The 10 Best Pet Doors
This wiki has been updated 31 times since it was first published in February of 2016. Owning a pet is a big responsibility, but it can also be an extremely rewarding experience. Why not make the responsibility part a bit easier on yourself and your furry friend by installing one of these handy cat or doggy doors? Our selections cover everything from simple swinging options to advanced, battery-powered models featuring sensors and motorized hatches, and sliding glass door models. When users buy our independently chosen editorial choices, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.
December 14, 2020:
We removed the Carlson Pro Pets Wall Mount Royal Pet Door due to installation problems and energy efficiency concerns. Another critical issue is that your pet has to be trained to use the door, so the design is not intuitive to animals. The SureFlap Microchip Pet Door Connect Without Hub was also removed due to availability issues.
The PlexiDor Performance remains but ranks a bit lower because we noted the high cost that could be an issue for many buyers. There are also complaints about an issue with the spring not always working, so the door remains open.
We added the PetSafe Freedom Sliding Glass because it's a great option for renters who cannot alter their homes, for people who are not handy or for those who can't or don't want to hire someone for installation.
If you are having trouble finding the right pet door or if you decide that you just don't want to bother installing one, you may want to try an indoor pet potty solution.
December 18, 2019:
Our previous picks for this category held reasonably true during this round of updates. However, we did eliminate the Hale Giant due to availability issues, and replaced the SureFlap Microchip with the SureFlap Connect – an app-enabled model that’s really useful if you’re somebody who’d like to keep better track of your pet’s behavior and whereabouts while you’re away from home.
A few things to consider while perusing this category:
Size: It might sound silly, but your doggy door’s going to be no good if it’s too small for said doggy. At the same time, especially for users managing expensive central heating and air-conditioning bills, in terms of your home’s insulation value, this door represents a liability – so you don’t want it to be any bigger than it needs to be. Many models in this category, including the Ideal Pet Modular and the Extreme Endura Flap, are offered in multiple sizes, so you can pick just the right one for Rover.
Compatibility: While some doors will allow for a little wiggle room in this respect, such as telescoping-frame options like the PetSafe PPA11 and the Perfect Pet AWXL, every door is designed with certain specifications in mind in terms of what it’s supposed to be mounted to or through. Whether this purchase is intended to be a redundant installation on an existing door, or fill a hole you carved right through your exterior wall, you need to know how thick that distance is and proceed accordingly.
Security: If home automation and high security is your thing, you’re going to want to consider one of our smart selections, like the High Tech Power Pet or the SureFlap Connect, that depend on microchip recognition to decide whether to discharge or readmit your pet from or to your home. Not only do options like these help eliminate the possibility of some serpentine burglar wriggling through your pet door, but they also make it virtually impossible for a curious skunk or raccoon to poke their head into your living room.
Doggie Doors Galore
Aside from security and convenience, the pet door offers several health benefits to a dog or cat.
Mahatma Gandhi once said that the greatness of a nation can be judged by the way its animals are treated. This phrase speaks to compassion and the dependence of an animal on its owner to properly care for them. Compassion perpetuates trust, which are both ideal values for human society. When one makes the decision to bring a pet into their home, it forms a strong bond and relationship based on purity and trust. Depending on where you live and how you choose to interact with your dog or cat, wouldn't it be nice to give them the freedom to come and go as they please while maintaining that trust? Without some of this freedom, a pet may develop unwanted behaviors that require special training. They might scratch at your doors and walls when they have to go out or they may have additional accidents indoors. Pets are creatures of habit and while they depend on you for the basic necessities, there are ways to make some of these routines easier on both of you, such as a dog's ability to come and go as he pleases when having to go outside to relieve himself. The pet door is an excellent tool to provide this freedom and peace of mind.
A pet door (or pet flap) is a small portal or opening typically cut into the bottom of a human-sized door (or wall) that allows an animal to enter and exit the home on their own without the need for human intervention. The most typical style of pet door features a bottom-weighted, hinged, and spring-loaded flap hung from the top of its opening with the capability to swing back and forth as a pet comes and goes. The flap can be made from rubber, vinyl, or heavy plastic and is sometimes equipped with magnets around its edges to keep the door closed for extra protection against wind, severe weather, and prowlers. Depending on their design, some doors have saloon-style operation that allows them to swing inward and outward with springs to force their closure after the pet has gone through. Saloon-style pet doors do not have rubber flaps and they are often made from acrylic glass with air pockets for extra insulation. For high-tech security, an additional type of pet door includes the automatic door, which operates through the use of a computer chip or magnet attached to the pet's collar and triggers the door to unlock when the animal comes near it. Automatic pet doors are more expensive than conventional doors, but they also offer superior security by limiting who or what can trigger the door to unlock in the first place.
Aside from security and convenience, the pet door offers several health benefits to a dog or cat. With easy access to a portal leading outdoors, your pet can quickly get outside for exercise to stay fit. A pooch forced to hold it in for extended periods of time can also lead to potential accidents inside the home. Installation of a pet door helps to solve this problem, as the dog is no longer forced to wait until the owner lets them out to do their business. Easy access to the outdoors also prevents behavior problems as a result of boredom while keeping the animal mentally stimulated. The door also provides a quick exit should the home be compromised by a fire or an intruder.
Installing The Proper Door For Your Pet
Sizing will be an important consideration. The general rule for sizing the door is to measure your dog's width and height (from the top of the shoulders to the bottom of the chest) and add around two inches to each measurement for ensuring an easy fit. For this reason, one should wait until a puppy is fully grown before making an investment.
Determining where to install the door is a large consideration as well.
Determining where to install the door is a large consideration as well. Some doors can be installed into walls and into front or back doors around your home. That said, this decision should be made based on preference and the size of your dog. Additionally, one must consider the materials they wish to use. If a dog is prone to chewing, then sturdy materials such as plastic, vinyl, or acrylic should be used. Doing this not only prevents damage to the door's components, but it also provides improved insulation and energy efficiency for the home, particularly if you're going to install the door yourself.
If you're worried about unwanted animals finding their way into your home using a door flap, then you can also consider an automatic pet door keyed to an identifiable collar worn by your pet. This ensures that only he or she can enter and exit.
Finally, prepare to train your pet to familiarize himself with the door, regardless of the type you choose to install. The pet will not instinctively know how to use the door, so it may take a couple of weeks for them to learn how to use it through the use of positive reinforcement.
A Brief History Of Pet Doors
Pets have accompanied humans for millions of years, long before the domestication of the modern dog. The oldest dog fossils date back almost forty million years, while the oldest cat fossils date back around twelve million years.
These cats were used to hunt rodents and protect stores of resources.
Human semi-domestication of wildcats dates to around 9,500 years ago when the people of Cyprus created rudimentary cat holes used to invite feral cats into their domiciles. These cats were used to hunt rodents and protect stores of resources. Similar behavior was employed to domesticate cats in ancient Egypt.
Through urban legend, Sir Isaac Newton has been credited with the invention of the pet door through his actions of cutting large holes in his walls for his adult cat and kittens. Since that time, the product has been marketed in several different forms that include manual and hinged flaps, saloon-style operation, and fully automatic doors offering the most cutting-edge technology to keep your home safe for both you and your furry friend.