Pet doors are undoubtedly a godsend if you are out at work all day and your dog or cat is left at home. Unfortunately, they can also be a boon to the savvy thief who will happily use your pet's access route to gain entry to your property. By taking a few basic precautions when selecting and fitting your pet door, you can still allow your pets the freedom they need whilst keeping unwanted visitors out.
Never place your doggie door where it can be easily viewed from the road. This is an open invitation for opportunist thieves. It makes sense for your pet to have their access route to the garden situated in the back door. If your back garden is securely fenced-in, thieves will find it much more difficult to locate the doggie door and to use it. If you don't have a secure area at the back of your house, choose a side entrance for the pet door where it can't be easily seen from the road.
Some pet doors can be installed in an external wall or even in a window. Make sure you don't place the door too high or positioned adjacent to a door handle or window catch – a thief could easily reach in through the door or window and unlock it. The best place to fit your pet door is in the centre of the door, a couple of inches from the bottom.
Types of doggie doors
There are lots of different types of doggie doors to choose from. The majority of basic designs have a traditional locking system that you can use if you and your pet are out of the house or on holiday.
Some doggie doors can be set to only swing one way so that your dog can get out if he needs to, but he can't get back in again. Clearly, this is not ideal for your pet, but it would prevent a thief from using the door as an entry point.
More advanced designs feature a device that can be fitted to a pet collar which controls the door. As the dog approaches the door from the inside of the house, the device on his collar activates the mechanism which opens the door to let him out into the garden. The door then seals and locks behind him. When your dog has finished his playtime outside and comes within a few inches of the doggie door, the device opens it to let him back in before locking again. These designs are quite expensive but well-worth the investment if you want your dog to have his freedom whilst keeping your property protected.
A well-chosen and appropriately positioned doggie door will allow you to have the peace of mind that your dog is happy while you are out at work without compromising on the security of your home.