Your dog door is as safe as you make it. By using the correct materials, locks, and home security systems, your dog door can be as secure as the rest of your house. However, if you do not follow these guidelines, then your dog door might be a safety risk to your home.
The rest of this article will go into detail about how to make your dog door secure, the most and least secure pet door styles, the best locking systems, pet door alternatives, and other common questions.
Table of Contents
- Can intruders use my dog door to access my home?
- Which type of dog door is the most secure?
- Are there specific types of dog doors I should avoid?
- What type of dog door lock should I choose?
- I already have a dog door, can I buy and install a lock separately?
- Can I put a dog door in a wall instead of in my door?
- Are dog doors safe for my kids?
- Are there convenient alternatives to dog doors?
- What about dog doorbells?
- Will having a dog door affect my insurance coverage?
- Do veterinarians recommend dog doors?
- How does a home security system make my dog door safer?
- Are dog doors worth the risk?
Unfortunately, dog doors and flaps provide an accessible point of entry for intruders and burglars. If you have a large dog door, an intruder may be able to fit through it and gain access to your home. However, even if your dog door is too small for a person to fit through, they may still be able to reach through it and unlock or break in your house door.
Dog doors designed for optimal security should be made from durable materials such as industrial-grade plastic, outdoor glass, and metal, and should include a locking mechanism. Additionally, doors mounted in an exterior wall are more secure than doors installed in a house door. According to Security Boss Pet Doors, they offer the most secure dog doors on the market, with a variety of models and price points.
Traditional dog flaps are usually constructed of a single sheet of vinyl or plastic and offer little to no security measures. This makes them the least safe option for your home, as well as the least energy efficient.
There are two kinds of dog door locks; manual and electronic. You may choose to use a manual lock to secure your dog door at specific times, such as locking it at night, during the day when you are not home, or when you are on vacation. As an alternative, electronic dog doors use sensors in your dog’s collar or microchip, allowing the door to open only for your specific pet – not for anyone else.
Yes, you can easily install manual locks such as deadbolts, sliding panels, and spring-loaded locking mechanisms to an existing dog door. You can also install electronic sensors on an existing door, but this is more expensive. Which types of locks you are able to install will depend on the style of your dog door, and your options will be more limited if you have a dog flap.
Installing a dog door in a wall is a much safer option because exterior walls are sturdier than doors. It also prevents the risk of an intruder being able to reach through the dog flap to unlock your door; however, this kind of installation requires more construction and is more expensive. Another option is to consider installing a dog door in your garage, as this allows your pets into the garage for shelter while minimizing access for intruders.
Because young children are small enough to fit through a pet door, it is reasonable to be concerned about them accidentally going outside without supervision, possibly without a way back inside, or even injuring themselves while becoming stuck in the pet door. Fortunately, installing an electronic dog door or one with an appropriate locking mechanism eliminates this concern.
Are there convenient alternatives to dog doors?
If you want the convenience of a dog door without all of the risk, you can opt for a pet latch instead. According to LockLatch, pet latches are easy to install in windows and sliding doors, and since they only open to a specified width, they offer more security than a traditional dog flap or door. If you want to avoid doors and latches altogether, you can consider hiring a dog sitter or using a dog walking service for the times you are not readily available to take your dog outside.
What about dog doorbells?
Dog doorbells are another alternative to a traditional dog door. They are useful for potty training puppies especially, as they give your dog an easy way to alert you that they need to go outside, without barking or scratching at the door. However, dog doorbells still require you to be home and respond to your pet, so they are not as convenient as dog doors.
Depending on your home insurance carrier, you may have to pay a higher premium if you have a dog door installed. Additionally, if you install a dog door and neglect to inform your insurance carrier, they might void or limit your coverage if you make a claim.
VCA Animal Hospitals recommends electronic dog doors because they allow your pet controlled access to the outdoors, they include tracking systems that may help you monitor your pet’s habits, they are energy efficient, and, since they work by scanning your pet’s microchip, they offer additional security and peace of mind.
With home security systems becoming more high-tech and efficient, they can often offset any risk that comes with having a dog door or flap. For example, security systems often use surveillance cameras and motion detection, which can detect any suspicious activity and alert you accordingly. These can be installed and programmed to monitor the area surrounding your dog door to maximize security.
Ultimately, this is a question that you will have to answer for yourself; however, with the proper materials, installation, and safety features, dog doors can be a convenient and safe option for you and your pet.