Best Dog Doors for Large Dogs

5 Best Dog Doors for Large Dogs: Convenience for You, Freedom for Your Pet

Even if you love your pet dearly, you’re still undoubtedly inconvenienced by your dog from time to time. You have to build time into your schedule to feed him, walk him, take him to the vet, and give him a bath once or twice a month.

But modern pet owners have access to a number of products and services that can make some of these burdens a little easier to bear.

Doggie doors are one of the best examples, as they will drastically reduce the number of times you have to take your dog out to go to the bathroom – with a doggie door, he can just run out to the backyard when need be.

Dog doors are helpful for most dog owners, but they are especially helpful for owners of big breeds, as these dogs often have a greater need for the exercise and “elbow room” than their smaller counterparts do.

We’ll talk about the reasons dog doors are so beneficial below, and we’ll explain the things you want to look for when picking one out. We’ll even recommend five of the best dog doors for large dogs, to make it easier for you to find one that’ll work for your pet.

best large dog doors

Six Reasons You Need a Dog Door for Your Large Dog

There are a variety of reasons a dog door will improve the lives of you and your dog, but the following six reasons are among the most important.

1. Dog Doors Help Prevent Accidents

Even the best-trained dogs are likely to suffer from the occasional accident, but by installing a doggie door, you can all but eliminate this possibility, as your dog can always go outside (where he’d rather go to the bathroom, anyway).

2. Dog Doors Reduce the Number of Times You Have to Walk Your Dog

Although you should still make time to take your dog to the park or walk around the neighborhood from time to time, a dog door will reduce the frequency with which you must do so, as your dog will be able to relieve himself whenever necessary. Just think about how relieved you’ll be when you don’t have to wake up at the crack of dawn to take your pet outside.

3. Dog Doors Help Prevent Pet Boredom

Boredom is a big problem for many dogs, who are forced to hang out indoors all day, patiently waiting for their next walk. But with a doggie door, they can just go explore the backyard whenever the impulse strikes them. This will likely help eliminate many bad behaviors too, as bored dogs often become destructive chewers.

4. Dog Doors Allow Dogs (Particularly Big Dogs) to Get More Exercise

Unless you take your dog on at least one long walk each day, or you go out to the backyard and play fetch every afternoon, he is probably not getting enough exercise. But by giving him a dog door, he can go outside and run around much more frequently.

5. Dog Doors Will Help Protect Your Home and Furniture from Unnecessary Wear and Tear

Because a dog door will usually encourage your dog to play outdoors more often, he’ll end up spending less time indoors. This will help to reduce the amount of damage he causes to your floors, couch and walls. This is even true for well-behaved dogs, as wear-and-tear to your home is just a natural side-effect of dog ownership.

6. Dog Doors Will Help Reduce the Amount of Shed Hair in Your Home

If you have a dog that sheds heavily, you’ll want to allow him to spend as much time outdoors as possible (within reason), as this will help keep more of his shed hair outdoors. This obviously won’t eliminate all of the hair in your home, but every little bit helps.

Different Types of Large Dog Doors

best dog door for large dogs

In the past, dog doors only came in one or two styles and they only worked with a small number of doors. However, modern manufacturers now market dog doors that work in many different types of locations and applications. A few of the most common dog door types include:

Standard Dog Door

Standard dog doors are designed to fit exterior (and occasionally interior) doors to your home. They usually consist of a relatively thin metal or plastic frame and feature a flexible door flap. Many also feature a rigid panel that can be inserted to seal up the door when necessary (such as late at night).

Dog Doors for Sliding Glass and Patio Doors

Some dog doors are designed to work with a variety of different glass, vinyl or aluminum doors. These can be very easy to install in sliding glass doors, but they’re often a little trickier to install in other locations. These doors typically feature a flexible flap like standard dog doors, and some also come with a rigid panel to prevent your pet from exiting the home.

Dog Doors for Screened Porches

Screen porches present unique challenges for owners interested in installing dog doors. Fortunately, you can purchase a split-seam-style dog door that’ll allow your dog to come and go as he pleases. Most feature magnetic strips that cause the seam to close after your dog passes through.

Dog Doors for Walls

If your back door isn’t in the right location for a dog door, or it is made from materials that make it impossible to add a door, you can always install a dog door in a wall. Wall-style dog doors are pretty similar to standard dog doors, except that the frame is typically much thicker. Do note that it is much more difficult to install these types of dog doors than it is to install a typical dog door.

