6 Expert Tips To Choose A Pet Door

Pet doors ensure the right to freedom to both -- your pet and you. Since your furry friend or purry pal can move out and in through that door any time, you don't have to rush back home just to take your restless pet for an evening walk.

However, there is much more to pet doors than letting your pets in and out. They have to offer comfortable, safe, and secure passage to your pets. They should also prevent uninvited 'guests', such as raccoons, from entering your home in your absence.

This buying guide offers you 6 expert tips that will help you buy a pet gate suitable for your home, environment, and of course, your pet.

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Where Should I Install the Pet Door?

As a first step, your decision could be influenced by whether you own the house or you rent it.

  • Self-owned home: Install the pet door in the wall or door. The best option is to install it ineither North or South-facing sides of your home as East or West-facing openings can let in atmospheric heat during the day.

  • Rented home: Sliding glass door, also called patio door, is your best choice. Sash windows or vertically opening sections within the sliding-glass doors are equally functional. The advantage of installing the pet door in glass is that it does not require creating openings through walls or doors making it a cheaper option if you have to leave your house in its original state before moving out.

White Metal Flex Aluminum Wall Tunnel Kit
White Plastic Wall Entry Pet Door Flap
White Plastic Metal Cat Door
White Sliding Glass Cat And Dog Door
Large Plastic Extreme Weather Door
Plastic Mesh Pet Screen Door

If you have decided to go for a wall or door option, here are some further tips for you:

  • Wall-mounted: Select this model if you want to let out your pet in restricted areas such as backyard or patio. Also, if your pet scratches surfaces a lot. Walls would get less damaged by that activity, compared to doors and windows. 

  • Door-mounted: This pet door is for you if your home opens to different and separate outdoors, such as backyard, front lawn, or porch. You can then decide where to let your dog out in your absence. You can choose from pet gates designed for people doors, storm doors, and metal doors.

Clear Metal Wall Entry Pet Door
White Double Flap Pet Door For Wall
White Metal Lockable Pet Door
Metal Stairway Outdoor Safety Gate
White Clear Thermoplastic Pet Door
White Plastic Locking Cat Door

What Size Pet Door Should I get?

This will largely depend on your pet's size. Follow these steps:

  • Measure your pet's height from shoulders to paws, discarding the head since your pet can crouch.
  • Measure their width across shoulders or hips, whichever is broader
  • Also, measure their weight since heavier dogs may require sturdier pet gates
  • Prepare a mock design. You can cut an opening marginally larger than the above dimensions in a cardboard and make your pet pass through it. If it goes well, purchase a dog door close to that size.

Here are some examples of sizes:

  • For cats and small dogs such as Shih Tzu, the pet opening should be 6" X 10" and the door frame size 11" x 15½"
  • For medium size dogs, such as Beagles, the pet opening: 9" X 13", and the frame size: 14" x 18½ "
  • For large dogs such as Lab retrievers, you will have the pet opening of 11" X 17" and the overall size of the frame 16" x 22½"
  • For extra large dogs such as Newfoundland, the pet opening is usually 16" X 23" and the frame size 21¾" x 30".

Which Are the Best Energy-efficient Pet Doors?

Pet gates create an openingin the thermal cover of the home. Even a small pet door can cost you about $7 more per month in energy bills if it is not properly installed and sealed. This requires smart materials and intelligent installation to make them energy-efficient, especially in winters and cold regions. These tips will help you cut your energy bills while making the most of the doggie door.

  • Opt for a double-flap pet gate design. Ensure that they have proper insulation material such as PU foam between the flaps to create good thermal sealing.
  • Alternatively, check for magnetically sealed models. They have solid magnets along all the four sides that secure the flap with the frame.
  • The third option is, flaps secured on the edges with steel, aluminum or plastic channels or frames. Good insulation with PU foam is necessary.
  • In case of a new installation, test it with a domestic blower door that will tell you instantly if there are air leaks.
White Durable Plastic Pet Door
Black Lockable Screen Pet Door
Clear Plastic Polycarbonate Pet Door
Brown Plastic Pet Door For Dog
Tan Single Flap Pet Door Mount
Medium White Plastic Aluminum Pet Door

What Are the Safety and Performance Tips for A Good Pet Door?

Would you prefer a door for your home that scratches your skin, tears your clothes, bangs your head, or is inconvenient in other ways? Then why compromise on your pet gate? Follow these tips to choose a safe and pet-friendly pet door.

  • Prefer soft, flexible, and safe flaps, not the rigid ones that scrap or harm your pet. Note that it is a myth that soft flaps are less efficient. High-quality soft flaps can perform efficiently in -40°C conditions.
  • Rule out designs with flaps that sway in windy conditions. The good ones can withstand even 50MPH winds without blowing open.
  • Are the flaps UV-resistant? That's another important point to check. Look up the product manual or ask the salesperson this specific question, "Will the flaps crack, chip, or wrinkle after some time?" Some quality manufacturers provide a UV protection feature that keeps the flaps intact for two years.
  • Finally, check the product warranty. The superior brands come with a comprehensive warranty of 10-15 years. 

What Are the Latest Innovations in Pet Doors?

These three types are trending in the market. All are high-end designs.

  • Electronic: These pet gates operate taking instructions from an electronic sensor on the dog's collar belt. Whenever they approach the pet gate, it will send out a signal to the door to open. Electronic models offer these benefits:

    • Exit and entry only for your pet
    • All-season efficiency
    • Fail-proof performance
    • Especially beneficial for large pet doors; it also prevents house break-ins.

    Advanced versions also have timers that allow your pets in and out at programmed times.

  • Lockable: These pet doors come with a cover that slides into the interior of the device. Advanced models have features such as combination locks and heavy-duty steel sheets with spring-latch locking. This feature is handy during nights and when you are on short vacations.
  • App-operated: These doggie doors operate through your smartphone app,hence giving you remote control over your pet's movements. You may want to restrict it during extreme weather or when the pet is sick. It will also help you monitor the frequency of your pet's outings.
Super Large Pet Door With Telescoping Frame
Double Flap Wall Mount Pet Door
White Medium Flap Magnetic Pet Door
Chestnut Molded Plastic Cat Door
Magnetic Automatic Lock Pet Screen Door
Large Cream Electronic Pet Door

How To Get Your Pet Accustomed To the Pet Gate?

Below are some innovative tips to get your pet used to the pet gate and create a liking for it.

  • Hang a few chew-toys from the frame of the pet door.
  • Paint outdoor sceneries on the surface around the pet gate. Dogs love outdoors as much as we do.
  • Hang a wind chime or other sound-making objects on the interior and exterior of the dog door.

Lily is a modern designer with great appreciation for sleek architecture, a love for art in its many forms, and a passion for sharing her experience with people. If you’re looking for advice on how to modernize your old-fashioned place or make your new restaurant a visual blast, she’s definitely the one to ask.