Dog doors can be a great way to provide your pup with more freedom. It's vital to get a high-quality door that's secure, easy to install and energy-efficient though. Here's our guide to the best dog doors to help you make the right choice for your home.
If you're in a hurry, my top pick for a dog door is the Perfect Pet All-Weather. It's a durable and energy efficient pet door that's built to last. It also has a two-flap design, which creates an air pocket to insulate your home from outdoor temperatures. The Perfect Pet is available in a range of sizes, including an extra-large option for big dog breeds.
Are you sick of getting up during your favourite TV show to let your dog out? Or are you fed up with waking up at 6am on a Saturday because your pup needs the toilet?
If so, a dog door could be a great purchase. They give your dog much more freedom, so he can go outside whenever he wants (at least when you don't lock the door). Dog doors are also more convenient for you, as you won't need to let him outside throughout the day.
Before you rush out and buy a dog door though, it's vital to make the right choice. While a high-quality dog door can be a convenient addition to your home, a low-quality option can increase your energy bills and reduce your home's security.
With that in mind, I've put together a list of the best dog doors. Each of the options on this list provides great value for money, security and energy efficiency.
I've also included a range of door types, such as electronic, doors for sliding glass doors and those that are suitable for cold weather. I recommend reading each mini dog door review thoroughly, as I've included tips on who should buy each door.
Before we get to the recommendations though, what are the advantages of a dog door? And are there any drawbacks you need to be aware of before you buy?
Installing a dog door can seem an extreme step to some dog owners, which is why many overlook them. But there are a number of advantages to doing so. These include:
Installing a dog door into an existing door also usually isn't difficult. You'll need some basic tools (such as a jigsaw and screwdriver), but most doors come with clear instructions and are designed to be installed by anyone - even if you don't have much DIY experience. Installing a door in a wall or glass panel is more difficult, however, so you might need a professional for this.
There are some downsides to installing a pet door though. A poor-quality door may allow cold or hot air to enter the home. Some doors may also be a security hazard. This is why it's important to get one of the best dog doors to avoid these issues.
Providing your dog with continuous outdoor access also isn't a good idea for all dogs.
If your dog tends to bark at the slightest noise, for example, he might drive your neighbours mad if he's allowed in the garden all day. He'll also have the freedom to tread muddy paws through your home every time he goes outside.
Even so, if muddy paws aren't an issue and your dog isn't a "barker," a high-quality pet door can be a great choice. They are more convenient for both you and your pet - plus they are relatively cheap to buy and install.
Now we've established why a dog door can be a good idea, let's talk about how to choose the best option.
Unlike most dog products, a dog door (at least ones in walls or standard doors) requires installation, so it's important to get it right the first time. The wrong door can compromise the security and insulation of your home, so you don't want to rush into a decision.
To help you make the right choice, here are some essential considerations when choosing a new dog door.
One of the most important things is to get a dog door that's the right size for your dog. The size doesn't need to be perfect, but it should provide ample room for your dog to pass through without being so big that it's hard for him to open. Here's a quick guide to choosing the right dog door size:
The goal is to buy a dog door that's big enough for your pet to fit through comfortably, but that's not larger than it needs to be. This is because larger doors are more likely to need advanced features, such as a sensor opening system.
You also need to consider any additional requirements your pet might have. Dogs with arthritis or other injuries will struggle with a high step when using the door. In this situation, you might want to get a bigger door so they can get through more comfortably.
Most dog doors are designed to be installed in a "regular" door, but you can also buy doors for exterior walls (these are often "telescopic" to adjust to the wall width), sliding glass doors and windows.
In most cases, you'll already know which is the right option. It's still important to consider the type though. In-wall dog doors, for example, are becoming increasingly popular - but they require you to cut a hole in the wall which may need a professional. If you're unwilling to create a hole, dog doors that fit into sliding glass doors or windows are probably the best option.
There are two broad categories of dog door: manual and electronic.
Manual dog doors are usually built with metal or plastic frames. They have a simple flap opening system, although many come with multiple flaps for greater insulation. When your dog wants to go through the door, he just needs to push through the flaps.