Doggie Doors for Large Dogs

The Five Best Dog Doors for Large Dogs

There are a wide variety of dog doors on the market, but the following five are certainly the best large dog doors for most owners. We’ve tried to include each of the primary types of dog doors, so you can find one that will suit your situation.

1. PetSafe Wall-Entry Pet Door

 

About: The PetSafe Wall-Entry Pet Door is designed to be installed in one of the exterior walls of your home. It is ideal for owners who have backdoors that aren’t well-suited for dog doors, as well as those with unusual backyard layouts.

Notable Characteristics and Features:

  • Durable aluminum frame is built to last
  • Double-flap design helps keep bad weather and extreme temperatures outside
  • Works with most types of walls, including stucco, siding and brick
  • Features a slide-in rigid panel that allows you to block off the door temporarily

Owner Reviews: Most owners were quite happy with the PetSafe Wall Entry Pet Door. It appears to be easy to install, and it appears to fit most walls without issue. Several owners felt that the door provided great value for its price, and many seemed happy with the way the double-flap design kept out bad weather and pests.

Bottom Line: There are a few wall-entry pet doors on the market, but the PetSafe Wall-Entry Pet Door is clearly the best one available. It will be more difficult to install this dog door than some of the others, but it doesn’t appear to be prohibitively difficult for those with the necessary tools and a willingness to take on the project.

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2. PetSafe Freedom Dog Door for Sliding Glass Doors

 

About: The PetSafe Freedom Dog Door is an ideal option for owners who have a sliding glass door on their patio, and it’ll also work as a replacement panel for some aluminum doors. It is easy to install (and uninstall, if necessary), and it won’t ruin the aesthetics of your patio or deck.

Notable Characteristics and Features:

  • Comes in five different sizes, including options for extra-large and tall breeds
  • Comes with a slide-in closing panel to restrict access when necessary
  • Strong aluminum frame and tempered glass window
  • Works great for apartment/condo dwellers, as it can be removed when you move

Owner Reviews: Most owners were very happy with the PetSafe Freedom Dog Door, and reported that it was easy to install and, when necessary, remove. Several owners mentioned that while it made it easy for their dog to come and go as he pleased, it didn’t allow flies and bugs to get in their home. Many also liked the fact that the door comes with a lock mechanism, so you don’t have to compromise on safety to give your dog an easy way in and out of the house.

Bottom Line: If you access your backyard via a sliding glass door, this is clearly the best (and often, the only) pet door for your needs. You’ll want to be sure you select the proper size, so measure your door (and your dog) carefully before picking one of the models. It is a little more expensive than some other dog doors, but you’ll likely forget about the extra money you spent once you see how easy it is to install.

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3. Homitt Magnetic Screen Door

 

About: The Homitt Magnetic Screen Door is a very flexible product, that you can use in a variety of locations and situations. It is essentially comprised of two full-length flaps, which connect in the middle via a strip of magnets. It will allow your dog (or you when you have your hands full) to walk right through the split, and the door will seal back up once he passes through.

Notable Characteristics and Features:

  • No tools required for installation – put it up or take it down in seconds
  • Strong Velcro used to keep the door securely fastened, and additional fastening pins are included for use in high-traffic areas
  • Polyester mesh is strong and resilient, and it will keep the bugs out of your home
  • Can be used on interior or exterior doorways, as well as on patios or decks

Owner Reviews: The Homitt Magnetic Screen Door received really positive reviews from most owners. Most reported that it was very easy to install (most owners were able to install it in less than 10 minutes) and that it worked well for their pets. Many owners were also very happy with the Homitt Magnetic Screen Door’s relatively low price.

Bottom Line: This is an ideal pet door for people who want to give their pets (as well as the other people living in the home) an easy way to enter or exit the house. It is easy for most pets to use, and it’ll keep bugs from flying into your home. Note that this is not a good solution for doors with metal frames, as the magnets may stick to the door frame, rather than closing behind your pet. Also, it is obviously only a good option when the temperatures are relatively mild.

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4. BarksBar Original Plastic Dog Door with Aluminum Lining

 

About: The BarksBar Original Plastic Dog Door is a standard dog door that is designed to be installed in an exterior door. However, it comes with a few bonus features, such as a magnetic latch on the door flap and a rigid, sliding panel to restrict access to the door.

