LIFESTYLE

Best Dog Doors: Giving Your Pooch Access Without Getting Up

Image showing a pitbull getting out of the house through an Electronic Dog Doors
John Walton
Written by John Walton

Are you tired of having to get up four to five times a day just to take your dog out to do his business? Don’t want to get out of bed because your pooch has an emergency he needs to take care of? Your concerns are all taken care of by considering the best dog doors that the market has to offer.

So how do you go about finding one that’s right for your needs? It can be confusing to start shopping when you don’t know what you should be looking for, so we’re here to help you through the process to ensure that your first purchase is the right one, saving you time and money on having to return something you don’t need. So let’s get started on finding you the best dog door that will keep you and your dog happy.

Product NameSizeMaterialType of Pet DoorPrice
Plexidor Bronze Pet DoorSmall, Medium, Large, XLAluminium framesDoor mountCheck price on Amazon
Patio Pacific Endura Flap Pet DoorSmall, Medium, Large, XL (all have options for single or double flap)Aluminium framesDoor mountCheck price on Amazon
PetSafe Extreme Weather DoorSmall, Medium, LargePlastic framesDoor or wall mountCheck price on Amazon
Ideal Pet Products Telescoping Pet DoorSmall, Medium, XL, Super LargePlastic framesDoor or wall mountCheck price on Amazon
BarksBar Original Plastic Dog DoorMedium, LargeAluminium and plastic framesDoor mountCheck price on Amazon
Ideal Pet Products Ruff-Weather Telescoping Pet DoorSmall, Medium, XL, Super LargePlastic framesDoor mountCheck price on Amazon
PetSafe Aluminium Pet DoorSmall, Medium, LargeAluminium framesWall mountCheck price on Amazon
SureFlap Microchip Pet DoorOne sizeN/ADoor, wall and in-glassCheck price on Amazon

Things to Consider Before Purchasing

You wouldn’t think there would be a lot of things to take into account when purchasing a pet door: find one, cut a hole, and attach it. However, there’s more than you’ve bargained for if you’re considering adding one to your home, and it’s important that you know what you’re options are. Here are the most important features to consider before purchasing the first pet door you find.

Type

The standard usually consists of your pet door being installed in your door, but other types of doors can be installed in other areas of your house, such as in a wall. Other kinds of doors can be attached to windows, screens, and sliding glass doors. This variety of options allows you to find a door that best suits your needs and isn’t obtrusive in your day-to-day life.

Image showing a little dog getting into the house through a window mounted door

After all, the point of getting a pet door is to make it easier for your dog to go out when he needs to so you can get more done. But if you get a pet door that ends up becoming more of a hassle than it’s worth, then you may have to look at other options. Here’s the rundown of how these doors work and where they’re installed.

Door-mount Pet Door: this is the standard kind of pet door that you see, and involves cutting a hole in a regular door for the pet door to be placed in. Many of them consist of two frame pieces that are placed on either side of the door, and come in two basic models, single and dual flap. A single flap door has a single flap that swings both ways when your dog comes and goes; a dual flap door has a flap on each side that can help to trap air in, which is good during those cold winter months.

A dog getting out of house through a wall mounted door

Wall-mount Pet Door: this is the same principle as the door-mount version, but involves cutting a hole into a wall instead. However, there are more considerations to take into account if this is the kind of pet door you want to get, such as the thickness of the wall and the obstructions in the wall itself, such as pipes and wiring. Because of this, the installation of a wall-mount door usually requires the expertise of a handyman.

Patio/Window Pet Door Insert: these kinds of pet doors don’t involve any cutting, and usually slide into the track of your window or patio door, and the door or window is closed against it. This option is usually best for small dog breeds, but there are options for larger dogs. Going with this kind of pet door does require a lot of measurements to be taken to ensure that it remains in place when it’s in use.

Image showing a dog getting out of house through the Patio Door

In-glass Pet Door: probably the most expensive option in this list, this requires making a call to a glass company to custom install a pet door into a glass door or window before it’s installed in your home. Although it looks great and doesn’t require any effort on your part, it does restrict you to the size of dog you can get, since it’s already cut for you.

