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The Best Dog Doors

Inked Pixels/Shutterstock.com
🕚 Updated February 2022

We don't always have time to take our dogs out right when nature calls, especially when we're busy with work, housework, or kids. These dog doors will give your pup the freedom to step outside for a bathroom break whenever the need arises.

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  PetSafe
Plastic Pet Door for Cats and Dogs
BarksBar
Original Plastic Dog Door with Aluminum Lining
PetSafe
Electronic SmartDoor
Ideal Pet Products
All-Weather Dog Door
Ideal Pet Products
Aluminum Pet Patio Door
 
Our SummaryA classic, unfussy dog door with a vinyl flap that won't cost you an arm and a leg to buy and install.This simple yet sturdy dog door is designed to be both large and strong enough to accommodate dogs up to 100 lbs in size.If you want a more modern, electronic dog door with customizable and selective entry options, this is the model for you.This dog door is well-insulated for better energy efficiency, no matter how often your furry friends go outside.If you have a sliding aluminum patio door at home, this dog door was designed specifically to fit onto such a space.
ProsInexpensive, good size variety, snaps shut to keep wild animals out, paintable, simple.Fits dogs up to 100 pounds, bite and chew-proof, affordable, magnetic closure and self-locking.Customizable, SmartKey system, multiple waterproof SmartKeys included, easy to install, works on exterior and interior doors.Energy-efficient double flaps, security panel, good size variety, adjustable frame, all-weather.Adjustable height, easy cut-free installation with no tools required, magnetic flap.
ConsNo weather protection or insulation, not very sturdy or secure.No smaller size options, magnetic strip might pop off.Noisy, expensive, battery-operated.Pricey, doesn't lock, thin plastic security panel.Only fits certain patio doors, one size option, not very weather-resistant.
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The Best Dog Doors

An inside view of a regular black pet flap on a light wood door surrounded by walls and wood skirting
Inked Pixels/Shutterstock.com

Dog doors, also called doggie doors, are highly convenient additions to homes with pets and yard space (preferably fenced-in space so that your pet can’t escape). Dogs of all ages, breeds, and sizes will love being able to go in or out of doors as they please. Whether you’re looking for a dog door for your front door, back door, screen door, or sliding door, the doggie doors featured here will make you and your beloved dog bark with joy.

Buying Guide for Dog Doors

A happy dog peeks out of his dog door.
Bonita R. Cheshier/Shutterstock.com

Why buy a dog door?

A dog door is a purchase that makes life easier and provides extra freedom for you and your dog(s). Your dog can go outside to use the bathroom, explore, play, or greet passing friends whenever they want. This is especially handy if you work long hours away from home since your dog can go out to relieve themselves even when you’re away. In turn, this greatly reduces your risk of coming home to an accident. Dog doors can be especially handy for younger dogs that can’t hold it as long and older dogs with medical conditions that affect their bladders. If your dog is able to let themself in and out as they please, they’re less likely to insistently bark or scratch up your doors to get your attention.

Just keep in mind that your dog will almost certainly require some training to get used to the idea of a doggie door, and some dogs catch on quicker to the concept than others, so be patient if they don’t get it right away.

Note that dog doors also work for cats, too, if you own one and allow them to roam around outside. If your cat is indoor-only, but you still want a dog door for your dog, there are cat-proof doggie doors that prevent your feline from getting out.

What should you look for in a dog door?

  • Size: Dog doors, like dogs themselves, come in all sizes, so choosing a size that your dog can comfortably use is incredibly important. You don’t want your furry friend getting stuck or scraped on their way outside, after all. And if you have an especially shy or timid dog, they may refuse to use a dog door at all if the conditions are not absolutely ideal for them. If you have more than one dog, be sure the doggie door you buy is large enough for your biggest dog to fit through comfortably.
  • Type: Most dog doors are specially designed to be installed in specific places, such as walls, doors, sliding doors, or even screen doors and windows. Different types of doors or parts of the home will have different requirements. Picking the correct type of dog door will ensure the installation process goes without a hitch and that your dog can happily use its new door for years to come. There are also lockable dog doors if you want an extra sense of security when sleeping or don’t want your dog to go outside at night. And they’re not all just simple flaps anymore; there are more modern, high-tech options that have features like the ability to read a dog’s microchip and open only for them.
  • Weather Resistance: Some dog doors are better than others at holding up under extreme wind or cold. If you live in an area that is known to have these weather conditions, finding a dog door that is durable enough to keep the rain and cold outside can help save you money on your energy bill and ensure your dog door is not compromising the level of comfort you feel inside your home; no one wants water or hot or cold air leaking in their home. And the more durable the dog door, the longer the service life it’ll have.

