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Thanks to Home Alone, you might have grown up thinking that dog doors are nothing more than a “Thieves Welcome!” sign. The reality is, dog doors can provide much-appreciated freedom for your four-legged friend. Whether you’re dealing with a patio door, sliding glass door, or screen door, here’s what you need to know when shopping for the perfect dog door.
When It Comes to Dog Doors, No Size Fits All
Before you measure the door, or wall, and start cutting a hole, make sure you measure the most important thing: your dog!
- Height: Two inches above shoulder height should be more than sufficient, as a dog will duck their head to push open the door or flap.
- Width: The dog door should safely be at least two inches wider than shoulders or hips (whichever is broader), and consider your dog’s potential for weight gain.
- Multiple dogs: A door needs to be low enough for your smallest and high enough for your tallest.
- Children: It’s a documented risk that young kids accessing dog doors have led to accidents—even fatalities. Dog lovers who also love their young children may choose to wait on a pet door, or pony up for a more expensive electronic locking option.
- Animal Intruders: In Florida, alligators have crawled in through dog doors, and raccoon vandals have snuck into rural homes to wreak havoc. In some cases, higher placed doors for longer legged dogs solves this problem, but do your regional research and choose accordingly.
- Puppy Proofing: If you’re training a puppy and want maximum control over when they go in and come out, make sure you buy a door that locks or strongly latches.
- Outside Environment: What is your dog exiting into? Is the backyard truly secure? Have you taken outdoor precautions to prevent dog escapes?
- Energy Efficiency: Even the flap doors include energy-saving options like this one, so consider your climate and spend money up front to keep long-term costs low.
- Training: Just because your dog goes through the front door doesn’t mean they’ll automatically understand the dog door. Plan for several weeks of reward-based training with treats, praising them for going in and out of their own accord.
Without further ado, here are our top picks for the best dog doors for all door types and dog sizes.
Top Dog Doors
This classic pet door from PetSafe comes in four different sizes to accommodate a variety of breeds. Easy to install with included instructions and cutting templates, this door allows your dog to come and go as they please. And if you want to restrict access or simply keep out extreme weather, you can button down the flap.
Please note: the manufacturer suggests this door for single-pet homes.
If and when the flap wears out, you can purchase a replacement flap here.
Sizes: Small, Medium, Large, Extra-Large
Helpful Review: “We bought this to use on my daughter’s bedroom door so the cats and dog can enter and exit her room at will during the night and in the morning. Pets range in size from 6 lbs to 30 lbs.
It was easy to install and doesn’t look terrible on an interior door. The magnetic closure made a lot of noise though when the pets went in and out so we removed the bottom magnet. The plastic cover to prevent the pets from going out doesn’t fit very well. The little cat was able to pry it off with little effort. Luckily, we don’t really need to keep them in the room so it’s not a big issue for us.”
The Ideal Pet Products Designer Series Ruff-Weather Pet Door includes a double flap for heavy-duty insulation and that maximizes energy efficiency in your home. The heavy-duty grey plastic frame is designed to withstand heavy usage. The door comes with a die-cut template, door installation instructions, and all necessary hardware.
Sizes: Small, Medium, Extra-Large, Super Large
Helpful Review: “Its a HUGE door! Thought it was similar in size to our last one but its much bigger! If you have Great Danes, Irish Wolfhounds, St Bernards or another giant breed this is the door for them! Seals nicely, two flaps, weather stripped and snug adjustable fit makes this door perfect for our climate and conserving energy! Dogs had a bit of a time getting used to the two flaps but have adjusted just fine!”Shop Now on Chewy
With three flaps to keep the weather out, this pet door is one of the more energy efficient options around. Your dog will still be able to come and go as they please unless you opt to use the buttons on the flaps to restrict mobility. For some extra fun, the hard plastic frame is paintable.
Size: Small, Medium, Large
Helpful Review: “Got this door for our Frenchie and it’s working out perfectly. Fairly easy to install (yes… you need to review the instructions first :)). I love how the door is very sturdy and feels high quality. Took my Frenchie pup a day or two to get used to, since for a smaller dog it requires more of a face and paw push to get through. Sure enough, though, hold a treat at the opposite end and that’s all the motivation they’ll need.”Shop Now on Chewy
This dog door is made for screen doors and accommodates dogs up to 90 lbs. However, you’ll need to purchase and install a screen guard if your door doesn’t already have one because you can’t directly mount this dog door into the screen door. Featuring a flexible vinyl flap with magnetic closure, your dog will be able to let themselves in and out.
