Dog doors make life convenient, but there are both pros and cons to this common household addition.
For dog owners who clock long hours at work, purchasing a dog door may seem like the perfect solution, and sometimes it can be.
But, before you go ahead and install one, it is important to know both the benefits and the downsides of dog doors.
The biggest pro of having a dog door is convenience. If you work late hours or have to take a day trip somewhere, having a dog door can save you from enlisting a neighbor to come let your dog out, or coming home to an accident on the floor.
Additionally, dog doors allow your dog the freedom to play outside whenever they like, which makes them less likely to be bored and destructive inside the house, and potentially less rambunctious when you arrive home at night.
Dog doors also tend to make house-breaking very easy, especially if you have an older dog to show the puppy the ropes; it doesn't take long for most dogs to realize that they have the freedom to let themselves outside.
Similarly, if your dog has the ability to let himself outside, this just might mean he will be able to do so in an emergency, such as a fire. Giving your dog the ability to escape to safety is a major pro, indeed.
One of the main cons to installing a dog door are the safety concerns that go along with it. If you live in an area where coyotes or other wild animals are prevalent, you may not want your dog outside when you're not home.
Similarly, if you have a pool a dog door may not be the best option. Not only does it allow for a wet dog to go traipsing through your house, but it can be dangerous for your dog to swim unsupervised. And, of course, there is always the potential for stray animals or criminals to enter your home.
Another con of dog doors is that they only work for certain households. They require a fenced yard, and a dog that is well-behaved enough to not escape the yard when left unattended. They are also difficult to use in households with other pets, such as cats.
Your dog's personality plays a part in the success of dog doors, and for owners with alpha dogs, this can be a con as well. Alpha dogs are not good candidates for dog doors, as the freedom it provides feeds their mentality that they are in charge and can come and go as they please.
On a more practical level, dog doors also require a permanent alteration to the home, which turns some dog owners off, and they can be notoriously difficult to install. In fact, one dog owner described the installation as requiring "six hands and x-ray vision."
There is a lot to think about when considering a dog door, and every pet and household is different. Give it some real thought and make the choice that suits your dog and household the best.