Buying a doggy door doesn’t have to be complicated. Follow these guidelines to ensure that you measure your dog correctly and buy the right size pet flap for your four-legged friend.
When it comes to choosing the best pet door for your dog, the process might seem like a challenging task. Chances are, your head is overflowing with a number of concerns. What is the best pet flap manufacturer? What functionalities am I looking for, and what dog door size do I need?
To find the answer to your first question, you have to do detailed research and check manufacturers’ shipping options, warranty, and specifications. Our favorites are Petway, Ideal, SureFlap, and Pet-Tek.
Regarding the second question, the functionalities you should look for depending on the place you live, your preferences, and your puppy. There are different types of pet doors, including regular flaps, microchip pet doors, doors that feature a 4-way locking system, doors with magnetic flaps, and many others.
If you want to know what size of a pet door you need, you must take your dog’s measurements.
In case you don’t know how to measure your pet, here are instructions on how to do just that:
How Do You Measure for a Pet Door?
Measure his height
The first thing you want to do is get your dog’s height. To do that, get your pet to stand straight. Then, find the tallest point on his back, which is between his shoulder blades (also called withers). Once you locate the tallest point on his back, measure your pet from there to the floor. And that’s it!
Tip: You want to have at least 3.8 to 5 cm of clearance above the dog’s back. Regardless if it’s small dogs or large dogs, if the door is too low, it can injure your pet, leading to stress-related hip or back problems. An inadequate distance can also cause the pet flap to wear and tear prematurely.
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Measure his width
The second thing to measure is his width. To do so, measure the widest part of your dog which is shoulder to shoulder.
Your four-legged friend may be puffy and have a lot of hair, adding a few centimeters to your measurements. You don’t have to include those extra centimeters in your measurements as the hair will fold in as they move through the door.
There’s a way of finding out whether you have the right width measurement. Simply block off a portion of your doorway and leave as much space as your width measurement. Let your dog pass through to see if your dog will need a smaller or larger door.
Additional Reading: How to Install a Screen Door with a Dog Door
Measure the step-over
The other thing you want to do is measure the step-over rise. The step-over rise is the space between the ground and the bottom of the flap. Most dogs, when passing through the door, will bring their paws up to their chest. For that reason, you want the step-over to be low enough so that your dog can pass. What’s more, as dogs get older, they find it harder to move. Also, if you have a dog with a mobility issue, then installing a pet door as low as possible is critical.
As a general rule, the step-over should be at least 7.6 centimeters. But it should never be more than one-third of your pet’s height.
Keep in mind that in some cases, the outdoor ground can be lower than the indoor floor. If this is the case in your home, consider mounting the door a little lower to the ground and choose one that is taller in height.
How to measure when you have multiple pets
Keep in mind that if you have multiple dogs, you have to take all of their measurements into consideration.
Your dog door must be big enough for your largest dog, but not so large for your smallest pet. However, know that in some cases, a single door won’t be comfortable enough for your largest and smallest pet. For example, if you have a Newfoundland and a Chihuahua, then you’ll have to install two separate doors.
If you happen to have a medium and a large-size dog, then you’ll be able to find a door that fits both sizes. But the trouble appears when you want to accommodate a small-size and an extra large-size breed.
Are you done with your measurements?
Once you have taken the dimensions of your dog, it could be useful to make sure you have the right measurements. To do so, replace the dimensions into cardboard and check if your dog can go through. In this way, you’ll have no doubts that you’re purchasing the right flap.
A dog flap is a fantastic addition to any home that houses a dog. Not only it will bring convenience for you, but it’ll also open a world of freedom for your pet. They’ll be able to come in as they wish, and play outside when they feel like it.
The only thing left to do after you take your pet’s measurements is to get online and purchase the most suitable dog flap for your friend and your home.
Additional Reading: The Best Electronic Dog Doors for 2018