Manual doors are simple and inexpensive. They often come with locks, but you need to manually activate them when you want to stop your dog (or other animal) going in and out of the house.
Electronic dog doors are more expensive, but they have a flap that either opens or unlocks automatically when a dog with the smart key is near. Some come with a separate smart key that can be attached to the collar, while others use your dog's existing microchip.
One of the advantages of electric dog doors is they allow for greater control over which animals enter your home and when. Some of the best electric dog doors also allow you to set "curfew" times, so the door automatically locks at times when you don't want your dog to go outside. The downside is that electric doors have more moving parts, to they are more likely to break over time.
Cutting a hole in your door might not sound like a good idea when it comes to home security! Fortunately, there are steps you can take to maintain security while providing your dog with the freedom to go outside.
Firstly, the majority of dog doors are too small for a human to fit through. While there are exceptions, the most important thing is to make sure someone can't put their hand through the flap and find a key.
Security isn't just about humans though. It you have children, you may need to be able to lock the dog door to prevent them getting outside unattended. This is especially important if you have a pool, stairs or unenclosed garden. You'll also want to prevent the local wildlife, such as raccoons and squirrels, from entering!
For these reasons, dog doors come with a range of security features. Some are just a simple flap, so they don't have any locking mechanism. Others have locks or sliding panels. As I mentioned earlier, the best electronic dog doors only open when an animal wearing the unlocking collar tries to enter.
One of the biggest concerns pet owners have about getting a dog door is increased energy costs. It's true that a poorly installed or energy inefficient door can allow more cold air into the home and rack up a higher energy bill.
This isn't the whole story though. In fact, an insulated dog door that's correctly installed can save money. This is because you won't need to open a large door multiple times throughout the day.
There are several factors that affect the energy efficiency of a home. The most important is that the door is properly fitted, as extra space around the door that's filled with wood or other materials is going to allow plenty of energy to escape.
Multiple insulated flaps also increase energy efficiency. This is because an "air pocket" is created between the outdoors and your home. The larger the air pocket, the greater insulation it provides. The downside to multiple flaps is that some dogs may find it difficult to push through - at least until they get the hang of it. For this reason, you may need to tie up one of the flaps when you first get the door so your dog gets used to going in and out, before letting the other flap down at a later date.
Some doors also come with extra features to improve energy efficiency. These include magnetic flaps, which prevent the flap staying open, and self-sealing edges. Doors with a lock can also be useful for preventing wasted energy.
It's vital that the flap of a pet door seals tightly against outdoor weather conditions. It also shouldn't warp over time, as this creates gaps for air to enter or escape.
If you're renting a house, your landlord may not be happy with you cutting a hole in your back door. This is understandable, although holes can always be fixed and some landlords will understand why installing a dog door is important.
Even so, many landlords won't allow you to install a pet door. In this situation, a dog door for a sliding glass door can be useful alternative, as they don't require you to make a hole in a door. Pet doors for sash windows are also an option, although these are better suited to cats.
Another option is to buy a cheap door and put your existing door in a safe storage location. You can then cut a hole in the cheaper door, but re-hang your landlord's one when you move out.
Now you know how to choose a dog door, here are 10 of the best options. Make sure you read each mini-review thoroughly, as the right door for your home depends on your requirements.
|Image||Name||Type||Width Range||Price||View Price|
|#1||Perfect Pet All-Weather||Manual||5" - 15"||$$$$||View Price|
|#2||PetSafe Wall Entry Aluminium||Manual||5 1/4" - 10 3/8"||$$$||View Price|
|#3||SureFlap Microchip||Electronic||7" (one size only)||$$$$||View Price|
|#4||PetSafe Freedom Aluminium||Manual||Range depending on height of patio door||$$$$||View Price|
|#5||BarksBar Original Plastic||Manual||7" - 10.5"||$$||View Price|
|#6||High Tech Pet Power Pet||Electronic||8 1/4" - 12 1/4"||$$$$$||View Price|
|#7||Patio Pacific Endura Flap||Manual||6" - 12"||$$$$$||View Price|
One of the best all-round dog doors is the Perfect Pet All-Weather. It's an insulated door that's designed to be energy efficient, so it won't eat up your energy budget. It's also a durable door that's available in a range of sizes.
