Dog Door Review

door

We spent over 39 hours researching and testing 20 different dog doors and found that ease of installation, size choice, and warranty were most important. Ideal Pet Products Pet Door scored high marks in every category and is our top pick. We liked that there were four different sizes to choose from and also the design that helps reduce energy loss with the 3” air pocket that can be expanded to 9” with an additional purchase. This pet door fits pets up to 90 pounds and is very easy to install. There is a lifetime warranty with this pet door as well.


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Best Dog Door

Dog doors are very handy to have when your dog needs to go out and you may not be home to let him or her out. When installed properly in an exterior door to go out into the yard, they can come and go as they need to. These top rated dog doors are some of the most popular dog doors on the market. They are easy to install, convenient and well constructed.

When you have a dog door for your dog to utilize (cats can use them too if you desire) they will not have to be kept in crates for hours on end while you are gone. Once they have been trained to go through the door on their own, they can let themselves out which is very convenient for both the dog and the owner.


Top 10 List

RankPictureDoorMaterialFlap Size
(Inches)
1
Ideal Pet
Plastic9.00 x 17.00
2
Perfect Pet
Plastic9.75 x 17.00
3
PetSafe Freedom
Aluminum4.00 x 9.00
4
PetSafe Aluminum
Aluminum15.00 x 10.00
5
PetSafe Extreme
Plastic18.00 x 8.00
6
PetSafe SmartDoor
Plastic7.00 x 20.00
7
PetSafe Plastic
Plastic8.13 x 12.25
8
Screen Storm
Plastic8.00 x 9.25
9
BarksBar
Aluminum10.50 x 15.00
10
SureFlap
Plastic8.15 x 9.21

Ideal Pet Products Ruff-Weather Pet Door with Telescoping Frame – Extra Large – White

Ideal pet has come up with the perfect solution for pet owners that want to allow their dogs the freedom to come in and out as they please without wasting energy.

The Ruff-weather pet door has an air pocket between its 2 softer flaps which gives it the ability to be a great energy insulator. With 4 different sizes to choose from, you can find one that will work for almost every dog breed there is.

The frame is made from structural plastic foam that can be adapted to fit doors from ¾” thick to 1 ¾” thick. It can handle all types of climate easily, providing the kind of energy efficiency you will appreciate.

With the Ideal Pet Ruff Weather dog door, you will have a 3” air pocket. In addition an optional wall kit that will increase that air pocket up to 9” providing even more energy efficiency is available for purchase separately

It is perfect for animals up to 90 pounds and measures 9 ¾” x 17”.  Installation is easy and it comes with a limited lifetime warranty as well.  If you are looking for a great way to give your dog freedom without having to heat or cool the outdoors every time your pet comes in or out, take a look at the Ideal Pet Ruff Weather dog door. It may be just what you’ve been looking for.


Perfect Pet The All-Weather Energy Efficient Extra Large Dog Door

Another energy efficient choice for those looking to keep heating and cooling waste to a minimum is the Perfect Pet all weather extra large dog door.  Measuring 9 ¾” x 17” it works for dogs up to 90 pounds or so.

Construction of this great energy efficient design includes a double vinyl flap design that creates an air pocket that provides a maximum amount of insulation.

This convenient dog door can be adjusted to fit widths from ¾” to 1 ¾” thick.  The beauty of a dog door is that your dog is not stuck inside until you can let it out.

If he or she has to go out, they can let themselves out and back in without losing costly air conditioning or heating.  Available in several sizes, you can get exactly the size you need for the dog or dogs you have.

Many pet owners that are at work all day will enjoy the freedom that this provides their dogs.  When used in an exterior door to the fenced backyard, you can have the peace of mind that your dog isn’t home suffering with having to go out when no one is there to let them out.


PetSafe Freedom Patio Panel 81 in. Pet Door

Dog doors that can be installed in regular doors are very convenient but what if the only door to your back yard from the house is a sliding glass door?  Does that leave you out of the ability to give your dog freedom to come and go?  Not with the PetSafe Freedom Patio Panel Pet Door.  It measures 81” tall and fits both left and right sliding glass doors and requires no cutting at all.

The aluminum frame has tempered glass in it that is shatterproof and is very durable and heavy duty so it lasts. The latch means you can lock your sliding glass door and still allow the dog to come and go as he or she pleases.

