Best Dog Door For Cold Weather

Looking for an easy way to let your dog or dogs in and out? Want a solution that keeps out the cold and keeps in the warmth? In this article we’ll cover the best dog doors for cold weather.

We review them all, tell you how to measure and choose the right one, and show you how to install them.

Note: If you click some of the links in this article we may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you.

Top Pick – Petsafe Extreme Weather Dog Door

A simple, easy to install dog door using a 3 flap system to keep out the cold. What we love about this door is it’s simplicity, easy of installation, and it’s staying power.

This door has been giving dogs free will access to the outside in cold weather conditions for a long time.

Plus it’s ideal for larger dogs up to 100 lbs. We’ll get to some suggestions for smaller dogs in a bit.

For now we’ve chosen this door as it is all around highly versatile, not too expensive, easy to paint to match your door, and works for most dog sizes.

It’s got a few downsides which we cover below but overall this door will meet most needs at the right price and for us it wins.

PetSafe Extreme Weather Energy Efficient Pet Door - 3 Flap System - For Large Dogs Up to 100 lb
  • ENERGY EFFICIENT: Unique three-flap system is rated 3.5 times more energy efficient than single flap doors
  • CENTER INSULATED FLAP: Perfect for hot and cold climates; keeps the warm and cool air inside your home
  • CONTROLLED ACCESS: Snap-on closing panel allows you to keep your pet from using the pet door; use a second closing panel (sold separately) on the outside for an additional layer of weather protection
  • MATCH YOUR DÉCOR: Paintable plastic frame allows you to match your door color. Frame Dimensions- 12 1/2 x 19 7/8 Inches. Cut Out- 11 3/8 x 19 Inches
  • EASY INSTALLATION: Includes detailed instructions, cutting template and installation hardware for an easy do-it-yourself project

What We Like

  • Uses 3 flaps to triple the heat retention and keep more cold out
  • Easy to snap on door block to keep your pet in
  • Easy to paint to match your door
  • Less measuring required – comes in one size. Just choose the right height for your dog
  • Replacement flaps! This is one of the biggest complaints. Who wants to install a whole new dog door when the old flap starts to give way? Not me! Instead just pick up the right size replacement flap (double check that size!)

What We Don’t Like

  • Strong winds open the door

Best For Large Dogs – Ruff Weather Dog Door by Ideal Pet Products

If you need an extra large door for your extra wide and tall dog you’ll want one of these. Made by Ideal Pet Products, the Ruff Weather designer series is rugged and gets the job done.

It’s hard to find something similarly priced that can fit big and wide dogs and keep the weather out.

Be warned though, you may need to reinforce the flaps if you have strong winds. The magnets don’t always hold enough to keep out the wind after heavy use.

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Ideal Pet Products Designer Series Ruff-Weather Pet Door with Telescoping Frame
  • Durable, energy-efficient all-weather pet door with inner telescoping frame
  • Structural foam molded plastic frame with two vinyl flaps for maximum insulation
  • Flap size is 15 inches x 23.5 inches, frame size is 19 inches x 28.125 inches and pet door cutout size is 16.25 inches x 25.75 inches
  • Installs easily and securely - optional wall kit available and sold separately
  • Manufacturer Warranty does not apply to product purchased through Amazon Warehouse, and any used product sellers

What We Like

  • Big enough for Great Danes
  • Has a telescoping frame making it easier to install
  • Great for wide dogs

What We Don’t Like

  • Weak magnets – wind blows open door too easily

Best For Small Dogs – Petsafe Extreme Weather Dog Door for Small Dogs

We have to admit that this choice for small dogs is a bit of a cop out. Yes, our top pick was the Petsafe Extreme Weather dog door better suited for larger dogs.

This one comes in a choice of 3 sizes including a small size ideal for your smallest dogs. The large size of this version is the same as our top pick.

Hence it also becomes our top pick for small dogs.

In addition you have a choice of a plastic or aluminum frame. If you want to paint it to match your door then we recommend the plastic frame.

