Are you looking for the best dog door? Each dog breed has specific needs, and each home has a different layout (and some apartments don't even allow certain installations). So choosing the best dog door can sometimes be a bit confusing. Luckily, we know a good way to narrow down the search.
To make the process more convenient, we did the research and fieldwork for you! We considered all different types of installation, tried out various brands, and narrowed it down to four amazing dog doors that will fit any household or apartment situation. Here are our top choices!
Top 4 Dog Doors - According to Dog Experts
- Patio Pet Doors for Sliding Doors
- Wall Entry Plastic Pet Door
- Designer Series Pet Door
- PX-2 Fully Automatic Pet Door
There are a lot of doggy doors out there. But not all of them are suitable for your dogs. The best dog doors have specific qualities that keep your dog and home safe and allow for easier use. When looking for a dog door, always keep certain features in mind like size, material, and security. Here are some of the best dog doors to consider on the market in 2021.
- For sliding glass doors or screen doors
- Heavy-duty aluminum construction
- Shatter-resistant tempered safety glass
- Energy-conserving UltraSeal flexible flap system
- Flap dimensions: 10.1 x 16.8 inches
- Energy-conserving flap system keeps the heat and cold outdoors
- Easy installation and good for apartments (no cutting required)
- Various sizes for larger dogs
- High-quality materials and very sturdy
- Simple for the dog to get in and out independently
- Can create a gap between the dog door and sliding glass door (requires extra weather stripping)
- Larger sizes are big enough for small children to crawl through
- Does not fit recessed sliding glass doors without additional hardware
- The sound of the flap may deter sensitive dogs from using the door
This is a great dog door, especially for larger dog breeds that won't fit through standard-sized dog doors. The sizes range from small to extra large, including a specific size called "Large, Tall." Every size is easily installed into sliding glass doors without using any additional hardware. This is a good choice for renters and people living in apartments since nothing needs to be drilled or cut. But some people have expressed that the installation left a small gap that allows weather to get into the house.
- Durable plastic door
- Can be installed in either interior or exterior walls
- Double flap design that keeps out weather, improving energy efficiency
- Easy to install in most walls, including siding, stucco, and brick
- Comes with washers and other pieces to make set up quick
- Can control pet's access with slide-in closing panel controls
- Save energy with the double-flap design (also keeps out bugs)
- Flaps are thick and have a magnetic strip, making it tougher for smaller dogs and cats to push through
- To install, walls must be 4.75" to 7.25" thick
- Size chart runs small
This dog door is installed in the wall, ensuring that it fits perfectly without any gaps for weather, bugs, and other intruders. But just remember that you will have to install it, so ask a landlord first if you are renting. It is a secure doggy door that will appeal to owners who want something heavy-duty. Some smaller dogs (and cats) might find it harder to push, so this is a better option for medium-sized dogs (or strong small pups). The door can also be suitable for larger breeds, but check the size chart to make sure your furry friend can fit.
- Heavy-duty insulation with double flap design
- Sturdy frame made of plastic and vinyl
- Locking capabilities
- Install in most doors
- Double-flap design blocks airflow and creates an insulated air pocket within the door, providing maximum energy efficiency
- Lock-out panel allows you to control if your pet stays in or outside
- Frame compatible with any standard interior or exterior door (or wall)
- Largest size easily fits bigger dogs that have trouble with other doggy doors
- The double-flap system may be too heavy or intimidating for smaller dogs and cats
- Installation required, so it may not be suitable for renters
- Might let in some cold weather in the winter
This heavy-duty dog door is perfect for homeowners that want a doggy door installed in any door or wall. The double-flaps and sturdy frame usually keep outside elements at bay, including weather and bugs. It also has a locking system, meaning you can easily keep out bigger intruders as well. This is a durable doggy door that can fit even the largest breeds (over 150 pounds), but it may be a little intimidating for smaller breeds that struggle to go through the two flaps.
- Fully automatic pet door
- A sensor that coordinates with a pet collar
- No flaps; door slides up when the pet approaches
- Battery-powered or plugged in
- Made of durable plastic (it's even bulletproof!)
- Avoid flaps with the automatic door, which goes up quietly when your dog approaches
- Custom settings give you total control of the door, when your pets go out, and what comes in
- Coordinates with a collar, only opening when your dog comes close
- Easy to install
- Pricier than most doors ($400 instead of $100-200)
- Only for dogs up to 100 pounds
- Has to be installed into a wall or door, not ideal for anyone renting their space
- The collar can be susceptible to water damage
This is a high-tech doggy door that uses sensor technology to keep your home safe and secure. The door will only open when your dog approaches, thanks to a collar's sensor. Instead of flaps, it has a door that quietly goes up, ensuring that no dog or cat is scared to approach or use the door. You have complete control over the door's use. This also keeps unwanted guests outside.
What Is the Purpose of a Dog Door?
Many dog owners decide to install dog doors so that they don't have to escort their pup every time they want to go outside. Doggy doors let your dog access the backyard every time they have to go to the bathroom or feel like playing. Dog doors are convenient and liberating for both you and your pooch.
Are There Benefits to Having a Dog Door?
Yes! Most people install dog doors for various reasons, mostly related to convenience and their pet's happiness. Here are some of the benefits you can expect from the best dog doors mentioned above.
Reduced bathroom accidents are one of the most obvious benefits of having a doggy door. Dogs usually rely on us to use the potty. If we're not around or are preoccupied with chores or work, a pup's whimpering at the door might be overlooked. This can lead to your dog peeing or defecating inside. If your dog can go outside whenever they have to use the bathroom, this avoids these kinds of accidents.
More Time to Relax
For many dog owners, accompanying a dog every time it wants to pee can be repetitive. A dog door ensures that you can continue whatever you're doing without having to worry about your dog's bathroom routine. No more paused work calls, interrupted dinner parties, or rushed games with friends.
