As part of your pup's daily routine, you'll have to let Fido outside multiple times each day to eliminate and exercise. Ignoring your pup's pleas to go outside may result in potty accidents inside and a hyperactive pooch. Installing an electronic pet door helps to solve these issues, allowing Fido free access to your yard whenever he wants to go, without having to bother you.
A pet door consists of a small opening at the base of your door with a movable flap to block access to the outside. While traditional pet doors open when your pup pushes through the flap, automatic pet doors are more selective. These doors run on batteries or electricity and respond to a remote control device that your pooch wears on his collar. When your furry friend approaches the door, usually within a five-foot radius, the collar sends a magnetic or radio-frequency signal to the door, which then opens automatically, allowing the pup through it. The door then locks behind him. You can also activate the door manually or turn it off altogether.
The advantage of an electronic pet door over a traditional one is that once your dog comes inside, the door immediately closes behind him, locking in the process. This prevents other neighborhood pets, stray cats or wild animals, such as raccoons and possums, from sneaking through the door into your home. Because the door securely locks into place, this also prevents any humans from attempting to break into your home through it. If you have a variety of pets, you have the option of only providing your pooches with a "key" to the door on their collars, keeping the rest safely inside.
Electronic pet doors cost more than traditional ones and can run up to $300 or more in price, depending on their size and features. Some systems even work with hidden electronic fencing systems for dogs, using the same collar frequencies to keep the dog contained in your yard as to open the pet door. Many systems feature a weatherproof, insulated door that keeps out bugs, drafts and inclement weather. You can install these types of electronic pet doors either in the base of your existing doors or in the wall. Wall installation requires a separate tunnel, sold separately. Pet door sizes range from small, appropriate for pups around 15 pounds in size, all the way up to large, for canines up to 100 pounds.
Pet doors aren't perfect because they can become jammed, broken or your dog's collar attachment might come off while he's outdoors, preventing him from coming back inside. Check the system daily to help avert issues. You'll also need to change or charge the batteries regularly for both the dog's remote collar transmitter and the door itself, if your system uses them, to prevent Fido from becoming locked outside. For a pet door system that use radio frequency signals, keep appliances and other electronic devices several feet away from the door to prevent interference that can impede its functionality. If allowing your dog outside unsupervised, you'll need a secure, fenced yard for him, which doesn't allow him to escape.
- HGTV: Electronic Pet Door
- PetSafe: Electronic Doors
- Solo Pet Doors: Features
- AlabamaDogDoors.com: Electronic Or Automatic Dog Doors & Cat Doors
- FoxNews.com: Electronic Pet Doors for the 21st Century Pet
- Invisible Fence: Freedom for You and Your Pets with Doorman Access Solutions
- Tucson Dog Doors: Electronic Pet Doors
Based in Las Vegas, Susan Paretts has been writing since 1998. She writes about many subjects including pets, finances, crafts, food, home improvement, shopping and going green. Her articles, short stories and reviews have appeared on City National Bank's website and on The Noseprint. Paretts holds a Master of Professional Writing from the University of Southern California.