Have you been trying to find the best smart dog door for your home? Dog doors have improved significantly in recent years, and electronic dog doors now include timers, RFID chips, and other technologies to improve security. These automatic doors have features that can make life easier for pet owners.
What is a Smart Dog Door?
You may be wondering what a smart dog door is, and why it is considered smart. Today’s dog doors offer convenience for pet owners who no longer have to get up constantly to let their pets in and out. With air-tight seals, they also work great to keep heat from escaping and cold from coming in. But just as importantly, these smart pet doors feature technology to make them secure and prevent unwanted visitors from entering your home.
Like everything else in the world around us, dog doors have been improved my many technological advancements. For instance, you can get a sliding glass smart dog door that has four-way access options, including:
- Closed and Locked
- Full Access
No more worrying that a racoon or a neighbor’s pet might find their way inside your home with the smart technology of today’s pet doors. Your pet will wear an ultrasonic or chipped collar that the door controls recognize. Only a pet with the right coordinates from the collar will work to open and shut the door.
These smart dog doors can come in a sliding door, too. Instead of a flimsy plastic dog door, these frames are available in ultra-tough materials like bulletproof resins. As such, the product is quite durable and rugged.
The sensor on the door is activated by the transmitter in your dog’s collar and knows when to open and close. Ideally, it silently opens and closes, making it great for night when your dog needs to go out while the humans in your house sleep.
What Features are Important?
Today’s best smart dog doors come with several features you are sure to appreciate. Some typical features you will find on smart dog doors include key fobs, microchip access, insulated flaps, and app controls.
Some of today’s smart pet doors have a key fob that you can attach to your pet’s collar that signals the entry to open or close for your pet. No more worrying if you will wake up to find unwanted creatures in your home when you wake up.
If you have more than one pet, each one that goes in or out will need a key fob so that the door opens and shuts properly. Key fobs work wonderfully unless your pet loses his collar or the fob falls off for some reason.
An outstanding feature of most smart dog doors is the insulated flaps to keep drafts from coming into your home. These protective flaps will help save you from wasting energy by preventing air from passing through them. It is best to choose doors that have gasket seals.
If your pet is microchipped, you can get a pet door that will sync up with your pet’s implanted microchip that they got at the vet. The door will need to be programmed to open and shut for the microchip (or microchips if you have more than one pet) to open and close the door.
Curfew Timers and Lock Modes
If you prefer your pet stay outside during certain times of the day, you can get a door that has the technology to do just that. If you program the door to remain locked during certain hours, it will not open during those times. Some will allow your pet to come in but not allow him outside while the door is in lock mode. Other features allow you to set the door only to let your pet out and make them stay out until a specific time before coming back inside.
You might like this feature if your dog tends to go outside at night and bark. You can fix it where he cannot go out before a particular time of day.
Some doors can be opened using an app on your phone. There is a monitoring feature that may be helpful to monitor an ill pet. You can track how often your pet goes outside even if you are not there to watch him.
Recommended Smart Dog Doors
With so many choices in electronic pet doors, you may be wondering which ones are the best value for your money. Below you will find some of the smart dog doors I recommend.
PetSafe Electronic SmartDoor
If you are looking for a smart pet door for a small dog like a chihuahua or a poodle, you might want to check out the PetSafe Electronic SmartDoor. These dog doors are for dogs that typically weigh less than fifteen pounds. Although there is also a size for large dogs, concerns about the build quality lead us to recommend only the smaller size. They offer four-way locking mechanisms, which includes:
- Open, which allows your dog to go in and out as he pleases.
- Locked-In which keeps your pet safely indoors until you change it.
- Out-Only which lets your dog go out, but he cannot come back in.
- In-Only, which allows your pet to go in, but nothing can go back out.
You will have a collar for your pet and a magnetic key set up to the door so it knows whether to open or close for your pet. This prevents strange animals from being able to enter your house. For the best smart pet door on the market, you will want to check this one out.
Although some of the doors on this list are fully automatic, this door requires the dog (or cat) to open it with physical force. So, although it is a smart pet door, it is not automatic.
This particular door is straightforward to install and comes with a template for cutting out the area to install the door.
High Tech Pet Power Pet Electronic Pet Door
The High Tech Pet Power Pet Electronic Pet Door works with ultrasonic technology. It comes in two sizes, medium (for dogs up to 30 lbs.) and large (for dogs up to 100 lbs.). The technology works when your dog approaches the door. The system is “directional sensing,” so it starts opening when your pet approaches, and closes right after your pet has cleared the door. Due to the design of this system, the door will not open just because your pet is walking past the door or sleeping near it.
The ultrasound is emitted from your dog’s MS-4 Collar to signal the door when to open and close. This ensures that only your pet can trigger the door to open, and other animals cannot come in or out without your knowledge.
This electronic pet door is motorized and opens vertically. Note that this system is very sturdy, and heavier duty than most other products on the list. It is not a cheap plastic door with a sensor, but instead is a solid, professional-grade product. As such, it comes with a premium price tag that may be unapproachable for some budgets.