This adorably cute dog door is just over 5 inches wide and a hair above 8 inches high. Roughly the size of a sheet of printer paper folded in half.

Why get a smaller door like this? Well, if you have a small dog then choose the door to fit. It’ll keep out more of the cold and keep in more of the heat.

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PetSafe Extreme Weather Pet Door for Cats and Dogs – 3-Flaps for Added Insulation – Small Pets
  • ENERGY EFFICIENT: Unique three-flap system is rated 3.5 times more energy efficient than single flap doors
  • CENTER INSULATED FLAP: Perfect for hot and cold climates; keeps the warm and cool air inside your home
  • CONTROLLED ACCESS: Snap-on closing panel allows you to keep your pet from using the pet door; use a second closing panel (sold separately) on the outside for an additional layer of weather protection
  • MATCH YOUR DÉCOR: Paintable plastic frame allows you to match your door color
  • EASY INSTALLATION: Includes detailed instructions, cutting template and installation hardware for an easy do-it-yourself project

What We Like

  • Easy to paint plastic frame or easy to match aluminum frame
  • Super small size ideal for smaller dogs and keeping out the cold
  • Great at keeping out the wind once it’s setup

What We Don’t Like

  • Not as easy to install as we’d like
  • Some cats don’t like it – the plastic door is hard to see through making them scared.
  • In the cold the plastic gets hard and takes more strength to push open

Best Dog Door For Wall Mount – Petsafe Aluminum Wall Entry Pet Door

Petsafe strikes again. This time with one of the best wall mount doors to keep out the cold and give free access to the yard for your dog or cat.

Again using a double flap system, the cold is left where it belongs – outside.

Note that like other pet doors, this is a project to install. With wall mounts especially it’s very wise to add extra studs to support the pet door frames.

This door is great but to keep the cost down it’s best to use extra stud supports to protect the aluminum frame.

Like other designs this one has a telescoping function to help you fit multiple wall depths.

Does it look good? We think so.

Does it keep out the cold? Absolutely.

Will it work for your wall? Who knows – please double check! Some walls in the UK are thick enough that this won’t telescope big enough to fit. Click the button below and double check the specs before you commit.

PetSafe Wall Entry Aluminum Pet Door with Telescoping Tunnel, Pet Door for Dogs and Cats, Medium, for Pets Up to 40 Lb.
  • DURABLE, ALUMINUM FRAME: Durable plastic telescoping tunnel fits wall thickness 4.75 in. - 7.25 in. The Frame dimensions are 12 1/4 x 17 1/8 inches,the classic cut out size is 9 9/16 x 14 5/16 inches and the new freedom cut out size is 9 7/8 x 14 3/4 inches
  • DOUBLE-FLAP DESIGN: The door has two replaceable flaps that help keep out weather and provide energy efficiency
  • CONTROLLED ACCESS: The slide-in closing panel is provided for added insulation and control of your pet's access
  • EASY, DO-IT-YOURSELF INSTALLATION: Installs into several wall types including all types of siding, stucco and brick; cut-out template and step-by-step instructions included
  • PET SIZE: Recommended for pets up to 40 lb.; pet door flap opening measures 8.25 in. W x 11.25 in. H

What We Like

  • Looks good
  • Double flaps keep out the cold
  • Good quality for the price

What We Don’t Like

  • Can be difficult to install – Some carpentry basics needed (and don’t cut load bearing studs!)
  • Doesn’t stretch wide enough for super insulated and thick walls

Best For Sliding Glass – Petsafe Adjustable Frame Door

Petsafe wins again! This model is the easier door to install yet. In fact, it’s so easy that even renters can do it.

Renters? Yes! You just slide this thing in the sliding glass door. No door or wall cuts required.

The downside? There really isn’t one. You simple install this and it stands freely on on side of the opening.

You still have the ability to use the sliding glass door at will for yourself.

