Responsible Use of Dog Doors

The added convenience of a Doggie Door for the human members of the household is obvious — no one need be interrupted if the dog chooses to go outside. To the dog, it offers a level of freedom and self determination that is not otherwise seen in most responsible homes. Even so, some safety measures and considerations are warranted.

First, and most obviously, what is the environment that the dog is going into? Clearly the dog door is not a good option for a home that lacks fencing or other way of containing the dog once they go through the door. Aside from nuisance factors to neighbors and local leash laws, the potential for life threatening hazards is simply too great for any dog to be allowed to run unsupervised and at large.

Second, is your dog completely familiar with the use of the door and can as comfortably come in as go out? Some dogs will seem trained but due to the way their minds function, using the door to go in is a totally different experience than going out. Be sure that your dog is comfortable with both.

Third, this does not exclude your responsibility to observe your dog. Obviously you still want to be very familiar with what you dog is doing outside. Undesirable behaviors from digging to harassing local wildlife need to be addressed. Health concerns like vomiting and diarrhea might only be observed by conscientious family members.

Fourth, do you use your dog door when you aren’t home? Keep in mind that anything going on in your yard or outside of it while you aren’t home can still have a profound impact on your dog. People walking by that either harass your dog or are harassed by him, stray dogs that might try to fence fight with your dog. Keep your neighborhood environment and security in mind when considering the use of your dog door when you aren’t home. Additionally, if security is an issue, remember that your dog door can be viewed as an ideal source of entry for the disreputable. It is typically located in an quiet area around the back of the house, and it’s already open, no breaking would be required. However, quality dog doors come with panels that can be used to close and secure the dog door.

Finally, minimize use of the dog door by your dogs or children as a toy. Calling the dog in and out, encouraging them to go through the door quickly may seem fun but injuries can be sustained by flaps hitting the dog in the face or the tail at greater speed. The dog is also more likely to misstep causing other potential injuries at increased speed.

Other factors, like a specific dog’s special needs due to limited mobility, vision, etc. may require additional consideration. Safety questions such as the door opening onto a stair rather than onto a landing may also be best corrected prior to installing the door (this is a safety concern for people as well). Food and water bowls are best located away from the door since it would be too easy for them to be disturbed by the entry/exit and create a new set of problems. Additionally, wear and tear can create edges and deterioration that can present hazards over time. Make sure that your dog door remains free of edges that have become sharp or stick out that could either injure your dog or snag their collar, etc.

Without a doubt, dog doors can improve the quality of life for your dogs as well as simplifying guidance and training for things like housetraining and minimizing boredom. Still, certain considerations will help insure that best results are achieved.

SWAT Adopters receive a 10% discount off the purchase price of a Hale Pet Door product. Hale will also send a check for that same amount to SWAT as a gift to them. It is their way of saying “thank you for opting to adopt and thereby save a life.”

Hale Pet Doors can go through walls, doors, screens, French doors, windows units and sliding glass doors.

Visit or call 888-293-6411. When you order, mention that you adopted from Southwest Airedale Terrier Rescue and the date of adoption.

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