If you’re lucky enough to share your home with Man’s Best Friend, a dog door is a great buy. Give your pooch the freedom to come and go as he pleases, and you’ll benefit too. Enjoy a lie-in undisturbed, and enjoy day trips away from home without worrying that Rover will be caught short!
But with lots of different models on the market, you may find choosing the right product a challenge. Fortunately, we’re here to help! Read on for our low-down of the ten best dog doors out there. Then check out our buying guide to match their features to your pet’s needs.
However big or small your dog, this plastic pet door from PetSafe has an option to suit.
There’s a choice of four different sizes. The small model will be perfect for toy dogs like chihuahuas, or any animal up to 15 pounds. There are medium and large options, suitable for dogs up to 40 pounds and 100 pounds respectively. And the extra-large will accommodate pooches up to a whopping 220 pounds.
The frame here is plastic, so it’s lighter weight than some other options on our list. It will be best for households with just one dog.
If you’re looking for something to blend in with your paintwork, it’s a good choice. The frame is paintable, so you’ll be able to decorate it to match your door.
It’s shallower than some models out there. But as long as your door is between 1 1/16th-inches and 1 ¾-inches deep, this will work perfectly well.
The opening area is made of soft vinyl, so it’s comfortable for your pet. It also means that it’s easy for them to push through, making it a good option for older animals. And you needn’t worry about it letting in cold drafts. A magnetic catch at the bottom will keep it securely closed when not in use.
Soft vinyl flap is easy and comfortable for pets
Range of sizes to suit small and large dogs
Paintable frame to blend in with your door
Lighter weight frame won’t be suitable for heavy use
If you want to give your dog the freedom to use your patio doors, this design from PetSafe is perfect. And you won’t need to do any cutting at all, making it a great choice for anyone renting their home.
The opening section comes in a choice of five different sizes. To find the right one, measure your pooch’s height to their shoulders, and then the width across their chest. The manufacturer’s chart will help you match the measurements to the right model.
The design includes a panel that’s the full height of your patio door. The opening section is at the bottom. Once it’s installed, your patio doors will stay partly open, with the dog door filling the rest of the space.
If you’re worried about what that means for security, the panel does include its own lock. It’s not particularly robust though. And if the panel isn’t completely flush with the door, it won’t work at all.
There’s a choice of panel heights to make sure you can get a perfect fit. A shorter option is available for doors where the distance between the inside upper and lower tracks is between 75 7/8th-inch and 80 11/16th-inch. A taller option will fit heights between 91 7/16th-inch and 96 inches.
The threshold of the door is low to the ground. For dogs that aren’t as sprightly as they once were, it will still be easy to use.
Installation is fairly simple. You may, though, need to make some tweaks to improve insulation. If you live in an area where there are hard winters, there are better options out there.
You can install this without needing to cut your door
Range of sizes for dogs of different heights and builds
3. Extreme Performance Locking Rugged Aluminum Dog Door
This dog door from Extreme Performance is one of the priciest options on our list. But if you don’t mind splashing the cash, you’ll be getting a high quality and resilient entrance for your pooch.
This is another design that’s available in a range of different sizes. Four options, from small to extra-large, will cater to dogs up to 220 pounds in weight.
To make sure you’re choosing the right size, measure the height and breadth of your dog. The height here is the distance between the ground and your pet’s shoulders. Breadth is measured across the chest. Then use the manufacturer’s chart to identify which size you need.
The frame is made from aluminum, so it’s considerably stronger than plastic versions. If you’ve got more than one pet using the door, it will stand up better to wear and tear.
The opening flap is made of polyurethane, with a clear window so pets can see out. The material is, however, quite thick and heavy. Lighter dogs may struggle to open it.
Magnetic strips hold it in place once they’re through, preventing drafts and debris getting inside your home. And if you want extra protection from the elements, you can opt for a double flap version.
When you want to prevent Fido getting out, there’s a security panel which slides into place. This includes two locks, one on either side, to keep your door secure.
We’ve heard varying reports of how easy people have found installation. If you’re not the most confident DIYer, you may prefer a different option.
This dog door from Ideal Pet Products is competitively priced for a product with an aluminum frame.
It’s available in small, medium, extra large and super large, suiting dogs up to 120 pounds. Measure your pet’s width across its chest and height up to its shoulders to find the correct size.
The aluminum frame will fit into doors between ½ and 1 ¾ -inches deep.
The opening flap is made from clear vinyl, so your dog can survey his territory before venturing outside. The edges have a patented design to withstand extreme cold, and they’ll stand up to heavy use too. For households in locations with harsh winters, or with lots of pets, this one should make the shortlist.