On the other hand, a dog door can make your pup more active. Instead of relying on you to feel like walking or going to the park, your dog can simply walk outside when it feels like running around in the grass or snow. You'll notice that your dog is a bit more active when they have the option to romp around outside on a whim.
When dogs are cooped up inside (especially more active breeds), the lack of stimulation while you're busy can drive them a bit nuts. This leads to destructive behavior like chewing, scratching, and pawing at doors and walls.
Many bad behaviors are avoided with a dog door, allowing your dog to get some much-needed stimulation and exploration when you're too busy to play or pet them. You'll notice that your dog is a lot more well-behaved when it's spent hours running around outside while you're finishing an important project.
When you go on vacation or work long hours, you often have to leave your dog at daycare or hire a live-in sitter. Pet care can make going away a bit pricey. When you have a dog door you trust, you can leave your pooch alone for longer amounts of time since you don't have to worry about them getting walked and using the potty throughout the day.
While you should still have someone visit your dog daily to check on their well-being and keep them company, this can still be quite cost-effective compared to a full-time sitter or daycare.
Common Types of Dog Doors
There are many dog doors to choose from, so there's a good doggy door option for any living situation. Some common types include:
- Door mounted
- Patio-mounted door
- Sliding door
What to Consider When Choosing the Best Dog Door
When choosing the best dog door, it's really about your specific needs, where you live, and your dog's preferences. Here are some things to keep in mind when choosing the best doggy door for your pup.
Location of Installation
Some dog doors are only suited for certain areas of the home. For example, some are meant to be installed into a door, while others are for sliding glass doors. Always check this out first to see if the dog door fits with your home's layout.
Ease of Installation
How easy it is to install a dog door is another important variable to keep in mind. Some doors can be simply placed in a sliding door to avoid screwing and hole cutting. But most doggy doors need to be installed by making holes in doors or drilling into walls. This can be more of a concern for renters who don't want to alter the state of their apartments.
Even if you are a homeowner, ease of installation is still a crucial factor. A door that requires a full day of construction work wouldn't be ideal for many people. Some doggy doors come with all the pieces you'll need and don't require a lot of time or effort to get in place. Others will need measurements and extra tools to make sure it's installed correctly.
Check that the material is durable and free of toxins. You don't want a dog door that's flimsy or can break easily. Some dog breeds may accidentally ruin a cheaper and flimsier doggy door just by going in and out of it. You want to make sure that it's a safe and strong material that will hold up for a long time regardless of your dog's size, activity, or the weather.
Many pet parents' biggest concern is a dog door's insulation. Sometimes installing a dog door can create a draft or let in outside weather (as well as debris and bugs). Ensure the doggy door you choose has the right materials and design to keep out unwanted outdoor elements so that you don't have to purchase extra materials to keep your home safe and cozy.
Most dog doors will come in multiple sizes. Some of the best dog doors will have extra sizes, like XL or tall. You want to find a dog door that fits your dog comfortably so they can effortlessly use the door without breaking it or getting hurt.
You also don't want to get large and heavy dog doors for small breeds that might not be able to open a heavy door. If small dogs repeatedly struggle to open the door, they may give up altogether and go back to their favorite bathroom spot indoors.
In general, the dog door should be easy for your pup to use. If your dog struggles to use it or is scared of the flaps, they might not use the doggy door when they should, leading to accidents and anxiety. Make sure it's also at a proper height for your dog and in a location where your dog can easily get to it any time of the day.
Some cheaper doggy doors may not be thick enough to keep out curious visitors, like neighborhood dogs and cats, bugs, raccoons, opossums, and foxes. These pesky creatures might even be looking for warmth or food. To combat this, high-quality dog doors will either have motion controls attached to your dog's collar (meaning it won't open for anything or anyone else) or will allow you to lock the door when it's not in use.
At What Age Can a Puppy Use a Doggie Door?
Puppies can be trusted to use a doggy door at six months old. Any younger and you don't want to let your puppy be outside alone, even if you have a fenced-in yard or enclosed area.
Are Dog Doors Safe for Dogs?
Yes! Dog doors are safe for dogs. As long as the door is suitable for the dog's size, you won't have to worry about any physical injuries. Additionally, a dog door is mentally healthy for pets as it teaches them independence. Just make sure that you have an enclosed backyard so your dog can't escape.
Are Dog Doors a Security Risk?
Dog doors are not a security risk if installed correctly. High-quality dog doors have security features like sensors and locks. This ensures that the door only opens for your dog or during times that you feel are appropriate.
Do Dog Doors Decrease Home Value?
According to realtors, dog doors are very common and don't affect your home's market value. The pet-sized portals won't decrease your home's value, but there's a chance it could increase buyers' interest! Since more families have pets than ever before, dog doors are necessary for many prospective buyers.
Do Dog Doors Let Bugs or Rodents In?
Dog doors can let bugs or rodents in if they are not installed correctly. Cheaper models that don't offer insulation benefits may also have spaces for bugs to crawl in. Always look at reviews to see if more trustworthy models will offer more protection against outdoor intruders and weather.
If you're unsure about installing the product, you can always hire a professional. The seller may offer installation services, or you can use a service like TaskRabbit to find local handymen and women near you!
Dog doors are a beneficial addition to the home that allows your pet more freedom and keeps your home safe from messes. Dogs with access to a fenced-in backyard will get more exercise and stimulation, reducing behavioral issues and boredom. It will also allow you to keep working without having to constantly take your dog outside to pee.
When looking for a dog door, keep in mind the security, quality of materials, and where it's installed in your home. This will ensure that your dog is not only satisfied but also that it fits into your home without an issue!