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Why Are Microchip Pet Doors So Small Anyway?

If you’re thinking about getting a brand new dog door, you’ve probably considered getting a high tech pet door. Owners of smaller pet breeds like Chihuahuas and Yorkies can usually find an electronic pet door that fits their pet, but many owners of large dog breeds struggle, especially since a properly fitting dog flap needs to be at least 1” taller than your dog.

So why is it that there are only small electronic pet doors?

cat with cat mate in glass electronic pet door

Why Are Electronic and Microchip Dog Doors so Small?

There are a few reasons why electronic pet doors are so small, and it depends on the type of electronic door you’re looking at: automatic pet doors, electronic pet doors, and microchip pet doors.

Automatic pet doors have the largest size range. The High Tech Power Pet Automatic Door Mount is available up to a size large, which has a flap of about 16” high. However, some pet owners may find that it’s still too short for their large dogs.

But automatic pet doors aren’t made in larger sizes since the amount of space the electronics would require would not be reasonable. The High Tech Power Pet Automatic Door Mount is over 40” tall overall, which is the size of many people doors. A larger pet door would be too big.

Electronic pet doors that detect electronic, RFID, or magnetic collar keys are the next larger pet doors, though many cannot accommodate dogs taller than 13” inches. The flaps on these doors have to be pushed manually when the sensor unlocks it, but that doesn’t mean they can be made in larger sizes.

The sensors that detect your dog’s collar tags have a limited range. That means that detecting taller dogs may not be possible, so many electronic dog door manufacturers like Petsafe opt to keep their door sizes small.

Finally, the flaps with the smallest range are the microchip pet doors from Sureflap. Microchip pet doors are the most convenient and innovative smart dog door out there as the sensors detect your pet’s microchip to unlock the door (and yes, your dog and cat should be microchipped).

dog using sureflap door

These doors are only 6” tall, which makes them great for cats but nearly impossible for dogs to use. And even if your dog is the right size for the door, it most likely wouldn’t work for them. Why is that?

In order to prevent stray critters like raccoons from getting into your house, the sensors on the microchip pet doors have a very limited range. They can only detect the microchip when it is close to the sensor on the door frame. For cats, this works since their microchips are implanted into their necks.

However, a dog’s microchip is implanted at the shoulders and can move down the body as the dog gets bigger. The chip can’t get close enough to the sensor to be detected and usable by the pet door.

So microchip pet doors have to be a small size in order to operate properly.

When Can I Get a Large Pet Door?

We’ve been on the lookout for the latest industry news to see if there are any large electronic pet doors in production. So far, the technology just seems like it isn’t there yet.

However, it’s only a matter of time before a manufacturer comes out with a new electronic dog door to fill the gap in the market. Until then, a good old manual door will have to do. Luckily, there are plenty of high quality pet doors that are made with large dogs in mind, such as the Endura Flap and Hale Pet Door.

If your have a dog or cat that’s the right size for a pet door, we recommend checking out some of our other favorite smart dog door articles:

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