The Best Dog Doors of 2023

Whether you rent or own, you can give your pet the freedom to come and go—while ensuring the security of your home—with the right pet portal.

By Nancy Dunham | Updated Aug 2, 2023 4:24 PM

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The Best Dog Door Options

Photo: amazon.com

A portal that allows your pooch safe and easy access to the outside can be a real convenience for pet lovers. A doggy door frees you up from having to open the door every time your four-pawed family members must do their business, proving especially helpful with older dogs who may need to relieve themselves often.

The best dog doors currently come in a wide variety of sizes and styles to suit both you and your pets’ home situation. These include window, wall, traditional door-mounted models, and even electronic versions. This guide will help you navigate which features to look for and show you why the following models are considered some of the best dog doors on the market.

  1. BEST OVERALL: Ideal Pet Products Designer Series Plastic Pet Door
  2. BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: PetSafe Staywell Original 2-Way Pet Door
  3. BEST ELECTRONIC: PetSafe Electronic SmartDoor
  4. BEST FOR SLIDING DOORS: PetSafe 1-Piece Sliding Glass Pet Door
  5. BEST WALL-MOUNTED: PetSafe Wall Entry Plastic Pet Door
  6. BEST DOOR-MOUNTED: BarksBar Original Plastic Dog Door
  7. BEST WINDOW-MOUNTED: Ideal Pet Products Aluminum Sash Window Pet Door
  8. BEST INSULATED: PetSafe Extreme Weather Door and Cat Door
The Best Dog Door Options

Photo: amazon.com

How We Chose the Best Dog Doors

To choose the best dog doors, we conducted extensive product research and based our decisions on several key factors.

We considered different types of dog doors like door mounted, wall mounted, window mounted, sliding glass door inserts, and electronic doors. We evaluated specific features, installation requirements, and suitability for different homes.

Durability and functionality were a top priority when making our selections. We evaluated frame materials (plastic or metal) and flap materials (typically plastic or vinyl), taking into account factors like longevity, resistance to scratches, and flexibility.

Price was another important consideration. Our picks include a range of dog doors to cater to different budgets, ensuring you get the best value for the features offered.

Our Top Picks

To give your beloved canines in-and-out access, choose a doggy door that suits your pet, your home, and your lifestyle. The dog doors below are considered among the best available in their respective categories.

Best Overall

The Best Dog Door Option: Ideal Pet Products Designer Series Plastic Pet Door
Photo: amazon.com

If you want a dog door that will keep its clean, neat appearance despite your pooch’s frequent comings and goings, consider the Designer Series plastic pet door by Ideal Pet Products. Its impact-resistant plastic frame, which adapts to doors from 1.25 to 2 inches thick, is built to take all the bumps, scratches, and bites your dog may dish out. It also has a telescoping frame that allows you to tunnel through a wall to reach the exterior of the home, should you opt to wall mount it rather than door mount it. Its flexible vinyl flap has patented edges that won’t warp and features a lock-out slide to control access. Ideal Pet Products Designer Series pet door is available in four sizes.

Product Specs

  • Type: Door mounted
  • Lock: Yes
  • Flap size: From 7 inches high by 5 inches wide (small) to 20 inches high by 15 inches wide (super large)

Pros

  • Durable impact-resistant plastic frame withstands bumps, scratches, and bites
  • Telescoping frame allows for wall mounting in addition to door mounting
  • Patented edges on the flexible vinyl flap prevent warping

Cons

  • Flexible vinyl flap is not energy efficient; will allow heat/cold transfer

Get the Ideal Pet Products Designer dog door at Amazon, Chewy, or Ideal Pet Products.

Best Bang for the Buck

The Best Dog Door Option: PetSafe Staywell Original 2-Way Pet Door
Photo: amazon.com

Your pups won’t realize you got a bargain on this sturdy dog door. The PetSafe Staywell Original two-way pet door features an optional tunnel that allows access through thick walls or exterior and interior doors of varying thicknesses. There’s also a plastic locking closing panel to secure the flap when you wish to limit your pets’ access. The flap measures 7.48 inches high by 7.48 inches wide and is suitable for pets up to 15 pounds.

Product Specs

  • Type: Door mounted
  • Lock: Yes
  • Flap size: 7.48 inches high by 7.48 inches wide

Pros

  • Optional tunnel allows for easy installation in thick walls or doors of varying thicknesses
  • Plastic locking closing panel ensures that users can securely close the flap when needed
  • Offers excellent value for its price, making it a cost-effective choice for pet owners

Cons

  • Only available is 1 size; suitable for pets up to 15 pounds

Get the PetSafe Staywell dog door at Amazon.