I suppose the downside is that the opening for you just got 1 foot smaller. That’s a small price to pay to give your dog or cat the ultimate freedom to control their movement in and out of the house.

Not to mention the freedom you get by not having to take them out every few hours.

In fact, we want to show you how easy it is to install and use this door.

Watch this video now.

PetSafe Freedom Aluminum Patio Panel Sliding Glass Dog and Cat Door, Adjustable 76 13/16 in to 80 11/16 in - X-Large White Pet Door
  • QUICK INSTALLATION: Simple do-it-yourself project without cutting into walls or doors; patio panel adjusts from 75 7/8 inches to 80 11/16 inches to fit your door frame
  • VARIETY OF SIZES AND COLORS: Use the sizing chart to find the perfect size door for your best friend; door is available in 3 color options
  • PERFECT FOR RENTERS: Sliding glass door insert is perfect for apartments because the door is detachable so you can easily move it with you
  • ENERGY EFFICIENT: In addition to the slide-in closing panel, the tinted, flexible flap uses a magnetic closure to keep the outside heat and cold out of your home
  • STRONG AND DURABLE: Made to withstand heavy use, the door is built with weather-resistant aluminum and shatter-resistant tempered glass

What We Like

  • Extremely easy to install
  • Lots of sizes and lots of colors – make this match your patio perfectly!

What We Don’t Like

  • No double flaps – this does not do well in colder weather. To solve this you’ll need the Endura Flap option below.

Endura Flap Pet Door – For Sliding Glass Doors and Extreme Weather

Is your weather extreme? Do the winds howl night after night beckoning your dog to come out but making your fearful of installing some cheap single flap dog door?

Fear no more for the Endura Flap double flap pet door is here to help.

We love this model chiefly because it’s a double flap option for sliding glass doors. It’s tough, rugged, and easy to install.

We don’t love it’s cost. If you want something that advertises protection against 50 mile per hour winds then this is what you need.

Endura Flap Severe Weather Vinyl Sliding Glass Dog Door - Small - 74.75" - 77.75" - White
  • Energy saving design - insulates your home in cold and hot temperatures using the award-winning Endura Flap pet door and dual-pane LoE glass that keeps your home temperature consistent without sacrificing your natural light
  • Strong Vinyl frame - compliments the look and securely fits in modern vinyl sliding glass door frame tracks
  • Keeps home cozy - the double flap design resists winds up to 50 mph and shields home against the harshest weather
  • No-tools installation - adjustable top for easy install and removal, great for renters and vacation homes!
  • Strong Locking cover - secures the pet door when you’re away or you want keep your pet inside or outdoors

What We Like

  • Double flaps – we love it – keeps the cold out!
  • Installs easy like cutting through butter with a hot knife – Like most sliding glass door models

What We Don’t Like

  • Expensive. Tap the button above to check the current price but this tends to be more than other models. It’s good quality but if you don’t have extreme weather you might be fine with a single flap variety.

Best Electronic Dog Door – Petsafe Electronic Smartdoor

When it comes to electronic dog doors you have 2 main types:

The first we cover is the collar activated.

Why do we like it? It comes with the collar you need. It’s simple to use – no dealing with the microchip codes.

Some issues we have.

Like other dog doors it’s difficult to install. Only the sliding glass door ones are really easy. And don’t get me started on wall mount doors. Extra studs needed to hold up the pet door frame? Give me a break.

There’s another big issue with electronic dog doors. There aren’t a lot of options.

Do you want one with double flaps for cold weather? Such a thing doesn’t really exist.

We’re going to recommend the best electronic collar actived door here. Next we’ll recommend the best microchip pet door.

For high winds and super cold weather, we don’t recommend using these doors. Perhaps use them for the summer.

But if you live somewhere cold? Get a non-electric double flap door. And if you can, get one for a sliding glass door. So easy to install we can’t say enough.

