Wouldn’t it be nice if your pup could just let themselves out? Well, with a dog door, they can. The best dog door will give your dog control over when they pee, while keeping out pests, drafts, and wet weather. A dog door can even make your pet happier.
"Doggy doors can help keep dogs mentally stimulated, as it gives them a chance to go outside and play, even when their owners are not available," Georgina Ushi Philips, Doctor of Veterinary Medicine at the Pet Urgent Care of Wesley Chapel, Florida, told The Spruce Pets.
Our favorite overall dog door is the PetSafe Extreme Weather Aluminum Dog and Cat Door, which is easy to install and has a 3-flap system that does an excellent job of keeping out cold or hot weather.
Here are the best dog doors.
PetSafe Extreme Weather Aluminum Dog and Cat Door
Available in three sizes
Three flaps to insulate against heat and cold
Comes with snap-on closing panel
Durable aluminum frame
Insulation not enough for very cold areas
Flaps may need to be replaced with time
The PetSafe Extreme Weather Aluminum Dog and Cat Door has a durable aluminum frame that won’t fall apart over time, and a snap-on closing panel that you can easily put on when you don’t want your pet going out. It’s also got three flaps, which are designed to retain heat or air conditioning, and prevent moisture or snow from getting inside. The 3-flap system is easy to wipe down clean.
Plus, the PetSafe Extreme Weather dog door is designed to install easily, with a paintable plastic frame that makes it simple to customize its look to your existing door. All the hardware you'll need for installation is included, including a cutting template. It's compatible with all door types.
The PetSafe dog door is available in three different sizes for medium to extra large dog breeds.
Breed Size: All︱Dimensions: 10.75 x 15.6 inches (Medium), 12.75 x 19.63 (Large), 16.25 x 27.13 (XLarge)︱Mount Type: Door︱Primary Material: Aluminum
High Tech Pet PX-2 Power Pet Fully Automatic Pet Door
Electronic features offer convenience
Bulletproof resin adds element of security
Its automatic nature is perfect for timid pets
An electronic door that opens automatically in the presence of a corresponding dog collar offers several advantages: 1. timid pets are more likely to use it as they don’t have to push through a flap, 2. it automatically deadbolts after opening or closing, and 3. because it closes tightly, you’ll lose less heat in the winter (and AC in the summer) as your pet goes in and out.
This door from High Tech opens upwards when your pet is approaching—you set the distance for the inside and the out. The door is made of bulletproof resin for added security and works for pets up to 100 pounds.
Breed Size: All | Dimensions: 18 x 6 x 47-inches | Mount Type: Wall-mount | Primary Material: Aluminum
Best for Cold Weather
Perfect Pet The All-Weather Energy Efficient Dog Door
Frame is made from energy efficient materials
See through flaps offer convenience for pets
The door promotes temperature control
Limited door sizes available
With two soft vinyl flaps, this dog door is designed to create an air pocket to trap the cold air out of your house and the hot air in. Each flap has a magnetic closure to keep it in place gently, while still being easy enough for your pup to control. The frame itself is made of an energy efficient structural foam molded plastic. The door works with doors from 0.75-inch thick to 1.75 inches and the door comes with a removable lock out slide. The vinyl flaps are see through, which helps your dog feel safe using it; if your pup is hesitant at first offer plenty of healthy dog treats as encouragement.
Breed Size: All | Dimensions: 11.13 x 19.25-inches | Mount Type: Wall-mount | Primary Material: Energy efficient structural foam
Best for Sliding Glass
High Tech Pet PX-2 Power Pet Fully Automatic Pet Door
Ideal for sliding glass doors
Tempered glass locks in climate-controlled air
Has a closing panel to ensure security
Only fits dogs up to 30 pounds
If your house, apartment, or condo has a sliding glass door, a dog door made for a sliding glass door is an easy-to-install option with no cutting or drilling required. It inserts right into your existing door jam with the screws or adhesive strips (both are included). The door has an aluminum frame with tempered glass plus pile weather stripping to prevent your climate-controlled air from leaving your home, while the dog door has a magnetic closure. It comes with a closing panel for nighttime or whenever else you want to make the door inaccessible. This door fits dogs up to 30 pounds and it’s great for cats, too.
Breed Size: All | Dimensions: 15 x 6 x 36-inches | Mount Type: Wall-mount | Primary Material: Bulletproof resin
Best for Large Dogs
BarksBar Original Plastic Dog Door
Built for dogs up to 100 pounds
Includes a sturdy thermoplastic impact-resistant frame
Bite- and chew-proof
It’s important to install the right size door for your dog—too big and you may needlessly let air into and out of your home, yet choose one too small and your pet may injure itself when coming and going. When measuring your dog, measure from its shoulders, not its head as dogs will duck when using a dog door. This door made for dogs up to 100 pounds features sleek aluminum edging that complements any decor fitted on a sturdy thermoplastic impact-resistant frame. The entire door is bite and chew-proof and is built to withstand heavy day-to-day use. It comes with a removable self-locking side panel.
