To ensure maximum comfort and safety, your dog door should have 6 inches of clearance on each side when your pet goes through it. This means that if your dog is standing directly in it, there should be a minimum of 6 inches of space on both sides and the top and bottom of your dog and the door.
Finding the correct dog door for your dog is important for both safety and security. If you have a door that is too small, your dog may injure itself by going in and out of it. A dog door that is too large could possibly invite other unwanted guests inside your home.
Continue reading on to learn more about choosing the right-sized dog door, important considerations to take, different types of dog doors you could possibly have, and how your dog’s breed can determine which size door you need.
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Determining Dog Door Size Based on Breed
Most pet products, especially those created for dogs, use sizing charts that are roughly based on standard breed sizes. Pet product manufacturers use both the American Kennel Club (AKC) and the English Kennel Club (EKC) to determine standard breed sizing.
By using AKC and EKC breed standards, manufacturers of pet products are able to create a uniform sizing chart that covers a plethora of items including collars, harnesses, kennel sizes, and dog door sizes. If you have a common breed of dog, such as a beagle, you will often find standard sizing guidelines on the product packaging.
This will cut the guesswork down and make it easier to determine your sizing needs based on your dog breed. For dog doors, the standard sizing may look something like this
Small Size – For breeds such as Chihuahua, Pomeranian, and Yorkshire Terriers
Medium Size – Best for breeds such as Beagles, Border Collies, and Standard Poodles
Large Size – This size is mostly reserved for dogs over 70 pounds like German Shepherds, Cane Corso, or Doberman Pinscher
Extra Large and up – The extra-large size in pet product sizing refers to very large dogs, usually more than 120 pounds. This includes breeds like Great Danes, Bullmastiffs, and Great Pyrenees dogs.
Finding the Right Dog Door Size Using Measurements
Another way to select a properly fitting dog door for your pup is to measure the dog for accuracy. To measure your dog for a dog door, you will want to have a fabric measuring tape and something to write down measurements with.
Start by measuring your dog’s height. You can do this by placing the measuring tape on the floor and measuring from the floor to the top of the dog’s head. Write down that measurement and then take the dog’s width measurement. You can determine the width of your dog by measuring the chest from end to end. This is the widest part of your dog and will determine the width of your dog door.
With both measurements, you want to add an additional 6 inches to give your dog clearance. This will ensure a perfect fitting dog door that is both safe and functional.
What if My Dog is a Puppy?
If you are purchasing a dog door for a puppy, consider that your dog has not fully grown and therefore you should not use exact measurements to determine your dog door size. Instead, use the sizing method that is based on your breed of dog.
Unfortunately, however, if you have a mixed breed dog the breed sizing could be a little more difficult. If you have a mixed breed dog you should ask your vet what breed they think is most prevalent in your mixed breed pup. This will give you a better idea of which size to choose.
Remember to size and purchase the dog door for your adult dog, even if your dog is still a puppy. You do not want to have to buy and rebuy dog doors because your dog outgrew it. Purchase and install one dog door instead.
Dog Door Precautions
Be sure that any sized dog door that you choose is installed properly and your dog is trained on how to use the dog door. This will ensure that the door is safe for your pet to use. Training them to use the dog door is important as well because the training they receive will give them the confidence to use the dog door with ease.
If you are concerned with stray cats, rodents, or other unwanted wildlife coming through your dog door, you can choose a door that comes with a solid panel to slide in and close the door when it is not in use. You can also choose to purchase an automatic dog door. These types of doors have a locking mechanism. To open the door, you put the ‘key’ on your dog’s collar and the door will open once your dog is within a certain range of the door.
Types of Dog Doors
There are many types of dog doors on the market today. The most popular type of dog door is a standard, plastic-framed one. This door comes with a semi-transparent flap that swings to let your dog go in and out. This dog door can be installed on any type of door, except glass, that you can cut a hole into. Plastic dog doors are widely available and come in a variety of sizes.
Another type of dog door that is gaining popularity are doors that can fit into a sliding glass door. These dog doors come in an entire glass panel that you can insert into your door frame. Glass panel dog doors remove some of the space to walk through on your sliding glass door, but they can be removed easily at any time.
Glass panel dog doors should only be used for small to medium-sized dogs. Large dogs can, over time, loosen the door from the glass panel. This can cause the glass panel to fail and shatter without warning. It is imperative to read all crucial instructions if you choose to install a glass panel dog door.