Below are some of the most frequently asked questions we get at Tucson Dog Doors. Click on each question for the answer to display.

HOW DO I MEASURE MY DOG SO THAT I GET THE RIGHT SIZED DOOR?
There are two measurements you need to select the correct size door, the width of your dog and the height of your dog at the shoulder.
The easiest way to measure the width of your dog is with a sliding glass door. Send the dog outside, with a ruler open the door to the width that you think your dog is, and call him in. Find out the narrowest width that he can pass through easily and this will be the width your will be looking for.
To measure the height of your dog, don’t go chasing him around the house with a tape measure, it will only scare him and he will run away. Calmly call him up beside you, mark the height of his shoulder by touching your leg, then with a tape measure, measure up to this point on your leg.
The most common mistake for owners to make is to order doors larger than they need. Remember an older dog (or disabled dog) will need a larger door than a younger dog. A younger dog can hop up and over through a smaller door. You also need to consider the drop on the outside of the door when selecting the size of a door to buy.

Most brands have make doors in 3 or 4 sizes, higher quality doors can come in 11 different sizes. If you have big dogs, wider dogs, tall skinny dogs, we can still fit your dogs.

DO I NEED A SINGLE OR DOUBLE FLAP DOOR?
The answer depends on WHERE you are going to install your pet door. A single flap is not considered an insulated door. There are locations where a single flap is appropriate such as a screened in porch, unheated garage or outside shed. If you live in a hot or cold climate I would recommend a double flap door. Double flaps are much more energy efficient. Just like dual pane glass is more energy efficient than single pane glass.
I JUST NEED A NEW FLAP, CAN YOU HELP?
Flaps are available for most doors, figuring out which one you have can be a challenge. Start by measuring the size of flap (not the outside frame). Is there any printing on the flap, frame or security panel of the dog door? If you still cannot figure out what you have, take a close up picture of your flap including the frame and email to me with the flap measurements (not the measurement of the outside frame) and I will help you track down a replacement.
HOW CAN I GET MY FLAP TO LAST LONGER?
Keeping your flap clean will help it to last longer. When the “nose dirt” builds up on a flap, the sun heats that area of the flap more than surrounding areas and can warp the flap.
If your flap rips along the top edge, your door may be too small for your dog or your door may be installed too low on the wall or door for your dog. The top of the flap should be a couple of inches higher than the back of the tallest dog in the house.
Most flaps have a one year warranty, so if they are 2-4 years old, it is time for a new one. Higher quality doors often warranty flaps for 5 or more years. Warranties do not cover the dog chewing up the flap.
HOW DO I INSTALL A PET DOOR INTO A DOOR THAT HAS RECESSED PANELS?
Very Carefully. Most panels are the same elevation as the edges of the door. Using a pet door with an aluminum frame will help. Some plastic frame doors are too flexible and should not be used on raised panel doors. If the panels are lower than the edges of the door it is much more difficult to install a dog door. I use my table saw to cut very thin strips of wood to fill the edges, this is tricky and I do not recommend it for a novice installer.
HOW DO I CUT A METAL DOOR TO INSTALL A PET DOOR?
Cutting a metal door is just the same as cutting a wood door; you will just be using a different blade. Having a good quality saber/JIG saw really helps. I have tried cheap saber/JIG saws and they can be very difficult to use. Choosing the correct blade is the key. There are metal blades and wood blades. Most blades are too short for an exterior door (exterior doors are typically 1 ¾ inches thick) you must search for a blade that will cut this thickness. Ask for help at your local hardware store, they can help you select the correct blade.
CAN I INSTALL A PET DOOR UNDER A WINDOW?
Possibly, if the window is not too low for the size of the dog door that you need. I have installed many small and medium doors under windows. Most pet doors have a top loading security panel. Windows that have a sill plate that sticks out or surface mounted plantation shutters will not work with a top loading security panel. If this is your desired placement for your pet door, there are a few doors that can be ordered with a side loading security panel.
CAN I HAVE A DOG DOOR AND STILL KEEP MY CATS INSIDE?
Yes, I recommend a small Invisible Fence Brand system for the house. All that you need is a computer collar and Shield to create an energy field around to door to keep your cats safely inside. Call Robert at Garvin’s Invisible Fence, 520-790-4246 and he can get you all set up.
