Dog ownership can be quite a bit of work – plenty of folks would say it’s just a step or two below human parenting!
For fur parents, it’s always nice to find helpful hacks that make it easier to take care of your pup. One great way to accomplish this is by installing a pet door.
Pet doors alleviate the need for you to stop what you are doing to let your dog out when nature calls. You can rest comfortably, knowing that she can come back inside without any help, once she’s ready.
Additionally, this provides your dog with the chance to stretch her legs or keep tabs on the local squirrel population (they’re clearly up to no good), when she wishes.
Best Dog Doors: Quick Picks
- #1 PetSafe Plastic Pet Door [Best Overall Dog Door]: The best choice for most pet owners in need of a straightforward dog-door solution, this one is well-made, relatively easy to install, and reasonably priced.
- #2 Perfect Pet’s All-Weather Dog Door [Easiest Dog Door to Install]: Need to install a dog door but worried you lack the necessary skills? This weather-proof door is likely the easiest conventional dog door for non-carpenters to set up.
- #3 BarksBar Plastic Dog Door [Most Affordable Dog Door]: Unfortunately, most dog doors are relatively pricey, but this surprisingly high-quality model will help give your doggo outdoor access without draining your bank account.
- #4 Security Boss MaxSeal Pet Door [Best Dog Door for Large Breeds]: It isn’t always easy to find a dog door large enough for big pooches, but this model will accommodate Great Danes, mastiffs, and other big breeds.
Basic Dog Door Styles
Pet doors come in a few different styles, each of which is best suited for different situations, owners and dogs. The most common styles include:
Door-Mounted Pet Door – The most commonly used pet doors are designed to be mounted in the lower portion of a standard metal or wooden door. These are what most people envision when they hear the phrase “pet door.” Different models work best with different types of doors, so be sure to review the manufacturer’s recommendations before making your selection.
Wall-Mounted Pet Door – Wall-mounted pet doors are designed to be installed into a hole cut into an exterior wall, rather than a door. These are typically thicker/deeper than door-mounted models, rather than a relatively thin door. Nevertheless, they are difficult to install, and you’ll need the requisite skills and tools for the task before selecting this style pet door.
Electronic Dog Doors – Electronic dog doors vary widely. Some open and close automatically, while others are passive units, designed to restrict access through programming options, or when they are triggered by a small RFID chip attached to your dog’s collar. Electronic doors are typically designed to be installed in standard home doors, rather than walls or glass doors.
Sliding Door Dog Doors – Some doggie doors are designed to fit into the gap created by a partially opened sliding glass door. These designs are often easy to install, but because they include a full-length section of the glass door, they are also somewhat more expensive than many door-mounted units. They’ll also make your existing sliding door inoperable for humans.
Your home’s layout and family’s lifestyle are the most important factors to consider when choosing the style that will work best for you. Most of the styles available will work for most dogs, provided that they are available in the proper sizes.
11 Best Dog Doors To Give Fido His Freedom!
There are tons of dog doors on the market, but the following 11 are some of the best options for dog owners:
1. PetSafe Plastic Pet Door
PetSafe Plastic Pet Door
A great all-around dog door that works in wood, plastic, or metal doors, and comes in an array of sizes.
About: Simply put, the PetSafe Plastic Pet Door is the best option for most pets and their peeps.
This simple yet effective single-flap door mounts into any interior or exterior door between 1 1/16 and 2 inches thick, whether they’re made from wood, PVC, or metal. Offered in four sizes and easy to install, this flexible flap doggie door is a great choice for most owners seeking a simple dog-door solution. .
