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The flap about doggie doors

Safety and energy are two big considerations

Photo © alswart - Fotolia
Not everybody wants to take their pup for a walk in below freezing weather, but your dog still needs to go out. One option that might make it easier on you would be to install a doggie door. The ins and outs of doggie doors can be a little confusing.

Dog doors come in many sizes and shapes just like your dog. In general, dog doors can range from 13 inches by 23 inches on the high end, to 5 inches by 8 inches on the small side. Just like a custom home they can come in different styles and vary greatly from the traditional plastic to even electric doors.

You can install them in different types of materials including wood, steel, French, and glass doors, windows and brick, siding. Your best bet is an energy-efficient construction-grade dog door.

It's really recommended to research the kind of door you want and to see what will fit your dog best. Your vet can also give you good solid advice on things that might be safest for your dog.


If you are still in the puppy stages or you have a dog that exhibits anxiety and chews things as a result. You might want to look into bite-proof doors. These types of doors are usually heavier and will be more energy-efficient.

A sliding glass door insert is the most convenient because it requires neither storm nor screen door to be open for the dog to get access.The only issue with that though is it's not the best for weather that fluctuates since it provides virtually no insulation.

One of the most common styles of doggie doors is the plastic door that has a flap. The problem here lies in the lack of control over when your dog comes in and out of the house. Some of the plastic flap doors do come with another sliding door that will keep heat or cold out and again be much more energy-efficient. You can also lock these sliding doors so that can keep your dog out of trouble or prevent other critters from wandering in.

One more option to examine would be an automatic door. The door opening is activated by a control on the animal’s collar. With electronic doors, the dog’s collar contains a computer chip, ultrasound transmitter, or special magnet that signals the door to unlock. That will be a plus to keep those other pesky critters out.

Visitors have been known to wander in through doggie doors. Raccoons are a favorite, wanting to get out of the cold and see what kind of goodies your trash can may supply for them. As a result some owners choose doors with openings positioned five inches or more over the ground.

Height and width are important. The last thing you want to have to do is get Vaseline to pry your dog out who is stuck in a door. The dog’s measurements, including height from floor to shoulders and width at the widest point of shoulders or hips, should be accurately assessed. A dog door should be a minimum of two inches wider than the animal’s width. Since the dog will duck its head as it passes through the door, the height does not need to be much taller than the dog’s shoulder height.

Like everything else you can get these online. Prices start at $25 and go up from there.

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