Being a puppy parent often comes with a long list of responsibilities. One of the best ways to relieve those responsibilities is by installing a dog door. This gives dog owners the flexibility to deviate from their regular schedules without having to worry about getting home to let the dog out.
Before making a purchase, its important to learn the facts and identify which product will best suit your needs. Sliding door dog door inserts have been around for many years, and many people find them to be a suitable solution. But, like any product, there are pros and cons, and not all sliding door dog door inserts are created equal.
Here we present a list of important considerations and offer a few of the best sliding door dog door inserts in each category so you may inform yourself and make the best buy for you and your pup.
Consideration #1: Insulation
If you live in a place with extreme weather conditions, such as snow, rain, or heat, insulation is an important factor to consider when purchasing your doggie door.
Thankfully, there are products on the market that can address those needs. Key features that you will want to check for here are the flap material (is it multilayered or single layered rubber, or is it shatterproof plastic or glass), and the glass (is it, double pane or single pane?). Double-pane glass, while more expensive, is the best option for keeping outside temperatures from leaking into the home.
Endura Flap Thermo Panel 3e
Pros: The Endura Flap Thermo Panel is particularly good for cold weather environments. The device’s flap is made of a polyolefin material which prevents the fading and cracking that other dog door flaps are prone to when put into extreme weather conditions. Unlike its counterparts, the Endura Flap can withstand temperatures of negative 40 degrees and remain flexible. Likewise, the flap is bordered by magnetic strips which create a seal proof closing to prevent any wind or cold drafts from coming through. The Endura Flap’s frame comes in three different colors- black,white, and bronze. A lifetime warranty comes with every purchase and no tools are required for installation. The spring loaded model of the product allows you to snap it into the exposed track of most sliding glass doors. Flap sizes range from small to extra large. Each device comes with a locking cover that you can attach when needed for extra safety.
Cons: Small dogs are usually not strong enough to push through the magnetic resistance which means that you will have to take off some of the magnets prior to installation. This will then compromise the door’s ability to prevent outside air from coming in. Depending on where you live, the Single Flap may not provide sufficient insulation which means you may need to purchase a double flap afterwards. This will lead to a large jump in price as you will also need to purchase a new inner or outer frame since the double flap and single flap frames cannot be used interchangeably. The Endura Flap requires semi permanent installation and you will need to attach an enclosed clip to your door’s exposed track to keep the panel from moving.
Pros: The MaxSeal is designed with thermo dual pane glass and an aluminum frame so proper insulation is a guarantee. Features a security panel that you can slide in when you want to keep your dog from going out.
Cons: Expensive, pricing starts at $519 and increases for larger openings as high as $937. Plus, it is highly recommended that an adjustable bar be purchased to keep the device locked in place which is an additional purchase and expense. Takes up a significant part of your door opening width. Not compatible with a narrow exposed door track.
Consideration #2: Security
If security is your top priority for your dog door insert, electronic models are a great option to explore. These will allow you to close your door off from the outside each time your dog goes in and out without having to do so manually as you would with a flap dog door insert. Therefore, the risk of home intrusions and varmints getting in is reduced.
High Tech Power Pet Eglass Regular Height Fully Automatic Patio Door
Pros: Using RFID collar key technology, the Power Pet will open whenever your dog approaches and close promptly after. Settings for open and closing times can be altered. Unlike other dog doors, the High Tech’s flap is not made of flimsy rubber but of a bullet-proof plastic sheet. The sheet lifts up when the dog approaches the door and closes once he exits. Thus, the risk of intrusions is a lot less. Likewise, the product is designed with double pane energy efficient glass which is ideal for protecting against extreme weather conditions. High Tech also comes with a built in retract safety system and an automatic dead bolt lock. This will allow your pet to move comfortably through the opening without risk of the door closing on him or her.
Cons: Consumes approximately 15 inches of your exposed door track length which reduces the amount that you will be able to open and close your door. Semi permanent installation, not easily removable. Expensive– pricing starts at $639 and increases with size. In addition to purchasing the door insert , you must also buy the motion detection collars for all of the pets who are going to be using the door. Pricing for these collars begins at $50 a piece.
Endura Flap Thermo Panel 2e SureFlap Microchip Pet Door for Sliding Glass Door
Pros: The Thermo Panel is designed with dual pane LoE glass which increases insulation and reduces outside noise. Uses microchip technology to let the dog in and out. Therefore, if your dog has been chipped, he or she will be able to open the door whenever they approach it. This can be especially good for dogs who dislike wearing clunky collars. Plus it reduces the risk of other critters getting into your home. Manufactured in both black and white. If your dog has not been chipped, RFID collar tags are available for purchase at an extra cost.