How expensive are dog doors?

On average, a dog door will run you somewhere between $100 and $400. If you buy a simple flap dog door with no extra insulation or features, you might be able to find something for a bit less than $100 if you’re lucky. Just know that these almost certainly won’t be as handy or durable. And the more electronic features a dog door has, the more expensive it’ll be.

Even after purchasing the dog door itself, you’ll still want to account for the installation costs. The actual price will vary depending on the size of the dog door, where you plan to put it, how complicated it’ll be to install, how expensive contractors are in your area, and other such factors. If you have good DIY skills, you might be able to set up the door yourself. Some of the simpler models are designed for quick and easy self-installation, which even less-handy people can manage. Otherwise, you’ll probably have to spend at least another $100 to $300 on the installation process.

Our Picks for the Best Dog Doors

Best Value

PetSafe Plastic Pet Door for Cats and Dogs

A classic, unfussy dog door with a vinyl flap that won't cost you an arm and a leg to buy and install.

Pros: If you’re on a tight budget but still want your dog or cat to enjoy the freedom of a doggie door, this model will save you on most of the usual expenses associated with such a purchase. Not only is the door itself priced well below the average cost of a dog door, but you should be able to install it yourself. Even the extra-large size costs less than average and is suitable for dogs up to 220 pounds. Small, medium, and large sizes are also available. The closing panel has the option to snap shut to help keep wild animals out at night. And as a small bonus, the dog door’s frame can be painted to match and blend in with your main door.

Cons: Unfortunately, this dog door doesn’t come with special insulation to keep cold or hot outside air from getting in or prevent your air conditioning or heat from escaping. It won’t automatically protect from rain and other bad weather. The frame isn’t the sturdiest, so especially large dogs might wear it down quickly.

Bottom Line: This is a classic dog door, the kind that probably first pops into your mind when you hear the phrase. It’s a simple, affordable model you should be able to install yourself. It’s also versatile enough to fit almost any door, as it’s compatible with wood, PVC, metal, and paneled doors between 1/16 and 2 inches thick. It’s probably not the best choice for extremely large breeds, though.

 

Best for Larger Dogs

BarksBar Original Plastic Dog Door with Aluminum Lining

This simple yet sturdy dog door is designed to be both large and strong enough to accommodate dogs up to 100 pounds in size.

Pros: This model is large enough for dog breeds up to 100 pounds in size. The aluminum frame makes it stronger, able to withstand daily use from bigger and stronger dogs. That metal frame also ensures this dog door is more resistant to biting and chewing. The magnetic closure keeps the vinyl flap from fluttering or moving aimlessly but still allows pets to get in and out of the house whenever they want. The removable self-locking slide panel keeps air drafts, weather, and bugs out. And you get all of these benefits at a lower-than-average price.

Cons: While great for large dogs, this door doesn’t come in a size specifically made for smaller dogs. Large and medium are the only size options. A small dog can get in and out of bigger doors easily, of course, but you may not want to create a bigger hole in your door than necessary. Handy as the magnetic strip is, it isn’t as sturdy as the metal frame and might wear down or pop off over time.

Bottom Line: Finding a dog door big and strong enough for larger breeds can be a real pain. Thankfully, this dog door is large enough for dogs up to 100 pounds, is lockable, and features a built-in magnet to ensure the door stays firmly closed when it’s not in use. Given this product’s budget-friendly price, you will also be pleasantly surprised by how sturdy it feels.

 

Best Smart Door

PetSafe Electronic SmartDoor

If you want a modern, electronic dog door with customizable and selective entry options, this is the model for you.

Pros: The great thing about modern electric dog doors is that they offer customized access, and this model is no exception. The only way pets can get in or out of this doggie door is if they have the included Smart Key attached to their collar. This is great for keeping wild animals out, or if you have a dog that you want to have access to the yard but an indoor-only cat. The SmartKey collar attachment allows the dog to go in and out at will, but the cat won’t be able to follow. The door comes with three programmable modes (locked, unlocked, and automatic) that you can change manually. If you have more than one pet, never fear: five SmartKeys come included with your purchase, and they’re waterproof to boot. You might think that an electronic dog door would be hard to install, but the opposite is true. You should be able to install this door yourself, on either an exterior or interior door.