- Single flap system reduces drafts and keeps out creepy crawlies
- Snap-on closing panel for keeping your canine contained as needed
- Easily screw-mounts into place
- Basic white finish matches any decor (and it’s paintable)
Dimensions / Sizes:
- Small Frame Size: 7 ½” x 11”; Flap Size: 5 ⅛” x 8 ¼”
- Medium Frame Size: 10 ½” x 15”; Flap Size: 8 ⅛” x 12 ¼”
- Large Frame Size: 12 ½” x 19 ¾”; Flap Size: 10 ⅛” x 16 ¼”
- X-Large Frame Size: 16” x 27 ¼” ; Flap Size: 13 ⅝” x 23 ⅝”
- This pet entry works with a wide variety of doors
- According to most owners, installation is easy
- Pricing is more than reasonable given the quality
- Single-flap systems aren’t the best for sealing out the cold or wind
- Some owners experienced issues with water leakage
2. PetSafe Electronic SmartDoor
PetSafe Electronic SmartDoor
The perfect dog door for owners who want the ability to control and change their dog’s access as necessary.
About: Looking for a dog door you can control completely? The PetSafe Electronic SmartDoor may be just the ticket!
With the waterproof SmartKey connected to your dog’s collar, you can have full customization over your dog’s coming and going. Program the door for selective entry, exit, and auto-locking based on your plans.
- Can be programmed for a variety of custom exit and entry options based on your needs
- Can work for up to five pets with additional compatible SmartKey purchases
- An additional installation kit for installing into a wall (rather than a door) is available.
- Comes in small flap size (7″ x 11″) and large (10.5″ x 15″) with 9 different frame options to choose based on the size of your existing window.
Dimensions / Sizes:
- Small: 3.97″ x 3.25″ x 17.8″
- Large: 8.6″ x 3.25″ x 27.1″
- Owners love the control this dog door provides
- Several pet parents praised the door’s insulating abilities
- Unlike some other electronic doors, this one comes in two sizes
- Some owners report SmartKey detection issues
- Not a good fit for long-tailed breeds, as the door may close too soon and injure their tails
3. Security Boss MaxSeal Pet Door
About: It can be tricky for owners of big ‘ol pooches to find a dog door large enough for their pets. But fortunately, the Security Boss MaxSeal Pet Door provides at least one good option.
Available in sizes suitable for giant breeds, including Danes and mastiffs, this door is made with a heavy-duty frame and self-sealing magnetic flaps. This makes it a great choice for giving your dog free access to the outdoors while blocking out the elements.
- White finish matches any style
- Single and dual flap options are available
- Fits doors between 1 ¼ and 2 inches thick
- UV-treated flaps won’t warp, crack, or discolor
Dimensions / Sizes:
- Small Frame Size: 6″ x 7.5″
- Small/Medium Frame Size: 7″ x 9″
- Medium Frame Size: 9″ x 12″
- Large Frame Size: 11″ x 16″
- XL Grand Frame Size: 12″ x 24″
- Tall Frame Size: 11″ x 20″
- Tall Grand Frame Size: 11″ x 25″
- Wide Tall Frame Size: 15 “x 20”
- Mammoth Frame Size: 15″ x 24″
- Behemoth Frame Size: 15.75″ x 32″
- Durability gets a thumb’s up from owners
- Having the choice between single and dual flap systems is great
- The included security panel is of higher quality than most others
- Available in a wide variety of sizes
- There were a lot fewer owner reviews than we normally like
- Pricing is pretty steep for the largest sizes
4. PetSafe Freedom Aluminum Dog Door
PetSafe Freedom Aluminum Dog Door
A durable, door-mounted metal passageway that works great for small dogs and cats alike.
About: There are tons of doggie doors on the market for small pooches, but that can actually be a problem, as it means pet parents have to review far more options. But we’ve dug up the details and done much of this leg work for you.
And that leads us to recommend the PetSafe Freedom Aluminum Dog Door for pint-sized pooches. Mountable in wood, PVC, and metal doors, this door is the perfect choice for homes with small dogs or cats (and it is even available in larger sizes too).