PetSafe Electronic SmartDoor - Collar Activated Dog and Cat Door - Small to Large Pets
  • CUSTOMIZE YOUR PET’S ACCESS: The SmartDoor features programmable selective entry, exit and auto-locking options
  • PEACE OF MIND: The SmartDoor works with the waterproof SmartKey worn on your pet's collar; only the pets wearing the SmartKey can go in and out
  • MULTIPLE PETS: Great for households with multiple pets; programmable for up to 5 SmartKeys
  • BATTERY OPERATED: The SmartDoor is battery operated (4 D-Cell Batteries, not included)
  • DOOR INSTALLATION: Designed for installation in interior/exterior doors; wall installation option available with purchase of Wall Install Kit

What We Like

  • Comes with the collar
  • Don’t need to mess with microchips in your pet

What We Don’t Like

  • Security – anyone that can get the collar off your dog can open this door. Of course, it’s super small so good luck to them getting in!

Best Microchip Pet Door – SureFlap

See our summary above for how we feel about electronic doors. They’re great but not so much for cold weather and high winds.

SureFlap-Sure Petcare Microchip Pet Door (White)
  • SELECTIVE ENTRY PET DOOR: Scans on ENTRY ONLY. Uses RFID to read your pet’s implanted ID microchip, allowing your pet access without letting in stray animals—learns up to 32 identities; programmable collar tags are sold separately for pets without microchips. SIMPLE ONE BUTTON Programming. Helps prevent intruder animals from entering your home. SET CURFEW TIME!: Program the door to lock and unlock at specified times. RESTRICTED ENTRY ONLY - any animal can exit.
  • MICROCHIP COMPATIBILITY: Works with 9 (Avid Secure), 10 (FDXA) and 15 (FDXB) digit microchip numbers; if unsure of your pet’s microchip number, you can check with your veterinarian, pet shelter or animal rescue.
  • DOOR OPENING: The Microchip Pet Door Flap opening is 6 11/16” (H) by 7” (W) and can be installed in doors, windows or walls – accessories are available from SureFlap.
  • BATTERY POWERED: Uses 4 C non-rechargeable alkaline batteries (not included); estimated battery life up to 12 months depending on use. LOW BATTERY INDICATOR: Light flashes red when batteries are low and indicates batteries will need to be replaced soon.
  • PERFECT GIFT: The SureFlap Microchip Pet Door is a great gift for small dog breeds and cat lover’s – making safe spaces and homes for their pets. Three Year Warranty.

What We Like

  • More secure – You’d have to grab your cat or dog and haul them over to get this to open.

What We Don’t Like

  • Battery operated – must change batteries in door for access

Types Of Pet Doors

So how do you decide which pet door is best for you?

The focus of this article is on pet doors for cold weather. You need something insulated, air tight, and double flapped.

The flaps have to have strong magnets that can hold out the winds. Or they need some other kind of feature to keep wind out.

The have to seal and keep mice out – this is huge!

Plus they need to be the right size for your pup.

Below we’ll cover all of those options and how to make the right choice for you.

Sizes Of Pet Doors

First let’s start with pet door size. The size of your dog is the biggest consideration here. Use the instructions below to measure your dog and choose a door accordingly.

Is your dog big and wide? See our recommendation above for large dogs – it includes a model with a wide option.

Most dog doors with large size options mainly consider dog height.

If you have a wide or fluffy long haired dog they’ll enjoy going through a wider door.

Nothing’s worse than spending the time to install one of these suckers only to find your dog or cat is afraid of it.

This goes for smaller animals too like cats or short legged dogs. We include a full guide below on how to measure your dog or cat to choose a door size. Plus it helps you determine how high to put the door above the bottom of the door.

Keep one last thing in mind – double flap doors are great for keeping out the cold but…

Some of these doors can be very difficult for cats and small dogs to push open. They can do it. But if the door is cold enough and it gets hard to push they’ll likely stop using the door.

Insulation

For insulation just remember one thing – go for the double flap. Just like the double doors you pass through at the entrance of office buildings, the double flap model is ideal for insulation.

