Technological advances don’t just affect computers and the internet – small improvements in old technologies are happening all the time. Take, for instance, the smart pet door, which converts the classic doggie door into a more secure and convenient apparatus.
Several companies are now offering smart pet doors with diverse functions and at a variety of price ranges. What they have in common is their ability to make your life and your pet’s life easier and better.
Just like their classic forebears, smart pet doors can be integrated into most household entrances, be it a regular hinge operated door, a sliding door, or even a window. But smart pet doors go far beyond the old version in terms of security, limiting what animals are permitted to use them.
Some have convenient automatic open features. And most smart pet doors provide a better seal against outside weather then those that preceded them. How is all this possible? Read on to find out.
We are often seeing that a lot of people are combining some of the most innovative technologies in just about every inch of their homes. Because we are already on the subject of smart doors which only give certain people access, there is a real chance to do the same for our furry friends, giving access to only your dogs. This is a simple idea that smart dog doors use today and luckily for you, we are here to tell you all about it.
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PetSafe Electronic Dog Door
The Electronic SmartDoor Automatic Dog Door from PetSafe is a really nifty piece of technology if you decided to install automatic access for your dog. The PetSafe unit has literally everything you need. A SmartKey pet tag that you give to your favorite canine so he or she can have full access to entry and exit doors.
It also comes with pre-programmed functions. For example, you can select a specific entry and exit and you can lock the pet door automatically when it is not being used.
Perhaps the best thing about the SmartDoor is that only pets that have the SmartKey get access to go through the door.
The smart dog door can be installed anywhere you want, no matter how thick the door is. You just have to buy a tunnel extension if your door happens to be really thick.
The device runs on batteries, so no expenisve electricity Bill’s either.
PetSafe Pet Door for Dogs
If price is none of your concern, then the PlexiDor Wall Mount PDC Electronic Pet Door is a great option. It is an automatic pet door and has RFID technology built-in so only pets that have the RFID signature will be able to use the door.
There is a sensor collar that comes as part of the kit. You can easily put the sensor onto the collar of your pet. It can also be programmed so the pet door will stay open for a set time frame.
As with anything, there are downsides too. For the PlexiDor it is mostly the price tag as well as that it needs to be plugged into the home’s own electrical circuit. Most of the other brands simply run on batteries.
Aside from that, it has a great five year warranty as well as really good feedback from people who have purchased the smart door.
High Tech Pet Electronic Dog Door
There is a dog door that is ultrasonic-activated automatic door and it is not like the normal RFID activated systems and that is the High Tech Pet’s Power Pet. It has a mechanism that is ultrasonic and is directional which means that the door will only become active when your dog is in a direct line to the signal. Because of the neat feature, it will avoid the needless activation of power if your dog is anywhere near the High Tech door.
It also has four different types of controls when it comes to access and that means that you can decide your dog door is going to act at any time through the day or night. Although it does have a higher price when compared to the PetSafe SmartDoor, it is on the cheaper side than the PlexiDor. You will have a great option if you decide that you would like a door that has full automatic access for your little doggy.
Best Electronic Dog Door Buying Guide
When you are deciding which electronic dog door to buy it actually is relatively easy. The main thing that you will need to think about is what type of sensor you would like the door to have. The other thing too is that you will need to measure to see how big a flap you will need and also know how to install it safely and properly. To do fret however as I will have a look at these will great detail on the buying guide.
How Do Electronic Dog Doors Work?
These doors are used in pretty much the same way as your garage door that is automated. It has three parts, a sensor on the frame, a sensor that you can put on your pets’ collar, and the actual mechanism on the door itself that allows it to open and close.
Normally, these doggy doors will work through lines of communication between the sensor that is on your dogs’ collar and the sensor that is on the fixture itself. When the sensor on the fixture (door) gets a signal from the sensor that is on your dog’s collar then it triggers the door to open so your dog can go safely through.
There are multiple types of sensors that doors currently use, and we will have a quick look at them now.
You will not need a collar and you will not have to put any type of device on your dog. As long as your dog has a microchip from a vet, then that will act that the device that will communicate with the doggy door. There are numerous benefits for having this and the biggest one is that your dog has no need to wear a collar. Also, you will not have to worry that the device will get lost because the microchip is implanted under the skin of your pet. It will not need batteries, just the power supply to the actual mechanism that is on the door.
There are two major types of keys that use the notion of magnetism. The first one pulls a lever that is actually within the door and it works on the force of the magnet and this is why it does not need any power. The second one is that it has a mechanism that is in the door and it senses the magnetic field that is generated from the key that is inside the dog’s collar.