Best Electronic

The Best Dog Door Option: PetSafe Electronic SmartDoor
Photo: amazon.com

If you like the idea of a pet door but worry about security, the PetSafe Electronic SmartDoor is worth a look. It operates via four D-cell batteries and is activated by a waterproof SmartKey that attaches to your pet’s collar.

Whenever pets pass through, the door automatically locks behind them, keeping unwanted wildlife, animals, and intruders out. Though designed to be installed on interior or exterior doors, an optional kit is available for wall installation. The door includes five SmartKeys for multiple pets and comes in two sizes to accommodate large and small pets.

Product Specs

  • Type: Electronic
  • Lock: Yes
  • Flap size: 7.9 inch high by 5.5 inches wide (small) and 16 inches high by 11 inches wide (large)

Pros

  • Offers increased security by automatically locking behind pets; ensures unwanted animals and intruders are kept out
  • Uses SmartKey tech; allows for seamless entry and exit without the need for manual intervention
  • Includes 5 SmartKeys; accommodates multiple pets

Cons

  • Relies on 4 D-cell batteries for operation; may require regular battery replacements for frequent use

Get the PetSafe Electronic SmartDoor dog door at Amazon or Chewy.

Best For Sliding Doors

The Best Dog Door Option: PetSafe 1-Piece Sliding Glass Pet Door
Photo: amazon.com

If you want a pet portal for your sliding doors that’s easy to install and detach, consider this option from PetSafe. It’s a panel that adjusts to fit in almost any sliding glass door frame without cutting or other modifications, making it well suited to those who don’t want to physically alter the door itself. A flexible flap is secured by magnets to be both energy efficient and safe. The weather-resistant aluminum frame is available in a white, bronze, or satin finish to blend with your home’s decor and includes a locking panel to limit access. The sliding glass pet door is available in several sizes.

Product Specs

  • Type: Sliding door
  • Lock: Yes
  • Flap size: From 8 inches high by 5 inches wide (small) to 24 inches high by 14 inches wide (extra large)

Pros

  • Designed as a panel that can be easily installed without the need for cutting or modifying the sliding door frame
  • Flexible flap is secured by magnets, ensuring energy efficiency by minimizing drafts
  • Included locking panel allows you to limit access when needed, providing added security

Cons

  • Designed specifically for sliding doors; not compatible with other door types

Get the PetSafe 1-piece dog door at Amazon or The Home Depot.

Best Wall-Mounted

The Best Dog Door Option: PetSafe Wall Entry Plastic Pet Door
Photo: amazon.com

Quality counts with any pet portal, but even more so with wall-mounted models. Wall-mounted pet doors are often expensive to install and can be costly and difficult to remove and replace. With that in mind, check out the PetSafe wall-entry plastic pet door. It has a durable aluminum frame with a plastic telescoping tunnel that fits walls with a thickness range between 4.75 inches and 7.25 inches. The pet door features a double-flap design for extra insulation, and the replaceable flaps are easy to swap out when needed. There’s also a slide-in panel for extra protection against the weather and to limit pets’ access. This PetSafe pet door is available in three sizes.

Product Specs

  • Type: Wall mounted
  • Lock: No
  • Flap size: From 8.01 inches high by 5.25 inches wide (small) to 10.06 inches high by 6.75 inches wide (large)

Pros

  • Built with a durable aluminum frame for long-lasting use
  • Double-flap design provides enhanced insulation, making it energy-efficient and weather-resistant
  • Plastic telescoping tunnel provides versatility for various wall sizes

Cons

  • Wall-mounted pet doors often require expensive installation due to the need for cutting into walls

Get the PetSafe wall-entry dog door at Amazon, Lowe’s (large), or PetDoors.com.

Best Door-Mounted

The Best Dog Door Option: BarksBar Original Plastic Dog Door
Photo: amazon.com

As pet owners know, dogs (and wildlife) sometimes chew the plastic flaps on dog doors, which is why this BarksBar model has been bite and chew tested to hold up. The traditional door-mounted portal’s frame is plastic with an aluminum lining to avoid warping, while the heavy-duty vinyl flap won’t degrade and has a magnetic closure to keep severe weather out. There’s a removable self-locking panel with two-way locking to limit access. This dog door comes in a medium size with a flap that measures 11.25 inches high by 7 inches wide (for dogs up to 40 pounds) and a large size that’s 15 inches high by 10.5 inches wide (for large dogs up to 100 pounds).

Product Specs

  • Type: Door mounted
  • Lock: Yes
  • Flap size: 11.25 inches high by 7 inches wide (small/medium) and 15 inches high by 10.5 inches wide (large)

Pros

  • Has been bite and chew tested, ensuring durability and longevity
  • Plastic frame with an aluminum lining prevents warping, while the heavy-duty vinyl flap is resistant to degradation
  • Removable self-locking panel with 2-way locking allows for controlled access

Cons

  • Largest flap size may not be suitable for very large or giant dog breeds

Get the BarksBar dog door at Amazon or BarksBar.