Cons: The main downside to electronic dog doors is that they’re pricey, and this model is no exception. It’s even more expensive due to being battery operated; four D-cell batteries (sold separately) are required for it to work. There’s also the risk of the batteries dying when you’re not home, either not allowing your pet to go out to use the bathroom or trapping them outside. This door is also quite noisy and loud when opening or closing.

Bottom Line: Those seeking an upgraded, modern, electronic dog door will love this particular model. Although this product is more expensive than the other options on this list, its smart technology makes it that much more secure and durable than pretty much any classic dog door. Just be aware that, like with many pieces of modern technology, this door can be finicky at times and will require regular battery replacements, which add to its expense.

 

Best for Saving Energy

Ideal Pet Products All-Weather Dog Door

This dog door is well-insulated for better energy efficiency, no matter how often your furry friends go outside.

Pros: The biggest benefit of this dog door is how energy-efficient it is compared to most. It has double flaps, making it harder for air and water to get in. No matter how often your pet goes in or out, this decreases the chances of drafts or wetness getting in and your heat or air conditioning from escaping. The adjustable frame also has a closeable security panel for added all-weather protection. It also helps prevent toddlers from trying to crawl out the door and getting stuck. This dog door offers excellent size variety. The four size options should be suitable for dogs from 2 to 120 pounds.

Cons: The energy efficiency of this dog door does come at a literal price, as it’s one of the more expensive options on this list. There’s also the added cost of a wall kit (sold separately) if you want to install it on a wall instead of a door or replace the flaps if one falls off. And as handy as the security panel is in some ways, it doesn’t lock. You may still hear the flaps slapping around if it’s especially windy outside. The security panel is also made of rather thin plastic, so it’s not the most durable.

Bottom Line: Unfortunately, most dog doors are not designed to keep out rain and other precipitation. This can be a big problem in areas that frequently have extremely cold and/or wet weather. Thankfully, this particular dog wool was designed with unforgiving weather in mind. The double flaps are great at keeping the drafts and wet conditions outside your home where they belong, making this an ideal pick for not wasting extra energy.

 

Best for Sliding Doors

Ideal Pet Products Aluminum Pet Patio Door

If you have a sliding aluminum patio door at home, this dog door was designed specifically to fit onto such a space.

Pros: Dog door installation can be tricky and require professional assistance in some cases. However, this (sliding patio door only) model should be easy for just about any person to attach on their own. You don’t have to cut or drill holes in your door; installation doesn’t require tools at all. This door’s height is also adjustable depending on your dog’s size, and it should be big enough for even larger dog breeds like labs and rottweilers. The flap is magnetic to keep it in place while still allowing your pup easy access to the patio and yard.

Cons: Convenient as this dog door is, you may run into compatibility issues depending on your home. It’s only compatible with sliding glass patio doors with aluminum frames. And there aren’t alternate sizing options to choose from. While this dog door comes with a weatherstrip, it’s a bit short, so it doesn’t offer great weather resistance or energy efficiency as a result.

Bottom Line: If you don’t want to go through the hassle of creating a hole in your back door or wall to install a dog door or if you have a back closed-in porch or patio, this model should be perfect for your needs. It’s also an ideal solution for those in rental homes who want to add a dog door but can’t cut or drill holes in the property. Just be aware that it’s only compatible with a specific type of patio door, and the lack of weather resistance means it’s not the best option for homes in cold, wet climates.

Final Thoughts

As long as you’ve got some sort of fenced-in yard space and are able to make the necessary renovations to your home, a dog door can be a blessing for both you and your pet(s). Your dog will love the freedom to go outside whenever they want, without needing you to open the door for them. And you’ll love not having to worry about coming home to an accident after a long day or work or night out with friends.

Zachary McCarthy Zachary McCarthy
Zachary McCarthy is a freelance contributor to LifeSavvy. He has a bachelor's degree in English from James Madison University and experience in blogging, copywriting, and WordPress design and development. In his free time, he can be found frying up Tangsuyuk or watching Korean films and MMA events. Read Full Bio »
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