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Dog Door Questions | Selecting Best Model

About Dog Doors

At first thought, a dog door seems very simple and straight forward. It is only when you start to look at the various models offered, coupled with the possible locations that one could install a dog door that you may find yourself getting a little fuzzy. Then once you think you chosen the right door for the right place, you are hit with another decision, Is it the right size? How do I size a pet door for my dog? Will it work in the future when they get older? What if I get another pet...a puppy or a cat? It usually is at this point that people either put off making a decision or aimlessly browse the internet, hoping the answer jumps up to their face. The staff at Moore Pet Supplies lives and breathes everything and anything about the pet doors.

How to Choose a Pet Door?

Choosing a suitable product is not as formidable as once may think, especially if you break down the decision making into defined steps

1. Where does it work best to install a pet door in my home?
2. Am I concerned with the insulating and sealing ability of the door?
3. Am I concerned with the lasting quality of the door?
4. Is it possible that I may have other pets in the future or another dog similar in size?
5. Will cost be a limiting factor in my decision process?

These five steps will help get you thinking in the right direction before you begin to look at various pet doors on the market. Certain specifics such as the appropriate size of door for the breed are important also, and often a brief discussion with someone familiar with pet doors can quickly help with this. We will address this facet of the journey a little later..

Am I concerned with the insulating and sealing ability of the door?

As mentioned, few models truly provide a quality seal or barrier to the outdoors. We also mentioned our best recommendation. Lets focus out attention to those characteristics that make one design better than another. In general, there are two design types when it comes to dog doors. There are flexible flap versions and rigid flap versions. 85% of the dog doors on the ,market are flexible flap. The reason for this is that this type of design tends to seal better than a rigid flap. another reason is that dogs and cats tend to shy away from a rigid flap because of the drag along their back and in some models, the weight of the flap on their back. One might think that a product that mimics a refrigerator door would be ideal...until they realize that their dog will not use it...and yes there are pet doors that are designed as such, they are just not popular. The better flexible flap doors are found in the dual flap models. A dual flap door has an interior and exterior flap with an air space in-between. This air space is a great insulator. It becomes the best insulator when the flaps seal perfectly each time after use. Dual flap models are not any more difficult for dogs or cats to use than a a single flap.

Am I concerned with the lasting quality of the door?

Everyone has heard the phrase 'You get what you pay for', the same is true with a pet door. The market is bloated with mass produced, Chinese made products. In truth, these fine foreign models are the ones that you will find in the local pet store, Home Depot or Walmart. The reason they are abundant is that they are cheaply made. They offer few sizes to correctly correlate with your dogs size, and good luck finding a replacement part. Good reason for this too, they are so cheap it is more cost effective to replace the entire unit than offer a replacement part to maintain the unit you so eagerly purchased initially. Next time you are in one of these stores, pick one up, take a look. Ask yourself, if I was buying windows or doors for my home would I get them from the bargain bin at Big Lots? Choosing the right pet door and being happy with the product is directly relative to the quality of the product. Here is another point to keep in mind, Lets say you install a pet door through a wall in your home, you spent $65 on a wondrous plastic dog door, spend a beautiful Saturday morning installing the door (Or have hired a handy man to do the install for you), life is grand, and wondrous. The comes the storm, maybe a snow storm, maybe a cold front, maybe a rain and wind driven storm....this is about the time you may have a resentful feeling towards the big box store. Adding insult to your scheme, you are finally ready to take that vacation you have been planning, then it hits you.....a plastic locking panel for the door, thinner than a plastic plate used on picnics, stands between someone on the outside trying to get into your home when your gone..not a secure feeling. Lastly, you run the risk of installing several pet doors into the same location because they break or wear out. Choosing a pet door that is maintainable means that you wont be revisiting the install process every Spring. So you do get what you pay for. As a reference customers should view a MaxSeal Dog Door offered by Security Boss. These models not only offer the high performance seal and insulating qualities, but unsurpassed security when the door is locked.

Is it possible that I may have other pets in the future or another dog similar in size?

Assuming you will be choosing a pet door that is of good quality, many customers wonder about the proper sizing for their pet or pets.

The Golden Rule for Dog Door sizing

The dog door opening should clear the back of the tallest dog by 1.5 to 2 inches, and the bottom of the pet door should be low enough to the ground to allow easy navigation.


You will want to consider the type of breed you have as the most important factor when applying the pet door Golden Rule. Small dogs and mid sized dogs tend to stay relatively mobile in their later years. Large and giant breeds tend to have mobility issues as they age. This could show in arthritic conditions, hip problems or general malaise. For these larger friends, you still need the top of the opening to clear the dogs back, but the bottom of the opening should have a very low step over rise. For example, German Shepherds are very active for the large part of their lives. A pet door that is 7-8 inches off the floor is not a problem for them. In later life that 7-8 inch step over height becomes more difficult and you notice that they may drag their legs through the pet opening, scraping the the frame. This is a danger sign. A dog that is using a pet door that is too small will drag or hit the bottom of the door with their legs, this is usually followed by a small aggravating injury that can become worse. Veterinary bills and a diminished lifestyle for your dog are at the front door. Avoid this by getting an ample sized dog door from the beginning. If you are not sure of the size needed, call an expert with experience, we are open 7 days a week.

Will cost be a limiting factor in my decision process?

We covered ,most of the concerns of cost versus quality previously. in conclusion, when looking at your options for the perfect pet door, consider both your situation and your pets. Addressing these concerns and evaluating the pitfalls before you buy can save aggravation and regret in the long haul. There are many dog door models available, but few that are of a quality that one would really consider dressing a hole in their home. The more you contemplate the process and what you are expecting, the better the decision you will make.