- Single-flap design with self-closing magnets
- Lightweight, tinted flap is easy for small dogs to push through
- Slide-in panel included for barring access as needed
- Durable frame made of aluminum
Dimensions / Sizes:
- Small Frame Size: 7 ¾ x 11 ⅝”; Flap Size: 5 ¼” x 8 ⅛”
- Medium Frame Size: 10 ¾” x 15 ⅝”; Flap Size: 8 ¼” x 12 ¼”
- Large Frame Size: 12 ¾” x 19 ⅝”; Flap Size: 10 ¼” x 16 ¼”
- X-Large: Frame Size: 16 ¼” x 27 ⅛”; Flap Size: 13 ¾” x 23 ¾”
- The aluminum frame is durable and should stand up to daily #doglife
- Pricing is more than affordable for the quality
- Owners report that installation is easy and problem-free
- Single-flap design isn’t ideal for owners in cold or windy areas
- The included bolts are plastic; we’d prefer if they were metal
5. PetSafe Wall Entry Pet Door
PetSafe Wall Entry Pet Door
A great option for owners who want to provide outdoor access via a wall rather than a door.
About: PetSafe’s Wall Entry Dog Door offers a great alternative for homes where installing a dog door info the rear or side door is not an option. While the installation can be a bit more intimidating, PetSafe provides step-by-step instructions as well as cut-out templates to aid in the process.
This door’s double-flap design helps maintain energy efficiency, and it comes with a slide-in closing panel that offers additional insulation and security.
- Telescoping width accommodates walls that are 4 ¾” to 7 ¼” thick (extension kits are available for thicker walls)
- Double-flap design keeps the cold-air out (or in, during the summer)
- Slide-in panel can be used to shut the door when need be
- Cut-out templates included for ease of installation
Dimensions / Sizes:
- Small (under 15 pounds): Flap opening is 5 ¼″ W x 8 ⅛″ H
- Medium (up to 40 pounds): Flap opening is 8 ¼″ W x 12 ¼″ H
- Large (up to 100 pounds): Flap opening is 10 ¼″ W x 16 ¼″ H
- Can be installed in a wall rather than a door
- The weatherproofing is similar to other PetSafe doors
- We love that extension kits are available for thick walls.
- Many note that the installation process requires considerable skill
- We wish it was available in slightly larger sizes
6. PetSafe Freedom Patio Panel Sliding Glass Pet Door
PetSafe Freedom Patio Panel Sliding Glass Pet Door
The perfect option for owners who need to provide outdoor access via a sliding patio door.
About: PetSafe’s Freedom Sliding Glass Pet Door allows owners to give their dog a chance to enter and exit the house through a sliding door, rather than a traditional door one.
As a bonus, it is easier to install than traditional dog doors are. Simply place the panel in the track of your sliding door using the included hardware to fasten the door in place. No cutting required!
- Includes magnetic flap with latch kit for keeping the flap closed when necessary
- Frame includes weather stripping to help keep your home’s temperature comfortable
- Door panel available in two adjustable sizes: 76 ¹³/₁₆″ to 81″ tall and 91 7/16” to 96” tall
- Available in 3 colors to match your home: white, satin and bronze
- Several sizes available based on the size of your pet
Dimensions / Sizes:
- Small Flap Size: 5 ⅛” wide x 7 ½” tall
- Medium Flap Size: 8 ⅛” wide x 11 ¼” tall
- Large Flap Size: 10 ⅛” wide x 15 ⅜” tall (4 ¼” from bottom)
- Large-Tall Flap Size: 10 ⅛” wide x 15 ⅜” tall (8 ¼” from bottom)
- Most owners found the door very easy to install
- Owners loved the included security locks
- One of the few panel-style pet doors available in several sizes and colors
- Owners living in very cold climates found it didn’t provide sufficient insulation
- Made the door lock inoperable for some owners
7. PetSafe Extreme Weather Pet Door
PetSafe Extreme Weather Pet Door
Ideal for keeping your home comfy and energy bills low, this three-flap door is ideal for owners in extreme climates.
About: PetSafe Extreme Weather Door was engineered to be one of the best-insulated dog doors on the market, using a three-flap system and claiming to provide about 3 ½ times the insulation than single-flap designs provide.
This unit offers a manual snap-on closing panel to keep dogs out – it’s not quite as fancy as the programmable systems other units offer, but it gets the job done.