What makes the All-Weather stand out from the rest though? Firstly, it's built with structural foam-moulded plastic. This increases the energy efficiency of the door compared to other materials and helps reduce your energy bill.
The door also has double vinyl flaps, which creates an insulating air pocket of up to 3" for door installations. Each flap has a magnetic strip so they seal more effectively. While this is great for preventing cold or hot air entering the home, shy or wary dogs may need some positive reinforcement training to feel comfortable pushing through both vinyl doors.
Aside from its insulated design, the All-Weather has an adjustable frame thickness (ranging from 3/4" to 1 3/4"). The internal side has a sliding panel which locks into place, which is great for extra security or when you don't want your dog to go outside. You can also buy a wall kit and extra weather proofing should you need them.
A bonus is the Perfect Pet is one of the best dog doors for large breeds. The extra-large size has a huge flap of 15" x 23.5", which is considerably bigger than most doors. If you need a dog door for a Great Dane or German Shepherd, it's my top pick (although make sure you measure your pet to get the right size).
While the Perfect Pet is great for providing an insulated door for your pet, it doesn't prevent other animals such as squirrels or raccoons getting through. This is especially likely for the medium-size and above. So, if you have raccoons in the local area, you may want to look for an electronic door.
Quick Summary: If you need a weatherproof and insulated manual dog door, the Perfect Pet All-Weather is a great choice. It's durable, available in a range of sizes and provides excellent insulation in both cold and hot weather. The larger sizes are big enough for raccoons to enter, however, so if these are found in your local area you may need an electronic door. Even so, it's my #1 pick for the best dog door at the moment.
If you're looking for the best dog door for a wall then the PetSafe Wall Entry is my top pick. It's an aluminium door with great insulation and a sliding panel, along with a telescoping tunnel for easier wall installation.
Unlike many dog doors, the PetSafe is designed to make wall installation as simple as possible. Detailed instructions are included, along with a template for cutting and some of the hardware you'll need. I still recommend getting a professional to install a wall door unless you have some carpentry knowledge though, but the PetSafe is simpler than many alternatives.
The telescoping design also means it can be installed in a range of exterior and interior walls with a thickness between 4 3/4" - 7 1/4".
Like the Perfect Pet, the door has a double flap design. This creates an air pocket for extra insulation. The internal sliding panel can be closed for extra protection from the elements - and you can buy a separate second slider for the external side. There are also magnetic strips at the bottom of the flaps.
While the Petsafe is one of the best dog doors for walls, it's not perfect. The tunnel is relatively flimsy, so if it's extended you may need to add extra support underneath. Also, while the two flap design and magnetic strips are great for insulation, some dogs may need some time to get used to them.
Quick Summary: The PetSafe Wall Entry is probably the best wall dog door on the market - at least in its price range. It's durable (aside from the bottom of the tunnel), has a telescopic design and a dual-flap for greater insulation. The bottom of the tunnel is weak though, so you might need to support it with bricks or wood if your dog is heavy.
If you want a dog door that allows your pet (or pets) through but keeps out everything else, then the SureFlap MicroChip is a great choice - at least for small dog breeds.
The SureFlap dog door uses either your pet's microchip or an RFID collar tag (which comes with the door) to keep unwanted animals out of your home. SureFlap claims it's compatible with any microchip format, so if your dog already has a chip you should be able to grant him access. You can also store multiple microchip IDs, which is great if you've got more than one dog or cat in the house.
It's important to understand how the newer SureFlap dog door works. Previous models were designed to keep unwanted animals out of your home, so the scanner looked for an "allowed" ID on the outside. This meant any dog or cat could exit the house, but only ones with the right ID chips could come back in.
The newer model has various options for locking indoor and outdoor directions, which is useful if you want to restrict your pet's access to the outside. It still only scans the outside though. This is fine if you just want your pets to have more freedom without strays or raccoons getting in, but means you can't allow certain pets to go outside while keeping others inside.
