Always measure your pet for a door, when it is too high it can be too dangerous!

Stepping Over, and Out! The Step-Over Guide for Safe & Easy Pet Door Access

No matter where you’re installing a dog or cat door, a step-over should be one of your most prioritized considerations. The height of your pet door can affect whether your pet has trouble going through their door or not. This mean having the dog door too high or too low.  Keeping in mind how your pet will be stepping over their pet door from the start will save you time and money.

What is a Step-Over?

A step-over can often be referred to as a “step-over range” or “rise.” They are all names describing the distance between the bottom of the flap, and the ground. That space determines how high your pet has to lift their paws to put their paws through to the other side. To compare, that would be like humans trying to get over a hurdle. The higher the hurdle, the more difficult it is to lift our legs over. Depending on a pet’s height,  can be a great hurdle for them too.

Step-Over Range in Patio Panels

step-over heightFor sliding glass inserts, the range of a step-over is fixed. Depending on the model, these ranges are determined by the flap sizes. So, the bigger the flap, the bigger the range, since the insert would presumably be for a tall dog. Although the Ideal Fast Fit model has a fixed height, there are options to customize and reduce the height. It is important to know any fixed step-over cannot be taken out or broken as a way to reduce the rise. If this is an issue, you may want to look into adjustable step-overs. Only the Quick Panel 3 and the Thermo Panel 3e offer a user adjustable pet door solution. Adjustable ranges are a great asset to have for big and small pets sharing a door.

Effect on Flap Sizes

Any and every flap should be placed at least an inch above your pet’s shoulder. This does not mean the flap’s height has to measure an inch higher than the shoulder. Typically, this means selecting an appropriate flap size to get above shoulder height. The bigger the flap, the smaller your step-over can be, generally on doors and walls the dog door height from the floor will be no less than 3″ or so.  On the other hand, the smaller the flap, the bigger step-over you may need. Let’s do an example:

  • Your pet is 21” from feet to shoulder. So, the top of the flap, once installed, needs to be 22” above the floor so your pet can move through easily. With careful consideration, you can get away with a 15” flap height. A 15” height means your step-over needs to be 7” minimum. Since you raised the 15 inch flap 7 inches from the ground, the top is now 22” above ground. Your pet can move comfortably! If you got a 19” flap, your step-over would need to be at least 3” high.

Your Pet Will Thank You Later

step-over comparisonThe shorter the step-over, the better. So much is said on the importance of pet door rises, the long term benefits are often forgotten. As pet’s age or become arthritic, a higher step-over is hard to combat on a daily basis. How high you install your door affects the comfort of your pet. Smaller hurdles can lead to larger leaps in life. If you are preparing for a wall or door mount, you get to choose the step-over height. Grab your pet and a measuring tape, they’ll thank you later!

  • If you go with a high step-over, make sure your pet can handle it! If you are installing in a door, keep the flap as low as possible while maintaining the integrity of your home.

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