- Three-flap design helps keep your home’s temperature from fluctuating
- Plastic frame is paintable, enabling you to match its color to that of your home
- Magnetic latch keeps the flap from swinging freely, while still yielding easily enough for small pets
- Available in small and large sizes to suit most pets
Dimensions / Sizes:
- Small (pets up to 15 pounds): Flap Size: 5″ x 8 ¼″
- Large (pets up to 100 pounds) Flap Size: 10″ x 16 ¼″
- A great choice for dog owners living in extremely warm or cold climates
- One of the few products in the category that can be color-customized
- A separate outer closing panel is available for even more weather protection
- Some owners report that it’s not easy to install
- While the snap-on panel keeps your dog from exiting the home, it is not strong enough to keep humans or animals out
8. BarksBar Plastic Dog Door
BarksBar Plastic Dog Door
A perfect pick for budget-limited owners, this doggie door will get the job done without breaking the bank.
About: BarksBar Plastic Dog Door is a no-frills pet door that allows you to give your dog more freedom, without having to spend a fortune. Best of all, it’s a really affordable option, which will allow you to give your dog outdoor access without breaking the bank.
This unit features a telescoping frame coupled with a soft vinyl flap (with a magnetic closure). The self-locking panel can be slid down at night to prevent intruders or any canine night time excursions.
- Aluminum-edged, thermoplastic frame is attractive and durable
- Includes removable, locking slide panel to temporarily prevent your dog from entering or exiting
- Soft, flexible vinyl flap provides insulation while ensuring that your dog will not be injured by the door
- Includes easy-to-use installation template to help guide you through the cutting process
Dimensions / Sizes:
- Medium: Frame Size: 9 ¾″-by-14 ¾″ ; Flap Size: 7″-by-11 ¼″
- Large: Frame Size: 14″-by-19″ ; Flap Size: 10.5”-by-15”
- Great quality for such an affordable option
- No complicated doo-dads or features to futz with
- Most owners report that the door is very durable and well-made
- Some owners reported that rain and water penetrated the door (shouldn’t be a problem for homes with awnings over the doors)
- There appears to be a gap between the flap and the frame, which will let air flow through
9. Perfect Pet All-Weather Dog Door
About: Perfect Pet’s All-Weather Dog Door is a simple, easy-to-install dog door that makes it easy for less-handy dog owners to give their dog more freedom. You’ll still need some basic skills to get it set up, but this is likely the easiest conventional dog door to install.
This door features a twin set of vinyl flaps, which creates an air pocket and helps to keep your home’s temperature from fluctuating wildly. And in addition to the double flaps, the unit also comes with a sliding panel that can be lowered in the evening to keep your dog inside.
- Frame is made from structural foam plastic to ensure a long product life
- Includes a rigid panel to limit outdoor access when need be
- Optional wall kit allows you to trap up to 9 inches of air which creates an unmatched buffer for your home
- Relies on double vinyl flaps for insulation
Dimensions / Sizes:
- Small Flap Size (for pets up to 15 pounds): 5″ wide x 9 ¼″ tall
- Medium Flap Size (for pets up to 35 pounds): 7.25″ wide x 13″ tall
- Extra Large Flap Size (for pets up to 90 pounds): 9 ¾″ wide x 17″ tall
- Super Large Flap Size (for pets up to 120 pounds): 15″ wide x 23 ½″ tall
- Most owners found that this door was indeed pretty easy to install
- Owners reported that the door was quite durable
- The double-flap design provides great weather resistance
- Some owners reported that the sizing guidelines were on the small side
- A few owners complained of design flaws, such as the lack of twin gaskets
10. Endura Flap Thermo Sash Pet Door
About: Need to give your dog access to the outdoors but need to do so via a window? You’re in luck!
The Endura Flap Thermo Sash Pet Door slips into your existing window space with no heavy-duty cutting or tools needed. The added security panel allows you to seal off access as needed, keeping your canine contained (and unwanted intruders out.)