A useful feature of this dog door is the "Curfew" mode. This allows you to program the door to unlock at certain times, which is great for keeping your pup inside at night. Your dog can still come inside (so he doesn't get locked out) during curfew hours, but he can't go back out again.
In its basic form, the SureFlap is only suitable for door installations. You can buy a separate tunnel extender for wall installation, although this adds to the total cost of the device. There's also a mounting adaptor if you want to install it in a glass window, although this is usually only for cats.
One of the great things about electric pet doors is that they can keep raccoons and other wildlife out of your home. In fact, SureFlap tested the door on raccoons and they weren't able to get through.
The biggest drawback of the SureFlap is that it's only suitable for small dog breeds. The flap size is just 7" x 6.69" and there's only one size available. If you need an electric dog door for a bigger dog, check out the High Tech Pet. It's also not as energy efficient as some of the other dog doors on this list, as there is only a single flap (although it's held in place firmly by magnets).
Quick Summary: If you need an electronic dog door for a small dog and, crucially, don't have other pets which aren't allowed outside, the SureFlap Microchip is a great choice. It's a convenient door with a curfew mode and ability to scan existing microchips. The SureFlap is also much cheaper than more advanced electric dog doors.
If you want to avoid cutting a hole in your wall or door, a dog door for a sliding patio door is a great alternative. One of the best on the market is the PetSafe Freedom, as it easily slides into the door track without requiring any cutting. It's also available in a range of sizes and colours to match your interior decor.
The Freedom is made with an aluminium frame, so it's weather resistant. It comes with extra weather stripping and a slide-in panel for when you want to completely close the dog door. The glass is also designed to be shatter-resistant.
Patio dog doors, like the Petsafe, are particularly good if you're renting your home. It's completely temporary, so you can remove it at any time, and it's still possible to lock the patio door as long as it's properly installed. You can also take the door with you if you move house.
Installation is relatively straightforward as the instructions are clear. There's also a video on YouTube if you need extra guidance. Getting everything aligned so the existing door can lock against the Freedom might take a bit of time though, as the lock needs to be flush before it's mounted.
There are several size options available. The first option is the size of the pet door, so make sure you choose a flap that's suitable for your pet but not unnecessarily big. There's also two height options depending on the size of your sliding door, along with three colours (satin, white and bronze).
One thing to note about the PetSafe Freedom dog door is that it has a single pane design. This doesn't provide the same insulation as double pane windows. It does have a magnetic strip at the bottom of the flap to secure it in place though.
Quick Summary: The PetSafe Freedom is one of the best dog doors for sliding glass doors. It's easy to install, comes in a range of sizes and can be removed at any time. If you don't want to cut a hole in your door or wall, this is probably the best alternative.
If you need a dog door for a medium-size dog, then the BarksBar Original could be a great option. It's designed for pets up to 100lbs, with the larger version coming with a 10.5" x 15" flap. The Barksbar is also a durable option that's chew-proof - so it's great for destructive dogs.
Like most of the best dog doors, the BarksBar features a telescopic frame with an easy-to-install design (the company estimates installation takes around 25 minutes). It's made with strong plastic and aluminium lining - plus there's a self-locking panel for extra weather protection or to prevent other animals getting in at night.
One of the best features of the BarksBar is the price. It's considerably cheaper than many other doggie doors, yet has a durable design and high-quality construction. If you're looking for the best dog door on a budget, it's my top recommendation.
A downside to the Barksbar dog door is that it only has a single vinyl flap. This won't warp in extreme weather conditions and there is a magnetic closure strip to stop it blowing open, but the lack of a second flap means there's no air pocket for extra insulation. It's also not suitable for the largest dog breeds. If your dog is too big for it, check out the Perfect Pet All-Weather instead.
Quick Summary: The BarksBar is an excellent dog door - especially considering the low price. If you want a simple manual door that's also highly durable, it's a great choice. The lack of a two-flap design means it's not as insulated as more expensive options though.
If you need an electronic dog door with more features than the cheaper SureFlap, the High Tech Pet Power is a fantastic option. It's a pricey dog door, but comes with a range of useful settings and is available in a larger size than the SureFlap.
