With more than half of all American households owning a dog or a cat, the pet care and accessory industry is booming.
Pet ownership is one of the great joys of life, but owning a pet comes with its own fair share of challenges as well.
One of those challenges is taking the pet out for exercise or to do its business, and it can be difficult and cumbersome to take the dog or cat out so many times a day.
As the slave to both a dog and multiple cats, I found myself getting up every half hour to let someone in or out. Pet doors are one of the most useful ‘gadgets’ you can get for your dog or cat. The variety of available pet doors is wider than most realize.
Before you purchase a dog door, or cat door you need to keep a few key points in mind:
Measurements – It is very important that you get the right measurements for your pet door. The door should be tall enough and wide enough to allow your dog or cat to go through freely. Ideally, it should be larger than your pet, to allow for weight gain or growth, if you are purchasing for a new puppy.
Flap Dimensions – This is considered the access of the pet in and outside the house.
Rough-Cut – If it will be a hole drilled to wither the wall or the door.
Exterior Dimensions – This is the total size of the frame so that you can determine the space that it will need.
Location – The type of pet door you buy will be partially determined by the location of your door. If the door connects a room like, say, your laundry room, to the garage or basement, then you can probably get away with a less expensive door since features like a lock may not be critical.
If you want a pet patio door or other exterior-located door, you’ll want to consider features like locking mechanism, insulation or possibly even an electronic pet door.
Pet doors are designed to simply fit into a hole that is cut into the door, making them easy and fast to install.
For security, there are a number of one-way doors, which allow cats and dogs out, but nothing in. This design can help prevent burglars from using dog doors to gain access to the home.
Installing a pet door is a great way to eliminate some of the problems associated with pet ownership, while at the same time giving your pet the freedom he or she desires.
One of the most common pet doors is the electronic pet door. This type of door allows total control over when your dog or cat can come in or out. Newer models give more flexibility with a remote sensor that attaches to your pets collar and ‘opens’ the door when your pet approaches it. Unlike regular flap doors, you also have control over which animals can go in or out, which is especially useful if you have one cat that goes outside, but another who stays indoors.
Another variation is the Magnetic Pet door. Unlike the electronic types, this does not require electrical power to function. Electronic doors use infrared signals to unlock the flap thus allowing entrance, whereas Magnetic doors only use magnets found in the collar keys to unlock the flap, thus requiring heavy duty magnet because it primarily relies on the strength of the magnet to have it opened. The benefit in this is that you do not have to worry about batteries dying, or a power outage affecting use of the door.
New to the pet market are window pet doors. They are sold in either single-paned or dual-paned types, and are most commonly available in glass models. However, you might need a pet ramp if you want to mount a window which is at an unsafe height for your pet, especially for heavier dogs. Window pet doors are most ideal for a cat door.
Also available are wall-mount pet doors. These types of pet doors are built by drilling holes on your walls for a full-access for your pets.
While installing a pet door in a door effectively ruins the door, a wall mount pet door can often be removed and the wall patched leaving no trace of the pet door.
Stucco exterior and dry-wall interior is the perfect example since both sides can be patched and painted-to-match if the pet door must be removed later.
One of the newest innovations in pet doors is a remote control sliding door. While not specifically a ‘pet door’, it allows the convenience of turning a traditional sliding door into something that can be modified for pet use. The sliding door is installed on a track, and can be opened manually, or via remote control.
Pet Door Installation
Fortunately for pet owners, installing a pet door is generally quite an easy process. Here are the steps needed to install a great pet door:
- Determine the size of the pet door that will be needed. There are a number of different sizes of pet doors, designed for a variety of pet sizes. The door should be large enough to accommodate the largest pet that will use it; measure from the animal’s shoulders to the bottom of the rib cage so your pet can comfortably fit through. If the door is too small, you may find that your pet will be reluctant to use it.
- Before making a cut in the door, use the measurements to cut a hole in a piece of corrugated cardboard. The pet should then be encouraged to step through that hole. If the pet fits easily through this hole, you will know that the chosen size will work well. If not, the next largest size pet door should be used.
- After the proper size has been chosen and the door has been purchased, cut the appropriate size hole in the door and insert the pet door. After the pet door is in place, give the cats and dogs in the household some time to get used to the door. They should be watched closely to make sure they are able to both enter and exit the house unassisted before being left alone.