Doggie Doors

Doggie doors are a great option to allow your dogs to let themselves out whenever they need to get outside. Dogs love the outdoors and with a doggie door they won’t have to rely on their owners to be there when they need to relieve themselves or just want to sunbathe in the yard. If you have a fenced-in yard, installing a doggie door means they no longer have to wait for you to let them out.

Doggie doors come in different sizes and options. There’s a doggie door for every size dog. The average price to install a medium-size doggie door with a flap size of 9” x 12” and a frame size of 12” x 15” for a medium-size dog, such as a Pug or Jack Russell, is around $290.

Why Install a Doggie Door

Owning a dog comes with a lot of responsibility, just like having a child. Installing a doggie door is a great option for your fur babies. It allows them to let themselves in and out whenever they want. A doggie door increases your pet’s happiness and gives them a better quality of life with the freedom to go out and come in whenever they want.

Electronic doors prevent neighborhood cats, raccoons, or other wild animals from entering your home. They don’t require you to be there to open them for the day. As their human, you cannot always be there to let them out or take them for walks. With the doggie door, they’ll get more exercise because they’ll be outside more.

Doggie doors also ease your burden. If you cannot be home with your dog all day, they can still let themselves out. Your dog won’t be stuck in the house to make a mess from boredom. If you’re busy and don’t realize they are at the door, they won’t have accidents in the house anymore because they can head right out without you.

A great perk to a tight-closing and weatherstripped doggie door is the energy savings. Opening a small door multiple times saves energy over opening the main door. It keeps your home’s hot or cold air from releasing in larger amounts. And it keeps the outside hot or cold air from sneaking in.

Where to Install a Doggie Doors

Doggy doors can be installed on any type of door or wall. As long as the exterior location allows your dog to safely get outside, you can put a doggy door there. Almost any wall or door works when installing doggy doors, even sliding glass doors, screen doors 1, and garage doors. The type of door you need depends on where you want to put it.

Manual Doggie Doors

Manual doors allow your dogs to come and go as they please throughout the day. They cost less and require less maintenance than electronic doors. There isn’t anything additional to purchase such as collars or batteries. They also give you more control locking as they have a solid flap that prevents anything else from entering through the door, however they require you to open and lock the flap manually.

Doggie doors that stay open all day leave room for other pests, such as raccoons, to possibly enter your home. Manual doors are less safe if you have young kids or babies at home. They can crawl through these doors into your dog’s area, get stuck, or get hurt. Most manual doors have a lift up flap with a magnet so they automatically stay closed once the dog leaves or enters. This magnet can wear out over time and require replacing.

Some have bi-parting doors with a magnetic gasket 2 that has a full magnet strip and lasts longer. These are more energy efficient that the flap style. Manual doggy doors are versatile and can be installed in any door or wall. There is no limit to the number of animals that can use this door. They are less expensive than electronic or programmable doors and therefore save money.

Electric, Remote Control or Smart Doggie Doors

Electronic doggie doors open via a sensor 3 or microchip on your pet’s collar. The door and collar are sold together. This allows the door to open only when your pet is coming and going, therefore preventing other animals or small children from using the door. They lock after the animal has gone through it so you don’t have to remember to lock it yourself.

The sensors on an electronic door work with multiple pets, allowing up to 32 animals access to the door. They are also programmable so that they only open during certain times of the day, giving you control over when your pet leaves and enters the house.

They are constructed of weatherproof aluminum, great for energy savings, and install the same way as a manual door in either a door or a wall space. Electronic doors come in different styles such as standard microchip doors, remote control, and smart pet doors.

Remote control pet doors offer programmable timers and a curfew mode. Smart Pet Doors operate with a key fob, unlike electric doors that use a microchip sensor in a pet’s collar. Some allow app access through your smartphone. They also have insulated flaps for energy efficiency. They open with a hard flap or with bi-parting doors.

One of the disadvantages of electric doors is that if you lose the microchip sensor you have to purchase a new one. Electronic doors require battery replacement, which increases the price of maintenance. They are also more costly than manual doors starting anywhere from $100 to as high as $400 or more. Electronic doors can also malfunction and need replacement.

Types of Doggie Doors

As with any home materials, dog doors now come in many alternatives from wall manual-mounts to prehung doors with dog doors already installed. They have manual, electronic and programmable options.

Wall-mount Doggie Doors

Adding a wall-mount dog door means cutting a hole into all layers of your wall from the drywall 4 to the outside siding. This permanent structure usually comes as a complete setup with framing and aluminum edges. This option works best when an outside door doesn’t lead to a safe exterior area of the house. For example, if you have a mudroom or porch that would require more than one dog door, or your door doesn’t lead to a fenced-in area of the yard.

Wall-mounted doors alter the structure and look of your home. When adding a wall-mounted door, the hole has to work around existing wall frames. Without proper weathering, the wall-mounted door could increase energy consumption and allow warm or cool air to escape.

The benefit to a wall-mounted door is the location. You can put it anywhere that is safe for your dog to leave the house. The hole can be above the ground with steps leading down so height isn’t a factor.

