Best Dog Door & Pet Door: Buyer’s Guide & Reviews

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A good dog door has benefits for both you, and your dog.

For yourself, it will save you time and effort getting up off the lounge, and going back and forward to and from the outside door to let your dog in and out.

For your dog, it will allow them more time to play outside (especially when you’re at work), get fresh air and excuse themselves when nature calls somewhere else other than your inside floors! 

When buying the best dog door or pet door for your pet/s and home, there are several factors you need to be aware of.

It’s wise not to just go out and buy the first dog door that looks cheap and suitable.

From door price, to features like security and weatherproofing, to ease of installation, to dog door type, to dog door size – these factors and a few others are among the considerations you’ll have to make.

This dog and pet door guide, and reviews, should make the process of picking the best dog door for your 4 legged friend/s a lot easier, and save you heaps of time researching (we’ve done that for you).

You can use this table of contents to navigate your way through the guide, or read from the top.

 

Best Dog Door & Pet Door: Top Rated List

This is our top rated dog door and pet door list. Clicking on the link will take your through to Amazon to view the item:

Ideal Pet Products Original Pet Door with Telescoping Frame (On Amazon) – Best Cheap Dog Door

SureFlap Microchip Pet Door (On Amazon) – Best Electronic Dog Door/Best Automatic Dog Door for Small & Medium Dogs

High Tech Pet Power Pet Electronic Pet Door (On Amazon) – Best Electronic Dog Door/Best Automatic Dog Door for Large Dogs

PetSafe Extreme Weather Door (On Amazon) – Best Cheap Insulated Dog Door For Cold Weather

Perfect Pet All-Weather Energy Efficient Dog Door (On Amazon) – Best Insulated Dog Door For Cold Weather

PetSafe Freedom Aluminium Patio Panel Sliding Glass Pet Door (On Amazon) – Best Dog Door For Sliding Glass Door

PlexiDor Performance Pet Doors Large White Door Mount (On Amazon) – Best Dog Door For Large Dogs & Heavy Chewers, Best Security Dog Door

PetSafe Wall Entry Aluminum Pet Doors (On Amazon) – Best Through Wall Dog Door (for Wall mounting)

Ideal Pet Products Aluminum Sash Window Pet Door, Extra Large (On Amazon) – Best Window Sash Dog Door (for sliding window installation)

 

Best Dog Door & Pet Door: Reviews

We’ve listed some of the best regular dog doors below, but you can find some of the best specific types of dog doors in the guides here:

 

Ideal Pet Products Original Pet Door with Telescoping Frame

View On Amazon

The Ideal Pet Products Original Pet Door comes with a thermoplastic ABS frame, vinyl flap and manual internal sliding security and weather board/screen.

It is designed for installation in doors, but may fit some walls too.

 

Who Is This Dog Door For?

  • Those looking for an economical/cheap dog door that is easy to install and just ‘get’s the job done’ without any extra special features or super high end quality or materials
  • Those looking for a manual (non-electronic) door mounted dog door

 

Who Is This Dog Door Not For?

  • Those looking for a top of the line dog door
  • Those looking for an electronic or automatic dog door
  • Those looking for the most weatherproof dog door

 

What’s Good About It?

  • Comes in 4 sizes – Small, Medium, Large & Super Large
  • Very cheap and economical
  • Telescoping – can fit a range of thicknesses of doors
  • Plastic is impact resistant, and thermoplastic for better energy efficiency
  • Installation takes only about 20 minutes
  • Super Large size can fits dogs up to 120 pounds
  • Has a lock in/lock out internal slider
  • Has a magnetic seal on the bottom of the door flap

 

What’s Not So Great?

  • Not the most weather proof dog door 
  • Magnetic strip can come loose or lose function after a while
  • There is instructions on how to cut the hole, but no template

 

What Else Do You Need To Use This Dog Door?

  • Drill, jigsaw and screwdriver for installation (or pay someone to install) – to cut the door hole

 

Where Can I Check Out This Dog Door?

Click here to view the Ideal Pet Products Original Pet Door with Telescoping Frame on Amazon

 

Ideal Pet Products Aluminum Sash Window Pet Door

View On Amazon

If you don’t want to or can’t install a pet door into a door or window in your house, this pet door allows you to install one into your window sash.

 

Who Is This Dog Door For?

  • Those wanting to install a pet door into their window sash

 

Who Is This Dog Door Not For?

  • Those wanting to install a pet door into their door or wall

 

What’s Good About It?

