We want our pets to enjoy the great outdoors, but that doesn't mean that we want to serve as their personal doormen. Dogs and cats enjoy going outside and back in as they please, and it's nice for them to have access to both the outdoors and indoors even when we aren't around to let them in our out. The easy answer is a pet door. Just like everything else, pet doors have become more advanced with technological developments. Today, there is a huge variety to choose from for all types of homes, and for pets of all shapes and sizes. How do you choose the one that's right for your home?
Assessing Your Outdoor Space
First, it's important to ensure that if you're giving your pet unsupervised access to the outdoors, that outdoor space is safe and secure. When you decide to install the pet door, you need to assess where you're going to install it. These days, pet doors can be placed in sliding glass doors, standard doors, windows, and even walls. Do you have a sliding door leading out to your pet's preferred outdoor space? In that case, you'll want to install a patio pet door that was designed specifically for sliding glass doors. You can control access and there are safety mechanisms built in so that your pet can come into your house whenever he wants, but unwanted trespassers cannot.
Considering Your Pet's Habits and Surroundings
Do you have a baby in the house? Are there often other neighborhood pets or animals (such as raccoons) around your yard? Do you have multiple pets, some that you want using the door and others you do not? In that case, an electronic pet door would be the best choice for your home. These doors are equipped with a sensor and come with "collar keys." You attach a collar key to the pet you want to give access to the outdoors, so other pets, animals, and babies cannot open the door and sneak in or out.
Do you have a less active pet, such as a cat? If weather is not an issue and you often have the door open with a screen in the doorway then you might want a pet door made specifically for screens. These are some of the simplest and easiest to install, but are not generally recommended for dogs, although they can sometimes be found in bigger sizes for dogs.
If weather is an issue, for example if you live in a very cold climate, you want to look for a pet door that has more than one layer for insulation, that completely seals, and that is UV protected. There are doors available that are specifically made for low temperature climates, and that are wind resistant. That way, the heat in your house isn't going out with your pet.
Pet Door Styles
Concerned about the environment? Pet doors today come in such a huge variety that you can even buy a model that is eco-friendly, in case you like to maintain a "green" lifestyle. These doors are made from materials that are completely recyclable and environmentally friendly, so you don't have to feel guilty about your new purchase.
If you want your pet to exit through a window or glass door, guess what? They make pet doors for those places, too. There are a variety of models in several different sizes with different choices of installation methods, depending on your household's specific needs. Clearly you don't want your great Dane climbing in and out of a window, but maybe it's easier to let kitty exit that way rather than cut a hole into your wooden door.
It's also important to consider not just the location of the pet door, but the size and shape of your pet. Some pet doors are short and wide, but most dogs are not short and wide. If you're not sure of what size door you need, you should measure your pet in a standing position from the floor to the top of his shoulder. If you have a cat, generally the small sized doors work just fine. The point is, you want your pet to be able to come and go comfortably, without having to squeeze through a tiny little hole.
With so many choices on the market today, it should be easy to find the door that fits your home and your pet. That way, your best friend can enjoy both the great outdoors and the comfort of home at his own convenience.