Best Window-Mounted

The Best Dog Door Option: Ideal Pet Products Aluminum Sash Window Pet Door
Photo: amazon.com

If you have sash windows and want to give your pets easy outdoor access, you’ll want to consider this Pet Products model. The high-quality white-finish aluminum frame is literally a snap to install and remove. The pet portal features a flexible vinyl flap and includes an animal lock-out slide to control access. This window-mounted door suits pets up to 90 pounds and comes in five flap sizes to accommodate a variety of pet sizes.

Product Specs

  • Type: Window mounted
  • Lock: Yes
  • Flap size: From 7 inches high by 5 inches wide to 15 inches high by 10.5 inches wide

Pros

  • White-finish aluminum frame provides durability and a sleek appearance
  • Features a flexible vinyl flap that allows for easy passage while providing insulation and weather resistance
  • Comes in 5 different flap sizes, catering to various pet sizes and accommodating pets up to 90 pounds

Cons

  • Designed specifically for sash windows and may not be suitable for other window types

Get the Ideal Pet Products aluminum sash window dog door at Amazon, The Home Depot (small), or PetDoors.com.

Best Insulated

The Best Dog Door Option: PetSafe Extreme Weather Door and Cat Door
Photo: amazon.com

If you live in an area that tends to experience serious storms and temperatures, the PetSafe Extreme Weather dog and cat door may be the smartest choice for your home and your dogs. This door relies on a three-flap system, with a heavily insulated center flap, to shut out extreme heat, cold, and elements, making it more energy efficient than single-flap doors. A snap-on closing panel allows you to control access, and the door can also accommodate a second snap-on panel (sold separately) to add an extra layer of weather protection. The plastic frame is paintable, allowing you to match your door color if desired. It’s available in three size options to accommodate a variety of pet sizes. The largest door features a flap size of 16.25 inches high by 10.13 inches wide for dogs up to 100 pounds.

Product Specs

  • Type: Door-mounted
  • Lock: Yes
  • Flap size: From 8.25 inches high by 5.01 inches wide (small) to 16.25 inches high by 10.13 inches wide (large)

Pros

  • Utilizes a 3-flap system with a heavily insulated center flap to provide superior insulation against extreme heat and cold
  • Insulation and 3-flap system makes this door more energy efficient compared to single-flap doors
  • Plastic frame of the door is paintable, allowing you to match it with your door color

Cons

  • Designed specifically for door-mounted installation; may not be suitable for other mounting options

Get the PetSafe Extreme Weather dog door at Amazon (extra large), Chewy, or PetSmart.

Jump to Our Top Picks

What to Consider When Choosing a Dog Door

To choose the perfect portal for your pets, consider their size, mobility, and personality. It’s a good idea for the following factors and features to be part of your decision.

Types of Dog Doors

Dog doors may be mounted in a traditional exterior door, sliding door, screen door, wall, or window. When choosing the right one for your home, consider material, security, and installation. Adding a dog door may mean modifying your home by sawing a hole into the door or wall, but professional dog door installers are available for hire if you prefer not to do the job yourself. While all dog doors are securable, all can also be compromised. One of the easiest ways to thwart would-be intruders is to install the dog door in a less-than-obvious place, such as a back door or window.

Door Mounted

The classic animal gateway is the door-mounted dog door with a simple flap your pooch can push to go in and out. The flap is typically securable to block access at those times when you don’t want your pet to go outside. You can also find models with two, or even three, flaps for extra insulation, advisable in areas where extreme weather is common. Installing this type of dog door is a relatively easy DIY job, but if you make an error, it can be pricey; you could have to repair, or even replace, the main door. The task involves drilling holes for mounting hardware, sawing the hole in the main door, then placing and sealing the frame of the dog door and putting in the flap(s).

Since it requires simply pushing the flap, a door-mounted dog door is simple for your pet to use, but it may also grant access to stray animals and wildlife—intruders have been known to use door-mounted dog doors to gain entry to a home. What’s more, small children may be able to crawl out.

Wall Mounted

Rather than a front-and-center position on your home’s door, a wall-mounted dog door can be placed in a less prominent area of the home. These dog doors can be a smart choice if you want your pet to have access to another area of the house, such as a garage. To install, you must drill a hole into the wall. And, depending on the thickness of the wall, a tunnel might also be needed for your pet to pass through. A wall-mounted dog door is the most complicated type to install as a DIY project.