Breed Size: All | Dimensions: 15.5 x 10 x 3-inches | Mount Type: Wall or door-mount | Primary Material: Plastic
PlexiDor Performance Pet Doors Large Bronze Wall Mount Dog Door
Suitable for dogs up to 100 pounds
Can be installed in multiple wall types
No flaps to be replaced
Very energy efficient
Key can get lost
Instead of utilizing flaps, which aren’t the most energy-efficient, this dog door opens side to side to let them out, which is a feature that Ochoa really likes. “I find that doors that open side to side are ones that dogs like more because flaps don’t drag over their back,” she says. While pricey, this dog door is also very durable and well insulated, making it ideal for very cold and very hot climates. It’s also designed with big dogs in mind and can be installed into stud, brick, block, or cement exterior walls that are up to 12 inches thick. It also comes with a key so you can safely lock the dog door when not in use.
Breed Size: Large breeds︱Dimensions: 16.5 x 21.25 inches︱Mount Type: Wall︱Primary Material: Aluminum
Baboni Pet Door
Three sizes available
Very durable frame and telescoping tunnel
Thermally insulated for weatherproofing
Easy to install
Flaps need to be replaced over time
If you’re looking for a relatively affordable wall-mounted dog door, this might be exactly what you need. The frame is durable and made of steel aluminum, and it can be easily installed into most walls. It also comes with a double flap to help insulate against heat and cold and it’s available in three different sizes to match your breed. It also has a telescoping tunnel to fit in between the two frames to allow it to accommodate walls of different thicknesses. It also comes with a closing panel, as well as an installation template.
Breed Size: Small - Large︱Dimensions: 12.25 x 17.125 inches︱Mount Type: Wall︱Primary Material: Aluminum steel
Endura Flap Single Flap Door Mount Pet Door
Expandable frame maximizes energy efficiency
Is as effective as double pane glass
Can withstand winds up to 50 MPH
While this door is more expensive, in exchange you’ll get added energy efficiency and security. The frame is designed to expand and contract in hot and cold for maximum energy efficiency while the double layer flap is made of polyolefin based polymer that’s non toxic, recyclable, and will not harden in winter nor yellow in the sun. The manufacturer claims it’s as effective as double pane glass at keeping the elements at bay also thanks to its magnetic strips along the bottom and the sides and has been tested to withstand winds up to 50 MPH. As for security, the locking cover is made of strong ABS plastic, the equivalent to a 1/16" sheet of steel.
Breed Size: Not listed | Dimensions: 28 x 13.5 x 24-inches | Mount Type: Wall or door-mount | Primary Material: Plastic
SureFlap Microchip Cat & Small Dog Door Connect
App-controlled feature offers convenience
Can be connected to a pet's microchip
Curfew settings automatically lock and unlock the door
Only compatible with the most common microchips
You can keep tabs on your pet’s comings and goings with this app-controlled door. It works with your pet’s existing microchip (it’s compatible with most common ones) and the SureFlap Connect Pet Door Hub (sold separately). You’ll be able to know when your dog went outside and when it came back, plus you can lock or unlock the door remotely and set a curfew time for the door to automatically lock and morning hours for the door to automatically unlock. Pet owners like that the app sends notifications as their four-legged friends go inside and out and that the door can be installed in doors, windows, or walls.
Breed Size: Small | Dimensions: 12.5 x 8.15 x 9.25-inches | Mount Type: Door-mount | Primary Material: Plastic
PetSafe Plastic Pet Door
Available in four different sizes
Very easy to install
Magnet to keep the flap in place when not in use
Flaps wear out and will need to be replaced periodically
Not very insulating against cold or hot climates
Plastic frame is not very durable
Let’s be honest, not all of us can afford to spend upwards of $100 to let our dogs outside whenever they want. So if you’re looking for a more affordable option, this plastic pet door might be just what you need. Like its aluminum-framed counterpart, it’s got most of the features you might want, including a soft, flexible flap that’s easy for your dog to move through and a magnet at the bottom to hold it in place when not in use. It also comes with a snap-on closing panel and it’s available in four different sizes. It’s also very easy to install and the plastic frame is paintable. Just be aware: the flaps will wear out over time and since there is only one flap on this model, it doesn’t provide much insulation against the outdoor cold or heat.
Breed Size: All︱Dimensions: 11.88 x 1.88 x 17.75 inches︱Mount Type: Door-mount︱Primary Material: Vinyl
If you’re looking for an overall great dog door to mount in your front or back door, then the PetSafe Aluminum Extreme Weather Dog & Cat Door is what you’re looking for. It’s durable, has multiple flaps to protect against heat and cold weather, and it’s incredibly easy to mount. However, if you’d rather mount your pet door on the wall, then the Baboni Pet Door is a great choice. Thanks to its telescoping tunnel, it can fit a range of different wall thicknesses and it comes with a closing panel to keep out unwanted critters.
