There are so many ways in which having a dog is like having a child. One of those ways is the house adaptation. The house no longer belongs to you, it belongs to someone else too. So you have to modify your house to show the dual ownership. One of the modifications, if you have a dog, is the installation of dog doors.
Having a door installed for your dog shows to her that you really care about her and think of her as a member of the family. The reason why you feel she is entitled to a door of her very own. Seriously though, dog doors are a nice addition to your home décor and we’ll tell you why.
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What Are Dog Doors?
Dog doors (also called doggie doors) are small dog-sized portals through walls, human-sized doors and windows that allow a dog go through without assistance. The idea of dog doors is to give your dog flexibility, allowing her go in and out of the house without having to always wait for you to get the door for her.
It’s like you have a roommate and both of you have the key to the house. Nobody has to wait on the other. You both just enter and come out whenever you please as equal owners of the house.
Dog Doors: The Upsides
Aside the obvious need for ownership by your dog, there are some other reasons why you need to install a dog door.
First of all, it will help when you’re house training your dog. Instead of always opening the door for her to do her business, you just train her to go through her door and do her business like a big girl. She doesn’t need to come to you to inform you. If she wants to go, she goes.
Aside going out for business, your dog might want to go out just because. If she can’t open the door, she might resort to whining, barking or even scratching on surfaces to get your attention.
This could not only lead to destruction of furniture but could also get on your nerves sometimes. Plus, you might not always be disposed to opening the door for her. So, why not give her a door of her own?
Having a dog door installed will mean that your dog can come in, not just whenever she wants to but whenever she needs to. This is especially true for cases of emergency. On the days when your dog is outside, and you’re inside, and it starts to rain or snow, your dog can just waltz in on her own.
The coming in and going out can be a form of exercise for your dog, leading to improved health and even better weight. Also, a dog is generally happier when she is not too dependent on you for something as basic as going in and coming out of her home.
Dog Doors: The Downsides
If you are going to install a doggie door you’ll have to seriously think about fencing off your compound. Because while you want to give your dog free access into and out of the house, we are sure you don’t want her roaming the streets aimlessly.
If fencing off your compound isn’t something you want to do and you don’t buy the idea of electronic fencing, then it is best you steer clear of the dog doors.
If you have a pool in your yard installing a doggie door might be tricky. The reason is your dog has free access to the pool and this could, more often than not, leave you with a very wet dog tracking muddy paws around the house.
However, this is kind of a moot point because you’ll also have the muddy tracks issue during wet season. A simple solution is to place a door mat or towel at the entrance of the house. Train your dog to use it when she comes in and you should be fine.
Another concern is that your dog may start to get ideas. Some people think that installing a dog door will give your dog too much freedom and she might begin to think that she can come in and go out as she pleases.
Whether a doggie door is the best thing for your home is basically up to you to decide. However, it wouldn’t hurt to look at some dog door features, would it?
What Dog Doors Usually Consist Of
According to Wikipedia, there are certain features all ideal dog doors share. Below, we list some of the most important features of dog doors:
- Dog doors usually have a sort of flap. For some doors it’s not a flap per se but a door that resembles the human door with the hinges. The point is that there is the part that opens to allow your dog in or out. The doors themselves usually have a spring that forces them closed when your dog has been through. Your dog isn’t exactly bothered about closing doors.
- Dog doors also have a catch that makes them open and close in one direction the way a hinge would. This catch is adjustable so you can put it in your desired position. Most people activate this when they want their dog to come in and stay in.
- Most dog doors have a mechanism that allows them be closed off. It could be in form of a slide. Most people engage this mechanism when they are traveling or the whole house is sleeping to deter intruders.
- Most dog doors are made from materials that are considered safe for your dog. Some of the materials include soft vinyl and plastic (which is a cheaper option).
