Adding a Timer to an Electronic Pet Door

Are you looking for an automatic electronic dog door with a timer feature? Lots of pet owners have expressed interest in an electronic smartdoor with customized access control such as a curfew mode (the door opens for your pet during the day but stays closed at night during the hours of your choosing).

This would allow you to control exactly what time you want your dog or cat to be able to use their electronic dog door. Some pet doors, like the SureFlap Microchip Pet Door and the Cat Mate 305 Selective Entry Door, already have a programmable timer mode built in. While these doors work great for cats and small dogs, they are not compatible with medium and large dogs due to limited range in microchip sensing. So, there are no selective entry doggie doors with pre-installed timer options available for bigger pets.

Looking for a pet door? Take a look at our full selection of collar activated dog doors.

Make your own timed dog door lock for a customized locking dog door

To solve this dilemma, we've laid out the steps for adding a timer to electronic pet products so that you can choose when you want to grant your pet full access and when you want to restrict access. Alternatively, you could use one of these methods on a dog cage or crate door to allow them in and out during specific times of the day. Sometimes the best dog door is one that you alter yourself to fit your needs! Keep in mind that if your dog is still outside when the timer turns off, they will not be able to come in through the dog door!

1) Purchase a timer

Defiant timer for your automatic dog door - electronic dog door timer

Usually, a digital or light timer will work best for this DIY. You can check out Amazon for a wide range of options. If you are still unsure of which one to purchase, you can ask your local hardware store where you might find the timers for Christmas lights. We also recommend the type of light timers that can plug into an outlet so easy installation. Most are pretty manual so you won’t be getting a programmable dog door, but something more like a semi-automated door.

The timer we used in our example is the Defiant Indoor Heavy Duty Timer purchased at the local hardware store. 2) Program timer for the time period that you want the pet door to stay on

This steps differs depending on what type of cat door or dog door timer you purchase. Generally, following the instructions provided by the product is a good idea. For our timer, we programmed the timer by pushing down the pins of the times we don’t want the pet door to be used.

3) Plug the timer into the wall, then plug the pet door into the timer

Sliding glass dog door with heavy duty timer - automatic pet door

Since the timer we have is an outlet timer, we installed it by plugging the timer into the closest outlet to the installation location. An extension cord may be necessary if there are no outlets close by. Once the timer is programmed and plugged in, plug the pet door adapter into the outlet on the timer. Finally make sure everything is turned on, relax, and watch the timer do its job.

4) Test the pet door to make sure it works

high tech doggy door with heavy duty timer - electronic pet door

Have your pet try the to use the timed pet door during the the "on" period and the “off” period to make sure the timer is functioning correctly. If it is not, there may be some troubleshooting needed. The best way to go about this is to make sure that you have programmed the timer and the pet door correctly. If there is still some problems, we recommend that you contact the timer manufacturer for timer related questions and contact us for pet door related questions. Note if you do upgrade your dog door with timer functionality, once the timer locks the pet door will not open in either direction.

 If you have a big dog but would still like to enjoy the benefits of a door that unlocks for a smartkey worn around your pet's collar, we recommend the High Tech Power Pet Automatic Pet Door, one of the leading pet doors with collar tag sensors.

The Automatic Power Pet Door Mount can be installed in your door frame or a cut out in your wall, and the Automatic Power Pet Patio Pet Door installs in sliding glass doors. The High Tech Pet door panel, sliding door insert, and wall installation styles all feature a two way directional sensing system, meaning they lock from the inside and the outside to keep stray animals out of your home. This door comes with one waterproof, ultrasonic collar key (extra weatherproof collar keys available for purchase).

The rigid flap improves energy efficiency, resisting winds that could blow open a flexible flap and let air inside your home. The High Tech door has an automatic deadbolt locking system that activates as soon a the door is completely shut (default safety system ensures it doesn't close on your pet's back).

You can also purchase a High Tech Rechargeable Battery to use as the main or backup source to power your automatic door installation. Here is a guide on how to add a timer to this automatic dog door so that you can control access to the flap door all hours of the day.

If you need any assistance, please don’t hesitate to contact us by emailing us at or give us a call at 1 (800) - 826 - 2871.

Stephanie Wong

Written by

Stephanie Wong

The Team is dedicated to providing the highest quality pet doors. As dog and cat lovers ourselves, we aim to write about the topics that matter the most to you and your furry friend. If you have any questions, please contact our customer service team. 🐶🐱

The Team is dedicated to providing the highest quality pet doors. As dog and cat lovers ourselves, we aim to write about the topics that matter the most to you and your furry friend. If you have any questions, please contact our customer service team. 🐶🐱


  • I’ve been searching for a secure doggy door with a timer for my Bernese Mtn Dog. We live on an acreage and she likes to be outside all day. However, I work only 2km down the road… and get followed to work. ☺️. Finally, I can keep her inside, and have the timer enact the door functions once I’m gone from the yard!
    I don’t know why I didn’t think of this… all those years…my dad having the Christmas lights on timers apparently taught me nothing 🤷🏼‍♀️
    Thank you!!

  • Hi, I am in desperate need of some help and or advice lol. So I have 2 dogs, one is small while the other is medium in size. We have had a doggie door that is quite large in size (honestly I could crawl through it if I locked myself out of the house accidentally) because we previously had 2 very large Labs before they got old and passed away. We also have cats and we have got to a point where we just don’t want to risk letting the cats go outside anymore because we have had 4 cats now that have got out and our neighbors dog killed them :(
    So ideally what we would like is to figure out a way we could continue to still use our existing doggie door, because we like the size in case we want to get another bigger dog in the future, but we want to make our door work only for the animals with the chips. So whether they wear a collar or whether it reads their microchip, either is fine, and we aren’t even concerned or interested in having any kind of timer. We want it to stay locked at all times an will only open for the animals that have a key to get in lol. I have yet to see any options out there for purchasing a locking system that can be installed to a preexisting doggie door so I’m hoping and keeping my fingers crossed that maybe I just haven’t been looking in the right places and someone here can help me or at least guide me in the right direction. Thanks for taking the time to read all my ramblings lol. Look forward to hearing from you when you get a chance! Thanks again!

  • I need a pet door on a timer for my pets large dogs and 3 cats. I don’t want Rfid , just in and out at certain times.

  • Hi Roxanne,

    Good question. We do have a couple of pet doors that utilize your pet’s microchip to give access. Please see the SureFlap Microchip Pet Door This door has a curfew mode which allows you to set a time the door will self lock, as well as unlock.

    If you have any additional questions, please contact us at

    Grace (Staff)
  • I need a cat door that doesn’t use RFID or collar. I just want it to unlock both directions at sunrise and lock both directions at sunset, like a chicken coop door. I could even lock it myself at night, but I want it to unlock itself at sunrise in case I want to sleep in. We have skunks in the area, so it has to be lockable in both directions at the same time at night. Do you have or know of one that can work that way?

  • Hi Margaretha,

    Thanks for reaching out! Unfortunately, the only electronic pet door we have for XL dogs would be the High Tech pet door which uses a collar key to activate. If you have additional questions, you can contact our customer service at

    Grace (Staff)
  • Hi there,

    Looking for a door-flap for XL dogs with timer (but no collar or microchip); so the flap automatically opens in the morning (while I am still in bed) but can be kept closed later in the day and night.

    Many thanks.

    Margaretha Schuurmans

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