  • Comes with a white aluminium frame
  • No holes to cut – it installs into a sliding sash window track
  • Comes in different sizes – the Extra Large model fits 33″ to 38″ Wide windows
  • 5/8″ thick on all sides
  • Comes with a spring loaded locking slide
  • Lexan clear vinyl flap with magnetic strip for closure – flap size is 10-1/2″x15″
  • Designed for pets up to 90 pounds

 

What’s Not So Great?

  • The only real problem with this window is that it would be good if it came with a sliding security screen as the security on the pet door isn’t great. However, there are some extra security bits you can buy relatively cheaply

 

What Else Do You Need To Use This Dog Door?

  • Drill and screwdriver to install
  • Extra security measures –

– 4 Pcs Sliding Window Lock (On Amazon)

Prime-Line Products U 9809 Sliding Window Lock, 1/2 in., Diecast Construction (On Amazon)

Where Can I Check Out This Dog Door?

Click here to view the Ideal Pet Products Aluminum Sash Window Pet Door on Amazon

 

Best Dog Door & Pet Door: Buyer’s Guide & FAQ

1. Consider Manual vs. Electronic Dog Door

  • Traditional Manual Dog Door

Traditional manual dog doors come with a frame made of usually hardened plastic or aluminium.

They can come with one to three dog door flaps made of plastic or vinyl, that is clear or tinted.

They can be door mounted, wall mounted or full height doors and panels that sit in a glass and aluminium sliding door track.

 

  • Electronic Dog Door/Smart Dog Door

The cheaper type of electronic dog door is made of a hardened plastic with a hardened plastic flap.

The flap is operated by a smart key with batteries which allows you to lock or open the door electronically or automatically.

Other cheaper electronic dog doors work with existing microchips.

There are also more expensive high tech electronic dog doors that are motor driven and allow you to be much more specific with the access and exit settings, and they are smarter when it comes to allowing your pet in and out.

 

  • Which is better – Manual dog door or electronic dog door?

The truth is that there aren’t any perfect electronic pet doors on the market at the moment – especially for large dogs.

When you pair that together with the fact that there is an upkeep cost (batteries, transmitters and repairs for door electronics), these doors can be very expensive and more effort and time than they are worth in the long run.

If security is a big thing for you, you are better off getting a manual dog door with a sliding security panel.

Manual dog doors are generally a one off cost, and once they are installed, you don’t have to worry about repairs or replacing anything.

 

2. Consider Type of Dog Door

Apart from the two main types of dog doors above (manual and electronic/automatic), there are specific dog door types to consider:

  • Regular Dog Door For Door Mounting
  • Weatherproof Dog Doors For Hot or Cold Weather
  • Electronic/Automatic Dog Doors
  • Aluminium Framed Dog Door for Wall Installation
  • Dog Door That Installs into Sash Window (e.g. Ideal Pet Products Aluminum Sash Window Pet Door)
  • Dog Door That Fits Vinyl Patio Doors ( e.g. Ideal Pet Products 150 Series Vinyl Insulated Pet Patio Door)
  • Patio Panels for Sliding Glass Doors (full height portable dog doors that install into the sliding door track)
  • Door Mounted Dog Doors For Large and Extra Large Dogs (usually by a company called Plexidor)
  • Security Based Dog Doors With Secure Locking Screens and Panels

 

3. Consider Dog Door Sizes

Dog and pet doors can range in opening size, but generally a standard dog door will be:

  • Small – 5 1/8″ W x 8 7/8″ H
  • Medium – 8 1/8″ W x 12 7/8″ H
  • Large – 10 1/8″ W x 16 7/8″ H
  • Extra Large – 13 5/8″ W x 24 3/8″ H

 

Dog doors for sliding glass doors and patios will be full length panels (much taller than the above standard dog doors) and doors that fit into the sliding door track. 

 

4. Measuring Your Dog For A Dog Door

It’s important to follow the manufacturer’s directions on measuring your door, wall and pet for knowing which size pet door to order.

But in general, you’ll want to complete four measurements (five for full length dog doors):

  • Height of Your Pet (paws to top of shoulders, and bottom of chest to top of shoulders) – add two inches to the shoulder height of your dog for your dog door opening size
  • Width of Your Pet (at shoulders)  – add two inches to the width of your dog for your dog door opening size

 

Most online resources will tell you these two measurements and leave it at that. However, there are two other measurement you have to carry out…

  • Weight of Your Pet – Most manufacturers will also rate their door for a dog of a certain weight – so check the what weight of your dog is and check the manufacturer’s design instructions (usually in pounds).
  • Thickness of Door or Wall – the average dog door is built to be installed in doors 1-1/4-Inch to 2-Inch thick. Although, some have a telescoping feature to fit to different thicknesses.
  • Track to track height – for full height dog doors for aluminium glass sliding door installs.

