Sliding Glass Doors with Doggie Doors: A Perfect Fit for Pet Owners
Ready to enhance your pet’s life with a patio panel pet door? Look no further! Sliding glass doors with doggie doors are the perfect fit for pet owners looking to give their pet access outdoors without making any permanent changes to their home. After all, not everyone wants to punch a hole into their door or wall.
Before upgrading to a sliding glass door pet door panel, read up on our Need-To-Know guide. We talked to the pet door experts about the most important things for pet owners to know about sliding door dog door inserts and compiled them into an easy reference for anyone looking to make the change.
The Perks of Sliding Glass Door Pet Panels
If you don’t already know, sliding glass door pet panels have a few extra benefits to them that pet doors for walls or pet doors for doors don’t necessarily have, and that includes:
- Hassle-free Setup: Most of these pet panels boast a quick and tool-free installation. Forget rummaging through your toolbox; these panels are designed for an effortless setup that will have your pet exploring in no time.
- Ideal for Temporary Dwellings: If you're a renter or have a vacation home, these panels are a godsend. They offer a non-permanent solution, which means no disputes with landlords or concerns about property value drops.
- Keep Your Doors Intact: One of the biggest perks? No need to carve into your pristine doors or walls. Sliding glass door panels fit seamlessly with your existing setup, ensuring the integrity and aesthetic of your home remains untouched.
What To Do Before Purchasing a Sliding Glass Door Doggie Door
Before adding a patio pet panel to your home, you will need to keep a few important things:
- You need to accurately measure your sliding glass door
- You need to know how tall the step-over should be
- You need to know what material your frame is
- You need to consider how you will keep your home secure
- You need to know how much you want to pay for a panel
How To Accurately Measure Your Sliding Glass Door For a Pet Door Panel
1. Measure Your Pet
It may seem a little strange, but measuring pet dimensions is very important in order to find the right pet door size, and in turn, find the right sliding glass door dimensions.
To find the perfect pet door size for your pet, we recommend measuring their height from the tallest point of their back to the floor. It is not advised to go by weight or breed since a beagle and poodle can be the same weight but different sizes.
For a perfect fit, the top frame of your pet door should be at least 1” above the tallest point of your dog’s back. You don’t want your dog’s back to scrape against any part of the pet door.
This does not mean you need to buy a pet door that is taller than your pet. When picking a size, you need to factor in the step-over height.
The step-over is the distance from the bottom of the pet door to the ground– or, how high off your pet door is from the ground. Don’t make your step-over too tall, or else your dog won’t be able to step over the bottom of the pet door to go through. A lower step-over is easier for pets to use, especially if they have mobility issues.
Check out our measuring guide for more information.
2. Measure the Height of Your Sliding Glass Door Track
For most patio pet door inserts, you will need to measure the track height from top to bottom. This is the space your slider slides on. Top to bottom refers to the deepest parts on the top of the track, to the deepest parts on the bottom of the track. Check out this video to see how it’s done:
Mismeasuring happens. A common occurrence is when your measurement is just above or below the track height range that fits your track height, and you end up purchasing a panel that is either too short or too tall to fit your slider tracks.
On that note, there is a height extension that can be purchased and used with the Thermo Panel 3e.
3. Measure Your Track Width Or Thickness
This step is often overlooked, but if you don’t check to see if your track is wide enough for the panel, you risk getting a patio panel you can’t use.
Measure the door track of your sliding patio door from the interior side of the home to the exterior.
Sliding door inserts allow you to use your slider normally. Once installed, the insert attaches to your door frame, leaving room for you to walk through. This will help you gauge whether or not it is going to take up the right amount of space.
Make Sure The Step-Over Is Correct
A ‘step-over’ is the distance between the ground and the bottom of the flap. It determines how high your dog will need to raise their paw to step over the bottom of the pet door.
You need to be mindful of the step-over for a number of reasons. If your step-over is too high, your small pet may struggle to get through their door. If it’s too low, your large size dog may end up scraping their back on the top of the doggy door for sliding glass door when they enter and exit.
Check your patio panel’s dimensions to see how high the step-over on the panel is. Then check to see how high off the ground your panel will be once installed into your sliding glass door–especially from the outside. Most backyards are lower than your home’s ground level.
Add the two heights together and check to see how easily your dog can step over them. You can do this by holding up a piece of cardboard the height of the step-over and having your dog step over it.
We recommend doing this when your dog is fully grown. It is hard to determine what height works when your dog is a puppy. We recommend getting a panel with an adjustable step-over range (such as the Thermo Panel 3e pet door for sliding glass door) so they can move through easily at every point in their growing life.
Still, confused? Check out our exclusive guide for all the detailed information on what step-over height best suits your pet.
Know What Material Your Frame Is
Patio panel pet doors are a great way to give your pet the freedom to come and go as they please without having to open and close the door for them all the time. However, it is important to choose the right type of panel for your sliding glass door, as vinyl and aluminum panels have different features and benefits.
