Choosing a Pet Door: 4 Common Concerns

Choosing a Pet Door

It can be intimidating when choosing a new pet door. There are pet doors that are better than others based on the situation. Depending on your needs,  you might want to spend a bit more on a high quality pet door that will last for your pet’s entire lifetime (and then some), or you might need a quick fix for a temporary situation. If you’re installing a pet door through your garage, you might have different concerns than if you’re installing one in your living room, too! 

Here are 4 main concerns that people share: Weather | Renting | Special Size Needs | Price

Weather

If you have a harsh climate, with anything like snow, extreme heat, or gusty winds you might be skeptical about installing a pet door in your home. No one wants all that getting inside! A solution for these situations would be a pet door that seals tightly and insulates well. Electronic pet doors are usually successful at this, but they do have moving parts that are prone to breaking which can leave your pet stranded inside or outside. Not to mention the collar keys that are easy to lose, and batteries that need replacing!

Pet Door Options

If you want to stick with a manual pet door, take a look at the Endura Flap. With solid magnets on all three sides, and the dual-pane design of the polyolefin-based polymer flap, this pet door seals tightly and insulates extremely well against all weather conditions without breaking down with extended use like other flexible pet doors. If you have experienced or heard of those “petsmart dog doors” then you know what it means for a flap to warp and let in outside air! The Endura Flap insulates great and has the best seal of all the pet doors we’ve seen, just take a look at this video:


You might also check out Hale Pet Doors for a well insulated pet door! These ones have magnets on the sides and bottom as well as fuzzy weather stripping around the edges which helps keep the flap sealed.

Renting

Renters have the issue of damaging the home when choosing a pet door, which is required for typical door or wall mounted pet doors. These require a hole to be cut, which can be repaired but sometimes your landlord might not approve. Solutions for these situations are available if you have a sliding glass door or a window that your pet can access!

You can also use an In the Glass Pet Door which actually gives you a replacement piece of glass for an existing sliding glass door or window that has a pet door at the bottom. With the help of a glazier, just swap out the current glass with the new pet door glass and you’re good to go! Then when you move, you can have a glazier put the original piece of glass back!

Special Size Needs

Some pets are more timid than others, and sometimes people have a Chihuahua sharing a pet door with a giant German Shepherd. Big dogs don’t always want to jump to get through a pet door, either! Especially not if they’ve had surgery, suffer from an old injury, or experience general arthritis that comes with old age.  In these situations you’ll want to install a larger pet door so it can be both high enough for the tallest dog to step through without stooping, and low enough that no one has to struggle to lift up their feet or jump through the pet door.

What to Look for

Pet doors that have a higher aspect ratio can achieve this without excessive width added to the opening, so your pet door does not need to be larger than necessary. Please review how to measure your pet before choosing a flap size! Here are some pet doors that have higher aspect ratios:

  • The Endura Flap has an extra large flexible flap of 12” x 23”, but it seals so tightly that it can be hard for little dogs to push open! The strength is adjustable for learning, but defeats the purpose of the seal if you have to leave magnets out long-term. With magnets on all three sides, no gapping occurs for air leakage. The single flap version is easier for timid or small pets, and the double flap adds to the already extreme insulation!
  • Hale Pet Doors have 11 different sizes as well as custom sizing, so you can definitely find a size to work for your situation! The flaps are easy to open and perfectly clear, so little dogs will have an easier time pushing through a larger vinyl flap than in a tighter sealing pet door. The pet door still seals well with magnets on the sides and bottom as well as fuzzy weather stripping along all sides and has the option of a double flap!

endura flap and hale

When Price Matters

We can’t all justify spending $200+ on a pet door, but maybe you want something that seals decently well while sticking to your budget. The one thing you should never compromise on when choosing a pet door is size, as getting a pet door that is too small for your pet can be uncomfortable for them to use. Pets are known to avoid pet doors that are uncomfortable, and we have even heard horror stories of pets hurting themselves trying to get through pet doors that are too small! Remember to measure your pet and it is a good idea to test the flap size, too!