The motorized door can be noisy when opening and closing, and the product overall is a bit of an eyesore. But overall, there really is no other electronic dog door on the market that can match all the features and build quality of the High Tech Pet door.
Sureflap Microchip Pet Door
This remarkable door works with your pet’s existing microchip. You simply program the microchip that your vet already implanted in your dog to act as the signal to open and close the pet door. An advantage other than not buying a unique collar is that the microchip will still allow him inside the house or out if your dog loses his collar.
With an opening height of just under 7″, this door is a perfect size for cats and small dogs. However, even medium-sized dogs will be unable to use the door. Additionally, it is a “smart” dog door due the microchip sensors, but it is not an automatic dog door. Instead, the microchip just signals the door to unlock. It still takes physical force from your dog or cat to open the door.
This dog door has a dual flap system that helps prevent wasting energy in your home because of drafts from your pet’s doggie door. It also includes locking modes for only in, out, open, and closed during specific times. It can be installed in walls, doors, or glass, and is very easy to install.
Should your dog not be microchipped, the door comes with an RFID tag that can be placed on your dog’s collar in place of the microchip.
The SureFlap Microchip Pet Door can store up to 32 animal microchips in its memory and works for both cats and dogs. Since it opens only for registered pets, you do not have to worry about other animals coming into your home.
It is powered by four “C” batteries. It comes with a three-year warranty.
The PlexiDor Performance PDE Electronic Pet Door
The Plexidor Performance PDE Electronic Pet Door is another premium, well-built electronic dog door that comes with a premium (expensive) price tag. It has a vertical opening, and opens and shuts automatically.
PlexiDor will fit dogs that are up to 125 pounds. It has two waterproof collar keys that do not need batteries. These keys easily snap onto your dog’s collar.
When the door is not opening or closing, a stainless steel deadbolt engages automatically to lock the door securely in place.
This door is especially nice for people with small children because it has a safety feature that keeps the door from shutting if something is in the doorway. It has one-touch programming if you want to change codes. You can set a timer for how long the door is open. And the transmitter will not interfere with home security or your fencing codes.
This is a wonderful pet door for larger dogs that need the added size, yet still works well with small dogs and cats. The product is made in the United States, has a 5 year warranty, and the company has excellent customer service.
FAQs About Smart Dog Doors
How energy efficient are smart dog doors?
Smart dog doors are made to be more energy-efficient than standard dog doors because they are made to close tightly when not in use. They also have seals to help with drafts. A well-built smart dog door should be sealed tight enough that you don’t notice any increase in utility bills. And because your dog will be entering and exiting through a smaller door, rather than a full-size door, it may actually save you on your utility bill.
Where should I install an electronic dog door?
One of the advantages of an electronic dog door is that you can install it in one of your regular doors or in a wall. Most people prefer the door option because you do not have to worry about running into electrical wiring when installing in a door. It is also more work to install inside a wall compared to a door. Be sure whatever installation kit you get works with whichever one you choose. Typically, the simpler and less expensive dog doors can be fit into an existing door, while the heavy-duty expensive dog doors are framed and cut into a wall.
Another benefit of choosing an electronic dog door is that it can monitor your dog’s activity. If you are worried about how often your dog is going outside while you are at work, it can tell you how many times they went outside. This can be important when you have older or sick dogs.
They work well with screen doors and have a size to fit most size pets. They are easy to install and can be locked to keep your pet inside when necessary.
How do I know what size dog door to buy for my pet?
Most dogs up to nine pounds will need a 6 ½ inch by 7 1/4-inch opening. This should accommodate most cats and dogs like Chihuahuas and Yorkies. A door that is 9 inches by 12 inches is big enough for a dog up to forty pounds and fits Beagles, Cocker Spaniels, and Poodles.
For bigger dogs like Labs, Bulldogs, Boxers, and Collies, you will need an opening about 11 ¾ inches by 16 inches. For extra-large dogs like Mastiffs, Great Danes, and St Bernard’s, you will need a door with a 15 ¼ inch by 23 5/8-inch opening.
How far off the ground should a doggie door be installed?
A dog door should be installed at least one to two inches off the ground.
What smart dog door will accommodate a huge dog?
The PlexiDor Electronic Pet Door (discussed above) has a one-size-fits-all door that says it can fit a dog weighing 125 pounds. It has a 12 5/8 inch by 19 5/8 inch opening.
When you can access so many technology-driven products for your home, it makes sense to trust your dog’s safety and the security of your home to a smart dog door instead of a standard. Smart dog doors offer the security of knowing no one can crawl through your dog door and that only your animals are inside your home.
There are various choices in smart dog doors, including the key fob, microchip access, apps, automatic opening doors, and insulated flaps. You can also decide what modes your dog door is set at, so you control when your pet can go in and out. All these features make buying a smart dog door more beneficial than a standard dog door, while still allowing you the convenience of not constantly letting your pet in or out.