Beware, though, that as with any door that’s designed to open in both directions, this isn’t entirely weatherproof. You will get a draft at the edges where the flaps curl up.
There’s a secure slide-in panel to lock the opener when you need to. This is made of plastic, but it’s still pretty robust.
Installation isn’t too difficult, but note that the template provided is made of thin paper. That means it’s liable to move around as it’s used. It’s best to remove your (human-sized) door before marking up. But if you can’t face doing that, take your time – and if the template moves, be prepared to start again.
Sturdy aluminum frame
Clear vinyl flap allows your pet to see out and in
Flap has patented edges to avoid damage in cold temperatures
Lets in a draft at the corners
The template for installation is made of thin paper – take your time to avoid mistakes.
5. BarksBar Original Plastic Dog Door with Aluminum Lining
For those seeking a cost-effective dog door that’s easy to install, this one from BarksBar is well worth a look.
The frame is made of thermodynamic plastic, tough enough to withstand plenty of use. It’s surrounded by a silver trim, which gives it a smart finish.
The flaps are made of vinyl, so they’re soft and comfortable against your pet’s head and body. They’re reasonably sturdy, and they won’t warp, even in extreme temperatures.
They are, however, the most likely part of the door to show signs of wear over time. If they get heavy use, it’s not uncommon to see splits in a year or so.
The flap has a magnetic strip at the bottom to keep it in place. It’s not the most durable though: the magnet tends to fall off over time.
The good news is that if you face problems with splits or disappearing magnets, replacement flaps are available. They’re also inexpensive – about the same price as a couple of cups of artisan coffee. So even if you do need to replace them, this remains a very economical dog door.
The BarksBar comes in a choice of two different sizes, medium and large. The medium is suitable for dogs up to 40 pounds, while the large caters to dogs up to 100 pounds. Both come with a slide-in panel with two locks to keep the door secure when not in use.
But perhaps the best thing about this dog door is how easy it is to install. The template here is made of cardboard, which makes it much easier to use than paper versions. Expect the whole job to take about 25 minutes.
6. PERFECT PET All-Weather Energy Efficient Dog Door
If you’re looking for a dog door that can cope with extreme temperatures, check out this one from Perfect Pet.
It uses dual flaps to help keep your home insulated. An air pocket between the two flaps prevents heat from being lost outside in cold weather. If your dog door gets heavy use, you’ll notice the difference it makes to internal temperatures.
Some pooches do, though, need a little practice to get used to the dual flaps! You may find you need to remove one flap until he or she is used to using it.
It comes in four different sizes. The smallest will suit pets up to 12 pounds, while the largest will work for dogs up to 120 pounds.
The flaps are made of soft vinyl. You won’t have to worry about injuries if your dog launches through them at the speed of light! And they’re transparent, so Rover can scout the garden before he heads out.
There’s a sliding panel to keep the door secure. It’s held in place by a latch, which you’ll need to hold down before sliding it back up again.
The design protects it from tampering by anyone outside, but it isn’t the most robust. It will be fine for stopping toddlers getting out, but it won’t stop a determined trespasser.
Dual flap design offers great insulation
Choice of four sizes for dogs of all builds
Soft vinyl flaps for comfortable use
Some dogs may take a while to get used to the dual flaps
This design from PetSafe is another model that aims to insulate your home from extreme weather. It will work equally well with storm, PVC, metal and wooden doors.
Here, there are no fewer than three flaps to keep the elements at bay. These are adjustable and flexible, and come with magnetic seals for a secure fit. If you’re fed up of drafts coming through your dog door, this is a great option.
The frame here is made of metal, so it’s very robust. The corners are reinforced with aluminum too, for improved longevity. This is a dog door that’s well suited to households with multiple dogs.
It comes in four different sizes, accommodating pets up to 220 pounds.
There are just a couple of downsides here.
The first is the price. You’re getting high-quality construction, but you will need deep pockets to pay for it.
The second issue is that the middle layer is made of foam, and it’s opaque. That means that your dog won’t be able to see outside before using the door. Some pets may take a while to get used to it as a result.
If you have a larger dog and are anxious about the security compromises that come with dog doors – read on. This great design from High Tech Pet ensures the door opens only when your pet approaches.
It achieves this by using a collar that your place around your dog’s neck. The collar sends a signal to the door so that it slides open when your dog comes near. At all other times, it’s securely shut with an automatic deadbolt.
You can adjust the sensitivity of the sensor too. If your dog likes dozing just outside the door, you can set the sensor to require closer proximity. Rover can doze away without your door opening and shutting every five minutes.
This is a brilliant idea, but there are a couple of shortcomings in the execution it’s worth being aware of.