Cons: Only meant to accommodate small cats and dogs who weigh up to 15 lbs or who can fit through an opening of 7×7 inches. If you want to keep the door fully locked at night, you will need to purchase a charley bar which you will wedge into the track to keep an intruder from pushing it up and getting in. The microchip insert only controls who goes into the house, not who goes out. Therefore, if you have more than one pet and want one to stay in and one to stay out, this will not be a good fit for you.
Consideration #3: Opening Width
Your dog’s size is another factor to consider when thinking about purchasing a dog door insert, especially if you have a larger dog. This is because your pet will need to have sufficient space to move in and out of the door without feeling too compressed. Some options to consider for large and extra large dogs are listed below.
Petsafe Freedom Patio Panel, 81″, White, Large or XLarge
Pros: The Patio Panel Large can accommodate a bigger sized dog with a maximum weight of 100 lbs and measurements of 10 ¼ x 16 ⅜ inches. The extra large can accommodate any dog who weighs under 220 lbs and can fit through a 13 11/16 x 23 ¾ inch opening. Designed with a heavy-duty aluminum frame and shatter-resistant, safety glass.
Cons: Semi permanent installation, not easily removable. For this product, insulation is compromised as it is made with single pane glass which is not ideal for keeping outside air from intermingling with inside air.
Pros: The Fast Fit will accommodate a maximum weight of 120 lbs or any dog who can fit through a 15 x 20 inch opening. Available in two finishes: Silver or white to match your patio door. Compatible with three different door size ranges — 77 5/8″ to 80 3/8″ (80”) ,75″ to 77 3/4″ (75”) , 93 3/4″ to 96 1/2 (96″). The flap comes with a magnetic lining to help keep gusts of air from creating a draft inside.
Cons: Not compatible with nonstandard sliding glass doors. Compromised insulation as it is designed with single pane glass as opposed to double pane. Takes up a significant amount of space on the exposed door track and can reduce your door opening width by approximately half. Depending on the size of your door, this may prevent people from getting in and out. Semi-permanent installation, not easily removable. Since it is not an automated dog door insert, the dog will use a flap to enter and exit the home which could become an easy access point for intruders and critters to gain entry.
Consideration #4: Convenience
There is not one particular sliding door dog door insert that ranks extremely well in the areas of convenience and installation/ removal. Most dog door inserts will take up a large chunk of space on your exposed track which will inevitably take away from the space that people will have to get in and out. Therefore, what you need to determine is if your exposed door track is long enough to comfortably fit the device and still leave enough room for you to enter and exit your home. In terms of installation, the majority of inserts come with spring-loaded technology which means that you can just snap it into your track and start using it without the hassle of hiring a contractor to do it or having to carve a hole in your wall. That being said, most sliding door dog door insert brands will recommend that you purchase a charley bar and screw it into your door to keep the insert stable and steady in your door track. Thus, most inserts will require a semi permanent installation, and while they can be removed if necessary , the process of doing so can be quite cumbersome.
In summary, there is a diverse range of products in the sliding dog door market. However, most products won’t check all of the items on your list. Ultimately, the decision will come down to what you prioritize most. If your main concern is insulation, the
Endura Flap Thermo Panel 3e would be the ideal choice. Its three layer, polyolefin flap is quite effective in keeping outside air from coming indoors. Plus, it is lined with magnetic strips so there is no risk of the flap blowing up and creating a draft.
Likewise, the MaxSeal Insulated Patio Pet Door would also be a good fit. Its flap is designed with dual pane glass which not only adds extra insulation, but also, extra security. However, if security is your main concern, you should consider the High Tech Pet Power Eglass Regular Height Fully Automatic Patio Door. Since the door is automated, you can fully control when the flap goes up or down to let your pet out. Therefore, you never have an exposed entrance into your home. Unfortunately, the catch with this product is that you will likely need to purchase a charley bar to prevent someone from lifting it up and coming in. This will need to be removed every time you use the dog door. On a different note, another factor to take into consideration is your dog size. If you have a bigger dog, your dog door will need a longer opening width. Thankfully, some inserts like the Petsafe Freedom Patio Panel come in extra-large and provide a 15 x 20 inch opening. Therefore, if you’re willing to pay a little more, you can easily accommodate any size dog. Lastly, there is also the convenience aspect of sliding door dog door inserts. Almost every dog door insert requires semi permanent installation and will take up a significant portion of your exposed door track. Depending on the length of your track, this will likely limit the space that people have to enter and exit through the door.
If you don’t have your heart set on a sliding door insert, or can’t find one that offers the balance of insulation, security, opening size and convenience you are looking for, new technology like Wayzn Smart Pet Door may be worth consideration. Read why we think Wayzn is the best sliding door dog door available today.