Can Rats Go Through Dog Doors? (Solved & Explained!)

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Yes, rats can go through dog doors. Rats are good climbers and they can grow pretty large. A standard dog door is no problem for them to enter.

They can push open the flap with ease and crawl right into your home. Once inside they have full access to your kitsch cupboards and walls, so secure your dog door at night whenever possible.

How Do I Keep Rats Away From My Dog Door?

The best way to prevent rats from getting in your dog door is to lock it. Rats are mostly nocturnal, so locking your dog door at night is the best deterrent.

However, if this is not possible and you are concerned about daytime visits from rats, then the best prevention is to not give them a reason to go in.


Do not store food near or around the dog door, human or dog food. If any crumbs spill, sweep them away immediately.


Do not allow smells or odors to linger around the dog door. If you are cooking and your dog door is in the kitchen, lock it while you are cooking until the aroma has disappeared.


Clean the dog flap and the surrounding areas regularly. That will ensure that no lingering food particles attract rats and other vermin.

What Do I Do If A Rat Gets In My Dog Door?

The first thing you should do is get the rat out of your house. You can place snap traps around your home but humane animal traps work just as well and are preferred.

Humane traps will catch the rat inside a plastic box, where it will remain until you release it. Place foods that rats love, like cheese, peanut butter, meats, etc into the trap and wait. The rat will be attracted to the food and go inside.

Once inside, the rats’ movements will trigger the opening to snap shut. Afterwhich you can safely carry the rat outside and release it – making sure to release it a good distance from your home to prevent its return.

Will Rats Enter A House With Dogs?

Rats may be hesitant to enter a house with dogs in but that may not be enough to stop them. Rats have a great sense of smell so can identify the presence of rats by that alone, and they consider dogs as predators.

However, rats are smart and they are masters in stealth. If they are hungry enough they may well risk moving into a dog territory by the cover of night in hopes of sneaking enough food off the property while your dog is sleeping.

Can A Rat Hurt My Dog?

While there is a higher probability of your dog hurting the rat, rats can certainly do damage to your dog during a fight.

However, the biggest risk is a bacterial infection. Rats and other rodents carry infectious diseases that can be passed on to your dog if they come into close contact. It can also be passed through urine or feces left behind by a rat or your dog biting or eating a rat.

Rats also bite a scratch which can allow bacteria to pass through wounds. Small and toy dogs are particularly at risk of injury from a rat as some rats may be almost the same size as some toy breeds.

Are Rats Afraid of Dogs or Humans?

Rats are somewhat afraid of dogs but humans are a bigger deterrent. Rats evolved alongside humans and have an inherent instinct to flee from their presence.

To a rat, a human is enormous and appears like no other creature they have seen. We are quite startling, and a rat will prefer to run than take its chances with us.

Unless a rat has been raised by a human since it was a pup, it will run away from any human as soon as they realize they are there.

Will Dog Poop Keep Rats Away from the Dog Door?

No! In fact, it will have the opposite effect. Dog poop actually attracts rats. They are attracted by undigested food inside your dog’s poop and think nothing of digging around in your dogs’ waste to see if there are a few scraps.

Therefore is important to clean up any dog poop left by the dog door immediately, and clean the area with disinfectant if possible.

Do all you can to remove dog poop and the smell of dog poop in your backyard, and if you have a doggie litter tray, do not keep it by the dog door.

How Do I Keep My Dog Safe From Rats Coming in The Dog Door?

If you are having a persistent rat problem associated with your dog door, then there are a number of things you can do to keep your dog safe until you find a permanent solution.


Make sure to keep on top of your dogs’ vaccinations. Rats are asymptomatic carriers of illnesses such as leptospirosis, and transmission is easily prevented if your dog is fully vaccinated.

Keep Your Dog Away From Rat Baits

If you put down rat bait in an attempt to catch a rat in your home, keep it well away from your dog.

Rat bait is toxic to dogs and ingestion can be fatal. If your dog does eat some of the rat bait, call the emergency vet immediately and try to induce vomiting in the meantime.

However, the best way to protect your dog from rat bait is not to use it inside your home and opt for human traps instead.

Restrict Yardtime at Night

Your dog is most likely to encounter a rat in the yard at night. If you have a high population of rats in your area then allow your dog in the yard at sunset at the latest and keep them inside until morning.

Keep Your Dog Away From The Dog Door At Night

If rats are persistently coming into your home via the dog door at night then keep your dog away from the dog door during this time.

Do not allow them to sleep close to the door and preferably, lock them in their own room for the night on the second floor of your home (if you have a second floor) or in the room furthest away from the dog door.

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