Which dog door is best?
Dog doors continue to be a popular way for people to allow their pets to freely enter and exit their homes or access specific rooms in their houses. While simple in design and concept, advancements in technology have pushed dog doors into the modern age. Some models now include smart features that allow you to lock them remotely and control your pet’s access.
The PetSafe Electronic SmartDoor makes full use of today’s tech. It can detect each of your pets individually by reading a chip in their collar, allowing access only to the animals you program it for. For owners with multiple dogs or those who want more control over their pet’s movement, this model delivers.
What to consider before you buy a dog door
Your dog’s personality
While all dogs enjoy time outdoors to explore and exercise, some are more shy or mischievous than others. If your pet is highly active or vocal, it could potentially become a disturbance to neighbors or passersby. Dogs that are especially anxious or shy may not benefit from the unsupervised access to the outside world that a dog door provides. Carefully consider your pet’s habits and personality, and keep their best interests in mind.
While most people associate dog doors with exterior doors, you can use them inside to permit or restrict your dog’s access to certain areas of your home. If you own a single dog and are looking to confine it to a specific area indoors, a basic dog door may be the right solution for you.
Dog doors require careful installation. Before you invest in a dog door, consider your ability to accurately cut a properly sized opening in your current wall or door. Appropriate tools and safety measures are required to avoid injury and ensure your dog door will work as intended.
What to look for in a quality dog door
For dog doors that open to the exterior of a home, be sure the model you select provides a seal that prevents rain, snow or drafts from entry. Metal doors can rust if water accumulates against them, and wooden doors can become saturated and rotten.
Some dog doors feature chip readers, timers, smartphone connectivity and more to allow you precise control over when they are open and which dogs are allowed to come and go. Those who spend time away from home while working may find this additional control allows them to better care for their pet while out of the house.
Dogs prefer not to squeeze through tight spaces. Select a dog door that allows your pet to easily pass through without having to do too much ducking.
To use its door, your dog will have to push itself through a flap that keeps the opening closed while not in use. Some of these flaps are transparent, allowing your pet the additional security of being able to see what is on the other side before going through. Different flap styles also provide different seals. Consider your pet’s confidence and the placement of your door to choose a model with a flap that will best suit your needs. Dog doors used inside do not necessarily require a flap at all.
Select a dog door with a sturdy, reliable lock. This prevents your dog from using the door when they aren’t allowed to and also helps keep out other animals and pets. Many models include a panel you can slide to block the door.
Protection from intruders
Skunks, possums, cats and especially raccoons sometimes find their way into peoples’ homes via dog doors. To counteract this, many models are available that include features designed to keep out unwanted guests. Practice due diligence when it comes to keeping potentially dangerous wild animals out of your home, but understand that few options are completely effective against a determined raccoon.
How much you can expect to spend on a dog door
Basic dog doors typically cost around $50. Advanced models that include smart features and locks can cost as much as $500, depending on their configurations. Most pet owners will be satisfied with dog doors in the $150-$200 range.
Dog door FAQ
Can you control which of your dogs can use the dog door?
A. Yes. You can set dog door models that feature chip readers to only open for the animal that is wearing the appropriate chip. These advanced doors give you the ability to allow certain pets into designated areas and still keep out notorious troublemakers.
Can any dog learn to use a dog door?
A. Some dogs require little to no encouragement to use a dog door. However, shy or anxious animals may require training to feel comfortable using one. If your dog is particularly suspicious of new objects, introduce the door to them slowly. To encourage your dog to pass through it, try removing the flap and placing treats on either side to get them to associate the door with good things.
Can you use a dog door for a cat?
A. Possibly. Cats approach doors differently than dogs in that they prefer short, wide openings as opposed to the tall narrow models that better accommodate a dog’s body. Cats also tend to be more reluctant to use doors that don’t include transparent flaps. Consider your pets’ individual personalities and make an effort to split the difference between their preferences to select a door that accommodates both animals.
What’s the best dog door to buy?
Top dog door
What you need to know: This dog door features advanced technology that allows you full control over who is allowed in and out.
What you’ll love: This door features a chip reader that senses your pet’s approach due to a special collar attachment. With this door’s selective entry options, it can detect which of your pets is approaching and either lock or unlock depending on your settings.
What you should consider: This door’s sensors may be affected by metal doors and any nearby appliances.
Top dog door for the money
What you need to know: This basic dog door is of great value and comes in various sizes.
What you’ll love: Low cost and easy to install, this door features a transparent flap and a slide-in security panel.
What you should consider: This door’s construction is a bit flimsy and it doesn’t provide much insulation against the elements.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Worth checking out
What you need to know: This model is the ideal solution for those who want to install their dog’s door in a wall.
What you’ll love: This telescoping tunnel accommodates walls of various thicknesses, allowing it to be installed almost anywhere. You can use it both indoors and outside. It includes a sliding panel to block access.
What you should consider: Aside from the sliding panel, this door does not provide any advanced security features to keep out wildlife.
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Derek Walborn writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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