Choosing the right pet door for your home
Do your pets' constant trips in and out of the house make you feel like a pet butler rather than a pet owner? Does the need to race home from work and let your dog out of the house constantly interfere with your schedule? Are you getting up in the middle of the night to let your dog in or out? If so, then you're the ideal candidate for a pet door. Here's a quick guide to figuring out which type of pet door is right for your household critters.
Manual vs. Automatic
A manual pet door is basically an opening in a door or wall that's covered by a moveable plastic flap. For many people, these basic pet doors are all that's required.
Automatic pet doors, on the other hand, can solve a variety of problems that afflict pet owners. For example, an automatic pet door is an excellent choice for homes that have an indoor-only pet and one or more indoor/outdoor pets. These doors open only when "unlocked" by the approach of a pet that is wearing a collar key. Automatic models can also function as security pet doors with locking systems that keep out intruders and animal pests.
Electronic and Magnetic Pet Doors
There are two basic types of automatic pet doors: electronic and magnetic. Electronic pet doors use collar keys that contain a radio-frequency identification chip or an infra-red or ultrasonic transmitter. Magnetic pet doors use collar keys containing a strong magnet.
One advantage that a magnetic pet door has over an electronic pet door is that it doesn't require a power source to operate. Conversely, some electronic pet doors feature flaps that open and close electronically, allowing old or disabled pets to go in and out of the house without difficulty.
Sliding Glass Pet Doors
If you don't have a door or wall area that would be appropriate for a pet door, then you might consider installing one in your patio door. A sliding glass pet door can be installed at the end of your patio door track as a one-piece insert with a pet door near the bottom, or placed in your existing door as an in-glass pet door that requires professional glass cutting and installation.
Storm Door and Overhead Garage Pet Doors
Storm door pet doors are a great choice if you want your pet to stay either indoors or outdoors except when you're at home. Also known as screen door pet doors, these doors can be placed within a door's existing screen (but must be self-framing in such cases) or within the lower half of a wood or aluminum storm door. Of course once the main exterior access door is closed, storm door dog doors would be inaccessible.
Overhead garage pet doors are commonly, but not exclusively, used for outdoor-only pets that are allowed in the garage but not in the house. The trick with overhead garage dog doors is to make sure that they're properly installed. Garage doors are constructed using multiple hinged sections, and a pet door will need to be the right thickness and not overlap any of the door joints.
Insulated and Locking Pet Doors
Having pets go in and out on hot or cold days can have a surprisingly big impact on your home's energy bill. Insulated pet doors feature a high-quality single or dual flap design that is more energy-conscious than other models.
Security can be a concern when installing dog doors for large pets. Locking pet doors help you to make sure that pet doors don't become people doors. Locking dog doors with four-way locks are also a big help in homes with multiple or highly active pets. They can be set for any one of four modes: in only, out only, locked both ways, and open both ways.