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How to Pick the Right-sized Dog Door

Malvika Kulur Mar 17, 2020
Often, new dog owners make the mistake of picking a dog door without considering the size of their dog. To avoid spending money on fixing a new one, just because the old one is inappropriate, explained to you in this DogAppy post are tips on how to pick the right-sized dog door.

Quick Tip!

If your dog is a really large breed like a Great Dane, Saint Bernard, Great Pyrenees, or even a Mastiff, you don't really need a dog door.
Dog doors are convenient for everyone, but if they are too large or too small, then both you and your dog won't be happy with it. Changing a dog door is not only inconvenient, but it is also expensive because you have to change your entire door for that. So, to prevent incurring extra costs, here are tips on how to choose the right-sized dog door.
Please Note: When you are taking measurements, your dog needs to be standing on all fours so that you can measure him accurately.

Choosing the Right-sized Dog Door


To determine the right width for your dog door, measure your dog's shoulder width, because it is usually the widest part of the dog; add one inch to both sides, and select the door opening width.
So, for example, if the measurement between each shoulder blade is, let's say, 20 cm, then the width for your dog door should be around 22-23 cm.


The height of your dog does determine the height of your dog door. Measure your dog from the underside of his chest till his shoulders, add an inch or so, and select the height.
Always keep an extra inch or two above your dog's back so that he does not get accidentally injured while entering and exiting the dog door.

Step-over Height

The step-over height is the height at which the panel for the dog door is installed. If you want a higher step-over height, then you need to measure your dog from the ground till the middle of his front limbs, add an inch, and then select the height.
A higher rise is best suitable for medium- to large-sized dogs. If you have a smaller dog, then it is best if you go in for a low rise step-over height. To measure the height, all you need to do is take measurements from the ground up till his accessory carpal bone.

Miscellaneous Tips

► When selecting the size of the dog door, especially if your dog is still a puppy, choose one that will be suitable even when he reaches his fully-grown size.
► Never choose a door that is the exact fit, that is, if your dog's shoulders and back rub on the installed panel, then do not choose it. Too large and small doors are also a bad idea.
► Always perform a cardboard check to finalize the size of your dog door. All you have to do is take your dog's measurements, cut out a door on a sturdy cardboard box, and practice with it.
► If your dog can enter and exit the cardboard door comfortably without brushing his shoulders and back on it, then you should get a door of the same specifics.
Ensure that your dog doesn't have to crouch too low while entering and exiting from the door, to prevent any strain on his back, shoulders, and neck. With the advancement in home security technology, many dog owners are opting for electronic dog doors that open and close by receiving signals from a radio identification chip, which is put on the dog's collar.
Also, remember to have the dog door installed properly and in the right location so that with time, it does not collapse or break.