Unless your dog is the weirdest dog alive, he loves being outside. The outside world is an exciting and stimulating adventure for our dogs, even if they’re just hanging out in their backyards or going on the same routine walk every day.
Unfortunately for us humans, getting up to let our dogs outside every other second isn’t really ideal. Furthermore, we’re not always home to let our pups out.
Wouldn’t it be nice if there was some sort of contraption that could automatically let your dog in and out for you and then lock up to ensure no other strange creatures got into your home while you weren’t looking?
Of course, there are traditional dog doors, which offer to provide your dog the same freedom of backyard privilege, but these aren’t always the most secure. Traditional dog doors are nice and all, but they come with safety concerns and can let in unwanted creatures and pests. We’ve all heard about the racoon entering the house to steal the dog food, right? No one wants that!
Luckily, there is such a contraption that automatically lets your dog in and out and is specially designed to keep other creatures from coming and going. Yes. You read that right. This is the future, ladies and gentleman, and today we are going to talk all about automatic dog doors.
What Is An Automatic Dog Door?
An automatic dog door can be programmed to let your dog in and out at will.
Welcome to 2020. We don’t have flying cars or jet packs yet, but we do have automatic dog doors that can learn our dogs’ habits, link to their smart collars, and even channel the unique numbers on their microchips.
Have I blown your mind yet?
But automatic dog doors are more than just futuristic contraptions made for the lazy dog owner (me). They are also made for the busy dog owner who has a very adventurous dog that loves going outside and coming back in again, then going back out, then coming back again in all the livelong day.
Let’s face it. Your dog doesn’t just need to go outside to do his doggy business. He also likes to go outside to bark at the squirrel and greet the neighborhood dog and exchange choice words with the mailman. These are all ways your dog stays mentally stimulated and physically happy, thus helping to keep him from becoming bored and even destructive.
I love the idea of having an automatic dog door in my home that allows my dog to come and go as she pleases while also ensuring other animals and intruders can’t get in. But on that note, dog doors have always made me a little nervous.
Are they really that safe? Let’s find out.
Are Automatic Dog Doors Safe For My Home And Dog?
Small dogs are still dogs, and they love to be outside!
If you’ve ever been personally victimized by a pair of puppy dog eyes gazing longingly out the window and been forced to stop what you’re doing to let your dog out to chase a freaking butterfly, then you get the struggle.
Investing in a dog door is something I contemplate doing regularly, however, I am always concerned about the safety of adding a dog door to my home. Isn’t it inviting unwanted intruders like pests, insects, and stray animals? What about raccoons and rodents? What about intruders?
This, my friends, is why I like automatic dog doors so much. Most of these dog doors are not only safe, but they link with your dog’s collar or microchip and only open for them. How cool is that? Plus, most are waterproof and made to automatically shut securely when your dog has left, keeping out pests, dirt, rain, and dust.
The only safety issue I do have is with electric dog doors for small dogs, like the ones on this list. The biggest concern is that small dogs can be more susceptible to being seen as prey by coyotes, owls, and other predators in any given area.
That said, if you have a small dog and you are thinking of investing in an automatic dog door, I recommend doing so carefully and ensuring you have a safe, secure backyard where your small dog can roam and play without the risk of getting injured by a predator.
Alright, so what do you think? Are you considering getting an automatic dog door for your little dog?
Let’s go over some tips on picking the best automatic dog door for you and your unique house below.
Tips On Picking The Best Automatic Dog Door For Your Unique Dog
For very small dogs and puppies, an electric dog door should be used under supervision and while someone is home.
As I mentioned above, smaller dogs should be supervised when using automatic dog doors, especially if you live in areas where a high number of predatory animals live.
That said, what I do like about automatic dog doors for smaller dogs is that most of them are less cumbersome, are easy to install, and are simple to use.
We should also note that not all electric dog doors listed below work the same way. Some require batteries or work with motors. Some slide while others open with flaps, like traditional dog doors.
When picking the best dog door for you and your dog, try to keep your dog in mind and remember that some dogs can be anxious about using a dog door. Automatic dog doors can be especially unnerving for dogs, so if you have a skittish dog you may want to keep this in mind before purchasing one.
We also recommend picking a dog door that is suitable for the size of your dog or dogs. If you have multiple dogs in the house, make sure you are getting a door that suits them all. You should also consider the climate you live in.
For those who live in colder climates, I suggest looking for a dog door that is weatherproof and will help keep your home warm even when it is set to open for your dog.
Last but not least, look for automatic dog doors with high quality ratings and good feedback. Since electric dog doors can be pricey, I like the ones that come with a good warranty and have access to customer support in case there is a problem.
Now, are you ready to look at my top picks for the best electric dog door options for small dogs? Then keep reading!