Dog Doors: The Different Kinds
It’s safe to say that there’s a dog door for every dog. And there’s a dog door for every dog owner too. When getting a dog door, there’s no straitjacket approach. Because the age and agility of your dog, as well as other extrinsinc factors impact on the kind of dog door you install, it’s not surprising to find that there are different types of dog doors.
Petsbest gives us some dog door types:
Dog Doors Installed In Human Doors
These are the most common dog doors and also the easiest to install. They are usually made from plastic or aluminum. These two materials are not considered durable in the long run.
The plastic can break while the aluminum can contract or expand due to frequent use. Most people that go for this option usually install two or more flaps due to their dog’s boisterousness or the weather condition.
Some of these dog doors come pre-installed in the human doors.
Dog Doors Installed In Walls
These are installed to give your dog access only to the rooms you want her in. So the dog doors lead directly to a particular room. These are especially used in houses where the doors lead to a network of rooms.
If the wall is very deep you can create a kind of tunnel. This can turn into a fun activity for your dog; burrowing through the tunnel that is.
Because we are dealing with walls, it is advised that you do not try to DIY a wall installed dog door. The reason is, there are a lot of things that could be going on within the walls.
There could be plumbing networking or electrical installations. You could just burst something or get yourself electrocuted trying to install a door. Just call on a professional.
Dog Doors Installed In Windows
People usually opt for this option if they live in a rented apartment and cannot drill holes through the walls. These doors also give your dog direct entry into specific rooms.
Electronic Dog Doors
Your dog will have to wear a collar with a sensor tag to pass through this door. This means the only animals that can go through the electronic dog doors are yours (if they have the sensor tag).
The electronic dog door will open automatically when a dog bearing the sensor tag comes close to it. This serves to not only give your dog free entrance and exit but to also keep animals that are not yours out.
The electronic doors can also be programmed in such a way that your dogs can only go out and come in at certain times. At other times, they are locked and cannot be open. This is an adaptive safety measure for your dog.
Dog Doors Installed In Sliding Glass Doors
These ones are sold as panels that you can just easily insert in your sliding-glass door. They are quite easy to install and do not require so many tools. Be sure that your door is slightly open before installing the dog door.
Factors To Consider In Picking And Installing The Right Dog Door
Rover.com gives us some of these factors to put into consideration:
Size Of Dog
Consider how big or small your dog is before settling for any dog door. The door should have an allowance of at least two inches length-wise and width-wise. This should be enough to allow your dog pass through without qualms.
The size of your dog should also determine the weight of the door. A small dog cannot push through a heavy door. So purchase appropriately.
Also factor in the tendency of your dog to get bigger especially if she is still a pup. Unless you are comfortable with uninstalling and reinstalling with every growth spurt and weight gain.
Number Of Dogs
If you have more than dog, you factor in both their sizes. The dog you should be thinking about is the bigger one. Because if the door is high enough for the biggest then it will most certainly be low enough for the smallest.
If you have little children there are two options that we see for you. One, you could wait for your kids to grow bearing in mind that your dog is also growing and typically doesn’t live as long as humans.
Or two, you could opt for the electronic dog door. Remember we told you that only your dog can go through because of the sensor tag that should be in his collar. This should be effective enough in keeping your kids in while still allowing your dog free access.
If you live in a place where wild animals co-habit with humans then you have to be particular about your dog door choice. Also look to the electronic dog door for the same reason a person with kids would. Except the door will keep the wild animals out not in.
Of course you’ll have to invest time in teaching your dog how to go through her door. If you have older dogs they could help you show the new dog the rope. The whole point is, your dog has to learn to use her door.
This is especially true for small dogs. Pushing through the door might seem a daunting task for them initially. However, with adequate training, they should get the hang of it and push through the door like they own it (which they actually do).
If your dog is a senior dog, look into installing your door at ground level. This is so that she doesn’t stress herself going through the door. Another option is to create a sort of landing on the other side (the other side being the outside) so that the inside and the outside are on the same level.
After going through this article, we believe that you are well equipped to decide if you need a dog door and to decide how to go about getting one if you do.