suited to those who need warm feet on cold days.
  • Installation: You may not think about installation when choosing a door for your pet, but it’s important nonetheless. For example, if you plan on installing this yourself (and many of us do), look for one that comes as close to fitting into an existing hole as possible, so there is less drilling involved. Also, make sure that whatever way you’re planning on mounting it doesn’t require any special materials beyond what comes in the box. Some doors come with brackets, but no screws or other hardware is needed for installation. Others come pre-drilled, so all you need is a power drill and screwdriver.


Make Sure You Correctly Measure When Installing a Pet Door

When installing a pet door, it’s important to make sure that all of your measurements are accurate. The height and width of the door are what will determine whether or not your furry friend can fit through comfortably. If you don’t take these into account, you could end up with an installation that doesn’t work for you or your dog.

The depth of the pet door frame is another important factor to consider when choosing which door to buy. You want an opening that provides enough room for both your pet and whatever size bed they sleep on.


Check With Your Builder or Landlord Before Installation

Before you choose a dog door, make sure to check with your landlord or builder. If you’re building a new home, it’s probably best to wait until construction is complete before installing one. This way, the company can ensure that the dog door will be well-hidden and won’t clash with any other features of the house.

If you already live in an older home, it’s important to check with local building codes first. Your local department of housing will provide guidelines on how large doors can be installed in each room of your house so that they’re not too big for residential spaces. If there are strict regulations on widths and heights (as well as fire safety), consider using a smaller size than usual until you’ve cleared this hurdle with them first!

In addition to checking with landlords or builders about installation regulations in general, it’s also advisable for pet owners who want an internal flap door into their homes from outside, especially if they live somewhere cold where temperatures may drop below zero degrees Celsius during winter months, before installing one yourself without proper planning ahead first, though.

Now that you know a bit more about the different types of dog doors, it’s time to choose one that will work for your furry friend. For starters, make sure the dog door is easy for your pet to use. If it’s too heavy or difficult for her to open, she may not use it at all. 

Alice White

Written by Alice White

Alice White, a devoted pet lover and writer, has turned her boundless affection for animals into a fulfilling career. Originally dreaming of wildlife, her limited scientific background led her to specialize in animal literature. Now she happily spends her days researching and writing about various creatures, living her dream.

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