Like other electronic pet doors, the High Tech uses an ID collar (ultrasonic) to allow access to your pets but not unwanted guests. Unlike other doors, however, the panel moves upward rather than just unlocking. This is great if your pet doesn't like pushing through a panel and also means the door stays tightly sealed.
A common problem with electronic doors is that they open when a dog is just walking past. For this reason, the High Tech has a directional system, which means it will only open when your dog walks directly towards the door - it won't let in cold air when he's just strolling by.
One of the great features of the High Tech is that it has 4-way access control. This allows you to decide whether to allow your dog full access, in only, out only, or for the door to be completely locked. You can also adjust the range of activation for both outside and inside separately.
As you would expect from such an expensive product, the door is designed to be durable. The panel is made from bulletproof resin, so it won't warp or crack in extreme weather. It also has an airtight seal to reduce energy loss.
There are a few drawbacks to this door though. The biggest is the price - especially compared to alternatives such as the SureFlap. I also don't like that you can only use High Tech's batteries, which cost considerably more than generic alternatives.
Another issue is that it doesn't feel like a premium device. Both the "fob" and overall construction of the door feel flimsy, which you don't expect from such an expensive product. It's still relatively durable though - and is great for keeping out raccoons or other wildlife without restricting your dog.
Despite these drawbacks, it's difficult to find another electronic dog door with the same range of features as the High Tech Pet Power. It's not perfect - and is certainly expensive - but might be worth the money if you need an electric door.
Quick Summary: The Power Pet is expensive, but it comes with a number of features not found on other electric dog doors. These include directional scanning, four-way control and an automatically sliding door. It's not perfect though - especially as you need to buy the company's batteries which are pricey.
If you need an energy efficient and sturdy dog door for a wall, the Patio Pacific Endura Flap is one of the best options. It's an insulated door with a dual flap design (although a single flap version is available) for maximum energy efficiency. The Endura isn't cheap, but it's a durable product that's great for larger breeds.
What makes the Endura Flap more durable than other products though? Firstly, it has a locking cover with the strength of a thin sheet of steel. This is great for extra security or weather protection. It's also built with a tough all-weather flap and aluminium framing for added durability.
The main selling point of the Endura dog door is the energy efficiency. Patio Pacific claims it's the most energy efficient wall mounted door on the market, mainly due to the flap and wind-resistant design. It's also available in a range of sizes, including extra-large for bigger breeds.
As you would expect from such a well-built dog door, the Endura Flap isn't cheap. In fact, it's one of the most expensive single doors on the market. Even so, the quality construction and durable design mean that it's built to last, so if you have the budget it's an option to consider. It's also the best dog door for cold weather if you need a wall installation.
Quick Summary: The Patio Pacific Endura Flap is a popular dog door for walls - and for good reason. It's durable, highly energy efficient and suitable for walls up to 8" thick. The double flap version, in particular, is fantastic if you live in regions with harsh weather. It's not cheap though!
If you have a single dog in a temperate environment, choosing a dog door is relatively simple. But what if you have multiple pets of different sizes? Or if your local area is infested by raccoons that you need to keep outside? Here are some tips for buying the right door for specific situations.
Installing a dog door in a regular door is usually straightforward. The best dog doors have clear and simple instruction manuals and include most of the tools you'll need. Take your time when installing a door though - incorrect installation can reduce energy efficiency and security.
Here are some additional tips for installing a dog door:
For installing dog doors in glass panels or through walls, however, I recommend hiring a professional. Wall installations are much harder than doors - especially as you need to check there are no electrical wires or pipes in the way.
Installing a dog door can be a great way to provide your pet with more freedom. It also means you won't need to let him out as often, which is useful if he likes to go out early in the morning or during your favourite TV shows!
It's important to get a high-quality door though. My top recommendation for an insulated door is the Perfect Pet All-Weather. It's a durable model with a dual-flap design, magnetic strips and excellent insulation. If you need an electric door, the SureFlap is a great choice - but only for small breeds.
I hope this article helps you find the best dog door for your home. If you have any questions or comments, please let me know using the form below.