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Dog doors are essential in ensuring that your furry friends get the freedom and exercise they need without compromising on your home safety. With so many doggie doors out there, choosing the ideal pet door that your dog will easily adapt to, while still considering costs, logistics and safety, can be tricky.

To help you navigate all the options out there, and to help you choose just the right doggie door for you and your pet, here are 7 key things to consider before choosing your dog door.

1. Dog Door Types

There are tons of options out there varying in price, installation ease, location and size, and choosing the right one for your budget and dog type is key. The five main types of doggy doors are:

Storm or flap dog doors

Wall dog doors

Glass insert dog doors

Sliding door cut out dog doors

Lockable door latches

All these dog doors and dog door alternatives vary in ease of installation as well as cost, and choosing between them will depend on budget, location, home security and the types of pets you have.

2. Location, location, location.

One of the first things to consider when deciding where you plan to install a dog door is the material and size, as well as safety. You need a doggie door that is not only easy for your dog to get in and out of but a door that causes minimal hassle and that can be opened and closed at will.

Also, an entry and exit point that your dog is used to may be better than trying to teach an “old dog, new tricks”. A doggie door can be installed into a garage door, sliding door or wall, and choosing the right place is key to installation costs as well as your pet’s comfort. For dogs that are mostly outdoors, opt for a garage pet door to allow for indoor space when it’s cold, while inside dogs may need a door with quick and easy access directly to the garden.

3. Measure your dog and installation location before purchasing your dog door

Once you have decided where you would like to install your dog door, it’s important to make sure that the dog door itself will be comfortable for your dog to use. The best way to do this is to weigh your dog and measure its width at its widest part – around the shoulders, just below the neck, or across the widest part of the head, making sure that the door is not only wide enough to fit, but durable enough to withstand his weight.

Roughly dogs up to 15 pounds only require a small doggy door while dogs up to 99 pounds will need a large or extra-large door, alternatively opt for an adjustable latch, which gives you more flexibility as your pet grows. Once you know the size of doggy door you need, measure the location you have set out to ensure there is enough space to install it.

4. Price and installation costs matter

Price is a very important consideration as some doors, like wall flaps, will cost a lot more to install than a door restrictor or latch. How easy the doggie door is to install is also a budgetary factor, as more complicated doors will require professional installation, which will ultimately add to the costs of the pet door.

5. Temperature and weather considerations

How well a dog door seals from heat or the winter cold is a big consideration. Having a door that allows that winter chill to seep in may result in you needing to lock the door closed overnight. Other temperature considerations to think about is if the door will be subject to direct summer sun, which can warp the plastic and make your pet door less durable and therefore makes the material of your dog door very important. If you’re looking for the best solution for temperate climates, choose a door latch to ensure those summer breezes while offering more open-close flexibility in the winter.

6. One dog door does not fit all

Not only is it important to choose the right doggie door for your current pet, but it’s important to consider if your pet family will be growing in the future. By choosing a dog door that fits your largest pet (or using more flexible options like an adjustable door latch) will ensure that you do not need to re-install as your family grows.

7. Think home safety and home security

While it is important to give your pet freedom, it’s important to remember home safety as well as the safety of your pet. If you are installing your dog door into an existing door, make sure that it’s a door that can be bolted and locked as this will prevent someone from being able to reach up through the door to unlock it.

The size of your dog door also affects your home security, with the larger dog doors allowing for children and small adults to climb through the dog door for easy access to your home. At the same time, pet doors do act as a deterrent, with would-be thieves more apprehensive about entering properties with dogs, ensuring you have a doggie door that can lock and unlock increases home safety tenfold.

As high number of all break-ins are said to be as a result of shared inside information sometimes from contractors, another important safety consideration is the installation team. The simpler the dog door is to install, the less chance there is of needing installation help or, in the case of a lockable door latch, opt for a DIY dog door that requires zero outside installation help.

Whether you choose a door latch for small to medium dogs, such as Labradors, or an extra-large door off the garage for your Bullmastiff, these 7 tips will help you choose the right dog door for you!

When to consider PetLatch as your ideal pet door solution

There are a host of advantages to lockable door latches. They are not only a more cost efficient solution when choosing an alternative to conventional dog doors, but they also offer the most flexibility. PetLatch offers the perfect dog door solution for growing dogs as the gap can be adjusted from puppy to full size (about the size of an adult Labrador). If you are worried about the security implications of getting an installation team in, PetLatch is a DIY home security and dog door solution. It is easy to install and will save you worry, time and money ultimately offering the most inexpensive and less invasive solution to your pet door needs.

If you have any ideas on DIY home security, tips on how to protect your home and prevent home burglaries please send your suggestions to [email protected] and we’ll publish and credit the author.

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