Choosing the right dog door isn’t as simple as most people think. You can’t just “eyeball” the size of your dog and expect to choose the right size door. Learning how to measure for a dog door is very important. A door that’s too big could make it difficult to climb through, and a door that’s too small could be impossible to enter.
The first thing you need to know about buying a dog door is that any company selling pet doors should include measurement guidelines on the website or product packaging. Like most products on the market, every pet door is made differently. Thus, they may look similar but have very different measurements.
If you have only one dog, it’s pretty simple to learn how to measure for a dog door. However, if you have a multi-pet household you’ll need to be a little more creative. You need to find a door that is low enough for the shortest dog to step over and tall enough for the tallest dog to fit through comfortably.
This might sound tricky, but most pet door manufacturers have taken this into consideration. You can also help your pets by ensuring that you place the pet door low enough when installing it. By purchasing a taller door and installing it in a lower position, you make it easier for shorter legs to step over while still allowing it to be tall enough for bigger dogs.
Now, let’s talk about how you should measure your pet to find the right size dog door for your family members.
How To Measure For A Dog Door
and how to choose the right one for your pup
When learning how to measure for a dog door, there are three measurements that you must take. I demonstrate how to obtain all three in the video guide above if you’re unsure how to do it. The measurements you’ll need are:
- your dog’s width (not including puffy fur)
- your dog’s height
- the required height of the rise of the door (this is the step up that your dog will need to take to get through the door)
When you’re measuring the width of your dog, measure the widest part of his body. In most dogs, this is the chest. If your dog has a puffy coat, don’t include this in your measurement. The hair will fold in as your pet goes through the door.
Add 1 inch to the width for safety reasons.
The next step when learning how to measure for a dog door is to find out how high the door needs to be. To do this, measure from the top of Fido’s shoulders to the ground. Keep in mind that if your dog is not full grown, you should wait. While you can find the average height for most breeds, you don’t want to take the chance on buying a door that is too small and having to replace it down the road.
Add 2 inches to the height to ensure your dog doesn’t scrap against the door when trying to climb through it.
Now, for the rise. As I explain in my video guide, most dogs can raise their paws to their chest in order to step over an object. If this is the case with your pet, measure the height from the floor to the lowest part of his chest.
The rise can be NO TALLER than this measurement. It’s best even, to keep the rise at least 1 inch shorter than this measurement. If your dog has mobility issues, you’ll need to get a door that offers the smallest rise possible. Try not to make the rise more than 2-inches (for large breeds) or 1-inch (for small breeds) if your pet suffers from any kind of mobility issue.
Keep in mind that there may be a step down on the outside of your dog. As I demonstrate in my video guide, this is the case at our house. We had to install the dog door low enough that our pets would still be able to comfortably make that step down without hurting themselves or getting stuck in the door.
Finally, when shopping for a pet door you’ll need to know more than how to measure for a dog door. You also need to know what features to look for in the options available. You’ll need to be sure that:
- the door can be locked to prevent your dog from going out when you don’t want him to;
- the door seals securely behind your pet;
- and that there is some type of insulation to ensure that the frame around the door seals securely when installed.
Learning how to measure for a dog door is crucial in the buying process. I can’t stress enough that you should not buy a dog door without measuring your pet according to the manufacturer’s standards for the door that you choose.
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