Are Doggy Doors Safe? Understanding the Risks & Benefits (& How to Improve Your Security)
While doggy doors offer convenient access for your pets and enrich their lives in many positive ways, many pet owners hesitate to get one for themselves. Homeowners often express concerns that their pet doors might leave them vulnerable to both unwelcomed critters and burglars.
Luckily, modern doggy doors are designed with these concerns in mind. These pet doors aim to maintain home safety without compromising the comfort of your pet.
Read on to find out if you should be concerned, if burglars exploit pet doors, and the best ways to secure your dog door.
Should I Be Worried About Pet Door Security?
In most cases, no.
Most dog doors aren’t typically prime targets for burglars, especially since most pet doors are not big enough for a person to squeeze through. Many pet doors are also low enough to the ground that many adults cannot reach up to undo your door’s lock from the outside.
However, doggy doors can get big. Very big. If you have an oversized pet door like one from Hale, you might be opening yourself up to unwanted guests– both human and animal–to enter. Even if your yard is fenced, determined intruders may view a large dog door as an opportunity to slip inside.
Most dog doors come with their own locking mechanisms to prevent this. Whiskers & Windows Cat Doors and Cat Mate Doors have locks built into the flap to prevent the flap from opening. Meanwhile, brands like Endura Flap, Dragon Pet Door, and Pride Pet Doors have locking covers that slide over the entrance of your pet door, preventing pets from using it.
While these locking covers are effective, they can be lifted up by a clever racoon or a determined person. Plus, locking your pet door will limit the primary use of a pet door; the ease of your pet going in and out at will.
Can Burglars Actually Enter My Home Through My Doggy Door?
So you might be wondering: are dog doors a security risk?
Generally, doggy doors aren't considered significant security threats. Most burglars will opt for easier-to-access entrances, such as doors or broken windows. If the pet door is big enough for a burglar to slip through, then they will have to face the best security system known to men: a big dog.
That’s right. Most intruders will avoid homes that have dogs of any size in fear that the barking will alert neighbors or they will be attacked.
How Do I Secure My Pet Door Against Intruders?
While we believe that your pet door won’t be a security issue, adding some additional security measures will help give you better peace of mind. If you want to make your pet door more secure, check out these tips:
- Buy the Right Size: Avoid buying an excessively large doggy door if you have a small pet. While bigger doors aren’t huge security risks, you might feel better if you don’t tempt fate.
- Opt for Additional Locking Systems: Many doggy doors can be bulked out with additional security features.The Watchdog Steel Security Pet Door Cover and the Gun Dog Drop-In Closing Panel can be installed over pet doors to block off use. Offering heavy-duty protection, they are perfect for those who want to leave their pet door locked for extended periods of time.
- Upgrade To An Electronic Pet Door: Electronic or automatic pet doors, which open only when sensing a specific collar key or RFID chip, can improve security and prevent unwanted animals from entering.Our favorite options are the PetSafe Smart Door Connected and the High Tech Power Pet Pet Door; both can be controlled remotely through a smartphone app.
- Choose a Discreet Location: While many pet owners have found clever and artistic ways to decorate their pet doors, it might be best to install your doggy door in a less visible spot. Some homeowners even opt for wall-mounted installations that can be concealed by vegetation.
- Regularly Use the Locking Mechanism: Make sure you use your door’s built in locking features, especially when you and your dog are away. For sliding door panels, you can seal your slider shut with an adjustable charley bar.
- Display a "Beware of Dog" Sign: Even if your dog is harmless, such signs can deter potential burglars who prefer easy targets.
Should I Still Get a Doggy Door?
Doggy doors, while not major security vulnerabilities, should still be approached with care. Regularly using locking mechanisms and considering the installation location can greatly reduce risks.
It's essential to remember that if someone is determined to break into a home, they have other, often easier methods than using a doggy door.
For more information on doggy doors, or if you have specific concerns, reach out to our team of pet door experts. We can help you find the best pet door for your peace of mind.