PetSafe Electronic SmartDoor
This electric dog door by PetSafe offers a dog door that’s great for small dogs, but also works for cats and households with multiple pets. It has four locking control options and owners can even set the door to be completely locked whenever they want. This is a great feature for nighttime or vacations.
The door works with a smartkey and one is included, but owners can purchase up to five depending on how many pets they have in their home. The door can be ordered in small or large options as well.
SureFlap Microchip Dog Door
We love this dog door by SureFlap which works with a microchip that is linked to your own dog’s individual microchip. Ladies and gents, this is the future!
Once the door is synchronized with your pet’s microchip it is automated to only allow them in. This means stray cats, racoons, or other pets that aren’t yours won’t be roaming in and out of your house.
The door can be installed in doors and in windows, but right now it is only available in one size and color. Because it’s a smaller electric dog door, this is best for small dogs and cats.
OWNPETS Automatic Lock Dog Door
Specifically made for small dogs and cats, this dog door is a play on traditional dog doors with an automatic twist. It opens with flaps and swings both ways for easy access in and out, and the magnetic strip ensures the door shuts automatically when dogs are away.
This is not an electronic dog door, so it’s no muss no fuss and is easy to install and simple to use. Plus, it has a cute little paw design that we love.
When you’re away, you can easily lock the door so your pet stays safe inside.
High Tech Pet Electronic Dog Door
We also like this electric dog door which is great for small to medium dogs and works well for multi dog households. It works by using a motor and slides automatically open using an ultrasonic collar that your pet wears.
This is a smart dog door which only opens when your dog or cat is directly approaching it, meaning if your dog just passes by the door will not annoyingly open and close for no reason.
Best of all, the collar sensor means that other stray animals, racoons, or intruders will not be able to enter your home.
The door is also waterproof and airtight, and includes a deadbolt lock for added security when home owners are away.
PetSafe Freedom Sliding Dog Door
This is an electric dog door for both dogs and cats that adds a bit of class and freedom to your dog’s life. It is a sliding glass dog door that comes in several sizes, so it’s great for those of you with smaller dogs.
Installation is quick and easy and you can order the door in three different colors so it suits your unique style. Since the door is detachable, it is also easy to transport and is an excellent dog door for renters who don’t have the option of drilling holes in walls, as some dog doors require.
Solo Pet Doors Automatic Dog Door
We love that this automatic dog door is so versitible and works for small to large dogs without looking cumbersome or bulky from the outside.
It has a magnetic lock to keep it closed as pets go in and out and the door is also weatherproof and waterproof.
The dog door is automatic using a motor and opens as your dog or cat approaches to go outside at their leisure. You can lock the door automatically as well for added security when you are away or at night to ensure racoons, rodents, or stray animals don’t come sneaking around into your home.
Namsan Magnetic Automatic Dog Door
We like that this automatic dog door is not electric so it doesn’t require batteries or motors. Instead, it uses magnetic technology to automatically close as your dog comes and goes. It is ideal for small to medium sized dogs and is easy to install and simple for dogs to use.
The door is lightweight enough to work for very small dogs and puppies, and can even be used for rabbits, cats and kittens.
Best of all, and for added security, there are two manually locking options for when you don’t want your dog or cat to go outside or for when you are away.
SureFlap Brown Microchip Pet Door
We’re back with the futuristic microchip pet door by SureFlap. This automatic dog door is small and made specifically for smaller dogs and cats and, like the other microchip automatic dog door on this list, it works by linking to your dog’s specific microchip.
If your dog or cat isn’t microchipped, you can use the SureFlap RFID collar that is included with the product.
For extra security, this automatic dog door includes a curfew mode and can be programmed to lock at specific times based on your needs. It does require batteries, which are not included, and we suggest you follow the measurement guidelines included to ensure this automatic dog door will be a good fit.
UHPPOTE Access Control Electromagnetic Door
Okay so this technically isn’t an automatic dog door, per say, but it is an automatic door you can install in your actual door. This works for both humans and pets and works electronically with a remove.
So if your dog or cat wants to go out and you’re watching TV or cooking up a storm in the kitchen, all you have to do is hit the remote button and your back door will just swing on open and let your pet out.
What we like about this option is that you aren’t having to disrupt your home design or carve holes in walls or doors to install smaller dog doors. Instead, you can use this for all your coming and going needs for kids, pets, and even yourself.
PetSafe Wall Entry SmartDoor
PetSafe is really winning when it comes to its variety of automatic dog doors for dogs and cats. We especially like this smart door option for dogs. It is meant to be mounted in the wall and comes in small and large sizes. It is easy to install and is even impact-resistant. It is safe, functional, and UV-Resistant so it won’t fade.
The door is electronic and works as your pet approaches. It arrives as a kit, and you’ll need to install it yourself, however the seller does offer customer support six day sa week via phone, text or email.