Another plus about this great dog door for those with sliding glass doors is that it comes with an ultraseal flexible flap that conserves energy and prevents you from losing valuable heat or air conditioning.

This is the perfect dog door for those with sliding glass doors so the pets can do what they need to do even if someone is not home to let them out.


Summary

These top rated dog doors are perfect for the pet owner that wants to provide their pet with as much freedom as possible in a safe and controlled way. All of these top rated dog doors have energy efficient designs so they are not like the dog doors of yesterday where a lot of energy was wasted every time the dog went in or out of them.

Your pet will love their newfound freedom and you will love the fact that they are not being restrained from going outside if they need to go. This is especially helpful for pet owners who work long hours. If your dog doesn’t require a crate and can be left loose in the house, now they can let themselves out and back in easily without worry.

Keep reading below to learn more about dog doors and what makes one a better choice than another. With all of the different choices on the market having some features to look for can make the choice much easier. Not only will you be able to choose the perfect door for your needs, you won’t waste money by getting something you don’t need.


Comparison Chart


Ideal Pet
View

Perfect Pet
View

PetSafe
Freedom

View

PetSafe
Aluminum
View

PetSafe
Extreme
View

PetSafe
SmartDoor
View

PetSafe
Plastic
View

Screen
Storm
View

BarksBar
View

SureFlap
View
Sizes
Available
Small –
XX-Large
Small –
XX-Large
Small –
XX-Large
Small – Large

Small – LargeSmall – LargeSmall –
XX-Large
Small – LargeLargeMedium
ColorCreamCreamWhite
/ Satin
/ Bronze
Taupe
/ White
WhiteWhiteWhiteBronzeWhiteWhite
/ Brown
Door
Thickness
Adaptability
(Inches)
0.75 – 1.750.75 – 1.750.75 – 1.754.72 – 7.001.63 – 2.251.50 – 7.251.06 – 2.000.75 – 1.751.25 – 2.007.25
Air
Pocket
Thickness
(Inches)
3 – 93 – 93 – 93 – 93333 – 93 – 93
MaterialPlastic
/ Vinyl
Plastic

/ Vinyl

AluminumAluminumPlastic

/ Vinyl

Plastic

/ Vinyl

Plastic

/ Vinyl

PlasticAluminumPlastic
/ Vinyl
Flap
Size
(Inches)
9.00 x 17.009.75 x 17.004.00 x 9.0015.00 x 10.0018.00 x 8.007.00 x 20.008.13 x 12.258.00 x 9.2510.50 x 15.008.15 x 9.21
Access
Option
Slide-in
Closing
Panel
Slide-in
Closing
Panel
Slide-in
Closing
Panel
Slide-in
Closing
Panel
Snap-on
Closing
Panel
RFID KeySnap-on
Closing
Panel
Slide-in
Closing
Panel
Slide-in
Closing
Panel
RFID Key
Warranty
(Years)
1333333313

 


Buyer’s Guide

What is a Dog Door?

Dog Door1A dog door is an insert that is installed in a door that allows pets to come and go as they please. They can be installed in screen doors, sliding glass doors (as inserts alongside the glass door) and regular wooden doors as well. They also come in a variety of sizes from small to super large. Dog doors add a level of freedom for your dog that enables him or her to go outside as they need to, rather than having to wait for someone to walk them or let them out. It’s a convenience that many pet owners really like.

Measuring Your Pet for the Right Door Size

It’s important that you get the right sized door for your dog. If it’s too small, he or she can either get stuck trying to go in and out or they can get scraped or injured.  There is a good way to measure your dog so you know exactly what size door to purchase. We have outlined the steps for you below.

Don’t measure your dog from the ground to the top of their head. You only need to measure them from the ground to the top of the shoulder.  A dog will automatically lower their head when they go through the door, so as long as it is tall enough for them to walk through comfortably without their back scraping the top they will not hesitate to go in and out the door once they learn how.

Make sure that you also measure how wide of a space you need as well. Most dog doors that are sold are sold with preset measurements, but they are fairly standard and work according to weight as well as height. When measuring width, you will not be measuring the actual width of the dog but the space that he can fit comfortably through.  In general, a dog will not want to have to squeeze through a space, so ensuring that the dog door is wide AND tall enough will be important if you want your dog to enter and exit freely.

