10 Myths about Pet Doors: Exposed
Are doggie doors a good idea for your home? Of course they are! Pet Doors are a great way to have a happy and healthy pup. When looking at what to buy, the first step is separating pet door facts from fiction. Read about 10 common misconceptions and some extra pet door facts!
#1 Myth: All Flaps are Made Equal
Not true! Pet doors are conceptually similar, but different pet doors are designed for specific purposes. Factors that determine how a flap is made include climate, electronic preferences, and economical choice.
Weatherproof flaps tend to be slightly heavier than the average flap, with additional magnets to keep things insulated. With electronic pet doors, flaps are made of acrylic plastic. These flaps are sized mostly for small dogs and cats. Automatic pet doors that open, upon reading a collar key signal, have flaps made of plexiglass for larger pets. When looking through our Largest Selection of Pet Doors, be sure to prioritize your needs along with those of your pet so you both are happy with the material and design.
#2 Myth: Breeds Have a Standard Size
Not true! Measuring your pet is necessary for any and all breeds. Although your pet may seem average for their breed, you should still bring out the tape measure!
It is important to make sure your furry friend will fit through their door since they will be using it every day. It is recommended to measure your pet from floor to shoulder, and have the top of the pet door flap installed at least one inch above their back to ensure a comfortable pass. If too small, they'll scrub their back on the door frame every time!
With this in mind, check the flap width too, so your pet does not get stuck. A good homemade trick is to cut a hole in cardboard to act as a guide. An additional item to consider is the step over. This is the space between the ground and the bottom of your pet door. The step over needs to be taken into account when you are choosing a flap size. For more visual information, check out this Measure Your Pet guide with a video included.
#3 Myth: Pet Doors are Made Only for Doors
Not true! As every pet is different, so is every home. Doors for pets are now made to be installed in a variety of places within the house. Besides doors and walls, dog and cat doors can be installed in windows, screen doors, the cabinet where the litter box hides, storm doors, and even closets! As there are many hang out spots in the house, there are just as many doors to fit your pup’s lifestyle. One of the more popular alternatives is the sliding glass dog door, which is wonderful options if you are renting your home and you can't actually cut any holes anywhere! Most are called 'pet door patio panels' or 'sliding glass pet door inserts,' and you can even replace a full slider for a sliding glass door with dog door built in!
Many pet owners will choose to cut a hole in a wall and use wall entry dog doors rather than cut into an exterior door. Wall mounts are great because you can remove the pet door and patch up the wall like it was never there! Under window sills, in the kitchen, or even from a bedroom! Garage dog door installations are also on the rise and give you the opportunity to let the cat or dog into the garage for shelter, but not all the way into the house.
#4 Myth: Adults Crawl through Pet Doors to get Inside
Plausible... If you worry about security, even having a back door with a small dog door can be a tough decision to make. While electronic doors can act as a solution for this potential issue, wearing a collar key might not be an ideal situation for you or your pet. Extra-large pet doors worry people even more, though they might meet your big, protective dog on their way in! Intruders would likely fear a home with a large dog door. If you are worried about break-ins while you and your dog are away, you can also invest in an additional security cover for your pet door. This can cover up your dog or cat door from a person from intruding. The Watchdog covers can give you a pretty burglar-proof doggie door.
While pet doors halt the average adult from entering the house, there have been instances where children forget their house key and are able to crawl through. On the other hand, electronic doors like the High Tech Pet Power Pet are also a great way to keep babies or small children from getting stuck or going outside. A pet door can be secured from unwanted individuals, but can also serve as an emergency entryway. So are pet doors safe? Well, generally yes, but it’s up to you to use good judgment and take precautions if necessary.
#5 Myth: My Locking Cover Can be Opened From the Outside
Not true! To ease the stressful thought that animals come through your door/wall or burglars that break into the home, all pet doors have locking covers that can act as burglar barriers. A dog door security cover should be placed inside the home where there is controlled access. Locking covers are made specifically for their door, so there are a few different types out there. However, most are made of steel or a very hard plastic. These security covers do not have tabs or small openings for anyone or anything to pry open from the outside. Many covers also have latches or pin locks to prevent them from being pushed outward.Often times, the aluminum frames of most doors provide security themselves. It would take a while to break through a pet door! If there is a concern with your existing locking cover, check out the WatchDog Steel Security Pet Door Cover to ensure maximum security.
#6 Myth: Pet Doors Gives My Pet a Headache
Not true! The only reason that a pet door might be hurting the pet is if it's the wrong size! For the perfect pet door size, we measure from a pet’s feet to shoulder; this is because cats and dogs tend to stoop their heads when they go through a pet door. It might seem like this would cause a headache since our pets go in head first.Dog door flaps are also typically made of a flexible vinyl flap that smoothly passes over a dog’s body. Cat flaps on the other hand tend to be a clear, light acrylic that moves almost as sleekly as your cat. But cats also tend to open the door slower than dogs. Thanks to light and flexible flap materials, our four legged friends don’t mind them!
Pro Tip: When your dog is getting trained to their doggie door for the first time, they are more likely to use the door when they see you poke your head through it first!