Size

Size is important because your dog has to fit through it! It’s a good idea to measure your dog beforehand to see what would best suit his size, as getting one too small means undoing a lot of work and having to get a new door.

If you have multiple dogs, then it would be best to get one that suits your largest dog so that everyone can get in and out comfortably. Although getting a bigger door means having to cut a bigger hole in the door or wall of your house, nothing is more upsetting than hearing your dog wailing because he’s stuck in the pet door and starts panicking.

Image showing a labrador dog sitting in front of an open door looking out

In the same light, consider the weight rating of the door you’re getting; although you may have a small/short breed, some short breeds like bulldogs can be quite stocky and heavy, and no one wants to have a broken pet door due to their dog’s weight. Taking this into consideration, you may have to move up in size just to account for the weight of your dog.

Quality

It’s true what they say: you get what you pay for, and this is especially important for pet doors. If you go the cheap route, don’t expect your purchase to last very long and you’ll have to replace it sooner than you expect. However, investing a bit more money will provide you with a pet door that can withstand the elements and looks great.

Image showing a labrador laying down and a man looking at him in the house

Keep in mind that pet doors are also a point of exploitation for burglars; if you go with a cheap pet door that just has a plastic flap that can’t be locked, then you’re leaving your home at risk every time you go to work, to the grocery store, or when you go on vacation.

Security

The installation of a pet door means that your dog has easier access to the outdoors, but you don’t always want him to exercise that whenever he feels like it. Security is important for those who have dogs that are prone to giving chase of the local wildlife or have a vendetta against the mailman.

Image showing a black dog sitting in a dog door looking at the camera

Many of these pet doors allow you to have locking options so that your pet remains inside when you need him to be, allowing you to maintain control and preventing your dog from becoming the neighbourhood nuisance.

Seal

Getting a pet door means adding another access point to your home, and that means figuring out what to do during the winter season. Winterproofing your home is essential to retain the essential heat you need and not wasting fossil fuels to keep your home warm. Having a pet door can make the process even more difficult, but you can save yourself the hassle by getting a pet door that makes a difference.

Image showing a pet door monted in the wall

Essentially, there are two design types when it comes to the kind of flap: flexible and rigid. A majority of the dog doors are flexible flap, and this is because it tends to seal better around the edges than a rigid flap.

Additionally, you want to consider dual flap pet doors, as the air is trapped between the interior and exterior flaps, allowing your house to remain warm, even when there’s feet of snow outside.

Best Products on Today’s Market

With these considerations in mind, you’re no more aware of what’s out there and what you should be looking for in a pet door. However, if you’re still a bit confused as to where to start, we’ve compiled the details and specifications of eight of the top products in the market to serve as a starting point in your search.

Plexidor Bronze Pet Door Plexidor Bronze Pet Door

Price: Approximately $685.00

Dimensions: 20.5 x 1.8 x 26.8 inches (XL)

Specific features: Shatter-resistant panels, heavy-duty aluminium frames, chew-proof, insulated, steel security plate, lock-and-key security.

Best use: For dogs up to 220 lbs.

Description: No matter what kind of door you have in your home, the Plexidor Bronze Pet Door can be installed with little to no fuss. Even if your external door is made from fiberglass, steel, wood, or glass, this pet door can be added in just a few simple steps. Simply measure the size of the whole you need, mark it on your door, and cut it out. Installing the pet door is a snap, with two frames to attach with screws on either side, and the rest takes care of itself.

This pet door is designed to last, too. The door panels are shatter-proof and are designed with insulation in mind so you won’t have to worry about your home feeling drafty. The frames themselves won’t fall apart either, no matter how many times your pooch goes in and out of the house. And think of how much exercise he’ll get with that freedom without you having to stop what you’re doing and clipping on a leash every time.

