How to Install a Dog Door
Time Required: 2-4 hours
Help your dog easily go outside with this dog door installation project. There are many types available, including electronic varieties that can prevent your pet from roaming the yard in the middle of the night. This guide will explain how to install a dog door (or how to install a cat door) in your home.
Tip: Pet door installation is generally a simple DIY task. However, if you’re not comfortable making this kind of modification to your home, the cost of hiring a professional to tackle an easy installation may well be worth it.
Before you install a pet door in your home, you’ll need to choose the right model. Consider the size of your home and your pet when making your selection. Here are a few tips:
- Measure your pet. The dog or cat door you choose needs to be large enough to accommodate the height and width of your dog. If you choose a door too small, they may not feel comfortable going through it. You can easily find a small, medium or large dog door to accommodate your pet. Extra-large dog doors are also available to accommodate giant breeds.
- Check the opening size. The opening of the door matters most – not the total size of the door with the mounting hardware. Your pet door should be at least 2 inches higher and wider than your dog’s measurements.
- Find a space. Measure to make sure the dog door fits the exterior door and provides appropriate access to your outdoor space. Aim to leave a few inches on every side of the door for security.
- Consider an alternate placement. Some models can be installed inside the wall, but the placement on these may be more difficult.
- Trace the pet door template onto the area where you want to place the dog door using a pencil.
- Mark any essential screw holes as well.
- Mark the inside corners of the dog door opening. This is where you’ll need to make your cuts.
- Use an electric drill with a 1/2-inch drill bit to make holes at the center point of each marking.
- Drill holes for the mounting hardware following manufacturer recommendations to ensure accuracy.
- Cut the opening for the dog door with a hand saw. Start in one corner and cut along the outline you made with the template.
- From outside the house, insert the side with no flap into the outer frame of the dog door. Make sure it sits flush against the door.
- Some models come with break-off levels that can be removed with pliers if the door is too deep. This will help make sure it fits correctly.
- Remove them one at a time until the pet door frame fits flush.
- Insert the interior frame of the dog door – the one with the flap – from the interior side of your door.
- Insert the supplied screws, holding the door firmly in place to keep it straight.