As always, we recommend doing your measurements and following the guidelines provided by the seller to ensure this automatic dog door will fit in your particular home.
High Tech Pet Power Pet Door
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Here is another automatic dog door we like by High Tech Pet. Like some of the wonderful automatic dog doors on this list, this dog door opens and closes automatically as your dog or cat approaches it. It’s smart design ensures it won’t open on its own or open accidently if your dog is simply walking by or taking a nap near it.
It works with a motor and slides vertically using an ultrasonic collar, as the other HIgh Tech Pet doors do on this list. We also like that it has a four-way access control mode and you can choose if you want your pets to enter only, be able to only leave, be able to come and go as they please, or have the door fully locked.
This automatic dog door is also waterproof, windproof, and all around weatherproof.
Plexidor Electronic Pet Door
So the Plexidor automatic dog door may come at a price, but it is fully automatic and both pet and child safe, which we of course totally love. It will not close automatically if anything is in the way and it uses smart technology to open and close automatically. In fact, there are no batteries needed.
The door is large, so it’s great for multi dog houses and works for small dogs, large dogs, and even cats.
It works with collar activation and a smart key attached to the collar opens the door for you. It is a safe alternative to traditional dog doors as it only opens for pets with a smart collar and won’t unlock for strays, wild animals, or intruders.
Security Boss Electronic Dog Door
With a name like Security Boss, you already know this automatic dog door has your back. This is specifically made for small dogs and cats and is also specifically made to keep anything other than your dog or cat from coming in or out.
It is simple to install and just as simple to remove. It is also available in quite a few sizes depending on what you need so be sure to do your measurements and follow the measurement guides provided by the seller.
High Tech Pet Power Pet Automatic Dog Door For Small to Medium Dogs
Specifically designed for small to medium sized dogs, this is a take on the regional High Tech Pet automatic dog doors. It also includes the collar and the entire kit to install. Like many of the other automatic dog doors on this list, the door works with an ultrasonic collar your pet wears to ensure stray pets or wild animals don’t gain entry to your home.
You can also set locking modes as needed and automatically lock the door for times you don’t want your dog or cats to be roaming out and about.
PetSafe Electronic SmartDoor For Small Pets
We’ll finish up with our list of automatic dog doors with the PetSafe SmartDoor for small dogs and cats.
Similar to the other PetSafe automatic dog door options on this list, this dog door is specifically made for small dogs and works with a smart key that attaches to your dog’s collar. It only allows entry to pets wearing the smart collar and doesn’t allow entry of wild animals or strays.
It’s easy to install and homeowners can do it themselves or seek assistance from the seller’s customer service. It includes two smart keys so it is great for homeowners with two dogs or cats in the home.
Again, this is a small automatic dog door for dogs or cats up to 15 pounds.
Tips On Training Your Dog To Use An Automatic Dog Door
Training your dog to use an automatic dog door will take time, patience, and lots of treats!
The other day, my sister sent me a video of her Cavalier King Charles Spaniel puppy attempting to use a dog door for the very first time. It was an adorable combination of fear and curiosity, but eventually the dog did it and was very proud of herself.
That said, not all dogs are going to be so brave and some dogs may find that automatic dog doors are actually rather frightening.
It would be pretty frustrating to purchase an expensive automatic dog door for your dog only to find that she’s too frightened to use it, right? This is why the way you introduce your dog to the dog door is so important.
Before installing it, let your dog sniff it out. After you install it, and if it is motorized, experts suggest letting your dog learn how to go in and out before turning it on. If at all possible, sit with your dog and show him the door, then offer your dog some tasty training treats.
Once the automatic door is on, continue to offer your dog treats each time the door automatically opens or closes. Doing this will help skittish dogs begin to associate the opening and closing of their automatic dog door with something positive.
Eventually, and by using patience and positive reinforcement, your dog should come to love his new automatic dog door.
What do you think? Is an automatic dog door a good idea for small dogs? Leave us your opinion in the comment section below.
Madison Guthrie (also known as Sonny Mackenzi) is a pet care specialist and positive-reinforcement trainer who works most closely with anxious and reactive dogs. Born and raised in Littleton, Colorado, Madison developed a love for animals at an early age and spent most of her childhood outdoors rescuing stray pets and helping to rehabilitate injured wildlife. Along with animals, Madison also developed a love for writing and music. Over the past five years, she has worked to use her passions to help the pets and pet parents in her community build stronger bonds and live happier, healthier lives together. Currently, Madison lives in South Pasadena, California where she owns and operates Miss Madison LLC, a marketing company that focuses on helping privately owned veterinary establishments and pet care companies grow and thrive. She also works as a dog trainer at My Dog Spot, which is an award-winning pet care and training establishment in Pasadena, California.