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Pet Door Problems

Concerned about pet door problems?

Here are some common pet door concerns and their solutions:

Exposing your children to possible danger

By far, the most pressing dog door problem is the possibility of exposing your children to danger. It is not uncommon for a child to crawl through a dog door towards possible danger—most often a backyard pool. Before you install a dog door you must make sure that you're not exposing your child to peril. Please don't think that the pet door is too small for this to happen. Children can crawl through very tight spaces, so it is essential to follow safety precautions like keeping pools, trampolines, and raised decks adequately fenced off in case your child gets outside. An electronic pet door like the Sure Flap Microchip Pet Door can also be a good option for homes with pets and children. The Sure Flap scans your pet's embedded microchip to keep out unwanted critter like raccoons. Added bonus: electronic doors mean your child won't be able to push through the flap door on their own either!

Exposing your pets to external danger

The dangers to pets can be serious also. The general rule is that pets must only be allowed access to a controlled space where you can be sure of their safety. Dogs and cats roaming the neighborhood are a danger to themselves and possibly to others. So make sure your yard is securely fenced off! It's also a good idea to scan the yard for any potentially harmful plants or materials that your dog may get into to ensure their safety.

Insulation and air leakage regarding extreme weather conditions

It is quite possible that the pet door flap (especially light, plastic flaps) will allow cold weather into your home during the winter months (or let AC out during the summer). You're right to worry about this! The leaky flap problem that will occur with the majority of cat doors and dog doors sold every day! The solution: Get a pet door that seals very well. Endura Flap® Pet Doors are the most insulating pet doors on the market, tested to withstand -40℉ and extreme heat without warping or cracking. The high quality flap is also lined with sturdy magnets to stay shut in 50mph winds. Endura Flap® dog doors and cat doors won the coveted Fancy Publications Editors Choice Award for 2007 because of the excellent seal and insulation value. Endura also offers a wide variety of door models so that pet owners can pick the best installation style for their homes.

You've installed a patio pet door and it leaks around the frame (not the flap)

Unusual, but it happens with some sliding doors. Solution: add adhesive foam weather stripping to the sides of the door (some doors come with foam stripping, if not you can buy at your local hardware store). Clean the surface where you will install the foam stripping. Cut a single piece of the foam stripping with scissors to the length of the pet door. Peel back the paper on the foam to expose the adhesive. Install the foam strip in the channels on both sides of the panel pet door. For maximum energy efficiency with a sliding glass door pet door, the Pet Door Guys "In the Glass" is a great option. This is a pane of glass with an energy efficient Endura Flap® pet door built in that replaces the original pane from your slider. This means that unlike with a patio panel door, there is no chance of air leakage between the panel insert and the slider of your glass door.

You're worried that you'll spend a fortune replacing worn flaps

Endura Flap® dog doors have been tested to over 3 million times on our test machine and carry a 15 year warranty. They stand up to the most extreme weather conditions and heavy use by active pets. A heavy duty door like the Endura Flap means you won't have to spend a fortune on flap replacements.

You want to let the dog out but keep the cat in

The solution here is to choose an electronic pet door that requires a collar key (or microchip) for both directions. For a large dog, the High Tech Power Pet Door will open only for a collar key worn around their neck. However, this is not to say that the cat won't slip out behind the dog. You could try spraying a squirt gun in the cat's direction a couple of times if they try to slip out to deter them (please, just water!).

If you're not happy about the prospect of an electronic pet door—after all, they do fail more frequently that manual pet doors do—you might consider an Endura Flap® pet door. While the Endura Flap® pet doors are commonly used by cats, there are things you can do to make it more difficult for cats to access them. First, get the double flap version. It's less accessible for a small animal than the single flap is. Then, for the small and medium sizes, add a magnet set to the single set supplied and move the two sets to the outside edges of the flap. Do this for both flaps. Finally, replace the pvc threshold with a metal one on both flaps. For the Large and XLarge, you already have two magnet sets so just reposition them from the standard center location to the outside edges. Then add the metal threshold. That metal threshold will produce an approximate 50% increase to the magnetic pulling power on the flap. Combine those steps with the squirt gun idea and we think you're cat will opt to stay indoors.

You install a panel pet door and worry that bugs are going to get through the gap between the slider and the sliding screen when you want ventilation

Because the sliding screen is often on a separate track from the If you want to open up your sliding glass, opening up the glass slider for air can leave a gap between the screen and the patio door insert. The Pet Door Guys "In the Glass" Door functions as your original sliding pane did, allowing the screen to remain fully shut when you open up the slider for air. Another option for allowing ventilation while letting the dog outside and keeping bugs out is a screen mount. The Hale Pet Door for Screens is a great option for active pets with a durable aluminum frame. For a more economically friendly option, check out the PetSafe Pet Screen Door.