Window Mounted

There are various different types of window-mounted dog—and cat—doors, to fit both sash and sliding windows. One common way to achieve a window-mounted dog door is to replace a pane of glass with a portal the pet uses by pushing a flap. If you don’t feel confident working with glass, you can hire a glazier to do the job. Renters and others opposed to modifying their home might consider a window-mounted door that slides back and forth. Since many of these models come with locking covers, you can leave it open for your pet to enter or exit, and then close and secure it when needed.

Sliding Glass Door Insert

If your home has sliding glass doors, consider an insert where a small area of the door is replaced with a flap-operated dog door, which will allow you to use your sliding glass door as you normally do. Many models have locks that independently secure the dog door. One of the most important aspects of such an insert is the height your pet must step over to come and go. Some manufacturers make sliding glass door inserts with adjustable “step overs” so dogs needn’t struggle, especially as they age. DIY install is possible but somewhat complex.

Electronic

If you’re concerned that wildlife, neighbors’ pets, or intruders might gain access to your home, consider an electronic dog door. These typically install in one of the main doors of the home in the same way as traditional dog doors. Electronic dog doors often have extra insulation, which is especially useful for those living in extreme weather areas.

Some electronic doors are activated via your pet’s vet-inserted microchip, while others have you set timers and lock modes. In both cases, you might need to program your animal’s collar or microchip so it connects to the door’s electronic mechanism.

Size

A dog door must be large enough for your pet to comfortably go in and out of without getting bumped or scratched on the way through. If the door is too short or the step over is too high, some dogs may refuse to use it. As a general rule, the height of the door should be 1.5 to 2 inches higher than the shoulders of your tallest pet. This is vital since a dog can be injured running excitedly through a too-low dog door. The step over at the bottom of the door depends on the size of your pet and the design of the door. When in doubt, opt for a lower step over so that a senior dog with mobility issues will be able to cross it without trouble or pain.

Materials

Dog door frames are commonly made of plastic or metal, while flaps are typically plastic or vinyl. Plastic flaps are relatively inexpensive and easy to install, but they yellow with age and accumulate scratches, making them unsightly. Vinyl flaps are more flexible and easier to push, so are often better suited to small dogs or cats as well as weaker, older animals. Vinyl flaps are generally secured with magnets and can be mounted very low for ease of access.

It’s prudent to choose a vinyl flap manufactured from a large sheet because it’s more likely to hang straight and not need adjustment. Flaps made from injection-molded vinyl tend to lose their shape quickly, so you may need to replace them rather frequently. And, because vinyl flaps can stiffen in cold climates, they may not function well during harsh winters.

Insulation and Energy Efficiency

Most dog door manufacturers state that their offerings are insulated and energy efficient. To ensure the claim is valid, verify that the door has at least some of the following features: an insulated flap, a double flap, weatherstripping, magnets, or other fasteners to keep the flap secure during high winds.

Security

Locks serve to both keep your pet in and unwanted visitors out. Because pet owners may not always want their animals to come and go freely, some dog doors have a knob or lever to manually lock the door. Not many dog doors, especially small ones, have these locks, so if you want one, be sure to check for it.

In addition to manual locks meant to keep your furry friend in, some dog doors offer other security components, ensuring your home is extra secure when you’re off-site. Types of protection available depend on the model and location of the dog door. Some allow you to lock a cover over a dog door, while others have traditional locks. Most small dog doors don’t have locks, but some have anti-raccoon features.

Ease of Installation

If you’re handy with a drill and saw, you may be able to install a basic door-mounted dog door. However, if you make a mistake, you may have to replace the entire door. For a wall-mounted dog door, you might be better off hiring a professional dog door installer to avoid damage to electric, plumbing, or other essential home systems.

FAQs 

The variety of dog doors available can make it challenging to keep up with all the information on features, benefits, and installation. Consider the answers to these frequently asked questions to guide you to the best dog door for your pets and your home.

Q. How do you install a dog door?

This varies greatly depending on the type, size, and location of the dog door. For basic door-mounted dog doors, you generally mark the opening, drill the holes for the mounting hardware, cut the opening, place the frame, and seal it with the material suggested by the manufacturer.

Q. How high should a dog door be off the ground?

A good rule of thumb is to install dog doors at least 3 inches from the bottom of your door to maintain structural integrity. However, the size and age of your dog also factors in; the dog door “step over” should be low enough for a small or senior pet to traverse comfortably.

Q. How big does my dog door have to be?

While this also depends on the size of your dog, the portal should be at least 2 inches higher than your pet’s shoulders so the animal can exit and enter without bumping into the top of the frame.

Q. Are dog doors a security risk?

Dog doors can be a security risk if they allow wildlife or other animals to enter or small children to crawl through. And, yes, burglars have been known to gain access to a home through the dog door. To lessen that chance, consider installing a locking or electronic dog door in a discreet location.

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