What to Look for in a Dog Door
When you’re shopping for a dog door for your pet, there are several factors to keep in mind, including:
Your dog should be able to comfortably fit through the pet door without worrying about getting stuck or having to squeeze through.
“In order to get the correct size dog door, measure your dog’s height and make sure that they can easily fit through this door,” said Sara Ochoa, a small animal and exotic veterinarian at Whitehouse Veterinary Hospital in Texas.
Most dog door companies will have measurements to help you pick the correct door. But in general, you’ll want to make sure there is at least 3-inches extra room on the height and two-to-three extra inches in the width so that your dog can get through, even when they’re moving quickly.
“Doggy doors don’t just have to be on doors, but you’ll need to keep ease of installation in mind,” Philips told The Spruce Pets. “While the most common version of the doggy door attaches to a door, you can find options that are able to be placed on walls too. This can open up a whole new world of possibilities but it can also complicate the installation process.”
So if you’re not very comfortable using tools, you might want to choose a location for your door that can be installed quickly and safely with minimal tools. For example, doggy doors that can be placed on sliding glass doors are sometimes the easiest to install.
Remember: if your dog can go out, other creatures can come in too. That’s why it’s best to get a dog door that comes with special security features, such as the ability to lock.
“Raccoons, and other wild or stray animals, have been known to enter them as well to come inside for a visit,” says Brandi Tucker, a veterinarian at Pet Paradise, so “the doors should absolutely be lockable.”
Better yet, you can get a door that comes with smart technology that recognizes your dog and only lets them—and no one else—in through the door because it recognizes their microchip or a compatible smart collar.
Types and Materials
There are a number of different types of pet doors, which may or may not be appropriate for your home or your budget. In general, there are three types:
- Flag pet doors, which are the traditional type. These are easy for your pet to use and can even be used on interior doors to your home
- Hard plastic or metal doors, which usually have a locking feature to keep your dog in and critters out.
- Electronic doors are the ones that will open and close automatically when they sense your dog’s chip. These are usually the priciest.
If you live in a hot or cold climate, you might want to look for a dog door that won’t let in as much outside air.
“Insulation is an important but often overlooked feature,” Philips said. “Many doggy doors feature a double flap that can help reduce airflow [so] if you live in an especially cold or hot area, this can be well worth it.”
How do you install a dog door?
Some dog doors—like those that come with panels—require minimal tools. But if you’re installing a dog door into your door or a wall door, you’re going to need to cut a hole, so make sure you pick your installation spot first and purchase the dog door before starting.
Be sure to read the manufacturer instructions, but in general, you’ll start by tracing the pet door template onto the area where you want to install it and marking where essential screws will go. Then, drill holes where the screws go and cut the opening with a hand saw. Place the dog door frame and caulk to seal it in place.
Are dog doors safe?
Dog doors can be safe, but it depends on where you live and what’s outside the door. That’s why it’s important that you only install them on your door if you have a safe, fenced-in yard and take certain precautions as a pet owner. Otherwise, your dog could wander off and get lost, or risk getting hit by a car.
You’ll also want to consider what critters might visit your backyard.
“While your neighborhood may seem safe when you’re walking with your dog, things can change when your pup is out on their own,” Philips said. “Depending on where you live and the size of your dog, you’ll need to consider predators like coyotes and even birds of prey like hawks when it comes to smaller dogs and toy breeds [because] these animals will generally avoid humans but may be bold enough to go for your dog.”
Remember too that you need to make your yard safe for dogs, which means routinely checking for toxic plants and weeds, as well as holes in the fencing.
In really hot climates, you’ll also want to keep your pet inside to make sure they don’t stay outside too long, which puts them at risk for heatstroke. That’s why several of the vets we spoke with recommended keeping an eye on your pet through the window, even if you do allow them free access outside through a dog door.
Remember too that any critters in your backyard can also come inside your home too—which is why you’ll want a locking one or an electronic one. This can also protect against burglars if you have a larger dog.
How do automatic dog doors work?
Automatic dog doors are designed to recognize your dog and let them in or out when needed (but keep other critters out).
“Smart pet doors use Radio-Frequency Identification to detect your dog, subsequently unlocking and opening the door,” says veterinarian Rico. “The signal will either come from your dog’s embedded microchip or a compatible RFID collar… so that your furry friend is the only one permitted to use the door.”
Why Trust The Spruce Pets?
Steven Rowe is the owner of a rescue beagle and a writer for The Spruce Pets with years of pet product experience. In writing this article, he consulted with multiple veterinarians for the best possible information regarding dog doors. He also conducted extensive research to find dog doors that combine practical features, easy installation, and an impeccable safety record. He looked especially for dog doors that had useful features, such as lockable panels, insulation, and smart home technologies.
A previous version of this article was written by Anne Fritz is a freelance writer with over 20 years of experience. Previously an editor, she has covered products for all aspects of the home and knows what makes for a great find.