Many people with busy lifestyles benefit from the use of doggie and kitty doors; their pets have more independence and freedom by allowing them immediate access to the outside world. Pet doors come in all shapes, sizes, and styles, and can be installed just about anywhere.
Types of Pet Doors
The most traditional type of pet door is a flap door that allows pets to come and go as they please, whenever they please (though many traditional flap doors do come with locks or panels that can be used when you want to restrict access).
There are also electronic and electromagnetic doors that require your pet to wear an electronic “key” or magnet on their collar that unlocks the door when your pet approaches and locks it as they walk away. These types of doors can be especially useful if you are worried about other animals entering your house, or if you want to allow only one pet in the house to come and go freely.
Regardless of what type of pet door you choose, there will always be pros and cons. We’ll take a look at some of those to help you determine if a pet door is a good choice for your home.
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Pet Door Pros
What are some of the best things about having a pet door?
- Your dog will have the freedom to go to the bathroom whenever they please. This can be a great arrangement for dogs who wake up early in the morning to “go,” dogs who need to be let out in the middle of the night, dogs who are alone for long periods of time, and senior dogs, who need to relieve themselves more often. A dog door also means that your furball will be less likely to have accidents inside of the house.
- Pet doors give both dogs and cats the ability to get outside and have some fun whenever they want. If your pet is alone all day while you’re at work, giving them outside access can help to relieve their boredom, reduce anxiety, and prevent destructive behaviors.
- If you have an adult dog who already uses a doggie door and you are planning to bring a new puppy into the family, chances are you won’t have to worry about housetraining. Most puppies quickly learn from watching the older dog that the doggie door takes you to the appropriate bathroom spot.
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Pet Door Cons
What are some of the problems with having a pet door?
- In order to use a pet door, you must have an enclosed, completely secure, and safe yard. Make sure that there is no chance of your pet escaping (through holes, unsecure gates, etc.) or getting injured (such as on a fence with rusty nails). If you have any doubt, don’t use a pet door.
- If you live in an area with lots of wildlife, letting your pet outside unsupervised may put them at risk. Coyotes, large birds (like hawks), and other creatures may all see your pal as prey.
- Pets — cats especially — may hunt down animals such as squirrels, mice, or snakes and bring them inside the house. And in some cases, the animal may not be completely dead — eek!
- If you aren’t using an electronic or electromagnetic door, there is a chance that other animals could enter your home.
- Pets with behavioral problems are not good candidates for pet doors. For example, if your dog will eat just about anything, leaving them outside unsupervised puts them at risk for swallowing potentially harmful objects, such as sharp sticks or rocks. In addition, dogs who bark excessively or cats who are in heat (and thus moaning, crying, and meowing) may irritate your neighbors.
If you do decide to use a pet door, make sure that your pet is protected from fleas and ticks that may be lurking outside. In addition, you should pet-proof your yard and ensure that there aren’t any poisonous plants for your pet to consume.
Do you use a pet door? Why or why not? Leave a comment and let us know, and consider signing up for PetPlus, a benefit program for pet owners that provides member-only access to medications at wholesale prices, plus discounts on food, supplies, vet visits, boarding and more.