#7 Myth: Flaps are Interchangeable if they are the Same Size
NOT true! Sometimes the frame sizes of a pet door are comparable, but the flap? Not so much. Since there are so many flaps on the market, there are only a few that are close in size. Even then, this does not mean any replacement flap can be installed in any door. Pet door flaps are not interchangeable; this is true for any brand. Please see replacement flap size product information for further info.
Cutting flaps to fit is not an ideal situation either, while it may be possible. Fitting a flap in an unfamiliar frame can prove to be difficult. Adding to the installation challenge, a flap on the wrong frame may not seal properly since a door’s magnets can be located in a different spot, leading to poor insulation.
#8 Myth: A Pet Door Can be Installed in Any Door
Almost... There are pet doors made for doors and there are some made for walls. While a pet door can be made for doors, it does not mean any and all doors are fit to use. In order to be installed, pet doors require certain parameters.An important requirement for installing a dog door is to check are door thickness; and you always want to ensure the material is strong enough to support the pet door. Pet doors that are not self-framing would require additional steps during the dog door installation if you are installing a doggie door through hollow-core doors. Be sure to check the specs of any pet door you are looking into to make sure it is a proper fit for your home. You'll also want to consider the shape and look of your door. Lots of them have door panels that accent the door, so you'll want to support the pet door with caulk or shims for stability when they go over these reliefs. Check out our blog post on Installing a Cat Door into a Hollow Core Door!
#9 Myth: My Dog Won’t be Able to Push the Door
Sometimes! This is a common concern with smaller pets and goes hand in hand with training. A new pet door can be confusing for your dog, but it does not mean they will never get it. Small pets may feel like their new door is overwhelming and have trouble going through. It is a good idea to try and purchase a smaller flap relative to your pet’s size. The bigger the pet door, the heavier the flap. If you have big and small pets sharing, try looking for flaps with adjustable magnetic strength. Reducing or adjusting your magnets can make the flap light enough for your small pet, so they can play outside too! There are also motorized pet doors, which do not require your pets to push anything.For first time pet door users, getting used to the flap’s touch is key. We recommend opening the pet door from the outside with a treat to get familiar with the door’s ability. Another trick to use is to slowly have the flap trail across your pet’s body so they can get comfortable with its touch. Every pet’s comfort level is different. Practice makes perfect, so be patient with your pet and soon they will gain their confidence!
#10 Myth: A Pet Door Will Raise Energy Bills
Not true! With a pet’s newfound freedom, they might be running in and out the house more often than not. Having a pet door can allow the outside air to come in the house, and if you are in extreme weather, this is not good news. But it doesn't have to be this way! In order to cut down on your energy bills be sure to look for energy-efficient pet doors with strong magnetic strength. Magnets on the bottom and sides ensure a quick and tight seal. For the best insulation, we recommend the Endura Flap.Electronic kitty and dog doors are a good option as they generally create a tighter seal against the weather than a traditional dog door flap when not in use. It helps lower both your heating and air conditioning bills. If you have a patio panel, you can increase the insulation using weather stripping. You won’t worry about the flap swinging open when your pet goes outside. You won’t have to pay extra for your pets’ playtime! And remember that the size of the pet door opening and closing is smaller than your entire “people door” opening and closing each time your dog wants out! For our recommendations, check out The Best Dog Doors for Cold Weather!
Bonus: 10 Fun Facts About Doggie Doors
Dog doors simplify life for man’s best friend. They don’t require your assistance to go out, so there is less barking and scratching at inconvenient times of the day or night.
There is much more to doggie doors than the traditional plastic flap in the back door. These ten facts about dog doors offer surprising revelations on this staple of pet ownership:
- Famous scientist Sir Isaac Newton is credited as the inventor of the first pet door. It was actually designed with his cat in mind. Newton referred to his creation as a “cat flap.”
- An electronic dog door opens or unlocks when it detects a magnetic sensor in your dog’s collar. This feature restricts all other stray animals from entering your house. There are also microchip pet door versions, where the flap will unlock for programmed chips.
- Glass dog doors can be installed in sliding patio doors. Different types include single pane glass panel, dual pane glass panel, and the special purpose panels.
- Direct sunlight can cause plastic dog doors to warp and fade over time. For that reason, it is best to install the plastic flap on a side of the house shaded from the sun.
- Most patio dog doors feature a simple pin lock that you can use to connect your sliding patio door to the pet door.
- Rounded edges help your dog fit through pet doors easier. Square edges can lead to some bigger dogs getting stuck on the corners.
- What you thought you knew might not be true…comment below if you have other facts about pet doors or would like to learn more.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are dog doors unsafe?
No, dog doors are perfectly safe for dogs so long as you have checked that your backyard is fenced off and free of any toxic plants or materials that your dog could get into.
Can someone break in through a doggie door?
Are dog doors safe for your home? Most dog doors are not large enough for a person to fit through. For those that are, using the provided locking cover at night and when you are away blocks access to the pet door.
What you thought you knew might not be true…comment below if you have other facts about pet doors or would like to learn more.
At Pet Doors we can help you find the ideal pet products to make your pet happier. Purchase a pet door that fits your home and pet perfectly!