How to Install a Pet Door in Your House Door

Puppy Weiner coming inside the house through the SureFlap Microchip Dog Door for Small Dogs

Watching your pet roam around and run in and out of the house can indeed be a source of joy. But no matter how much you love spending time with them, you simply cannot always be there to open the door for your pet.

If you like to treat them as a part of your family, you would certainly not want to steal their freedom and make them dependent on you for letting them in and out of the house. This is exactly why you should consider giving your furry friend a personal entrance by installing a pet door in your house door.

Installing a dog or cat door may seem like a daunting task but believe us when we say that the convenience and benefits a pet door offers far outweighs any issues you may face when installing one. In fact, this DIY task is quite simple.

Let’s start with the prep work!

When it comes to choosing a pet door, you might come across a variety of styles and sizes. Typically, different designs of pet doors are made from different materials. Choosing between the various materials will largely depend on the kind of pet you have – most pet doors are made of plastic, which seems to work great for smaller and less strong pets. So, make sure you choose a door that is able to withstand your pet running in and out of it.

Pitbull running outside the house through the exterior Dog door for house door

In addition to this, the quality of the pet door you choose will depend on your durability needs. If you want the door to offer a lifelong solution to you, you would want to go for a high-quality pet door, on the other hand, if you are just looking for a quick, temporary fix, a cheaper, average-quality door would do.

You would also want to consider the type of exterior doors that you have and make sure the pet door you choose can be installed in it.

Last but certainly not the least, before you buy a pet door, you would want to make sure your pet could easily move in and out of it. So, it is time to measure your pet!

Measuring your pet

Diagram showing a dog being able to step comfortably over the bottom of the door

man measuring how wide of an opening can fit his pet

Cutting the right size hole in your house door is perhaps the most crucial step in installing a pet door.

In general, the sizes of pet doors range from 5 inches by 8 inches to 13 inches by 23 inches. You should measure your pet and buy the proper door size for your pet instead of making a random guess.

Consider purchasing a pet door with an opening width that is at least 2 inches wider than the widest part of your pet. Similarly, its opening height should be at least 2 inches taller than the length measured from the top of the shoulders to the chest, just behind the front legs.

image of a dog;s back being measured in retrospect to the top of the dog flap

For accurate numbers, you would want to take these measurements twice.

Picking the installation location for your home

Picking the right location for installing a pet door is also important. The location of the pet door is likely to have a significant effect on your home dynamics so you need about a few things beforehand. You should expect your pet to spend plenty of time around the area where its door is installed. This can ultimately mean more traffic and thereby, you might need to rearrange your furniture and make sure there are no fragile pieces in the vicinity.

Six steps to installing the pet door

If your pet door has come with a placement template, you need to cut it as instructed. Even if your pet door does not have a template, you may use the plastic slide as one. After placing the template on the desired location, at least 3 inches above the bottom edge of the door, carefully tape it in place.

Here are the step-by-step instructions for you to follow after dry fitting the pet door.

Step 1: Tracing the interior edge

Using a pencil, you must first trace the interior edge of the pet door template onto your house door. If you are given screws to fasten the pet door to your door, also mark the screw hole placements with the pencil. After you have the outline sketch in front of you, remove the template.

Step 2: Marking the drilling points

To make drilling easy and accurate, consider making four X marks on the inner corners of the outline.

Step 3: Drilling the holes

Take a ½-inch drill bit and drill holes in the center of the X marks at each corner. While doing so, make sure that the holes do not go past the outline.

If the pet door requires screws to fasten it to the house door, drill the screw holes you marked initially using a 3/8-inch drill bit or whatever bit size the manufacturer has recommended.

Step 4: Cutting the opening

To cut the opening, consider using a jigsaw. Begin in one corner and insert the blade into the ½-inch drill hole. Carefully continue along the pencil line to cut the outline of the pet door.

Step 5: Flushing the outer pet door frame with the interior door surface

From the exterior side of the door, insert the outer frame without the flap into the opening. Make sure the frame is flushed with the interior surface of the door. If you see the frame extending into the interior, use pliers to cut a break-off level. Break-off levels are vertical and horizontal pieces that can be cut off with pliers to make the pet door thinner.

While breaking off a level, consider starting at the top corner. After bending the metal inwards, remove 2-inch sections of a break-off level. Carefully continue around the pet door frame.

Step 6: Inserting the inner frame

On the interior face of the door, insert the inner frame with the flap into the opening. Hold the pet door in place and tighten the screws. Make sure you tighten them until they are just fixed and not overly tightened.

You might also want to add caulk to the inner side of the outer frame to make sure no air leaks.

After you have successfully installed and sealed the pet door, it is time to introduce your furry friend to their new entrance. In just a few days, they will learn to use the newly found door and you will see them running in and out of it all the time!

See our selection of small dog doors and large dog doors to find the perfect door for your pet! If you are looking at new doors for your new pup, take a look at our tips on bringing a new dog home!
Stephen Daily

Written by

Stephen Daily

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. 🐶🐱

Leave a Comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published