The Ins and Outs of Doggy Doors

Getting tired of getting up to let your pet outside and then back in? Installing a doggy door for your pooch is a great way to cut down on those trips and give your faithful pal some independence in the process. But picking the right pet door, getting it properly installed and then teaching your pet to use it are all important steps on your way to DIY doggy duty.  Here’s where to start.


Where do I install a pet door?

The answer to this question mostly depends on the size of your pet. Pet doors for small to medium size dogs or cats are often installed in a back door. Obviously, this isn’t going to work if your dog is a Saint Bernard or Great Dane! Pet doors for larger dogs are usually installed in an exterior wall. This is true if you have a regular storm door, also.

You’ll definitely want the pet door to open into an area where your pet will be safe. Some cat owners prefer to keep their pets safe in an enclosed ‘catio‘ where they can enjoy the outdoors without its inherent dangers. A pet door will allow your cat to go back and forth between the house and her outside cat pen whenever she likes. In this case, the pet door may even be installed upstairs!

One place you should never install a pet door is the door between your house and garage. Not only would a pet door violate safety codes but a pet should never have unsupervised access to a garage. It’s full of toxins like antifreeze, petroleum products, and garden chemicals. Your pet is also at risk from moving vehicles, exhaust fumes, and the overhead garage door.


How do I install a pet door?

There are so many variables here that you should always consult the installation instructions that came with your particular pet door. However, there are considerations that all doors have in common.

You’re creating a hole into your home, so you’ll need to take some precautions to keep weather, moisture, and intruders out! For example, foam weather stripping and caulk are a must and you’ll also want to make sure the sill of the pet door is high enough to keep out the runoff from heavy rains.  Security also key to make sure you can keep out those Saint Bernard sized burglars!

Doggy doors can be installed in a door, through the wall, or even with a sliding glass door.  This video provides a good overview of the most common installation.

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