For those of us with canine companions that are often left alone during the day, or perhaps just like to explore on their own at times, the doggie door, or even a doggie house, can be the perfect solution. But before running out to purchase a door for your four-legged family member, there are a few things you should know.
Pet Doors Installed in an Existing Door
The most common type of dog door is a metal or plastic frame that fits into an existing door of your home. They come in all sizes, so whether you have a Chihuahua or a Great Dane, there is sure to be a doggie door that's right for your pet. Dog doors come in many different styles, and with varying price tags, as well. Keep in mind the cost of labor of installing the dog door into your existing door, which requires removing the door from its frame and then sawing a hole into the door itself. And for those of us who rent our homes, cutting into a landlord's door may not be the best idea. Fortunately, there are other alternatives.
Patio Panel Doors As a Dog Door
Patio panel doors have become very common in recent years, due to the fact that they slide right into the track of your existing sliding glass door. They can be a great alternative to the traditional dog door, provided you have sliding glass doors in the first place. The panels, which again vary by size depending on the weight and height of your dog, fit next to the sliding door, allowing people a slightly narrower entrance and exit. Patio panel doors are more expensive than regular dog doors, but they certainly save time and prevent destruction to your home.
Wall-through Doors, Screen Dog Doors, and Storm Doors
Another type of dog door is the wall-through door, which actually goes through your wall instead of through a door. However, these are also costly and are even more difficult to install than the traditional doggie door.
Screen doggie doors are one of the cheapest alternatives, as they simply require cutting a hole into a screen door and installing a dog door. However, they lack the security of a standard door, and they can't keep out the bad weather.
Storm doors are typical in areas that are prone to bad weather, and can be purchased with dog doors already installed in them. They fit onto the outside of a normal door (like a screen) and are usually thick metal. They are quite expensive though.
Finding the Right Dog Door for Your Dog
It is important to know what size door to get for your dog before purchasing. Doors are usually described as small, medium, large, and extra-large, indicated by the weight of your dog, but height is also important. A measurement should be made from the floor to the lowest part of your dog's chest. This measurement will indicate where the bottom of the dog door should be. Dog doors can be purchased online and at home and hardware stores.
There is also the issue of teaching your dog how to use his new door. Some dogs may catch on right away, but for slightly slower dogs, it is helpful to remove the flap for a few days. That way your dog can see in and out, and will know that the dog door is there. Stand on one side of the door and call your dog through, rewarding him with a treat each time. Soon enough, your dog will be coming and going with ease, giving you both the freedom you deserve.