Dog doors or dog flaps can be a great way of giving your dog access to your garden.
There are some real advantages of installing one. However, as with most things, you can expect some disadvantages too.
If you are thinking of installing a dog door at home, you should be aware of both sides of the coin before doing so.
Advantages of a dog door
The big advantage here is freedom. If your dog is left alone at home during part of the day (maybe while you are at work), it’s reassuring to know they can go outside.
That means you don’t need to find someone you can trust to come in and let them out. Of course, you shouldn’t leave your dog on its own for longer than about four hours anyway, but if you are delayed, it’s reassuring to know the doggy door is your Plan B.
It also means your dog has more freedom, whether you are home or not. It gives you more freedom too.
If your dog wants to go in the garden during colder weather when the door is locked, they can go through the dog flap. You don’t need to stop whatever you are doing to let them out.
There is also the plus point of them not needing to come and find you or disturb you to ask to be let out… further reducing the chances of any little accidents occurring inside the home.
The door is also ideal if there is an emergency inside the property when you are not there.
No one likes to think about a fire occurring at home, but it can and does happen. At least your dog would be able to escape into the back garden if the worst-case scenario did occur.
Disadvantages of a dog door
With every advantage there comes a disadvantage. Firstly, there is a risk your dog could escape your garden. This isn’t as likely with smaller dogs, but larger breeds can easily scale the most impressive fences (and have done many times in the past).
Another point to think about is how safe your dog is in the garden. All dog owners should ensure there are no poisonous plants their pets could eat. However, the presence of a pond or even a swimming pool could be a bigger danger. You might experience further problems if you know your garden is visited by other animals. That could mean neighbourhood cats or foxes, or something else entirely.
The best dog doors can be locked if required, but they can still represent a security risk in your home.
Sure, your dog may not be eager to let someone inside, but supposing you are all out – maybe on a long weekend dog walk? If a thief checks out the property in advance, they’ll know the dog flap provides an easy way to get inside your home. It can be much easier to use than trying to break a window (too much noise) or forcing a door (takes too long).
You can also lose heat through the door in winter, when it is vital to make sure your home is warm and well insulated. That door will leak heat, even when locked.
If you decide to install a dog door, make sure you are prepared
Some dog owners have dog doors installed at home and have never experienced any issues with them. Others have decided these doors are not ideal and will never install them. You’ll likely know whether your garden would be suitable for your dog – and whether your dog would be safe out there on its own.
Think about your dog’s personality, for example. Some dogs are born escape artists and could never be left alone in their own garden. Others are keen to bark at the slightest noise and would undoubtedly annoy the neighbours if they could go out in the garden whenever you weren’t around.
If you own a purebred dog of any breed, you might also think twice about installing a dog door. If people know you have a valuable dog, they might be tempted to try and steal it from your garden when you are not there. It can and does happen, unfortunately.
Of course, you might also have other pets to think about. Perhaps you have two dogs, only one of which could be trusted to go into the garden on its own. If you know the other would undoubtedly find a way to escape, a doggy door would not be suitable. You’d need to make sure the dogs weren’t left alone for longer than around four hours.
Your property, your needs, and your dog should all be considered when figuring out whether to go for a dog door. Would it be the ideal solution for you?
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