However, since it is a sensor it will need batteries for it to work. The big downside is that it cannot tell the difference between pets so if the dog next door comes around for a stroll and has a collar that is magnetic it will be able to access your home as well. Lastly, the magnetic field will only work if both the collar and the door are close enough to receive the signal.
This technology is one of the newest around at the moment. It uses radio frequency identification or RFID senses and has tags that can sense when they are near devices that have RFID in them. The key tags have all the info that has been stored electronically. If the information matches the one that is programmed onto the door’s RFID reader then the dog is going to have access. Aside from no needing batteries, it is one of the most popular methods for dogs to gain access because dogs that have only the right information with their RFID will be allowed to get in.
The keys with this use sound that is at a high frequency so it can communicate with the door mechanism that has a sensor on it. The best thing about this is that you can change just how sensitive the setting is. When it is set to be really sensitive then it can pick up on the signals from a few meters away whereas when it is set on its lowest setting then dogs will have to be really close to the door for it to activate. Some are waterproof however other versions will need batteries for it to work and the unit itself can be heavy and on the bigger side as well.
They are similar to RFID but the difference is that there is no dog information built into the actual device. It is a simple radio frequency. The device that is placed on the door will be able to pick up the signal that is given out by the dog that has the right key around its collar.
When the dog goes out of range, the door will then close. The downside is that if the neighbors’ dog has a collar and that gives out the same type of frequency then the other dog can get into your home. They need batteries to work and are usually big.
So we will now go over again how dog doors work that are electronic. A sensor is on the dog door and that can pick up a signal from your pooch. This will usually be through a microchip, a radio frequency, an RDIF signature, or an ultrasonic wave. This then activates the door to open and allow your dog to go outside or inside.
Things to Consider When Buying an Electronic Dog Door
You now have a fairly good idea of how the doors work, now it is time to pick one for your home. Keep in mind, however, that the different types of sensors should not be the only thing that you think about as there are other things to think about.
Size of your dog
This is perhaps the most critical thing to think about. If you have a huge dog like a Great Dane then a SureFlap is simply not big enough for the dog to get through. This is why you will need to measure your dog before you go out and by a door.
The height of the tunnel or hole is usually around two inches higher than the level of your pup’s shoulders. If you happen to have more than one dog then measure the taller dog. When it comes to how wide it is, if you add an extra two or three inches to the width of your dog’s shoulders then that should be more than enough room.
On top of that, if you happen to have a puppy and you want to put in a passageway for it, then you will need to have a look at what will the dog’s maximum size be so you can adjust when your dog gets older.
Type of sensor
If your dog has a microchip under its skin then a system that is microchip enabled should clearly be the first option. If your pet is not microchipped then the RFID is a good option as are magnetic and ultrasonic systems too. Keep in mind however that magnetic systems can not tell the difference between your dog and the neighbor’s dog but if you want a cheap option then a radio frequency system is the one to go for.
The door or through the wall?
They usually come in two designs, door installation or wall. Door systems are really simple, and you will not need any extensions, whereas a wall system might need more effort to properly install it, this is especially true if your walls are concrete and are thick.
You will have two options here, a metal frame or a plastic one. If your dog is small then a plastic frame is good enough, however, if you have a bigger dog then a metal or aluminum frame will be your best bet.
If you are putting a hold in your wall or door that can change how efficient your home is when it comes to its energy output. If warm air gets inside during summer then that will make your air-con work harder. Additionally, if it is in the winter months and cool air gets in then your heating system will be forced to work harder to keep your house warm.
Because of this, it is a good idea to look at how the door is built. It should have a perfect seal so hot and cold air does not come into your home and be protected from all types of weather. Experts suggest that if you extend the actual length of the tube that it can also work, although it will not look good to the eye. Basically, it is like putting a makeshift space that sits between the inside and outside of your home.
For example, if your dog goes through the panel inside, the outside panel will not open. As your dog pushes through the inside panel, the other end is going to be closed and that can limit the amount of hot or cold air that gets into your house.
You will almost never see this when you look at the basic passageways for dogs. Doors that are automatic can give you the ability to choose how you open the door and how you close it. Some have sensors that will activate only if it recognizes the right RFID signature or microchip etc. If it does not then the door simply will not open. Then there are doors that will only open if the dog is in a direct line to the sensor. There are also some doors that have a timer on them so that the dog door will be open for a set amount of time before closing.
How to Measure a Pet Door
As I mentioned before you are going to want to measure your door before you buy it and this will be determined by how big your dog is.
When it comes to height, I recommend that you measure from the floor to the highest point of the dog’s shoulders and then add one to two inches. Ideally, let your dog stand and measure how wide it is at the broadest part of the dog’s body which for most is the tummy or back legs. Make sure you take into account the chances that your dog could potentially put on weight as it gets older. Like the height, add around one to two inches.