 

Note that if you have two or more dogs or pets, you’ll want to make sure the opening is big enough for your largest pet, and obviously rated for their weight too.

 

5. Consider Dog Door Installation Location

There are several locations you have the option of installing your dog and pet door at:

  • Timber Door
  • Steel Door (including garage doors)
  • Aluminium and Glass Sliding Door
  • Mesh Fly Screen Door
  • Wall – usually brick
  • Aluminium Sliding Window (e.g. the Ideal Pet Products Aluminum Sash Window Pet Door)
  • Vinyl Door

Follow the manufacturer instructions for installation, which may or may not involve cutting into an existing door or wall.

If the door or wall requires cutting, you usually have to call in a professional installer.

 

6. Dog Door Features To Consider

  • Dog Door Flap – Is is tinted or clear? Are there enough holes in the top of the flap to allow flap adjustment? Is there a magnetic lower strip on the flap to secure the flap to the dog door frame? Can you buy replacement flaps for that model of pet door? Is there a double door flap  or triple door flap to create an ‘air-lock’ in the middle of the dog door?
  • Access and Locking/Sealing Options – Does the door come with just the flap? Is there a sliding locking or closing panel inside the frame to manually lock the opening off and stop weather, overdrafts, debris, human intruders and insects/bugs? Is the opening electronic or operated by a SmartKey allowing remote closing and opening?
  • Dog Door Frame – is the dog door frame aluminium or plastic? If plastic, is it a thermoplastic type frame which is better for retaining heat or the cool? If your dog is a chewer, do you want a thicker frame?
  • Dog Door Colors – Are there a range of colors such as white, satin, bronze etc. to fit in with your decor? Is the frame paintable to get an EXACT match with your door?
  • Dog Door Glass – for full height dog doors for sliding glass doors, is the glass tempered or tinted?
  • Weather Seals – for aluminium and plastic dog door frames, are there weather strips around the outside of the frame for insulation?
  • Other Weather Proofing – are there any internal weather proofing flaps like on the 3 flap dog doors? Is there an air lock between the external flap/door and the inside environment? Consider the climate you live in (is it hot, cold or moderate where you live?) to get an idea of the level of weatherproofing you require.
  • Dog Door Layout – for full length dog doors, they come with different layouts and heights of the glass panels and the dog door.
  • Dog Door Bottom Lip – the lip is the bottom of the dog door frame. Some models have a higher lip that sits above the ground to discourage random smaller animals like rodents for example from entering the house.
  • Electronic Dog Doors – specifically with electronic dog and pet doors, look out for the following:

– Programmable setting with option for auto lock and release at different times of the day

– How is the dog door powered or driven? Battery or motor driven?

– LED frame indicators

– Option to increase or increase sensitivity of microchip when your pet is different ranges away

– Does the door work with new microchip collars to trigger the door (sometimes known as a smart key), or can it work with existing microchips?

– Option to program the door for multiple pets’ microships/smartkeys (if you have more than one pet)

– How much are extra microchips/smart keys, and batteries for the smartkeys? How long do the batteries last (usually a year)?

– Are the collars/sensors/microchip collars water proof and durable?

 

7. Installing a Dog Door – How-To & Other Tips

The average door mounted or track mounted dog door takes around 20 minutes to install by yourself.

Different dog doors will be slightly different to install, and each installation varies in difficulty of installation, and price of installation. 

But, there are four main installation types

 

  • Install in a door track

Door track mounted dog doors are the easiest to install and least expensive as there are no holes to cut. You just fit the door to the track and screw/fasten it in.

 

  • Install in a regular door/storm door

Regular doors are somewhere in the middle – you get given a cutout template for your door, and then you install the dog door yourself.

All you generally need to install regular door mounted dog doors is a power cutting tool like a jigsaw, a drill and a screwdriver.

 

  • Install in a wall

Installing in walls and glass panels/windows can be expensive as you may need to call a carpenter or glazier in to complete the job if it’s not straightforward.

There may be cutting or brick, removal of glass and other specialised activities that a regular person might not have the expertise or tools for.

Get a quote before you buy the pet door so you get a better idea of overall cost.

 

  • Install in glass window

Refer above

 

Make sure not to void the warranty of any dog door or pet door that get’s installed around your house. Follow the installation instructions of the manufacturer carefully.

 

8. Train Your Dog To Use The Dog Door

Not all dogs are comfortable with using dog and pet doors straight away (or the associated sensor collars and microchip devices).

You may need to do some basic positive reinforcement and praise/treat training to encourage your dog to use the door.

 

Resources

1. www.petsafe.net/

2. https://plexidors.com/

3. http://www.idealpetproducts.com/welcome

 

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