PROS:

  • Good quality
  • Well-built
  • Easy to clean
  • Durable

CONS:

  • Can be a bit expensive
  • Tracks for the security door have to be purchased separately

Related: In order to put the added security door to good use, you’ll have to add the Plexidor Extra Large Sliding Tracks to your shopping cart. This allows you to beef up your security when you’re not home, or just don’t want your pet going outside at odd hours of the day. It’s a must-have, if you want to get the full effectiveness of your Plexidor pet door.

Check the price on Amazon

Patio Pacific Endura Flap Pet Door Patio Pacific Endura Flap Pet Door

Price: Approximately $309.00

Dimensions: 18 x 12 x 16 inches (Small)

Specific features: Environmentally-friendly double flaps, insulated, wind-resistant, security locking cover, flexible, adjustable magnet strength.

Best use: For small dog breeds

Description: If you live somewhere that’s known for being windy, you’ll have no concerns with the Patio Pacific Endura Flap Pet Door. It blocks all wind so your home won’t feel drafty, and the double flaps ensure that all of the chill stays outside. That means you can save more on your energy bill each winter by keeping the warmth exactly where it should be.

This pet door was also designed to last, and even has a 10-year warranty (with 15 years for the flap) to back that up. Anything goes wrong, and they’ll fix it or replace it for free. That shows just how much faith they have in their product, and consumers will agree. The heavy-duty aluminium framing is sturdy but not gaudy, and is very easy to attach toy our door, once you have all the measurements in place.

PROS:

  • Durable
  • Easy and quick installation
  • Promises to keep the air out

CONS:

  • Side seals on the door tend to become loose over time

Related: If you’re looking for an option that’s a bit more affordable, the Ideal Pet Products Air Seal Pet Door with Telescoping Frame may be more ideal for your wallet. It’s available in a variety of sizes, promotes energy efficiency for your home, and is easy for any pet to use. It’s made with durable ABS thermoplastic and Lexan for the flap, meaning that it will last you a good long while. Installation only takes a few minutes too, so you can have it up and ready to use in no time.

Check the price on Amazon

PetSafe Extreme Weather Door PetSafe Extreme Weather Door

Price: Approximately $99.95

Dimensions: 3.4 x 13.8 x 22.2 inches (Large)

Specific features: Three flaps for maximum insulation, adjustable flap, security door, external security panel for increase insulation (sold separately), paintable frame.

Best use: For dogs up to 100 lbs.

Description: The PetSafe Extreme Weather Door is perfect for those who live in areas with extreme weather. It’s guaranteed to keep the wind and the rain out, and the flaps get the job done of keeping out the cold air during the winter, and the hot air during the summer. That way, your home is always at optimal temperature so you can save on your energy bills.

And don’t think you’re roped into just one size. This pet door comes with the means to adjust the height of the flap so that it’s most comfortable for your dog. The weight and height of the flap against your dog’s back can really make a difference in how often he uses it, or at all, so being able to adjust it to his comfort level will definitely make the difference, since not all dogs are a standard size.

PROS:

  • Good value
  • Durable
  • Easy to use
  • Easy to install

CONS:

  • If you have small children, they can easily fit through the door
  • Flaps become stiff in cold weather

Related: Sometimes it pays to have that extra bit of protection, and you can get that with the PetSafe Universal Pet Door Weather Proofing Kit. The kit comes with a 5/6-inch drill bit, 3/16-inch and 1/2-inch rolls of weather stripping (one each), and a tube of silicone sealant to keep everything in place. That’s all you really need to ensure that your pet door is maintaining its energy-efficient properties.

Check the price on Amazon

Ideal Pet Products Telescoping Pet Door Ideal Pet Products Telescoping Pet Door

Price: Approximately $46.54

Dimensions: 12.4 x 2.4 x 19 inches (XL)

Specific features: Impact-resistant frame, single flap, lock-out slide.

Best use: For dogs and cats up to 90 lbs.

Description: Want a door that’s designed with your pet’s safety in mind? Look no further than the Ideal Pet Products Telescoping Pet Door.