Cats learn very quickly to avoid the dog door. Veterinarians recommend Invisible Fence. If you have a safe walled in yard (without coyote access) you could have an exterior Invisible Fence system that will allow your cat to use the dog door and stay in your yard.
Karyn Garvin has 10 cats on this type of system and they are happy healthy cats that use a pet door, stay in the yard and are safe. To see her cats http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xTqZte8ZXkI
WILL AN ELECTRONIC or AUTOMATIC PET DOOR KEEP MY CATS INSIDE?
NO, an electronic dog door WILL NOT keep a cat in the house. If you have a cat that is motivated to go outside, he will watch the dog going in & out, and then learn to time his escape as the dog uses the door. I have seen cats run through doors right under the belly of the dog.
CAN I INSTALL A DOG DOOR IN MY SLIDING GLASS DOOR OR MY FRENCH DOOR?
Yes, dog doors can be installed in most sliding glass doors and French doors. There are dog doors that will work with single and dual pane glass. I cannot install dog doors in triple pane or dual pane with internal grids or blinds. Dog doors can be custom sized to fit into openings on true-divided light (this means each glass is an individual pane) French doors. That is, if the opening sizes will work for your dog.
IS IT DIFFICULT TO TRAIN A DOG TO USE A DOG DOOR?
Most dogs can learn to use a dog door in a very short time: some in just a few minutes, most within an hour, and a few slower learning ones can take up to a few weeks. If you have multiple dogs, you will have one that learns faster than the others. Dogs can learn from each other. The one that uses the door first will help show the other ones how to do it.
MY DOG IS A TEACUP POODLE OR YORKIE; CAN TINY DOGS USE DOG DOORS?
Yes I have installed doors for small dogs, some learn very quickly and others take a little longer to learn. Tiny breeds can use doors.
MY DOG TRACKS IN A LOT OF DIRT FROM THE YARD, WHAT CAN I DO?
When there is a lot of dirt in the yard, yes it will be tracked in the house. Have grass, gravel or sandstone installed to reduce the tracking. Doormats can be place on the outside and the inside of the pet door to help catch what the dogs are tracking in. If your dog chews the mats, be careful with your choice of mats so that they do not get impacted by destroying the mat. If your get a hard rain or have a pool loving dog you are on your own.
MY DOG HAS USED A SINGLE FLAP DOOR; WILL HE HAVE TROUBLE WITH A DOUBLE FLAP DOOR?
When doors are upgraded to double flaps, some dogs will notice the difference. After being shown that they can pass through double flaps, the adjustment is usually very quick.
IN WHAT PART OF MY HOUSE SHOULD I LOCATE MY DOG DOOR?
If you have a “good” dog, you have your choice of locations for your dog door. If you have a mischievous or destructive dog, you have to look for a location that will limit your dog’s access to parts of the house. I have installed doors in laundry rooms, closets, bathrooms, bedrooms, kitchens or family rooms. I install many doors on the back of the house where the door is under a patio awning. This is a great place to have the dog protected from the weather as he enters and exits the house. A lot of little dogs do not like to run directly out into the rain. A side wall location of the house allows for a convenient dog run to be set up. Side yards can be lower elevation on the outside, so a platform or steps may be needed.
MY DOG DIPS DOWN TO GO THROUGH HIS DOOR, IS THIS OK?
I do not like to see a dog “dip” through a dog door for an extended period of time. It usually will not hurt a young dog, but over time it puts more stress on the back, hips or hocks and could aggravate any injury or weakness in the dog. If your dog has to “dip” you either need a larger door or the door raised up to the correct height.
MY DOG DOOR IS TOO HIGH ON THE OUTSIDE OF THE HOUSE. WHAT CAN I DO?
If the outside elevation is a lot lower than the inside, a platform can be built. I like the platform to be large enough for the dog to stand on with all 4 feet. Concrete blocks come in many sizes (8x8x16, 4x8x16, 1x8x16) and can be used to build steps or platforms. If you have gravel in your yard, scrape away the gravel, level the dirt, then place blocks on dirt. Make sure they are level and do not tip when the dog stands on them. Spiders can love to live in open block so be careful to keep them clean of debris.
DO YOU HAVE A PET DOOR FOR WINDOWS?
Pet doors in windows are great for cats. Windows that are mounted low on the wall can be used for cats or smaller dogs. They are a great place to have access without having to cut a hole in a door or wall. There are a few manufactures that make pet doors for horizontal or vertical window openings. If you are a handyman, a frame can be created to help fit the pet doors into window openings. See the pictures.
WHAT ABOUT SECURITY AND DOG DOORS?
