Choosing the correct pet door size for your pet is crucial to the health of your pet and the longevity of your pet door investment. Taking a few moments to review our guide should provide you with the key considerations needed to choose the correct
pet door for your home.
Golden Rule for Pet Door Sizing
Choose a size that clears the tallest pets back by 1.5 to 2 inches, and is low enough to the ground to easily step through.
Standard Guidelines for Pet Door Sizing
Here are good examples illustrating how a standard pet opening would be sized for a dog through a wall or a door. Notice that the top of the pet opening is approximately 1.5 - 2 inches above the pets shoulders. This way when a the dog runs through the door, there is enough clearance to avoid hitting their back and causing injury. Adequate distance between the dog's back and the flap connection also lends to longer flap life, as there is less pressure at the point of the flap connection. This height placement also ensures that the dog will not crouch down when using the door, which could result in stress related hip or back problems.
Sizing for Giant Breeds | Arthritic Dogs | Multiple Pets
Here are some good examples for owners of Large Breed dogs and pets that may be arthritic or have mobility issues. Typically the larger breed dogs may require a lower step over rise to make it easier for them to navigate the pet opening as they age and become less agile. Customers with multiple pets that vary in size may want to follow this guideline for sizing as well. When sized for the largest pet and the smallest pet...both will be able to use the same opening without discomfort or injury. Remember; you will want the pet opening to be easy to navigate as your larger pet ages. Many large dogs are very active and can get through a smaller openings, but as they age their flexibility and mobility decreases resulting in aggravated injuries that can result in larger health issues.
SMALL PETS USING WALL MODELS Small dogs and cats may need a little extra height in the tunnel when going through a pet door installed into a wall. Small animals have a harder time stepping completely through the distance of the tunnel....which is very easy for a larger pet. Allow for a tunnel that is slightly higher than the height of the cat or small dogs back...this way they can step inside the tunnel as they go through and not have to crouch.
STEP DOWN LANDINGS Be aware that the outside ground may be lower than the interior floor of the home. When this is the case a pet opening that is mounted a little lower to the ground and is taller in height will allow for pets to easily use in both directions.
MANUFACTURER RECOMMENDATIONS Be wary of recommended pet door sizes by manufacturers. Most always, you will notice that there is little effort put into recommending the correct pet opening size. PetSafe is famous for showing a dog using an opening that is too small. An example of a manufacturer that has put great effort into size recommendations is Security Boss Manufacturing LLC...makers of the famous MaxSeal Pet Doors. Use the guideline recommended on this page for proper sizing.
Patio Pet Door Sizing
Measuring for a
Patio Pet Door requires measurements of your existing sliding glass doors as well as a good understanding of the pet door opening choices available. In traditional pet door for walls and door, you can compensate for the height of the pet opening by the location of the hole you cut. In patio inserts, the pet opening height is a result of the step over rise you choose as an option when ordering the product.
We have assembled a detailed guide, 'How to Measure for a Patio Pet Door'.
If you have any questions or would us to help you in determining an appropriate sized pet door for your situation, please call us at 800-829-7876.