Best Affordable Pet Doors

Economy style pet doors will never be as durable or as insulating as the more expensive ones, but here are some options that meet somewhere in the middle:

  • The Ideal Aluminum Premium Draft Stopper is a good option if you want something that insulates well and seals tightly. The flap is made from three rigid panels jointed together by rubber, so that it is both rigid and flexible. While still vulnerable to heavy winds, it will remain sealed through most of your weather! The rubber joints tends to wear out over time which requires replacing the flap. The Draft Stopper has an aluminum frame which is far more durable than plastic! There is also a plastic framed version, the Ultra Flex.
  • The Ideal Ruff Weather has two vinyl flaps with fuzzy weather stripping along the sides to help insulate. The magnets are at the bottom of the flap only, so you will still experience gapping along the sides when there is heavy wind or as the flaps warp over time. Since there are two flaps you will have better insulation than with other pet doors that only have one! The Ruff weather has a plastic frame.
  • The PetSafe Extreme Weather actually has three flaps, the middle flap serving to provide greater insulation. Both interior and exterior flaps have magnets at the bottom to keep them closed, and no additional weather stripping on the sides. The frame and screws that are provided are made from plastic.

choosing a draft stopper ruff weather extreme weather sometimes known as petsmart dog doors

20 thoughts on “Choosing a Pet Door: 4 Common Concerns

  1. Zequek Estrada

    I think the Ideal Aluminum Premium Draft Stopper is a really good option for a pet door. I like how it will remain sealed through almost all types of weather. My only concern lies in how often do the rubber joints need to be replaced?

    Reply
  2. Luke Smith

    These pet doors look great, my Aunt just got a new dog and she needs to have a pet door installed now. The Draft Stopper looks like it would be a great door for my Aunt’s house since she doesn’t like drafts. I think her little dog would enjoy running through it every time.

    Reply
  3. Beverly Scott

    Glad to have found this blog. We live in Maine, where the winters can be severe. Would love to install a suitable pet door for our dog but that our three indoor cats can’t use. Have considered a door with a smart key, which also would keep outside critters from coming in. The problem is that the electronic doors don’t appear to be geared for our climate, but the other doors could be too enticing for the kitties to explore. We do have an attached garage, so I’ve even though we might put the doggie door on the outside door or wall. We’d still need to let her into the house from the garage, or maybe could install a simpler pet door into that interior door. What’s your best suggestion for us? Thanks.

    Reply
    1. Rachel Long Post author

      Hi Beverly! I would recommend getting an Endura Flap Double Flap for a wall installation. I personally have a single flap in my sliding glass door that my 3 indoor cats have never figured out, even when my two dogs use it right in front of them. The Endura Flap seals so tightly, that most cats think it is locked when they try to push it! If you get a larger size, it increases the difficulty, and then if you have a double flap it becomes very challenging for a cat to use even if they know how. I prefer manual to electronic because I don’t want to rely on something that might break down, but that is just personal preference! Electronic pet doors can be great solutions for situations like yours as well. Here is the Endura Flap for walls that I would recommend: https://www.petdoors.com/endura-dog-doors-for-walls.html

      Feel free to email us at customerservice@petdoors.com with more questions!

      Reply
  4. T. H.

    I installed a microchip pet door over a year ago that was well over $200 + installation and my 2 dogs never use it. They are afraid of the door and the clicking sound it makes and the loud swinging of the door when it opens and closes. After a short time the door from the outside malfunctioned and will open when it is in the locked position for by pushing it (no Chip required). I tried calling Cust Svc to get help with the door and any suggestions that would help my dogs to use it and was offered nothing. I would not waste money on an expensive door if your dogs are timid and will not go through the door. I bought a new door for this installation and now I have an eye sore to look at with several hundred dollars less in my pocket and no outlet for my dogs other than opening the door myself. Very disappointed in the product and the service.

    Reply
    1. Rachel Long Post author

      When you received the item, did you turn it on “Learning Mode” in the beginning? That turns off all the electronics so there are no scary sounds. SureFlap has wonderful customer support for more technical questions, and can be reached at 1-855-461-4740, or you can always call us at 800-826-2871 x2.