The first is that the collar isn’t that robust. Expect to need to replace it from time to time.
The second is that the motor that slides the door up and down is on the noisy side. If your dog likes coming and going at night, you may find it disturbs you.
You can, however, set the door to let your pet in only, out only, go both ways. And if you want peace and quiet at night, you can close and lock it.
Very secure – locks automatically except when activated by your pet’s collar
9. Ideal Pet Products Ruff-Weather Pet Door with Telescoping Frame
Ideal Pet Products’ Ruff-Weather Pet Door comes in four sizes for pets up to 120 pounds.
The frame is made of structural foam plastic. Dual flaps create a 3-inch air pocket for effective insulation. Nylon window pile and sealing help keep out cold and wet weather too.
This will fit into doors between ¾ and 1 ¾-inches thick. And if you prefer, you also have the flexibility to install it in a wall. An optional wall tunnel kit is available separately and will fit walls between 4 ¾ and 7 ¼-inches deep.
Installation in a door is very simple, though we’ve heard some complaints that the template isn’t perfect. If you’re going to be installing your door through a wall, it’s a longer process. Take your time to make sure your measurements are spot on before you start cutting.
This comes with a slide-in cover to keep the door secure when it’s not in use. As with many dog doors, however, this isn’t particularly robust. If you need a bigger door for your pet, you may prefer something offering more security.
Dual flaps for improved insulation
Able to be installed in a wall if you purchase the separate wall tunnel kit
Dog Mate’s medium dog door is suitable for pooches up to 18 inches tall. That’s the height from the ground to their shoulders.
It can be installed in either a wall or a door up to 2 inches thick. It comes with a trimmable liner, and the flap is sealed with brush lining to keep out debris and drafts.
If you prefer clear plastic to vinyl, this is the door for you. The plastic is easy to keep clean, and your pet will be able to see straight through it. All dogs, and particularly nervous ones, will gain in confidence in using it as a result.
The rigid structure also means you won’t have to worry about drafts. And it won’t warp over time, even in extreme temperatures.
Some pets will, though, balk at pushing their head into a solid surface. You may find yourself having to hold it open the first few times they venture outside! Stay patient, though, and they’ll get there in the end.
One other thing to watch out for with this one is that installation does require a certain degree of handiness. If you’re not confident in your DIY skills and don’t want to pay a handyperson, another option may be better.
Rigid plastic doors won’t warp or admit drafts
Brush seal to keep out drafts and debris
Can be installed in either a door or wall
Pets may take some time to get used to the rigid door opening
Still wondering which is the best dog door for your pet? Read on for some considerations to help you decide.
To start with, make sure your door will fit your dog!
Most are available in a range of sizes, but don’t assume that all “large” dog doors are created equal. Measure both the height and width of your pooch to get the correct fit.
Follow manufacturers’ guidelines when doing this. In most cases, height is the height to their shoulders and width is the width across their chest.
If your dog’s measurements are near to the boundary between sizes, go for the bigger option. It will be more comfortable for your pet, and they’ll use the door more readily as a result.
Consider your installation location
The next thing to consider is where your door is going to be located.
If you’re planning to install it in a wall, make sure your chosen product allows this. Some will require you to purchase separate wall tunnel kits, so take that into account when comparing prices.
If you’re going to put it inside a human-sized door, make sure it’s deep enough to fit neatly. Measure your door and check it against the manufacturer’s specifications. This is particularly important if you’ll be installing in an exterior door, as these are usually thicker.
And if you’ll be installing in patio doors, you’ll need a specific design like the PetSafe Freedom model reviewed earlier.
Finally, if you’re going to be installing in an external door or wall, remember to consider insulation too. Look for doors that have magnetic seals, locks or brush lining to help keep out drafts.
Think about security
Finally, consider how you’ll keep your door secure when it’s not in use. If you have a larger dog, you’ll be introducing a vulnerability that could be exploited by burglars.
Some models counteract this with slide-in panels that are secured in place. High Tech’s electronic pet door stays locked except when your pet approaches.
Lower tech solutions can work well too. A dog kennel with an open back can be placed over a door installed in a wall to effectively disguise the hole.
Ready to choose?
We hope you’ve enjoyed our guide to ten of the best dog doors on the market!
Our top pick is PetSafe’s Freedom patio panel door. We love the way it can be installed without making any holes in your door. And the low threshold means it’s easy for even older or infirm dogs to get in and out.
But if your priority is security, you can’t beat High Tech Pet’s electronic door. We love the way it stays locked until the precise moment your pet needs to use it.
Whichever option you choose, a dog door means greater freedom for both you and your pet. We hope you both enjoy it!