Regarding insulation around the pet door frame, you’ll have to provide that.

Wet Entry

Wet entry is tough. To date there are hints and whispers about doors that can sense rain and shut down your pet’s ability to exit. They aren’t fully out there yet.

Your best bet for wet entry – mats on both sides of the door.

Of course, the double flaps used to keep out cold help wipe off your pet to an extent but it isn’t perfect.

Don’t look for ideal wet entry doors. Instead, focus on the right size and the right setup for your situation and add mats.

Air Tightness

The key to air tightness with pet doors is the strength of the magnet or mechanism that holds them shut.

Preventing air from getting in around the edges is easy. Use Caulk.

Preventing air from getting in through the flaps is the bigger issue. This is a design concern. You must choose the best door for your situation.

If you have a lot of wind we recommend doors with strong magnets (e.g. Petsafe).

FAQ

How Big Of A Dog Door Do You Need?

A dog door should be at least one inch higher than your dogs shoulders and 2 inches lower than your dogs belly. Dog doors should be at least 3 inches above the ground so as not to ruin the integrity of your door. That said, if your dog has short legs you may need another option.

If you can go lower with the bottom even better as it will make it easier for your dog to get in the door.

If you have two different sized dogs aim for a dog door that is tall enough for your big dog but low enough for your smaller dog to easily get through. Use the rules of thumb above – 1″ above your tall dogs shoulders for the top and 2″ below your small dog’s belly for the bottom.

See instructions below on testing the dog door with cardboard. It’s just after the section on measuring and testing the ideal width.

How wide should the dog door be?

To measure the width use a little experimentation. Open your door a little more than the width of your dog. Then hold it in place with a door jam.

Call your dog through and see how easy it is for them. Keep trying different widths until it’s easy for your dog to get through without worry.

Lastly, make a mock dog door out of cardboard. Tape it to an open doorway and call your dog through. Is it easy for them? Then you’ve got the perfect measurements.

That last step is especially important if you have two dogs.

How Do You Install A Dog Door?

  1. Get the right size door and double check your dog’s height and step (see steps above)
  2. Gather the needed tools
    1. measuring tape
    2. pencil (or chalk if door is dark colored)
    3. hammer
    4. drill and drill bits
    5. saw
    6. masking tape (also good for marking dark colored doors)
    7. level
    8. caulk
  3. Remove the door from it’s hinges
  4. Trace the door outline
  5. Cut the door hole
  6. Install the dog door according to it’s instructions

See the instructions below for installing the Petsafe Extreme Weather Dog Door.

How High Should You Install A Dog Door From The Floor?

Dog doors should be installed at least 3 inches from the bottom of the door. The ideal height is based off the length of your pet’s legs. Aim to put the bottom of the door 2-3 inches lower then your pet’s belly.

That gives them plenty of room to step through the door.

How To Winterize Dog Door?

Winterize your door using the following:

  • Choose a dog or cat door with double flaps and a strong holding mechanism. Pet doors usually use a magnet to keep the flaps in place so wind and mice get through. Make sure the magnets are strong!
  • When installing the pet door, add insulation between the main door hole and the pet door frame
  • Add caulk around the frame of your pet door on both sides of the main door
  • Use a pet door cover at night and when your pet doesn’t need to go outside. Several models include an easy to snap on cover or a slide to keep them firmly closed. This also doubles as a locking mechanism to prevent break ins.

How Do You Keep A Dog Door From Freezing?

Freezing is a problem that can harden the plastic flap of a dog door making it harder for you pet to push the door open. How do you prevent this?

  1. Add insulation while installing the door. Be sure to pack insulation around all sides of the pet door frame.
  2. Add caulk around all sides of the front and back of the pet door to prevent cold air from moving through.
  3. If the above fails add heat tape around the sides of the frame.
  4. Use a cover to keep the door warm at night.
  5. Lastly, consider replacing the flap with another model that handles freezing temperatures better like the Endura Flap.