You’d think that a product that only needs twenty minutes to install wouldn’t be durable or effective, but you would be wrong. This dog door is impact-resistant, so it can take a lot of punishment and still keep going. And the non-warping flap will stay in place every time, no matter how many times your pet uses it.

It comes with a lock-out slide to prevent your dog from going outside when you don’t want him to, and also keeps curious critters from trying to get in at night. It’s also a great deterrent against burglars if you’re gone on extended trips during a vacation or visiting family. After all, it’s dangerous to make it easy for everyone and everything to get into your home when they feel like it.

PROS:

  • Takes minutes to install
  • Flap won’t warp

CONS:

  • Flap lets in air
  • Magnet wears out

Related: Want even more security and freedom when it comes to your pet going in and out of his door? Consider the PetSafe Electronic SmartKey. Using radio-frequency technology, the SmartKey works with the Electronic SmartDoor by sending a signal to it to open the flap, making it easy for your pet to get out. Without the key, the flap won’t open, which means your dog remains inside… and pesky wildlife can’t get in either.

Check the price on Amazon

BarksBar Original Plastic Dog Door BarksBar Original Plastic Dog Door

Price: Approximately $36.99

Dimensions: 10.5 x 15 inches (flap size, Large)

Specific features: Self-locking side panel, weather-proof, telescoping frame, chew-proof and impact-proof, heavy-duty vinyl flaps, frames made of thermoplastic.

Best use: For dogs up to 100 lbs.

Description: The well-designed BarksBar Original Plastic Dog Door not only looks great, but also works great. Ithas been redesigned to be more durable, no matter the weather, and will keep the draft out. Forget all that cold air leaking into your home during the wintertime. This is made even more possible with the telescoping frame to ensure that it properly fits your door, regardless of how thick it is. No more drafts, no more guessing at measurements, and no more ill-fitting pet doors.

The added security panel also locks right into place, so it keeps your dog inside when it’s not in use. This provides further protection against the elements, especially if it’s really windy and rainy outside, and also keep rodents and other animals outside, where they should be. There’s also a blocking flap to keep the wild animals out, providing you with even further protection against invaders of the four-legged variety.

PROS:

  • Easy to install
  • Insulating
  • Self-locking panel provide security
  • Lightweight

CONS:

  • Moisture can still get in without security panel

Related: Don’t want to cut a hole in your wall or door? The Namsan Gate Way Pet Door for Screens makes it easy for you to let your dog roam free while saving money. Cutting a hole in your screen door is much more cost-efficient while still allowing your dog the freedom to go outside whenever he needs to. It opens easily, is very lightweight, and is actually very durable.

Check the price on Amazon

Ideal Pet Products Ruff-Weather Telescoping Pet Door Ideal Pet Products Ruff-Weather Telescoping Pet Door

Price: approximately $79.99

Dimensions: 14 x 6.1 x 22.1 inches (Extra Large)

Specific features: Foam-molded plastic, sturdy bolts for attachment, insulating flaps, inner telescoping frame, double flaps.

Best use: For dogs up to 90 lbs.

Description: The Ideal Pet Products Ruff-Weather Telescoping Pet Door is a very convenient option for you and your pet when he needs to go outside and do his business, or just needs to run out some excess energy.

Fresh air and being outside is great stimulation for his mind, so you can worry less about him chewing up your shoes and furniture out of boredom. That’s a great benefit for you, not only in terms of your wallet, but also in regards to time and energy at the end of a hard day of work and your pooch still wants to play.

The pet door is designed withstand harsh weather and the elements, and the flaps, in combination with the telescoping tunnel, traps air that would otherwise make your home feel drafty. Keep your home warm in the winter and cool during the summer, no matter how many trips Fido decides to take into the great outdoors.

PROS:

  • Durable
  • Energy-efficient
  • Easy installation
  • Weather-proof

CONS:

  • Flaps are initially quite rigid; loosens up over time
  • No security panel

Related: Another great way to keep your dog entertained, even while he’s stuck inside, is with a Outward Hound Squeaker Matz. Available in four different kinds of animals, this dog toy was designed with digger in mind. The body is full of squeakers that will entertain your pooch and keep him wanting more, helping to wear him out in play so that he doesn’t give in to his more destructive tendencies when you’re not home.

