A doggy door makes it easy for your pup to head outside when he needs to take a bathroom break or if he spots intruders in the yard like birds, squirrels, or a neighbor’s Frisbee. However, doggy doors also create a weak link in your home security, providing an easy portal into your home even when the doors are locked. Of course, no two doggy doors are the same; there’s no one-size-fits all answer for whether these dog-friendly accessories are equally burglar-friendly.
To assess the safety of your home, first put yourself in the mindset of a burglar. Burglars will use any open door or window to access your home. If the front and back doors are locked and all windows are closed, burglars will look for an alternative solution. A large, unlocked doggy door presents the perfect opportunity to slide into a home and unlock the doors from within. Burglars have been known to enter homes through windows, doggy doors, chimneys, and whatever other options avail themselves.
The safety of your doggy door depends heavily on its size. If you have a small dog and a very small doggy door that no human could fit through, it’s reasonable to assume the door is not a security threat. A door large enough for big dogs will also fit a human, however, and presents a serious security concern. Do note that not all burglars are large adults; some are children or teens who might fit through a smaller door than you might expect.
Make your doggy door safer by purchasing one with a built-in lock. Lock the doggy door at night and when you leave your home to ensure it isn’t used by intruders. Advanced doggy doors use a microchip you can place on your dog’s collar – the door only unlocks when the dog is nearby. This may not be a foolproof solution for those times when you’re out of the house, however, as the presence of an intruder will no doubt bring the dog close enough to the doggy door to trigger its unlocking. Test your doggy door by trying to unlock your door by reaching through.
Burglars largely prey on homes that are unprotected. While no solution is a 100% guarantee, often the presence of any dog, large or small, is enough to deter a burglar. If a burglar is sizing up your home and notices a large doggy door, he may elect to skip your house rather than face the equally-large dog that is likely inside. Even a small door hints at the possibility of a dog that will bark and draw attention to a crime in progress. Overall, doggy doors are generally safe if locked when not in use and small enough to prevent entry, and the presence of your dog may be even more of a deterrent.