Month: September 2018

Learning How Sizing Your Pet Door Properly Can Make The Difference Of Exits And Entrances For You Pet

The Easy Way:
The simplest way to ensure that the pet door you get will fit all of your pets comfortably is to test the opening size before you buy. Get a piece of cardboard, cut a hole that is the size of the flap dimension in the cardboard, stick it in a doorway, and call your pets through to make sure that they are comfortable. If you are considering a panel pet door for a sliding glass door, cut the hole to simulate the rise, e.g. if you are thinking of a 5″ rise, cut the hole 5″ from the bottom of the cardboard.

The Hard Way:

Step 1: Find out your minimum flap width for your widest pet.
Measuring your dog or cat will lead you to believe you need a much larger door than is actually necessary. Harley pictured near the bottom of the page measures 15″ from the tip of her fur on one side to the tip of her fur on the other, but she can run through a 10″ door at full speed. The easiest way to get an accurate measurement is to open a door just wide enough that your pet can get through, and then measure the width of that opening. This is your minimum flap width, you can add an inch to make things more comfortable.
Step 2: Measure your tallest pet’s height.
Measure your pet to the top of his/her back at the front shoulder. The top of the pet door flap should be at or slightly above this height.
Step 3: Measure your shortest pet’s clearance height.
Take a measurement from the floor to your shortest pet’s chest. This is the clearance, and your pet door flap should start at or slightly below this measurement. On a pet door for a wood or steel door, you can choose to mount the pet door at whatever height is comfortable for the animals within reason; we recommend you cut no closer than 3″ from the bottom. On sliding glass door panels the distance from the floor to the bottom of the flap is called the rise measurement and is a fixed height (not adjustable).

If your pet is not fully grown:
To estimate the adult size of your puppy or kitten refer to the breed standards. If in doubt call us, we have some good reference material that can help to make the right decision.
This is what a properly sized and installed pet door should look like. The 11″ width flap suits the Golden Retriever just fine. The height of the flap is 16 inches, and it is set up off the ground so that the flap is just an inch or so above the dog’s shoulder height. Stepping over the 8 inches from the floor to the bottom of the flap is no problem for a dog this size. But what should you do if you have more than one pet, in more than one size???

Let’s suppose you are the proud owner of Harley the mixed breed, Brady the Corgi, and Isaac the German Shepherd. You need to find a pet door that will fit all 3 dogs. Harley is, well… a little chubby. She requires at least a 10 inch wide opening, but would prefer 11 inches. Brady is a short dog with only 4 inches of clearance. And then there is tall and lanky Isaac, who stands 27 inches at his shoulder. Which door fits all of these dogs? A Hale Extra Tall Large for a door or wall installation, or a Thermo Panel 3e or Quick Panel 3for the slider, as these have flaps tall enough for Isaac that can be located low enough for Brady, and wide enough for Harley.

Dog Doors: Installation Tips

If you know the basic model you’re going for, the next step is figuring out location, materials, and style of installation.

Door or Wall Install? What’s the best place for concealing the dog door from people casing your place? You might get a wall kit and mount your door selection as its own separate access, separate from your doors.
• Metal or Plastic Frame? Plastic is fine for small dogs, but a big dog prone to breaking things may break softer material. Upgrade to a solid aluminum frame or something more durable if needed for safety.
• Sliding Glass Insert ? If you’re renting or don’t want to affect resale value, they make spring-loaded sliding glass inserts with a dog door in the lower third. In other words, it’s a door you can take with you.

When It Comes to Dog Doors, No Size Fits All

Before you measure the door, or wall, and start cutting a hole, make sure you measure the most important thing: your dog!
• Height: Two inches above shoulder height should be more than sufficient, as a dog will duck their head to push open the door or flap.
• Width: The dog door should safely be at least two inches wider than shoulders or hips (whichever is broader), and consider your dog’s potential for weight gain.
• Age: If you’re dead set on getting it early, consult the upper-end average for your breed and plan accordingly.
• Multiple dogs: A door needs to be low enough for your smallest and high enough for your tallest.

Other Considerations

We’ve discussed intruder concerns and ways to plan for security, but what else should you be mindful of?
• Children: It’s a documented risk that young kids accessing dog doors have led to accidents—even fatalities. Dog lovers who also love their young children may choose to wait on a pet door, or pony up for a more expensive electronic locking options.
• Animal Intruders: In Florida, alligators have crawled in through dog doors, and raccoon vandals have snuck into rural homes to wreak havoc. In some cases higher placed doors for longer legged dogs solves this problem, but do your regional research and choose accordingly.
• Outside Environment: What is your dog exiting into? Is the backyard truly secure? Have you taken outdoor precautions to ensure proper safety?
• Energy Efficiency: Even the flap doors include energy-saving options like this one , so consider your climate and spend money up front to keep long-term costs low.
• Training: Just because your dog goes through the front door doesn’t mean they’ll automatically understand the dog door. Plan for several weeks of reward-based training with treats, praising them for going in and out of their own accord.

Pet Door, Cat Door

Ways to Keep Your Cat from Escaping Outside This Summer

1. Home Environment
When cats are busy and entertained, they’re less likely to seek adventure elsewhere. Offering a variety of brain-stimulating activities and toys makes this easier. There are a host of treat puzzles and interactive toys on the market. Read reviews and take your cat’s play habits into consideration before making a purchase.
2. Teach your cat to come when called
It’s true – cats can learn tricks and commands, especially if (surprise!) treats are involved. Consistently teaching your kitty to come when you call his name – and then rewarding him with a treat – makes life a whole lot easier when you’re attempting an exit without a cat on your heels. While kitty is busy gobbling his treats, slip through the door, all sneaky-like.
3. Cat Attention At The Door
If you show your cat oodles of attention as you enter and exit your home, he’ll associate your home’s entryway with attention. This association keeps kitty focusing on that location when you’re coming or going. Needless to say, the likelihood of escaping escalates when this happens. It’s best to greet your cat in an area away from the door. Cats are smart and will catch on!
4. Gestures spot away from the door
Create a space away from the doorway that becomes the special hello/goodbye location for you and your cat. Maybe it’s on a ledge of a cat tree or in another room altogether. Offer a treat when kitty meets you at the spot. Once again, make your great escape during treat-nomming.
5. Post a note by the door to warn visitors
If you’re expecting company, place a warning note so your friends and family keep potentially fleeing felines in mind when arriving or exiting through a door to the outside.

6. Close your cat in a door when join together
Whether you’re welcoming guests for summer entertaining or you’ve got repair or delivery professionals stopping by, “stranger danger” (plus loud noises and chaos!) freaks cats out. Nip the stressful situation in the bud and place your cat behind closed doors with food, water, a litter box and toys to keep him comfortable and entertained. As another precautionary measure, post a note on the outside of the door reminding everyone there’s a kitty in the room.
7. Make sure windows have sturdy screens
If you open your windows during warm weather, make sure the screens are tightly secured so kitty doesn’t swat at a fly and take a fall from the window.
Even after taking detailed precautions, it’s possible that kitty may still find himself outdoors. It’s not a pleasant thought, but here’s how to make sure your cat is as safe as possible should he make the great escape:
• Make sure your cat is micro-chipped and wearing a collar and tag.
• Keep your cat’s shots up-to-date.
• Make sure your kitties are spayed or neutered.
Summer is full of fun and relaxation, which is exponentially enhanced when we know our indoor kitties are safe and sound.