Check the price on Amazon

PetSafe Aluminium Pet Door PetSafe Aluminium Pet Door

Price: Approximately $109.95

Dimensions: 8 x 15 x 22 inches (Large)

Specific features: Telescoping tunnel, double flaps, closing panel (comes with internal; external sold separately).

Best use: For dogs up to 100 lbs.

Description: If you want a great way to give your dog access to the outdoors without it being in the way, then the PetSafe Aluminium Pet Door could be the best option you’re looking for. This wall-mounted dog door is perfect for those who don’t want to cut holes in their expensive doors just so their pooch can go outside. It has a telescoping tunnel that makes mounting easier, especially if you have thicker walls in your home.

But this isn’t the only purpose the tunnel serves. With the flap in place, it creates an air pocket that keeps your home insulated from the temperatures outside, making your home energy efficient despite the added access point.

The slide-in panel can be used to keep your pet inside at night, as well as night creatures outside; an external panel can be purchased separately to further provide protection against burglars and the elements.

PROS:

  • Durable
  • Very easy to install

CONS:

  • Instructions are a bit tedious to follow

Related: Purchased a door-mounted dog door, but you’re more interested in attaching it to a wall? The Ideal Pet Products Ruff-Weather Wall Installation Kit helps you to get the job done. It’s a telescoping tunnel that makes it easy for you to install a pet door into your wall instead. This can save you the trouble of having to cut a hole in your door while still giving your dog access to the outdoors.

Check the price on Amazon

SureFlap Microchip Pet Door SureFlap Microchip Pet Door

Price: Approximately $150.00

Dimensions: 11.1 x 10.3 x 0.4 inches

Specific features: Curfew mode, RFID collar tag, microchip scanning, manual lock, stores up to 32 IDs in memory, battery indicator.

Best use: For small dogs.

Description: For the price of the SureFlap Microchip Pet Door, you wouldn’t think you’d get something this technologically advanced. This pet door is definitely state of the art and makes it very easy for you to maintain control over what can come into your home.

The way the pet door works is that it reads the microchip in your dog’s neck, records and stores the information, and then only unlocks the flap when your dog is trying to get back in by detecting whether the chip is there. This means that all your pets can go out, but only those with a microchip or an RFID tag on their collar can come back in.

You also have the option of setting a curfew mode so that the door doesn’t open at night, keeping your pooch inside. You can also choose to manually lock the door, which is a great idea if you’re leaving your home for long periods of time.

PROS:

  • Long battery life
  • Easy to program microchip/RFID tag
  • Durable
  • Easy to install

CONS:

  • Can’t be used with larger dogs
  • Relies on batteries to work

Related: Added more pets to your home? This Pack of Two SureFlap RFID Collar Tags will make it easy for your dogs — and cats — to get in and out, especially if you can’t afford to get them microchipped right away. These tags weigh next to nothing, so there’s no concern about them dragging on your dog’s neck as he walks around.

Check the price on Amazon

Wrap Up

Looking at the most important features and seeing what kinds of products are out there should definitely make your job a lot easier when it comes to finding the best pet door for both your needs and those of your pooch. We hope that the information we’ve provided to you has helped you in determining which products you should be looking at, both in terms of features and what would best suit your budget.

Image showing a german doberman dog getting out the house

Have we forgotten anything that you feel is important to your search for the best product? Have a story you’d like to share with us? Please leave your comments with us in the section below, as we’d love to hear from you.

About the author
John Walton
John Walton

John Walton lives in Somerville, MA, with his two dogs, two sons, and very understanding mate. He is a Certified Pet Dog Trainer, a member of the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants, a mentor trainer for the Animal Behavior College, an AKC Certified CGC Evaluator, and the Training Director for the New England Dog Training Club.

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