There are many things I look at to help with security. I try not to place the dog door where it is visible from the front door. If you have a large dog it may be possible for a person to crawl through it. There are a few brands that are able to be ordered with black or white opaque flaps (that block the light). That way at night the lights of the house do not shine through the dog door. I look at the visibility from the periphery of the property to see where the door can be hidden. Disguising the door with a dog house or using a piece of furniture to hide the door is also an option. Making sure you don’t get a door larger than your dog really needs is the first step.
Use your alarm systems, many homeowners get lax over time and just get out of the habit of setting the alarm. There are now motion sensors that can handle dogs up to 80 lbs. Check with your Alarm Service Company to see what they have to offer you. Padlock the outside gates to the back yard.
WHAT ARE SOME WAYS TO DISGUISE MY PET DOOR ON THE OUTSIDE OF THE HOUSE?
I have cut holes in the back or side of a dog house to cover the outside of a dog door to hide it. I have had owner’s plant bushes to help hid doors. I have seen trellis’s built and covered with vines to disguise a dog door.
CAN I HAVE A DOG DOOR WITH MOTION SENSORS IN MY HOUSE?
Old style motion sensors were rated to animals of 40lbs or less. There are new sensors rated up to 80lbs. Check with your security provider to see if your system can be adjusted or upgraded to the size of your pets.
CAN I INSTALL MY PANEL PET DOOR ON THE STATIONARY SIDE OF MY SLIDING GLASS DOOR?
YES, this is my preferred location in a sliding glass door. Usually just a few screws hold the stationary panel in place. Take out the screws, slide the panel over, add low density weather stripping to both sides of the panel, slid the panel back over and secure the door (top, side & bottom) with screws. You will still lose usable space (equal to the width of the panel), but your will door will lock normally and your security sensors will still line up.
MY SLIDING GLASS DOOR HAS SECURITY SENSORS; CAN I STILL HAVE A DOG DOOR INSTALLED?
YES, if you have the panel installed on the stationary side of the door or move the sensors if the panel is installed on the side of the door that opens. Sensors are often attached with double sided sticky tape, check with your Alarm Company to see if you can do this or if you need a service call.
CAN I BUY A DOOR THAT ALREADY HAS A PET DOOR INSTALLED?
I have seen this done. I have also seen many mistakes made during this process. Unless you understand how to select the right size dog door, where to place the dog door at the correct height, taking into account the threshold and step height. There are a lot of things to consider, so I recommend that the install take place after the door has been installed.
I HAVE A POOL; CAN I HAVE A DOG DOOR?
Housing codes can vary from place to place. Check with a qualified General Contractor or local pool installer for your local codes. Here in Tucson Arizona, we have a lot of pools. You can have a dog door if there is an approved pool fence between the house and pool. If you have a new house under construction that has a pool in the plans, your pool must have its final inspection before the dog door is installed. Make sure to follow your local codes so that your home will be safe and in compliance.
I HAVE A BIG DOG & A LITTLE DOG. CAN THEY USE THE SAME DOOR?
Yes, if the dog door is large enough for the large dog and set low enough for the small dog to use. Most dog door manufactures have 3 or 4 sizes. There are a few options for doors in up to 11 different sizes. Doors can be as small as 5 x 7 inches up to 15 x 27 inches. There are doors made for tall skinny dogs like Greyhounds or Great Danes, and doors to fit taller/wider dogs such as Saint Bernards, Newfoundlands, Mastiffs, or Bulldogs.
MY DOG HAS TO “DIP DOWN” TO GO THROUGH THE DOG DOOR, IS THAT BAD?
If the dog has to “dip down” to use their door, the door is either too small or mounted in the wall too low. I have seen some pretty big dogs use some pretty small doors. I don’t like this situation for an extended period of time. When the door does not fit properly, there is more stress placed on the spine, hips, stifles, hocks of the dogs.
I JUST BOUGHT A HOUSE WITH A BIG DOG DOOR AND I NEED A SMALLER ONE, HELP?
There are ways to “downsize” larger dog doors to smaller ones. Each one is unique to the situation. Look at the before and after section of the pictures to see some examples. Look in the garage for the “slabs” to help with the process.
HOW DO I REMOVE MY DOG DOOR AND FIX THE HOLE?
Hopefully, whoever had installed the dog door left the slabs of sheetrock and stucco (or exterior wood/siding) with the homeowner. Have them check the garage for them. If not you have to start from scratch to repair the openings, sheetrock with be either 3/8 or ½ inch thick. The outside opening will need to be rebuilt to the existing wall. Stucco walls may have multiple layers of OSB/plywood, tar paper, rigid foam insulation, and stucco. The wall should be rebuilt as close to the original as possible.

