Vizsla standing outside his dog door in a Metal Door

Installing a Dog Door in a Metal Door?

A dog is a man’s best friend“

One of the most clichéd phrases about your pet is also the truest fact. But are you guilty of barricading your furry friend inside the house?

Keeping your pets on lockdown when you are out and about is totally unfair. It deprives it of indulging in canine pleasures like chasing the neighborhood cats, running with its dog buddies, and digging up bones.

So what do you do? Install a pet door of course!

Doing so will give your beloved buddy the freedom to go in and out of the house without obstacles. Moreover, you won’t have to act as a doorman when you are at home. Therefore, it is basically a win-win situation. You might even have known this already!

So what’s the hold-up? Is fact that your door is made of metal bothering you?

If the answer is yes, then don’t worry about it. In comparison to wooden doors, metal doors may be a difficult task to pull. Nevertheless, the feat is not impossible to achieve.

All you really need are the right tools and a proper guideline. Here is where we can lend a hand if you just read our guide below.

The Prep: What Do You Need Before You Start Installation?

Here are a few pre-installation steps you need to get through before you start the actual work:

1. Measure Up

Every shopper knows that size really matters on accounts. Be it a dress or a piece of furniture.

Similarly, you can’t purchase a pet door before measuring your dog.

Skipping this crucial part has some consequences. Like your dog could get stuck in the small door you installed for them. Or a smaller pet would find it hard to push through the big flapped door.

Hence, it is better to take accurate measurements beforehand. You can do this by measuring your dog’s height from feet to shoulders. Next, measure its width to see how wide the door’s opening should be. Whilst you note down the numbers, take into account your doggie’s growth. If it is prone to get big in the future, you can’t afford to install a puppy-sized door.

Pro-tip: To ensure that the calculations are accurate, it won’t hurt to measure the dog more than once.  

2. The Checklist

Do you know how many types of pet doors are available in the market? Tons of them!

You have got the basic doors that are frameless, single-flapped doors, and double-flapped ones. Then there is our favorite the self-framed door. (It makes a DIY-makers life a lot easier!) With a vast variety like this, you might find it difficult to pick a door.

To help you out, we made a list of questions you can ask yourself in order to make a sound purchase:

  • Can this pet door be installed to a metal door?
  • Is it the right size? The right thickness?
  • Is it durable?
  • Will it blow my budget?

3. Hands-On

It is practical to round up all the materials you need before you start working. Otherwise, you’ll be wasting your time locating your missing tools with a half-done door. And with your inquisitive dog on the loose, it is a recipe for disaster!

What will you need?

  • Pet Door Kit
  • Timber (for the frame)
  • Marker
  • Jigsaw/ Metal cutting blade
  • Power drill
  • Drill bits
  • Hammer
  • Filer
  • Screws
  • Screwdriver
  • Set Square
  • Tape measure

Got all you need? Let’s begin!

The Guide: How to Install the Dog Door?

Step-1: Unhinge

Firstly, you will have to detach the metal door off its hinges. That is because it is a safer way to work on the door. Additionally, it prevents you from working on an awkward position as you mark the door or try to adjust the installation of the pet door.

How do you unhinge? The most secure way is to uncap the cover present on the pins. Then lightly nudge all the pins out of each of the hinges fixed on the door.

Step-2: The Markings

We suggest that you trace an outline on the metal door of the miniature door you want to cut through.

Most pet doors come with instructions and templates for the door. Just in case yours didn’t, you will have to measure the door and also deduce the distance you wish to keep between the bottom of the pet door and the floor.

Pro tip: Use set squares to draw even edges on your pattern.

Step-3: The Cutting-Edge

Next, use your power drill to create holes on the four corners of the pattern. The drilled holes should be big enough to fit the blade of your heavy-duty jigsaw.

Next, use your jigsaw to cautiously cut through the outline. Go slow and steady to prevent snapping your blade or creating jagged ends. The secret is to move from one corner-hole to another, starting from the bottom left.

Pro tip: Use a hammer to push out the portion you cut through. A few taps in the middle should do the trick!

Step-4: Fine Finishing

Does the hole look untidy?

You may notice some metal shards and burrs protruding out from the edges. Even if you don’t see anything, it is better to file off the edges before you fix your pet door.

Why? It is because the smooth edges make the installation easier. Plus, they avoid the risk of accidental cuts on the dog when it uses the door.

Step-5: Attachment

I. Installing a Self-Framed Door

Self-framed doors are hassle-free options for doggy doors because you don’t have to make frames for them. After you clean off the metal edges, you move to the installation phase.

  • Attach both sides of the door inside the holes.
  • Fasten it with the screws that came with the kit.

Pro tip: Make sure your installed door doesn’t rattle. You don’t want the door to fall off once the main door is hinged back on.

II. Installing a Frameless Door

Before fitting your frameless doors, you will have to build your own frame.

Follow the instructions below:

  • Measure the interior dimensions of the hole you have cut.
  • According to the measurements cut 4 pieces of timber.
  • Using a screw as your support, glue the timber pieces into the frame of the holes.
  • Clamp the structure to dry the glue.
  • Once dried remove the screws.
  • Attach the door according to the manual.

The Final Phase

After you have installed the door, you’ll have to hinge back your main door with its new upgrade. Once that is done, get ready to train your dog to use their customized entrance. This may take some time. Albeit, in the end, your dog’s delighted barks at the new freedom will be worth it!

What are you waiting for?

Unleash the poor pet now!

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