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Five Doggie Door Alternatives For Your Home

July 23, 2020

Giving your best friend the freedom of movement to come and go as they please; to explore their territory; and to spend time outdoors is essential to their mental health and wellbeing. What many don’t realize is the peace of mind it brings to you as an owner. Not having to worry about whether your pup is cooped up in your home, eating your shoes, your couch, your kids toys (or whatever other outlet they find for their frustration). The traditional dog door has always solved this problem – it is a classic design, simple and functional, and it has stood the test of time for that reason. However, there are now doggie door alternatives available and so many factors to consider that the classic may not be the best fit for your home anymore.

Before you go choosing a doggie door or getting a custom dog door made, you need to figure out what your exact needs are. There are many factors to consider but for us the most important are the size of your dog, the location of your doggie door, affordability and last, but not least, security. In this article we will be looking at six doggie door alternatives and how they answer these fundamental considerations. Let’s first take a look at the criteria:

Size of Dog

Of these, the size of your dog is the most obviously important. You need to consider the size of your puppy but more importantly also the size it will be when full grown, otherwise you will find yourself having to upgrade your doggie door as your pup grows. Here we will be looking at how scalable or customizable solutions are.

Location in Your Home

Training your pet to use a dog door can be challenging and one of the easiest ways to help is to put the access point at your dogs preferred entry and exit point. This point is about ease of installation and how adaptable it is to your home, and your pet’s needs.

Affordability

Price is always an important consideration and when it comes to a dog door, or doggie door alternative, it isn’t just the price of the door itself. You need to factor in installation costs, whether you need a custom one built and even the long term costs of permanently altering a part of your home.

Security

Perhaps the most important factor is security. You want to give your pet access to the outside world, not give the outside world access to your home. For this criterion we will look at whether the doggie door solution takes this important concern into account.

THE CLASSIC DOGGIE DOOR

Before we look at doggie door alternatives, let’s take a look at the original. Dog doors are highly functional but they are not without their issues. When it comes to the size of your pet there are a wide range of options available but they offer very little adjustability. That means you’re stuck with one size until you need to upgrade, unless you get one of the models with an adjustable latch. Installation complexity varies greatly from model to model and door to door and so do the costs, hiring a professional to install a high end model in an expensive door and you will be looking at a hefty bill. Finally, security is largely dependent on the size of the doggie door. For larger dogs it becomes an access point into your house for home invaders, while smaller doggie doors pose less of a risk.

Our Score Out of 4:

dog door scoring

MAGNETIC MESH DOORS

Magnetic Meshes offer some additional benefits not offered by traditional doggie doors. These types of products can be opened by your dog pushing through and then use magnets to automatically close behind. It’s a simple solution with a few clear advantages. Firstly, they are suitable for just about any size dog. They are also super easy to install and can be fit over most doorways. They are also relatively affordable and you can pick one up for about $20. In warmer parts of the country they allow for airflow during the summer, but this might be a problem for colder states. The open to the elements nature of the design also has implications for security. If your dog can walk through, so can an intruder or home invader.

Our Score Out of 4:

mechanic mesh door scoring

PATIO PANEL DOORS

One solution for those of you who need to provide access for your pet through a patio door or sliding door are Patio Panel Doors. They don’t require you to replace your door or window, instead they fit onto the rails and fix in place creating a new panel in your patio door. The original sliding door now closes against this panel. This option ticks two of our boxes: it is very secure and it is also much easier to install than a traditional doggie door. The flip side is that it is not the most cost effective solution with certain models costing you upwards of $145 and models for larger dogs can cost almost $400.

Our Score Out of 4:

patio panel door scoring

GLASS INSERTS

Installing a pet door into a glass door is almost always going to require the help of a professional. You will need know how and have access to equipment for cutting glass. One clever way to solve the problem is to buy the glass pane with the pet door already installed. The good news is that because they can be made to order they can be made to fit your pooch. Installation is as easy as installing a window and they offer relatively good security. However, all of this comes at a price with some costing up to $800.

Our Score Out of 4:

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LOCKABLE LATCHES

Our final solution comes in the form of lockable door latches. These ingenious devices are very versatile and easy to install on any door. They allow you to leave your door or window open but still locked.  A LockLatch fits any window or door, whichever way it opens and fits all aluminum, steel, PVC and wooden windows and doors with an adjustable gap to suit your specific needs.  They aren’t as cheap as mesh solutions but the up side is they don’t need professional installation or for you to permanently damage your door or window, making it a great option if you’re renting.

Our Score Out of 4:

LockLatch scoring

We hope you’ve found this short guide to doggie door alternatives informative. Each solution presented here has points for it and against it, and ultimately the choice you make will depend on your needs and the needs of your best friend!

For more on pet doors:

Your Guide to Buying the Right Cat Door for You

Uses of a LockLatch

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