Vinyl panel pet doors are thicker than aluminum panels, and they are also more energy-efficient. Vinyl is a good insulator, so it will help to keep your home cool in the summer and warm in the winter. Vinyl panels are also more durable than aluminum panels, and they are less likely to warp or rust.
If you’re looking for a vinyl patio panel pet door, check out the Endura Flap Severe Weather Pet Door, the Dragon Pet Door for Vinyl Sliding Glass Doors, and the Whiskers & Windows Vinyl Sliding Glass Door Cat Door Panel.
Aluminum panel pet doors are lighter and less expensive than vinyl panels. They are also easier to install. However, aluminum is not as good an insulator as vinyl, so aluminum panels may not be as energy-efficient. Aluminum panels are also more likely to warp or rust over time.
Some of our favorite aluminum patio panel pet doors include the High Tech Armor Flex Patio Pet Door, the Endura Flap Thermo Panel 3e with Dual Panel Glass, and the PetSafe Freedom Dog Door for Sliding Glass Door.
It is important to match the material of your pet door panel with your slider frame for two reasons:
- Appearance: If you have a vinyl sliding door, a vinyl pet door panel will match the frame better and create a more seamless look.
- Fit: Vinyl and aluminum sliding doors have different track widths. A vinyl pet door panel will not fit properly in an aluminum sliding door track, and vice versa.
- Condensation: Mixing panel and frame materials can lead to condensation forming around your pet door.
Ensure Your Home Will Be Secure
Most panels will not mate with your existing slider lock, which is why you will need to look into adding an alternative locking mechanism to keep your home safe. Luckily, there are a variety of options available to best suit your home and security needs.
You can add a Patio Door Clamp or a Foot Actuated Dead Bolt Lock to the bottom of your sliding glass door in order to keep it closed.
You can also use a charley bar to keep your door shut against intruders. The bar applies pounds of pressure against your slider to keep it sealed against the patio pet door panel.
If you just want to block your pet from using the flap, you will just need a locking pet door. Whiskers & Windows offers some low-tech options for cats, which High Tech has some smartdoor-esque options for dogs. You can also use the locking cover that comes with your pet door to block off the flap.
Understanding Price Differences
Sliding glass door dog panels are a great way to give your dog the freedom to come and go as they please, but they are not the cheapest option. Unlike traditional pet doors, patio panel pet doors include additional costs beyond the flap that can drastically affect the pricing.
To find the best pet door panel for the pice, you need to find the right balance between these features:
- Height: The height of the panel is one of the biggest factors that affects the price. Your panel will not fit into your sliding door track unless it is the same height as your sliding glass door. If your door is not a standard height, you may need to pay extra for a custom height range.
- Glass type: The type of glass in the panel can also affect the price. Dual-pane glass is more expensive than single-pane glass, but it is also more energy-efficient. While dual-pane glass requires dropping more money now, it can save you on your energy bills in the long run.
- Electronic panels: Electronic pet doors are more expensive than traditional pet doors. They can be a good option if you want to prevent unauthorized pets or people from entering your home, but they are more complex to install and maintain. Plus, they can be very noisy.
- Flap size and type: The size and type of flap can also affect the price. Larger flaps are more expensive than smaller flaps, and flaps with special features, such as magnetic closures, are also more expensive. However, simple flaps may fly open at the slightest wind and will cause drafts.
It is important to note that the cheapest pet door is not always the best value. It is important to choose a pet door that is made from high-quality materials and that is backed by a good warranty.
Last Minute Considerations…
Still have a few lingering questions? Check out these common worries from other pet owners just like you.
Worried about bugs flying in between the screen and patio pet door?
Lots of people complain that bugs can get in through the gaps in screen doors. Check out the Magnetic Bug Screen for Doorway to keep your home bug-free.
Do we carry your track size?
If this is the case, you may need a custom panel height. We have a full selection of customizable pet doors that you can check out. Pet owner favorites include the Hale, the Thermo Panel 3e, and the Ideal Fast Fit.
Wondering how to lock the pet door?
Each pet door comes with its own security cover to restrict access through the flap.
Need an electronic solution for your sliding glass?
We have a few products to consider. Most will require your pet to wear a collar key to signal the automatic flap to unlock. We also have microchip options for small dogs or cats. These are the best pet door solutions to keeping unwanted critters from entering your home!
Deciding on single or dual pane?
Dual pane glass insulates much better than single pane and attenuates noise much better. If you live with severe weather conditions, are looking for a more permanent doggie to use it year-round, it might be worth getting dual pane. If you live in a temperate area, single pane may be just fine. You can tell what type of glass you have by placing a finger on both sides of the glass. If they look like they’re touching, you have single pane; If they stop about 1/2″ apart, you have dual pane.
Still have questions? Need advice from an expert? Contact our team of pet door experts for any assistance you need in finding the best sliding glass door with a dog flap for you.