As an example, if your dog stands ay around 15 inches and is 9 inches wide, then the size of your door should be around 17 inches high and 11 inches wide. This size is only the actual opening to the dog passageway. To get the perfect size of a hole in your door or wall then you are going to have to measure the size of the frame where the flap is attached.
On top of that, you should think about step over height if you happen to get a door that has a bit of a rise. Normally a young dog or an older dog will only need a low step height which is normally around one to two inches. But for the bigger dogs, experts recommend around five to ten inches.
Benefits of Using Dog Doors
One of the main benefits is that they are a simple way for our dogs to get in and out of our home and there are more than just one benefit, I will now go through them.
Optimum comfort for your pooch
Even though your dog might be trained to wee and poo outside, it is still a good choice for your dog to be able to go when they need to. If you happen to be at work or out then your dog is going to have to hold it until you get home. Yet with a doggie door, your pup can go out whenever he/she needs to and that is super convenient for your dog.
More opportunities for play and exercise
By giving your dog access to the backyard whenever it wants simply means that it can go outside and play and exercise whenever it wants too. Even if you happen to be home, your dog still might like the freedom to go out and lay on the grass when it feels like it.
Helps in reducing canine boredom
As many owners can attest to, most problems that occur with dogs is simply because they are bored. They do not have anyone to play with if they are inside. If you give them the opportunity to go outside it can limit how bored they can get because of all the smells and other dogs that could pass by. This can only be a good thing for your dog.
Superb convenience for you
You will not have to get up off the couch every time your dog wants to go to the toilet or just go outside. You can relax and watch your favorite TV shows because your dog can come and go as they please.
Saves your door
This is because many dogs will scratch and bite the door because they are telling you they want to go outside, however with a doggy door, they will not have to.
How to Install
It is really easy, and you will not need a professional. You will only need the right tools and basic knowledge of what you have to do and how to do it.
Get all of the tools you will need and the material you need. Many of the dog doors have a cutting template that comes with them and you can use this to do an outline of the dog door on your wall or door.
When using the right cutting tool will ultimately depend on the type of material that your wall or door is made from. First cut a hole that goes through the substrate and all you need to do is simply follow the outline of the template that is used for cutting. For it to be easier for you, if you are going to be working with a door then I recommend removing the hinges first so it will be easier to cut.
Make sure you check to see if the dog door fits before toy secure the frame through the hold, if it does not, then gently trim the opening so it does.
You can secure the frame by using screws that come with the door. Do not over tighten the screws and to prevent air from leaking you could use caulk where the frame is going to meet the wall.
Once you have put it in and installed it right, you will then need to teach your dog how to use it. Just be patient, give your dog treats and paise it and your dog will be using it in no time.
When a dog door is great, it makes your dog feel safe and comfortable when your dog goes into the house and outside of the house. With the right electronic door, you are giving them comfort and a level of convenience that you have for you and your family.
Frequently Asked Questions
How will having a dog door influence my insurance?
Luckily, most insurance companies have no direct reference to dog doors in their policies, but there have been cases of insurers refusing to pay out claims due to dog doors. To be on the safe side, opt for the most secure dog door options on the market such as app-controlled, collar activated, or microchip door. Remembering to lock the door whenever your dog doesn’t need to move in and out of the house will also count in your favor.
Are dog doors easy to install?
It should come as no surprise that different automatic dog doors each require a different method of installation. Generally, each door will come with its own installation guide, but most require you to simply trace the outline of the dog door, cut it out, and install the door followed by locking the perimeter of it with caulk.
How do I determine which size dog door I need?
Firstly, you’ll have to determine the size of your biggest pet. To do this, measure how tall your dog stands from the ground, from toe to head. Next, a shoulder-to-shoulder measurement must be taken to determine the width of the door needed. Once you have your dog’s size, measure the area where you’d like to install the door to make sure that it will be the right fit.
How can I teach my dog to use an automatic dog door?
Most dogs understand the concept of a dog door instantly, although some might be left feeling overwhelmed or scared. If this is the case with your dog, a positive reinforcement method might help.
To start with, stand outside while leaving your dog inside with a friend or another member of the family. Repeatedly call your dog’s name until it comes out and reward your dog with a favorite treat. This training can be repeated until your dog shows an understanding of how the door works and when to use it.
If you notice that your dog is behaving negatively towards the dog door, take a break from training before trying again.
As with all pet related things, you need to make sure that an automatic dog door is a suitable option for your circumstances. Ideally, your patio or backyard should be a safe environment for your dog to be unsupervised when installing a dog door. If you’re confident that your outdoor space is hazard-free, your dog can safely move in and out of your house while you’re not around.
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Last update on 2021-01-23 / Most affiliate links and/or Images from Amazon Product Advertising API