When Dog Doors Meet Sliding Glass Doors
Here's our Need-to-Know guide to patio pet doors! Now you can give your pet the freedom they need without punching a hole in your door or wall!
Benefits of sliding glass pet doors:
- Most have a quick, tool-free installation
- Great for renters or vacation homes
- No cutting into a door or wall
We talked to the pet door experts and found the most important things for customers to know about sliding door dog door inserts. Below are the most important things to consider about Pet Patio Panels.
Here is your official checklist!
Take Necessary Measurements
1. Measure your Pet and Track Height
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. We have a guide on how to properly measure your pet. We recommend checking their height from shoulder to floor. It is not advised to go by weight or breed since a beagle and poodle can be the same weight but different sizes. Our pet door experts suggest the top of the flap be at least an inch above your pet’s shoulder. This height includes the step-over, which is how high the bottom of the pet door is raised from the ground. Check out our measuring guide for a video and more information, so you don't end up with an extra-large door for your chihuahua!
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. If you are looking into the Hale Omni Panel, please note that the panel does require a different measuring technique.
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. If you are having trouble with this, we recommend calling our customer service 1-800-826-2871 or chatting with us on live chat through our website to make sure you purchase the right size. On that note, there is a height extension that can be purchased and used with the Thermo Panel 3e, featuring an ‘anti whoops‘ component that addresses this height problem.
2. Measure your track width or thickness
This step in measurement is often overlooked and needs to be checked. This will determine if the panel you are looking at will sit snug or loose. 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. It's worth noting, most inserts do not work with existing sliding glass door locks, so additional locking mechanisms are included with purchase.
Consider Step Over
A ‘step-over’ is the distance between the ground and the bottom of the flap. The higher it is, the bigger the hurdle your cat or dog will have to get over. This is one of the key components to consider 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.
Note: 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 so they can move through easily at every point in their growing life. The Thermo Panel 3e pet door for sliding glass door has this feature.
Still, confused? Check out our exclusive guide for all the detailed information on what step-over height best suits your pet.
Check Your Frame
This includes checking the color and frame material. Most inserts are made out of aluminum. If you have a vinyl framed slider, our aluminum inserts can still work. We also have vinyl patio door panels available. These inserts are limited in flap and track sizes. Read below to know more about the vinyl panel options we offer. If you need a different color than we offer, choosing the White color option and painting over it, as a DIY craft, would be an option.
Important Considerations before getting your Patio Panel Pet Door
Vinyl or Aluminum?
A great option requiring little to no tools are Sliding Door Doggie Door Panels. These panels do not require modification to the frame of your sliding glass doors. Install by simply placing the pet door panel on the same track that your patio door slides on. The panel will match your frame by adjusting to your track height with its spring-loaded top! We found pet panels from lots of brands, from Endura to PetSafe to Hale.
Patio door panels are typically manufactured using aluminum. However, a common concern is for those with a vinyl slider frame. Contrary to popular belief, aluminum panels can be inserted into a vinyl sliding door. The concern with the two materials has to do with the fit, as vinyl frames tend to have wider tracks than aluminum frames.
The solution: We have a vinyl sliding glass dog door or vinyl sliding glass cat door panel! The Endura Flap Vinyl Sliding Glass panel is made to match the thickness of your vinyl slider framing, and you won’t lose insulation or appearances in the process. Alternatively, the only other vinyl panel options are the Ideal VPP or Ideal VIP which comes in a dog or cat version. If you still wish to go with an aluminum insert you can also try to shim or toe-nail the panel. Shimming can make up for room on the top or bottom of the panel. To toe-nail the panel in, screws are drilled in at an angle to go through the panel and into the track. This helps the panel’s stability.
Most panels will not mate with your existing slider lock, but they do come with an alternative locking mechanism. There are a few solutions PetDoors.com can offer. With no tools required, you can use a Clamp lock or Charley Bar. These locks can be taken off your slider at any time. The clamp lock attaches to the bottom of your track, while the charley bar sits between the frame and slider. The VIP and VPP vinyl pet door in slider options actually have a lock latch that you install on the side of the panel to work with existing locks. This is a great locking doggy door for sliding glass doors made of vinyl. The VIP and VPP latch lock hardware will not work properly with other slider models. Additionally, each doggy door comes with its own locking cover.
Another related product for pet patio doors included with your order is weather stripping for energy efficiency, which keeps the seal on your door and keeps your home energy efficient in moderate to extreme weather.
With different quality come different prices. Here are the main factors of sliding glass door dog doors that determine the price:
Height: Almost every height range causes the price to vary, especially if your slider is not a “standard” height according to a manufacturer. Custom height options will also cause a price hike.
Glass Type: This can refer to whether you purchase a panel with dual or single pane glass to match your existing sliding door. The difference between the two panes can impact your insulation value.
Electronic Panels: One might be looking for an electronic pet door to prevent critters and stranger cats to enter the house. Though we only carry microchip pet door panels for cats and small dogs, we do have Electronic panels for larger dogs require each pet to wear a collar key, which sends a signal to an automatic door for your pet to enter and exit.
Flap Size & Flap Type: Every flap is designed for specific purposes. Some flaps are designed with magnetic closure on their doors to hold up in severe weather conditions better than the economical options, which can reflect an increase in price. The best doggie door for sliding glass doors will obviously be better insulating and longer-lasting than the cheapest one, with pet owners not needing to buy replacement flaps for years after installation. Consider also whether you are looking for a rigid cat flap or a flexible dog door flap.
There are many great benefits to a sliding glass door insert. With little to no tools required, these options are great for renters or for vacation homes! No modifications to the actual house are necessary, just careful measurements. As with any pet door, please take note of the step-over options available. Most panel inserts will not have adjustable step overs, except the Thermo Panel 3e. For other models, you can look into getting a custom step over to help your pets access their door comfortably.
Last Minute Considerations…
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 Bug Warden to keep your home bug-free.
Do we carry your track size?
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.
In the event that you have any additional questions, or need clarification, please contact us through the live chat on our website, email us at email@example.com, or call us at (805)781-7700 to speak with a customer service representative. We are happy to help you out!
In the Glass Pet Doors
Alternatively, we can have a new piece of glass manufactured to fit your sliding patio dimensions. You can have an Endura Flap pet door pre-installed at the bottom of a piece of glass that will replace your current glass. These are the Custom In the Glass options. Or take a look at pre-installed doors like the Doors 4 Pets and People exterior doors with pet doors.
Using a pet door that is installed in your glass allows you to use your sliding glass door’s normal locking system. This is essentially just a patio door with pet door built in! It also lets you use the full width of your sliding glass door when you come and go! Check with a PetDoors.com expert for more information!