The rule of thumb is to choose measurements that are 1” wider than the widest part of your dog, but you will need to allow for dogs that have deep chests or are very muscular. While you don’t want to get a door that is way too large for the size dog you have, it is better to get a dog door that is a little too big than too small.


Types

There are a few different styles of dog doors available on the market today.  The most common of these is the flap door style. This style of dog door is mounted in a regular door or wall. The positive to this model is that it is generally the least expensive type. What some customers don’t like about the flap door is that they can’t prevent the dog from exiting or entering without blocking the door itself with something that prevents them from pushing the flap. It is also not very energy efficient and you can lose air conditioning or heating out the flap and around it as well, even when it is closed.

Another style of dog door is the automatic dog door. Automatic doors are really popular because they can be pet specific, work automatically with a chip that is in the dog’s collar. The door can also be signaled by an ultrasound transmitter or magnet that will signal the door to unlock.

One of the most popular features of the automatic dog door is that it can be locked to prevent the dog from going out, coming in or to keep out intruders.  Automatic dog doors are much more energy efficient that the traditional flap style doors.

Dog Door2Having sliding glass doors in your home doesn’t mean that you can’t use a dog door. There are special dog door inserts that fit at the end of the patio door and they have the dog door at the bottom.  You can opt for a professionally installed sliding glass dog door that is inset in the glass itself but these are much more costly.

Regardless of which type of dog door you choose, the most important part of purchasing one is getting the right size. When it comes to installation, you want the lower portion of the door that the dog has to step over to be as low as possible to prevent tripping or the dog bumping his head every time he enters or exits.

As a general “always” rule, the step over portion should never be taller than 1/3 of the height measured from the ground to the top of the shoulder. Tall rises can trip a dog and make them reluctant to use it.


The Best Place to Install the Door

Dog doors can be installed in a multitude of places. They can be installed in storm doors, garage doors, sliding glass doors, walls, main doors that go to the outside, and even in double hung windows. What determines the best location of the dog door is where you want your dog to be able to go. If you have a fenced in backyard, installing the dog door in the rear exit door or sliding glass door that leads to the back yard is perfect.

If you have a very expensive door and don’t want to ruin it with the installation of a dog door, or you rent a home or want to resell yours, you may want to consider purchasing a less expensive door to use temporarily. This enables you to put the fancier door back when you move or sell your home and there won’t be any lowering of the resale value of the home.


Teaching Your Dog to Use the Door

You may think that all dogs will automatically know how to use the dog door but this is not true. Some dogs may have no trouble at all and just go right through the door opening with no problem. Others may need some encouragement in the form of treats and praise. One method is to hold the flap or automatic door in the open position to get them used to simply going through the opening. After they are comfortable with that, you can lower it and encourage them to go through.

Dog Door3The good news is that once they have the method down, they will go through and come back in with no problem. Patience is the key. Forcing, punishing or yelling at the dog to get them to go through the door will only have negative effects.  Dogs tend to be followers, so what you may notice is that one dog will go through with no problem and the other dog or dogs may need more encouragement. Seeing the one dog go through can sometimes be all the encouragement they will need.

You can also set their dog dish with their favorite food in it, either inside the dog door or just outside the dog door to encourage them to go through. They walk through and get their dinner; a win-win for everyone.


Conclusion

Dog doors can provide a lot of convenience for the dog owner and freedom for the dog. With all the styles and types available, there is a dog door for every situation and almost every dog. While there may not be a dog door for the extreme giant breeds, most sizes of dogs will have door sizes available that the pet owner can use.

Most are not difficult to install and have the instructions along with the door. In the event you don’t know how to install a dog door and are not very handy, you can opt for the simplest style and then upgrade to something more if you find someone to install it at a later date.

There are many benefits to installing a dog door. Aside from the freedom it gives the dog, it takes a lot of pressure off of the pet owner if they are unable to get home right after work or are held up in traffic. With a dog door, your pet can let themselves outside to take care of their business and then they can come right back in and be waiting for you when you get home.

Resources

  1. Ideal Pet – http://www.idealpetproducts.com/mobile/detail/ruff
  2. Perfect Pet – http://www.perfectpetdoor.com/welcome
  3. PetSafe – http://www.petsafe.net/support/sliding-door-inserts/freedom-patio-panel-for-frames-up-to-81