You—and lots of other dog owners—are concerned about security

What if a burglar climbs through your large sized pet door? Well, you can stop worrying. Get the Watchdog Security Pet Door Locker and you've got 12 gauge steel and a steel combination lock between that burglar and your pet door. It works on doors and walls for the ultimate in pet door security. See thumbnail below. For securing sliding door and window inserts, we recommend installing a Charley Bar to secure the insert in the window track. It secures horizontally or vertically against the side of the door or window track in a matter of minutes.

You've got a tricky installation situation

Endura Flap Pet Door for Doors
A golden retriever exits a blue house through an Endura Flap pet door.
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Endura Flap Dog Doors for Walls
The Endura Flap Dog Doors with a white and black tunnel to fit walls and two clear flaps for insulation.
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Watchdog Steel Security Pet Door Cover
Watchdog steel security dog door with combo lock.
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Glass and Vent Storm Door with Endura Flap Pet Door
A storm door with a white frame, clear glass panels, and an energy efficient Endura Flap Pet Door.
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Here are some examples of the more common installation problems and how to solve them.

Hollow Core Door Graphic

You've got a hollow-core or steel door

Your best bet is to purchase a self-framing pet door. Then you may skip the framing part below.

If you've already got a pet door that isn't self-framing, you'll need to frame the hole as shown. To do that you're going to need a table saw to rip the pieces to the correct thickness. Glue in place, clamp and let dry. Then mount the pet door.

The only difference in a steel door is that you use a different saw for cutting the hole. Jig saw with a metal cutting blade works best.

Door with Irregular Surface graphic

Your door has an irregular surface

Every pet door needs to be installed on a flat surface so you'll need to make sure your install location is completely flat.

It's probably a good idea to choose a sturdy metal-framed pet door for this application. The plastic-framed ones are easier to distort if the surface isn't perfectly flat and any distortion may cause the flap to bind and not swing freely.

The best, neatest way to handle this situation is shown: cut furring strips just thick enough to bring the thinner areas up to the same thickness as the thicker areas.

Cheater method: Get a self-framing pet door and make each of the four corners the same thickness. Then caulk in the spaces between the corners.

Screen Door Grapic

You've got a screen door

You could choose a simple pet door that can be installed directly into your screen from our selection of screen mount pet doors.

However, this method—which uses a door mount type pet door—is much sturdier.

Of course, you can also cut down into the base of the door to reduce the step-over for a shorter pet. Don't cut so far that you weaken the door frame though!

Note that this same approach may be used for a screened-in porch: add framing members to support a door mount pet door.

Installing a Pet Door in a Wall

You want your pet door in a wall

Easiest is to purchase a 'self-framing' manual wall mount or electronic wall mount pet door. But if the particular pet door you want is designed for installation in a door you probably still can install it in your wall if you have the skills to frame the wall yourself. We think it best to hire this job out to a contractor. It's a big problem if you cut into electrical or fail to seal the wall properly against weather.

 

This 'leaker' is available in most pet supply stores nationwide!

This 'leaker' is available in most pet supply stores nationwide!

A closer look.

A closer look.

What kind of performance can you expect from your new pet door?

That's going to depend primarily on the flap in the pet door you buy.

The examples to the right show a very popular 'large' size flap that has been used by two dogs--one about 75 lbs and one about 60--for a period of around 3 years.

The edges of the flap are severely 'potato chipping' and, consequently, let in large amounts of outside air. Here in San Luis Obispo, California, that doesn't matter too much and replacing the flap hasn't been a high priority. (Obviously, cleaning the flap hasn't been either!).

What if you happen to be in a less climate-friendly area?

Some manufacturers include fuzzy weather-strip down the sides of the frame which is an improvement. Unfortunately, the fuzz still passes air freely.

Some will also include an occasional magnet on the side which helps also.

However, our new Endura Flap™ (patented, pat. pending) pet doors are very best solution to this problem:

  • Continuous magnetic contact top to bottom.
  • Unique 'bellows' on both flap edges permit temperature change expansion and contraction without breaking the seal.
  • Pivot rod allows the flap to swing without flexing so the flap material doesn't flex and fail.

If you'd like more information about this amazing pet door flap, you can read all about it in our Endura Flap™ section.

Incidentally, if you've already got a flap that looks like the one at the right, some cleaning and UV protector will go a long way to making the best of what you have.