If you've ever had a cat, the chances are you've also had a pet door, or cat flap. These familiar
flaps allow cats to move between indoors and outdoors without needing any help from you.
What you might not know is pet doors are also designed to be used by dogs. Like their feline
friends, dogs are able to use pet doors to gain a bit of freedom and improve their quality of
Dogs benefit from being outdoors a great deal. Not only is the exercise and fresh air good for
them, outdoor environments also provide mental stimulation. Having the freedom to indulge
in these pleasures whenever they want is brilliant for dogs – especially if they're often left
alone during the day. Even better, a dog door reduces the chance of little accidents inside
when you're dog isn't able to get out in time!
There are lots of things to consider when you're choosing a pet door. There's not a one-sizefits-all
solution, and buying a door for a dog involves a bit more research and preparation
than buying for a cat.
Small dogs might be more associated with pet doors, but large dogs can use them too! Pet
doors come in all sizes, and it's really important to choose one that works best for your pet.
The correctly sized door is easier for your dog to use, and will prevent injury.
Where is your pet door going to lead to? Cat owners often put cat flaps in their back door, but
this might not be an option if you have a medium or large dog - you may decide to install
your pet door into a garage or outhouse instead to give your dog access to a comfortable,
The exact positioning of your pet door is very important. You want to make sure that your
dog has a clear lead up to the door, and that he won't have to squeeze or wriggle into a space
to use it. Height is also vital, make sure your dog doesn't have to jump or stoop to use his
door. Actions like this can lead to repetitive strain injury.
Pet doors are available in a number of different materials. The most common kind is plastic,
but for some large dogs this might not be strong enough! Dogs often approach pet doors at
speed, so make sure you choose a door strong enough to stand the weight of your dog! You
may find that an aluminium pet door, rather than a plastic one, will be best for you.
You may want your dog to have the freedom to come and go as he pleases at some times of
day and not at others. For these situations, a pet door with locking facilities will be ideal. You
can choose from different locking mechanism that give you control over when your door is
used. Some two way doors can be locked manually from the inside. Other four way doors can
be set to allow only inward traffic, only outward traffic, free use or no use at all.
Safety and security
It's important to give your dog freedom, but it's also important to make sure he's safe. When
you install a pet door, you need to make sure that your garden is safe and secure for your dog
to play in unaccompanied. The key consideration here is whether or not your dog is able to
get out of the garden. If he can, you need to do something. A dog who can escape from a
garden can get into all sorts of trouble, and put himself in danger as well as other people.
Consider installing a more secure wall or fence, or take a look at the pet containment systems
that are available.
A pet door can make a big difference to your dog's quality of life, so it is worth the effort to
find the right one!
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