If you are making a first-time purchase of a pet door for dogs, you'll probably be surprised to find out how many types are available.
For convenience see our breakdown of all the different kinds of pet doors by size, style (for walls, doors, windows, sliding glass doors, etc.) and popular name-brands.
NOTE: We no longer carry full-size storm doors with pet doors pre-installed, however many of the door mount pet door models that we do carry can be installed in your existing storm doors.
General information about pet doors for dogs.
Americas-Pet-Store.com carries a wide variety of pet doors for dogs and cats including pet doors for walls (wall-mount), dog doors for windows (window-mount), and patio pet doors that install in the tracks of your sliding glass doors.
Our electronic pet doors for dogs are becoming more and more popular, especially in rural areas where they prevent access from unauthorized "guests" such as skunks and raccoons. (They go up and down like a garage door and open only for pets wearing a small transmitter on their collar.) We carry a very good selection of these automatic pet doors for dogs in addition to traditional vinyl flap doors.
If you live in an area that experiences extreme temperatures, either very hot or very cold, energy efficient pet doors for dogs can help save energy costs for heating or cooling your home. Pet doors for dogs that are designed for optimal energy-efficiency will usually cost more than those that arenít, but in the long run you will recoup the additional cost with savings on your home energy costs.
What size will you need?
Choosing the right size is important. If you purchase a door with a pet/flap entrance that is too small, your dog wonít be able to use it. If you choose a door with a pet/flap entrance that is too big, youíll lose more of your homeís heat or air-conditioning than is necessary when your pets go in and out. An accurate measurement before purchase will ensure maximum satisfaction with your selection from our line up of pet doors for dogs.
Itís important to note that "small", "medium", "large" or "extra large" is not an accurate way to choose a size, because different manufacturers have their own definitions as to what a small, medium, large or extra large pet door actually measures.
For example, small pet doors manufactured by DogWalk have a flap entrance size of 6 1/2" w x 9 1/2" h. On the other hand, the flap entrance on a small PetSafe Classic pet door measures only 5" w x 7" h. Idealís Original large pet doors have a flap entrance that measures 9" w x 15" h, but a large pet door manufactured by SmartPet has a flap entrance that measures 13" w x 16" h. A pet door that big could very well fall under an XL pet doors category with a different manufacturer.
The only way to correctly determine the size youíll need is by actually measuring your pet and then comparing your measurements with the actual flap/entrance size of the pet door you are considering. There are two measurements you will need:
Measure your dog's shoulders (if more than one pet, measure the largest pet). The width of the pet entrance/flap should be a minimum of 1" wider than the width of your petís shoulders. TIP #1: Open a door just wide enough for him or her to walk through and then measure that space.
- Measure to the top of the shoulders. Measure your pet from the floor to the top of the shoulders and subtract from that number the measurement from the floor to the bottom of your petís chest. The height of the pet door opening should be at least 2" greater than this measurement.
Ideally there should be a minimum of a 1" clearance at both shoulders, a 1" clearance under the chest/belly, and 1" clearance on top of the back/shoulders.
TIP #2: Americaís Pet Store recommends that you cut out the measurements of the pet door you are considering from a large piece of cardboard. Have your dog try to walk through the cut-out opening. If he or she can walk through the opening, then you know the size is right. If your dog is not yet full-grown you should do your best to estimate future growth.
The rise of the door, (the part your pet has to step over to go through the flap/entrance) should be set to 1" below the lowest point of your dog's chest/belly. If you have more than one pet, the rise should accommodate the smallest one. Some brands offer models of patio pet panels, which are pet doors for sliding glass doors, that have limited options for the rise height. If that is the case with the pet door you are considering, make sure the top of the door is set at the proper height based on your pet's shoulders.
TIP #3: If you have pets of various sizes, make sure that you don't select a flap that is too heavy for the smaller ones to push. If there is a huge difference in size from one pet to another, if you have a Mastiff and a Chihuahua for example, you would be well-advised to consider one of our automatic pet doors.
Where can pet doors for dogs be installed?
The most common areas are: through doors, walls, windows and in the tracks of sliding glass doors. To install door-mount or wall-mount pet doors a hole needs to be cut through the door or wall. Therefore they are not typically viable options for folks who don't own their own home; but pet doors for windows or pet doors for patio doors are excellent alternatives. And as a bonus, most pet doors for sliders are designed to be so simple to install that most anyone can do it in just a few minutes.
Door-Mount Pet Doors: These are by far the most popular type of pet door, probably because they are generally easier to install than wall-mount models. They can be easier for your pets to get accustomed to as well, since your pets are already used to using a door to go out or come back in.
- Pet Doors for Sliding Glass Doors: Pet doors are already installed in these full size panels that match the height of your sliders, making these among the easiest pet door solutions ever! The entire panel unit matches the height of your sliding glass doors and simply sits in the same tracks. Many of them are secured via pressure mount and leave no marks or holes in the frame of your door. However some models do require you to screw them into the frame to secure them, especially if your sliding doors are taller than standard sliders. In all cases, patio pet panels are just as easy to remove which makes them an ideal temporary solution which can be useful to folks who rent, own vacation homes, or for traveling.
Note: If you have vinyl sliders such as some models manufactured by Pella or Andersen, be sure to select pet doors for vinyl sliding glass doors. (Pay particular attention to the track width specification.) We carry brands that will work perfectly with most vinyl sliders including: Haleís Omni Patio Pet Panels and Idealís VIP Vinyl Patio Panels.
Pet Doors for Walls: If you don't consider yourself "handy" with tools, then you might want to consider hiring a local handyman to install a wall-mount pet door. It's not that they are particularly difficult to install, but people who aren't handy might be somewhat intimidated by having to cut a hole clear through a wall in their home. When in doubtÖhire out.
The interior and exterior frames of a wall-mount dog door are attached to either end of a "tunnel". The tunnel is the passageway for your pet to crawl through the wall, either inbound or outbound. Some tunnels are easier to install than others. Adjustable, telescoping tunnels are generally the easiest to install. No matter who does the installation, you or a handyman, it must be determined prior to cutting that there are no electrical wires or plumbing in the way.
Window-Mount Pet Doors: Pet doors for sash windows are easy to install and do not require cutting holes into walls or doors. Most of them can simply be inserted into the same tracks that your window sits in. However, please read the manufacturer's description carefully as some of these products do require you to screw the pet door into the window frame. We carry models that can be installed in vertical and horizontal sliding windows.
This style is typically used for cats but some people do use window-mount pet doors for dogs if their window is near enough to ground level. (And if it isn't near ground level some people make a ramp available for their dog to use on the exterior side of the window.)