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Choosing A Pet Door For Your Dog

A doggy door is the ideal way to give your furry friend the freedom to get into the house or out to the garden as they need. Dogs need the outdoors not only for their loo trips, but for mental stimulation and exercise. Having easy access is vital to their well-being, and because our pets are part of the family, we want the best for them. However, having to open the door for your pup every time they want to come and go can get a bit much - so read on to find out how you can make your life a bit easier!

Before you purchase your doggy door, there are a few things to consider: your pet's size, the area you want to place the door, and the locking mechanism you want for your pet door. You should also take safety into consideration, as the bigger doors can allow animals such as baboons, or even humans, into your home.

Your Dog’s Size 

Our furball companions come in many shapes and sizes, and in order to be sure your dogs will fit through the door, you’ll need their measurements, which can be taken easily with a tape measure, or, lacking that, a ruler. 

With your pet standing up straight, measure the distance from the floor to your pet’s withers - the spot below their neck, in between their shoulder blades. Even small dogs have a tendency to barge through the door and it is important they not hurt their backs or hook their collars each time they go through, and so, you should position the door about three or four centimeters higher than their back requirement, as this will prevent injuring themselves on a too-low door. 

The space between the ground and where your dog door hole begins is called the step over, and this height is important too, as it being too high will cause your pooch to have problems easily using the door as they get older. We recommend the step over height not exceed ⅓ of your dog's height. 

To measure your pets width, you can do two things: get the measurement of their chest, trying to get a straight-as-possible measurement, then, opening a door to that measurement, and calling your pet through. If they’re able to pass through with ease, this width will be the ideal for your pet door. 

Remember that in a multi pet household, all the pets will need to use the door with ease, so take the measurements of your largest and smallest dogs, and then compare the necessary step over to back heights you’ll need. 

The Types Of Doors Available 

A variety of options are available for your needs, and one of the more popular styles is the soft, flexible flap door, which comes in sizes small to extra large. There are also hard flap options with locks available, as well as magnetic collar activated doors. 

Soft Flap Doors 

A door that has a solid aluminium frame and a soft, flexible, tinted flap, this door is an excellent option, and your dogs will be able to enter with ease, and have constant access to the house. This door comes with a panel for improved weather resistance, or to control your pet’s access to the pet door.

2 Way Manual Doors 

This door has a plastic frame and a hard flap which swings open both ways. The lock option allows you to lock your pet in or out of the house, and it comes in a few different sizes and colours.

4 Way Manual Doors 

This door works similarly to the two way door, and can be set to open, closed, exit only, or entrance only. This door is only available for smaller dogs, and comes in clear or frosted options. 

Microchip Doors

The microchip door is a pet parent's dream, with a locking system that can be set to: in and out/ out only/ in only/ completely locked, and has  a program that allows you to lock and unlock the door at specified times. The microchip reader on the door is located on the exterior of the pet door only, which means that any pet will be able to exit, but only the chipped pet will be able to enter. Should your pet not be microchipped, the door does come with an RFID collar tag that can be used.

Where To Install The Dog Door 

Deciding where to install your door will be a personal preference as you’ll need to take into consideration your safety concerns and the suitability of the area and door you wish to install. All doors are able to fit into a standard wooden door, and only some types can fit into glass, brick, metal or uPVC. Please be sure to check which is suitable for your ideal area.

Into A Wooden Door 

Intended to be installed in your home’s exterior door, this dog door has a sturdy plastic frame, a hard flap, and comes in brown, white and silver.

Installing Into A Glass Door or Window 

We’d suggest getting a professional to help you install your doggy door into a glass door or window, and this one is a great option for a stylish home.  These doors are, however, only available in smaller dog sizes, as the hole that is cut for this specific door would have to be round.

Into A Metal Door 

This door can be fitted into a variety of spaces, including metal doors, and the soft flap is tinted. This door has pile weather stripping along the sides of the flap, and a magnetic flap closure to form the weather-resistant seal. A closing panel is included for improved weather-resistance or to control your pet’s access to the pet door.

Into PVC/uPVC Doors

Moulded in durable plastic, this door features a rigid, see-through plastic flap and has a magnetic weather seal. This door installs into uPVC and other materials, and with its 4 way locking system, you and your small dog will be all set!

Into A Brick Wall 

Needing to install a pet door that leads into a garage, utility room, or kitchen isn’t that unusual, and if you don’t have an exterior leading door, the wall will have to do! Since this process involves cutting a hole in a wall and installing a pet door frame, flap and sometimes a tunnel for deeper walls, we recommend you do not attempt this yourself unless you have the right tools and some wall-cutting skills - this is a project best taken on by a carpenter or trusted handyman.


When deciding on a door, you’ll have to measure your pets height and shoulder width to be sure they’ll fit into your preferred door. You can use a ruler or measuring tape to get these measurements, and compare to the sizes in the descriptions of the doors on our website. 

Some doors come in a few different sizes, and you can speak to our knowledgeable vet store or online staff to find out which ones would be best for your sized dog.

While we do recommend using a professional handyman to install the doors, if you’re the handy one in your household, there are some helpful tutorials on the PetSafe YouTube Channel.

  • October 04, 2022
  • Kelly Muller
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