Size: Medium, Extra-Large
Helpful Review: “Had the door cut into our patio screen door. The door is sturdy and the fit is perfect. My only concern is that it is pictured with a protective screen door guard which I found out after installation, was not included in the box.”Shop Now on Chewy
Depending upon where your doors are located in your house, it may make more sense to install the dog door in a wall. Or maybe you’re creating a dog room or a puppy play pen and there’s no exit to the outside. Either way, this wall entry pet door allows you to create a seamless exit to the outside through almost any wall in your house. It includes a double flap for insulation and energy efficiency. Multiple reviewers remarked on how easy this door was to install.
Please note: you must also purchase the wall installation kit.
Size: Small, Medium, Large
Helpful Review: “We had a single flap door and we decided to upgrade to a double flap to help with the wind and rain coming through. We had it installed quickly, and it fit perfectly through our wall. Took a bit for the pups to get used to the double flap, but after about 30 minutes they go through it without any problems.”Shop Now on Chewy
Locking Dog Doors
Though this door is meant for smaller dogs (up to 20 lbs), it does mount directly into any standard screen door. With a dual-slide lock, you can control when your dog can go in and out. The magnetized corners ensure that the door snaps back into place when it’s not in use.
Helpful Review: “Far better quality than the ones Ive had in the past, works beautifully. A bit tricky to install.”Shop Now on Chewy
A more secure option, the PetSafe Electronic SmartDoor only opens when it senses the proximity of a SmartKey worn on your dog’s collar. When your dog moves away from the door, it automatically locks. The door has a “locked mode” for times when you don’t want your dog going in and out. In locked mode, the door won’t open even if your dog is close. The door’s flap is energy efficient and UV protected.
Size: Small, Large
Helpful Review: “Be sure to check the measurements before you buy. The door flap is large, but the whole assembly is huge (caught us by surprise). Install was VERY EASY. Dogs are using it, however, the unlocking sound is loud and kind of scares them (retrievers). I think they will get used to it. Would think cats might never get used to it. The flap is rigid and heavy…so the dogs are a bit hesitant, but again I think they will get used to it.”Shop Now on Chewy
This pet door only opens when the sensor detects the proximity of your dog’s High Tech Pet Microsonic Collar. The automatic deadlock is activated as soon as your dog moves out of range of the sensor. The makers of this pet door weren’t messing around since they chose to craft the door out of bulletproof resin. This is definitely one of your more secure options.
Size: check the sizing chart on Chewy
Helpful Review: “Although I live in a suburban area, I have had unwanted freeloaders such as raccoon and opossum come through my old flapper style door. Not anymore! With he PX-1, if you are not wearing the transmitter, you are not coming in. I call the transmitter the “latch key.” I have a very timid Chihuahua who was afraid of the flapper door. This product solved that as well.”Shop Now on Chewy
Dog Doors for Sliding Glass and Patio Doors
Crafted specifically for sliding patio doors, this pet door comes in a vast array of sizes. It consists of two modular sections that are reportedly easy to install and remove. The patio panel frame comes in white or silver and includes clear-tempered safety glass for visibility. Your dog will have a clear, vinyl flap for easy entry.
Size: Small, Medium, Extra-Large
Helpful Review: “Like others, I found this to be tricky to put in. One person held the bottom portion of the dog door while the top was tilted towards the sliding door. I CAREFULLY slid the top of the dog door towards the door jam, while pulling down on tension part at the top. It finally gave and slid in perfectly. Our 12-pound chihuahua loves it! Now he can come and go as he pleases and we don’t have to worry about getting home to let him out. I will be adding more weatherstrip to the door jam.”Shop Now on Amazon
For obvious reasons, it’s not very practical to mount a dog door directly into a sliding glass door. Enter the PetSafe Patio Panel Sliding Glass Pet Door, an aluminum frame that fits the length of your sliding glass door and includes a flexible flap with magnetic closure to allow your dog in and out.
Size: Small, Medium, Large, Extra-Large, Large-Tall
Helpful Review: “I see why they call it the Freedom pet door! Now I don’t need to let my two in and out every five minutes. Even our 113lb Bernese Mountain Dog can get through easily. We took the latch off the inside jam to make it fit better and can replace that if we take out the pet door. Also, don’t forget to clean your glass on your old doors (we didn’t think ahead) because you won’t have access to that overlapping area if you screw in the pet door. Very solid and the flap closes each time plus there is more room than we expected for people to walk through.”Buy Now on Amazon