One of our friends asks about building a dog door on an exterior wall. They live in a suburban community and have a medium sized dog. Their rear yard is fenced in and they are considering a dog door to allow the dog more freedom.
They are asking if it is a bad idea or a really bad idea to put a dog door in an existing wall.
Most of the time dog doors are cut into exterior doors and not placed in walls. Other options are when you have a glass sliding door the door can be outfitted with an insert that will still keep the weather out but let the dog go in and out.
However in this case the home owner is asking if they should consider placing a dog door in the actual wall that is next to their porch door.
Should you get a Dog Door?
In all honesty I have to say this is a really bad idea. I have to say that I am not a dog owner but I know dog owners and my neighbors are dog owners and I have always had friends with dogs so I know the issues.
The first thing is security. Having a dog door may mean that you don’t have to get up every time you dog wants to go out but it also opens your home to a security problem. Its not that the door its self is the worst thing because a thief that wants to get in will get in but dog doors do bring in that idiot factor where someone who might not have tried may try because they think its easier. They can normally get your main door open even if you lock the dog door and if you don’t that makes it worse.
In this case the home owner is asking should they go another step and put the dog door right in the wall of their home. Again you have a security problem but now you also have a weatherization problem. A dog door in a home door is up off the bottom of the floor and it is made to seal if it is a good one. If you place an opening in your actual wall then you have to consider how you are going to seal around it. Cutting the hole is not the problem its how you are going to protect your bottom sill plate, your interior walls and everything around it. When you install a door it will have a large threshold made out of metal and it will be caulked and flashed in so there isn’t a rain problem. It may be possible to do all of this in the sidewall of your house for a dog door but what will that mean for your resale value. You would have to find someone that values it just as much as you do or you will probably be asked to make repairs before the home is purchased.
Best Options For Dog Doors
Your best option if you really want a dog door is to place it in a steel exterior door however if you have a three season enclosed deck that might be an even better place to put your dog door. The three season porch should have a small landing outside of the exterior door and then the dog door can be placed in it.
There will be minimal security and weather problems if you do this and it is probably your best bet however not everyone has an enclosed porch.
Like I said I have a lot of friends that have animals and I have had animals growing up. They are great to have but today people seem to be going way overboard in the way that they care for them and how they make them part of their family. If you can’t find the time to get up and let your dog in or out of the home and you don’t want to leave them outside for extended periods then you really might want to rethink your method of ownership. At the very least you shouldn’t be going to extremes. Now this is maybe not much of an extreme but there are things that are.
Doing this is really up to you. However I would recommend against it for a few reasons and you should consider the problems you may have down the line.
A better choice is a door in a steel exterior door that locks well and can be fully secured. This way if you need to at a later time you can simply replace the door with a fresh one and the home is back to how it was built.