7 Types of Doggy Doors and How to Pick the Right One for Your Pet

Merlisa Lawrence Corbett
Updated January 6, 2022
A PetSafe wall mounted pet door
Photo: Courtesy of PetSafe

So Fido can come and go in style

A doggy door opens up your pet to a world of freedom, and gets you off the hook when it comes to letting them in and out of your home. Doggy doors vary in design, size, and function, so it’s important to think ahead when deciding on the perfect one for your pooch. Here’s what to consider when choosing a doggy door.

What to Consider When Choosing the Best Dog Door

Before getting into the specific types of doggy doors, here are some factors and features to think about.

Size

Start by measuring your dog, cat, bunny, or guinea pig (you get the idea—whichever of your animal friends will use the door). Measure your pet from the top of its shoulders to the ground. Then measure between the two widest points from shoulder to shoulder. Do not measure above the head. Pets tend to bend and crouch to enter small spaces. If you have two pets, take measurements of the largest one.

Safety

A doggy door is sometimes an invitation for would-be burglars, insects, and wild animals. Never mount a pet door near door knobs or levers. Pet doors located in the rear of the house are hidden from neighbors and therefore may be vulnerable to people with nefarious intentions. Address the security risk of pet doors before, during, and after installing a pet door. For added safety, consult a home security expert in your area.

Also, remember your other little friends—kids! Consider any small children who may be tempted to crawl through the pet door. A garage door may seem like an ideal place for a pet door, but you should avoid dog doors on your garage to keep your kiddos safe from harm.

Flaps

Most doggy doors come with flaps. A good flap works for your furry friend while keeping unwelcome critters and natural elements out. Flaps come in single-flaps made of plastic to heavy-duty double and triple vinyl flaps that withstand 50 mph winds. The dual flaps help with insulation and shield the home’s interior from dirt, rain, or snow. However, sometimes it takes dogs a little more time to get used to navigating two or more flaps. Over time, flaps deteriorate.

Noise

Some pet doors make more noise than others. For example, doors that produce a loud clapping sound can startle some dogs. Even some automated doggy doors can produce sounds that you and your pet find annoying. If you’re concerned about the possibility of noise, ask your pro about it.

7 Doggy Door Options for Your Furry (or Scaly) Friends

1. Door-Mounted Pet Doors

The traditional door-mounted rectangular open with flap is what most people imagine at the mention of doggy doors. However, door-mounted pet doors come in different sizes and are made with various materials. Door-mounted doggy doors are easy for your pet to use and are also simple to install, depending on your DIY skills. You can create a hole in the center of a solid flat door or cut out a panel on a door with multiple panels.

2. Wall-Mounted Doggy Doors

Wall-mounted pet doors are installed in an exterior wall and work for those who would rather incorporate the pet door into the home’s exterior siding, stucco, or brick finish. It’s also ideal if you have a fenced area located on the side of the house where there is no exit. Because you are dealing with the home’s structure, including pipes and wiring, a professional door installer should handle wall-mounted pet door installations.

3. Sliding Pet Doors

A PetSafe sliding door for a dog
Photo: Courtesy of PetSafe

Many homes have sliding doors that lead to a patio, backyard or deck. Of course, you’re not going to put a pet door in a sliding door. However, there are pet doors designed to work with sliding door systems. These doggy doors fit into existing sliding-glass door frames, are  inexpensive and easy to install. Sliding glass door pet doors are available in different colors and finishes. They take less than an hour to install.

4. Custom-Made Doggy Doors

A custom-made pet door allows you to address pet size, your home’s interior or exterior design and safety concerns. You may opt for custom-made doggy doors if your pet is overweight or has a disability. By hiring someone who can custom-build, you can use whatever dimensions or specifications you wish. This allows you to seamlessly incorporate a pet door into the home’s decor, such as a doggy door hidden behind a kitchen cabinet door.

5. Smart Pet Doors

A PetSafe microchip cat flap
Photo: Courtesy of PetSafe

Like with anything home-related, doggy doors have high-tech options. This includes a door that can be operated from a SmartPhone app. Some companies, like PetSafe, make microchip pet doors that read a microchip embedded in your pet and open automatically when your pet approaches. Some smart doggy doors slide open, elevator-style, so your pup can pop in without flipping a flap. Smart doggy doors cost more. You can get video monitoring in some systems that cost more than $2,000. More quiet automated doors may work better for smaller dogs who spook easily.

6. French Door Pet Door

French doors are common in traditional architecture, leading to a porch or the back yard. You can preserve the French door decor with a doggy door designed to fit into one of the glass panels. These doors have clear trips and flaps to replicate the design of the French door.

7. Bump-Out Doggy Doors

A doggy door bump-out can be added to the back or side of the house. Consider a bump-out pet door a mini home addition. The doggy door bump-out creates an added barrier between the home and the outside. The bump-out can be 2 by 4 feet; the key is to make it large enough for the pet to turn around but small enough that even a toddler couldn’t enter. Finish the bump-out with siding, brick, or stucco to match the home’s exterior.

Finding the perfect pet door is limited only by your time and budget. Fortunately, pet door options are so plentiful that finding one that fits your preferences is easy.