- Metal frame with glass window panel to maintain natural light
- Locking cover included for keeping your dog in or intruders out
- Available in bronze, white, and aluminum finishes
- Polyolefin polymer flap won’t warp or crack
Dimensions / Sizes:
- Window width 25” – 28”; Small Flap 6” x 11”
- Window width 25” – 28”; Medium 8” x 11”
- Window width 25” – 28”; Large Flap 10” x 19”
- Window width 28” – 31”; Small Flap 6” x 11”
- Window width 28” – 31”; Medium 8” x 11”
- Window width 28” – 31”; Large Flap 10” x 19”
- Window width 31” – 34”; Small Flap 6” x 11”
- Window width 31” – 34”; Medium 8” x 11”
- Window width 31” – 34”; Large Flap 10” x 19”
- Window width 34” – 37”; Small Flap 6” x 11”
- Window width 34” – 37”; Large Flap 10” x 19”
- Window width 37” – 40”; Small Flap 6” x 11”
- Window width 37” – 40”; Medium 8” x 11”
- Window width 37” – 40”; Large Flap 10” x 19”
- Window width 40” – 43”; Small Flap 6” x 11”
- Window width 40” – 43”; Medium 8” x 11”
- Owners report this door stands up to wear and tear
- Keeps out rain and wind
- Available in a variety of sizes and great for owners who don’t want to cut a hole for installation
- Great temporary solution (for vacations, etc.)
- This is one of the priciest doors on our list
- There are relatively few reviews from owners, though the vast majority are positive
11. OWNPETS Dog Screen Door
About: The OWNPETS Dog Screen Door is designed to be used in a window or door screen, saving you from heavy-duty wood cutting and complicated installation. Best of all, your pup can easily slip through its lightweight flap, allowing even the daintiest of dogs to go in and out.
- Magnetic self-closing flap
- Lockable feature for shutting off access as needed
- Suitable for small and medium breeds, per the manufacturer
- Made of a hard plastic polymer (ABS or acrylonitrile butadiene styrene)
Dimensions / Sizes:
- Medium / Large: Frame Size: 14” x 16”; Flap Size: 12” x 14”
- Owners report that installation is a breeze.
- Doesn’t appear to spook dogs like some other doors
- Durability gets a thumb’s up from most owners
- Not the best option for excitable pups who barrel through the door at warp speed
- Sizing runs small; not appropriate for big dogs
Important Features to Consider When Choosing the Best Dog Door for Your Pet
After deciding which doggie door style will work best for your home, you can move on to additional considerations, which will inform your ultimate choice. These include things like the materials used in the construction and the ease with which they can be installed.
Dog doors and frames are made of varying materials, although most are made from aluminum or some type of plastic.
Aluminum products are generally more likely to last longer, although premium plastics are often adequately strong – particularly when used in the production of small pet doors. However, some dog door manufacturers offer replacement flaps, which you can purchase as the original flap wears out.
Some dog doors are easier to install than others are. Some can be installed in a few minutes with no tools or any skills to speak of, while other require copious amounts of both.
In the case of door- or wall-mounted units, you will have to cut a hole through the door or wall, and then assemble the door and affix it appropriately.
For many owners, a professional will need to be hired for the installation (if this is your first time cutting a hole in your house, we wouldn’t recommend having at it alone)!
On the other hand, sliding-door-mounted pet doors are relatively quick and easy to install, and few tools (if any) are needed for the process.
It is important to remember that your dog door will serve as a way for the air in your home to intermingle with the external environment.
Even when the door is in the closed position, a thin piece of aluminum or plastic will not insulate your home from hot or cold weather as well as a door or wall will. This is especially important for owners living in extremely warm or cold climates.
Some pet doors try to make up for this fact by including two or three doors or flaps, rather than a single one. This helps to trap air inside the door cavity, which will insulate the door.
Still, if energy efficiency is important to you, it’s worth considering how a dog door will affect the heating or cooling of your home.
Pet doors do provide an additional entryway into your home, so you’ll also want to consider the security implications when selecting a design.
Some dog doors feature only a flexible plastic flap, which isn’t very secure. But many high-quality units feature some type of locking mechanism, which prevents criminals or unauthorized stray animals from entering the house. However, you can only engage the lock when your pet is safely inside, which decreases the value of the door in the first place, since the key benefit is consistent in-and-out access for your dog.
