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Don't be a Doggie Butler: Get a Dog Door!

Aug 17, 2007
The main benefit of a dog door is obvious: with the addition of a simple flap to your back door, your dog will be free to come and go from your house. With a dog door, you will no longer have to wake up before dawn to let your howling dog out. Whenever nature calls, your dog will be able to use your dog door to get to your backyard. And while it is not a substitute for walks and games of fetch, allowing your dog to go outside when it wants to run around will help your dog maintain its health.

There are some potential problems with having a dog door, however. A manual dog door, a simple wooden or plastic flap installed in a wall or door at ground level, can cause a host of problems. The main problem is that, in the process of allowing your dog to come and go when it wants, you could also be opening your house up to anything else that can fit through the dog door. Stray dogs and cats have been known to wander into houses through the open flap. Also, if you have multiple pets, it will be difficult to allow only some of them to use the door. And if the hole is sufficiently large, a burglar could use it to gain access to your house.

Getting an electronic or magnetic dog door can address many of the concerns you may have with a manual flap. With an electronic dog door, the door remains bolted shut until an infrared key attached to your dog's collar triggers it. Similarly, a strong magnet on your dog's collar would unlatch a magnetic door. While more expensive, an electronic or magnetic dog door will help ensure that it is only your dog that is making it into or out of your house. Indeed, electronic dog doors can even be attached to your home security system.

No matter what type of dog door you decide to install in your home, you should at a minimum consider the following features. For security purposes, it is best to get a dog door that can be securely locked. If you already have one that cannot be properly locked, you can purchase a pane that can drop into place over the hole.

A final consideration is your local climate and the potential loss of cold or hot air through the new hole in your door or wall. If you live in a fairly temperate area where you do not have to heat or cool your house, then this will not be a major concern. Otherwise, you should take steps to ensure that your dog door is properly insulated. This requires buying a dog door with thicker materials, and with a panel that forms a perfect seal when closed. In particularly harsh climates, you may want to consider purchasing a model with a double flap.
About the Author
David Amos is a dog lover and long time dog owner. For more information about dog doors click Dog Doors, and for more about dog care and keeping your dog happy and healthy click Dogs and Puppies Online.
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