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Pet Door Buying & Installation Guide

A buyer’s guide to choosing the right pet door for your four-legged friends.


There are many benefits for both the pet owner and the pet. Flexible outdoor accessibility for your pet’s leisure and a convenience for you as the owner is number one on the list. Also, it can be a great way to temporarily deny access to certain areas of the house in times where separation is needed.

Pet doors come in many sizes and styles. Proper installation can offer a clean, polished look that doesn’t detract from your home décor. Safety is key; so when choosing a pet door, take a look at some of the features and how the door is constructed.

All Access

Offering easy access to the safety of the backyard via a pet door allows your dog to go when he needs to. This can help eliminate accidents in the house and allow your pet to stay comfortable even when you are not home. It also may help eliminate whining and scratch damage on the door when your pet really needs out.

Free To Roam

This adds to an animal’s well-being, feeling of security, and overall health. The ability to take to the yard when the urge arises can also help stimulate exercise.

Control Issues

They can also be used to keep pets out of certain areas of the house. For instance, a cat-sized door would offer easy access to a room with a litter box, but would be too small for the dog to pass. This offers privacy, security, and regulation for all pets in the household. Many doors can also be locked, keeping the home secure when away or at night.

Choosing The Right Door

There are several designs and styles of pet doors. Doors should be chosen based on the needs of your pet as well as the size, weight, and breed. The design of your door is also a factor that will determine the design and installation. It’s recommended to do some research and compare doors based off their price, energy efficiency, design, and location of installation. It’s also wise to know your pet’s measurements and weight before buying.

Standard doors typically feature a solid plastic, two-way swinging door that can be locked. Flap doors provide easy access via a flexible flap, instead of a solid door. Extreme weather doors feature multiple flaps that allow access as well as additional insulation. Electric or “smart” doors automatically open for your pet and offer additional security, safety, and convenience.

Proper Installation

When choosing a pet door, make sure to check all the types of doors you can install it. There are specific designs for different doors, such as wood interior, wood exterior, steel, metal exterior, French doors, screen doors, sliding doors, and walls. Each design has a designated installation method that will need to be followed carefully to maintain safety and efficiency. They should be placed at least three inches from the floor to maintain the integrity of the door. A pet should also have at least an inch of clearance from the top of the back.

Most will come with a template to outline the hole that will need to be cut in the door. It will also suggest proper placement based on the size of your pet. Installation is typically an uncomplicated process for most standard doors.

The best part is the convenience for both you and your pet. They enjoy the freedom and accessibility to the great outdoors, and you might enjoy less begging and scratching for outdoor time. A door is a great solution in keeping your pet healthy, happy, and comfortable.