One way manufacturers have tried to address this problem is through the use of smart doors, that read a microchip on your dog’s collar. Such doors only allow your pet to enter, while keeping out the neighborhood riff raff.
Additionally, some such units are programmable, enabling you to deny your pet entry or exit at some times, while allowing them to travel freely at others.
Doggie Door Alternatives & Potty Solutions
If you’re considering installing a doggie door, it’s likely because you want to give your dog free access to the backyard. We think this setup makes for one happy pooch.
However, if you are starting to feel like installing a dog door is too big of a job, consider these ideas too:
Dog Doorbells. Dog doorbells are strings of bells that are hooked to your doorknob, allowing your dog to hit the bell to let you know he wants to go out.
While you’ll have to train your pooch to use the bells (and heads up, some dogs decide that the bells work great as an instant attention-getting tool), they can be great for ensuring your dog gets let out when he needs to do his business. Of course, someone still needs to be home to let him out!
Grass Potty Pads. Potty pads are a nice solution when you want to give your dog a bathroom option, but he can’t be trusted to hold it on all day. Grass potty pads tend to be especially effective, as they use real grass, making it easy to teach your pup how to use them. Still, as with all pads, some training to teach your dog how to use the pads will be necessary.
Invisible / Electric Dog Fences. Invisible dog fences are another solution for letting your dog have free range of the backyard. They come in various designs (such as underground or radio) and range from affordable to splurge-worthy. See our full guide to electric dog fences here!
Dog-Friendly Screen Dogs. Getting a dog-friendly screen door can be another option if you want your dog to be able to go outside anytime. While some screens are simply designed to stop your dog from tearing apart the material, others use magnetic strips that let your dog simply push himself out into the yard (and back again). Of course this means leaving your house basically open to anyone, so it’s probably not the best solution if you’ll be gone all day.
Dog Door FAQ: Your Questions Answered!
Still have questions about picking a dog door for your pooch? We’ve got you covered!
Do burglars use dog doors?
While some owners may be concerned about the idea of an opportunistic thief sneaking through the doggie door, this is not very common.
For one, most burglars tend to avoid any homes with dogs – it’s just not worth the additional risk and trouble for them. After all, dogs tend to function like furry security systems.
Secondly, even dog doors designed for larger dogs aren’t exactly easy for a human to fit through.
Finally, if you are concerned about burglars breaking through the dog door, there are many dog doors detailed in this article that require your dog’s collar with a microchip to be near the door in order to slide open. These more tech-focused dog doors can put your concerns at ease!
What is the most secure dog door?
While the concept of what a “secure” dog door is may leave room for debate, we’d consider the High Tech Pet Electric Door (detailed in this article) the most secure in terms of intruders, due to its advanced locking and sensory functions.
When it comes to securing against the weather, we feel the PetSafe Extreme Weather door is best due to its three layers of flaps to keep cold winds outside and warmth inside.
Are dog doors hard to install?
Dog doors — at least, the conventional kinds — can certainly be a bit tricky for non-handy homeowners to install, but many owners with only rudimentary skills have been successful. It’s definitely more challenging than hanging a photo on a wall, but it’s probably easier than re-tiling your kitchen.
But if you’re worried about the difficulty of the project, you can always hire a handyman to install it for a small fee (there are scads of these types of services available these days). You can also opt for one of the easier types of dog doors to install, such as those that mount in windows or sliding doors.
Will animals use a dog door to enter my home?
Unfortunately, wild critters — especially raccoons — may learn that your doggie door provides great access to your kitchen. However, most dog doors come with lockable inserts, which you can use at night to keep the critters at bay.
As you can see, there are a number of options available for those in search of a quality pet door – as well as some decent alternative ideas. Be sure to decide the style that best suits your house first, and then compare the various models available before making your decision.
If you’re feeling especially brave, you can even build your own doggie door – see our collection of the best DIY dog door blueprints here!
Have you ever installed a dog door for your pet? We’d love to hear about your experiences. Let us know what model you chose, and let us know how it worked out in the comments below.