Notable Characteristics and Features:

  • Soft and flexible vinyl flap is designed to work for years without warping
  • Sliding panel is chew-proof to ensure that your dog won’t escape
  • Telescopic frame adjusts to fit most doors
  • Sliding panel locks into place automatically

Owner Reviews: The BarksBar Original Plastic Dog Door received some of the best reviews of any dog door we found. Most owners reported that it was very easy to install, and that it worked well for their pet. A few owners did complain that door allowed some rain to splash through the flap, but this is not a huge problem (if it is raining outside, your dog is going to track water inside the house anyway – just put an absorbent mat below the dog door).

Bottom Line: Given its low price, the BarksBar Original Plastic Dog Door provides more value than many of the other dog doors we reviewed. It appears to be well-built and durable, although it probably won’t last quite as long as some of the other options. Nevertheless, you could purchase two of these doors for the same price that you could purchase one door offered by most other manufacturers.

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5. PetSafe Extreme Weather Pet Door

 

About: If you live in an extremely hot or cold region, you must select an insulated dog door, which will help prevent your heating or cooling bills from rising dramatically. Fortunately, that’s easy to do with the PetSafe Extreme Weather Pet Door, as it features a unique, three-flap system, which helps prevent the air inside your home from leaking out the dog door.

Notable Characteristics and Features:

  • Paintable frame allows you to match the door to your home’s décor
  • Rated as 35 times more efficient than single-flap doors
  • Comes with a single locking panel to prevent your pet from using the door, and it will work with an optional second panel, when the temperatures are especially hot or cold
  • Easy to install, even for those with minimal tools and experience

Owner Reviews: Most owners were very pleased with the PetSafe Extreme Weather Pet Door. It appears easy to install and very effective at maintaining the temperatures inside your home. A few owners noted that it isn’t the most durable dog door on the market, and a few complained that the flap is not transparent, which makes it more difficult for some dogs to learn how to use.

Bottom Line: This dog door will work for most owners who are looking for a standard dog door, but it is especially effective for those who are concerned about heating and cooling costs. We’d hesitate to recommend it for dogs who tend to chew on things, but it should work well for most well-behaved dogs.

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Things to Look for When Buying a Dog Door

best dog doors for big dogs

You must be sure to pick a dog door that will work well for your home and your pet, so every owner will have a slightly different list of things to look for when picking a specific product. However, most owners should look for a dog door that comes with the following features or characteristics.

Locking Panel

From time to time, you’ll want to restrict access to the door and prevent your dog from coming inside or going outside. Most standard dog doors come with a locking panel for exactly this purpose, but some of the low-end, “economy” models leave these out to keep the price of the door low.

Multiple Flaps

You only need a single flap to make an effective dog door, but models featuring multiple flaps will help keep bugs and extreme temperatures outside. Timid dogs may require a little more encouragement while learning to use double- or triple-flap models, but most will eventually learn to use them with confidence.

Easy to Install Design

Unless you enjoy complicated and difficult home-improvement projects, you’ll want to make sure that you select a dog door that is easy to install. We have tried to help in this regard, as all five of the dog doors recommended below received high marks from owners in this regard.

Adjustable Frame

An adjustable frame will make it much easier to install a dog door, so most owners should look for models that feature “telescoping” frames, as they’ll work with doors of varying thicknesses. Just be sure that you carefully review the manufacturer’s installation instructions before you make your purchase, to ensure you select a dog door that will fit.

Appropriate Size

Because most Canine Weekly readers own large dogs, it is important to remember that big dogs need big dog doors. All of the dog doors recommended below are designed for dogs who weigh up to 100 pounds, and one — the PetSafe Freedom Door — is appropriate for even bigger dogs, who weigh as much as 220 pounds.

In Conclusion

A dog door is a great way to make your life easier and give your pet more freedom. And while some dog doors fail to work properly and are difficult to install, we’ve tried to make things easier by pointing out some of the best options available.

Each of the five doors listed above should be easy to install, easy for your dog to use, and look great in your home. Just be sure to select the model that meets your specific needs and measure your door carefully before making your purchase.

Have you ever installed a dog door in your home? We’d love to hear about your experiences. Did you find the installation process easy? Was it challenging to teach your dog how to use it? Do you know of a particularly good model we failed to mention? Let us know in the comments below.

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