The disadvantages include permanently altering your home, the dog has to walk through a small tunnel rather than just a hole, and if it is higher off the ground, stairs are needed, which might be difficult for older dogs. Because it is harder to install, you should choose a size your dog can grow into. This type of door can be manual or electric. Wall Mount 5 dog doors cost on average around $50 for manual and between $75 and $150 on average for electric, without labor.

Door-mount Doggie Doors

Door-mount doggie doors are more energy-efficient and easier to install than wall-mounted ones. You can also start off with a smaller door for puppies and change the size as they grow by cutting the hole bigger over time and replacing the door. Many door manufacturers have doggie doors that work with the door and come as a complete package–frame, weathering materials, and flap. When installing a door-mount doggy door a hole only needs to be cut through the door to the size of the doggie door.

These doggie doors are easier to install than wall-mounted ones; however, they limit your options of where they can be installed. Manual dog doors that don’t lock on their own can allow more airflow and result in higher energy consumption. Manual door-mount dog doors average in price around $30 and $60, while electric ones cost around $150 to $300, depending on options.

Sliding Glass Door or Patio Panel

These doggie doors are temporary and don’t require cutting holes into walls or doors. They install as a panel with the patio or sliding glass door frame, whether recessed or exposed. The doggy door rests in the existing panel at the bottom. Many manufacturers have doggy door panel options. The biggest pro is how easy these are to install. The average cost for these door panels is around $125 to $250. However, they can be much more expensive depending on whether a manual or electronic panel is purchased.

Dog Guillotine Dogs

These types of doors are best used in kennels with multiple dogs. They operate either electronically or on a pully system. When a dog is ready to come and go the doors glide up or to the side at the same time. The average price is around $85 per door.

Screen Doggie Doors

Screen doggie doors are made to be installed in screen doors. These are the least expensive doors on the market and come with magnetic flaps. Some are clear plastic and some are screen material with the plastic surrounding. These doors work well for those warm days when you want to keep your door open and still let the dogs come and go as they please. The average cost is around $25 for these doors.

Prehung Home Doors with Dog Doors Already Installed

If adding a doggie door to an existing door isn’t an option, for example if the door is older and needs replacing anyway, opt for a new door with a doggie door installed. A prehung door with a doggie door is a little more expensive than a traditional prehung door. A prehung fiberglass 6 door with a doggie door inside costs around $500. With labor at $70 and old door removal at $60, the average cost is $800.

Materials

Doggie doors come with hard or soft flaps, sliding single or double doors, or saloon-style doors that open as the dog walks through. When installing a dog door that isn’t pre installed into a prehung or sliding glass door you’ll need similar materials as those for installing a regular door such as door frames, insulation and weathering materials, screws, and nails.

Door Frame

The door frame is usually made from plastic or metal, unless you install a custom-built in-wall doggie door, which can be made with wood to match the interior of the home. Plastic frames are less expensive and better for smaller or calmer dogs. Larger, less gentle dogs can break plastic frames running in and out of the door. Metal frames such as aluminum or stainless steel are sturdier and last longer.

Plastic Doggy Doors

Plastic cost slightly less than the aluminum, but the prices are comparable depending on whether you purchase a manual door or electronic door. For a medium size 12” x 15” manual pet door, a plastic frame costs as low as $35; an aluminum frame as low as $45. Stainless steel is more expensive, with starting costs over $100 depending on the type of door.

Flaps

Flaps come in many forms, from a soft vinyl 7, to hard PVC, and even K9 Composite. They come in one flap or bi-parting flaps that look like double doors.

PVC. Plastic flaps have a lower cost. They usually need to be replaced after about five years. These flaps are not good for extremely cold temperatures and are easily broken by high-energy dogs. A medium size 9” x 12” manual pet door PVC flap costs as low as $35. These flaps can be replaced if damaged.
Vinyl. There are two types of vinyl: flaps cut from large sheets that keep them from bending when the weather changes, and injection molded flaps with embedded magnets that help them hang properly. Injection-molded flaps cost less and are better for milder climates. A medium size 9” x 12” manual pet door vinyl flap costs as low as $45. These flaps can be replaced if damaged.
K9 Composite. This is an acrylic alloy almost like material used in airplane windshields. This is best for extreme climates, high winds, hot sun, and energetic dogs. These types of flaps last two to three decades. A medium size 9” x 12” manual pet door K-9 composite flap has a starting cost of $75.
Measuring Your Dog for Their Doggy Door
Once you’ve decided on the type of door you want, you will need to measure your dog to make sure they fit and don’t get hurt walking through the door. Measuring your dog requires width and height measurements. Using a level, while your dog is standing against a wall, place the level at his shoulder so that it touches the wall at a 90-degree angle. This is the dog’s height. Add about two inches to their height to get the right size dog door. Measure your dog’s width at his shoulders or chest. Doors should be installed at least three inches from the bottom edge of the door.

Labor

Installing a doggie door requires certain tools and experience. A professional will have the saws and drills necessary to cut holes and install your doggie door the right way the first time. Installing a doggie door should take one to two hours. Once you have the measurements, the installer will cut out a square hole in the wall to fit the doggie door panel. They will then install the panel and make sure it is weatherproof. A carpenter will charge between $70 and $95 an hour to install a doggie door.

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