      Reply
  5. Rita Stolzenberg

    I have French doors, so I would have to make a hole in a supporting wall. Also I have four cats that I do not want to get out — we have Hawks and bobcats here. What kind of pet door could I get, and how would the cats not get out?

    Reply
    1. Rachel Long Post author

      Hi Rita!

      You have a couple of options. You could go with an electronic pet door that only unlocks when a pet wearing a collar key approaches, or you could get a flap that is too difficult for your cats to figure out. Electronic pet doors can be great solutions, though you have to be aware that they depend on moving parts and collar keys so there are several ways that they can fail. You’ll want an electronic option that the dogs push through so the cats have a harder time following close behind, such as the PetSafe Smart Door.
      Manual pet doors are usually preferred for their reliability, and the Endura Flap seals so tightly that most cats don’t figure out how to push through them without training. If you installed a larger sized double flap, you can even add extra magnets to make it require more force and it would be very unlikely that your cat would use the pet door.

      Let me know if you have any more questions!

      Reply
  6. Terry

    I have a pug and a shih tzu that are about 13 years old and slowing down. I have two concerns. Will any of these doors provide a hazard for the eyes on these two breeds since they are out front and not protected as well as larger nose dogs? ( sharp edges on magnets, hard doors versus soft flexible doors, etc) Will any of these doors be too hard for them to push open? We get really gusty winds and rain comes in our current doggie door and our current doggie door over time gets gaps on the edges and allow mosquitos inside.

    Reply
    1. Rachel Long Post author

      Hi Terry!

      I would definitely recommend a flexible flap pet door over a rigid flap. To prevent wind from opening the pet door, you’ll want one that has side magnets as well as magnets at the bottom! The Endura Flap is tested to withstand winds up to 50mph and is a flexible material. The magnets seal the flap so well it can be challenging for dogs to learn at first, but the magnets are easily removed so you can have a training period without the resistance.

      If the Endura Flap looks too difficult for your dogs, you can check out the Hale pet door which has side magnets on the larger sizes. You can also add magnets!

      Email customerservice@petdoors.com with any other questions, thank you!

      Reply
  7. Kwinten Alexander

    Hi,

    I had never considered a pet door before but now I am interested. My dog is still young and very jumpy so it would be great for him to get more exercise outside. Two questions that I have are:
    1. Over time the flaps and seals will wear, leading to leaks and drafts. Which of these models have replaceable seals?
    2. Do you have any tips on teaching a dog to use these doors? Mine is very enthusiastic but not too bright:)

    Looking forward to your reply,

    Reply
    1. Rachel Long Post author

      Hi Kwinten!

      The Endura Flap is the most energy efficient pet door that seals extremely well year-round. It also has a 15 year warranty, and if taken care of you should not need to replace the flap to keep the pet door sealing well! However, if something does happen (usually because of a chewer) you can replace the flaps. The magnets are removable so that they become effortless to push through while your dog learns how to use them. Some treats and positive reinforcement should do the trick! Then you can put the magnets back and enjoy keeping your inside air inside, and the outside air outside while your dog gets to enjoy the yard. Let us know if you have any more questions!

      Thank you!

      Reply
  8. Bev McKeen

    We live in a Coyote area so bringing our cats in at night is essential. They come and go all day but a couple of them don’t like to come in at night, and many nights we are still looking for them at midnight. Needless to say, this is getting very old, so we would like to find a door that we can set at say 3pm so that when they come on to eat, they cannot go back out. Do you have such a door?

    Reply
    1. Rachel Long Post author

      Hi Bev! As a matter of fact, there are cat doors that will accomplish this task!

      There is a simple Cat Mate one that let’s you set when it is accessible: https://www.petdoors.com/cat-mate-359.html
      And then you can look at the SureFlap Microchip Pet Door which only lets your cats that you program inside and also features a Curfew Mode: https://www.petdoors.com/sureflap-microchip-pet-door.html

      Feel free to contact customerservice@petdoors.com with more questions!

      Reply
  9. Scott

    This is one of those products that they old saying “you get what you pay for” applies. Although the higher priced doors take more out of your budget, in the long run you’ll be happier with their performance, energy savings and longevity.

    Reply

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