Below is some additional information written by Erin Provancha Owner, Tucson Dog Doors.

Improving Dog Door Security

Have you heard the quote “Dogs need to go IN & OUT, but why do you need to get UP and DOWN.”  Dog Doors can drastically improve the quality of dog’s lives and make our lives easier.  After living the past 5 years with a dog door I cannot imagine not having one.  We dearly love our animals and want them to be happy when we are gone long hours to work.  So how do we balance the freedom for our pets and home security?

There are many considerations when choosing a dog door.  If your dogs are small, home security is not an issue.   Large dog owners have many tactics to have a big door and maintain safety.

The first consideration is selecting the proper size door is the crucial as many owners choose doors larger than they really need.  Large dogs can step up and through a smaller door than we realize.  If you have an older dog or one with a disability then you would need a larger door mounted lower on the wall.
Select a location for your door in an inconspicuous place in your home.  Stand in your front door and survey the view.  Walk around your property and see what can be seen from the fence line and alley.

A dog house with a hole cut in the side or back of the house is a great disguise.  Potted plants, having vines on a trellis or hiding the dog door with porch furniture are all tactics used by home owners.

Dog doors can be ordered with opaque flaps (brown, black or white) that block the light.  This keeps the light at night from shinning through the flaps advertising its location.

A strong security panel with a locking pin (that prevents the door from being opened from the outside) can be used at night and when you go on vacation.   Some security doors have screws that mount into the frame for extended vacations.

Upgrading you home security system with motion sensors that can accommodate dogs up to 80 lbs is also recommended. Call your service provider for more information.   Always remember to lock your doors, set your alarm and have proper exterior lighting for your home. Install dusk-to-dawn spotlights that automatically come on are an easy way to help and you don’t have to remember to turn them on and off every day.

Published in the Pet Enthusiast Feb/March 2011

ErinProvancha, Manager
www.tucsondogdoors.com
520-240-8345
-Tucson’s only Dedicated Dog Door Installer-
“Enriching Dogs lives one door at a time”

How To Have A Green Pet Door

What is it made of?
A majority of dog doors are made of aluminum. A material that is durable, non-rusting and recyclable.  Plastic doors, while generally cheaper than aluminum are not as durable and not recyclable.  Plastics produce more toxicity into the environment to produce.

Where is it manufactured?
As a small business owner, I first try to buy locally, and then I look for Made in the USA.  This country needs us to support products made here, whenever possible.

Can it be recycled?
When old dog doors are taken out of the wall or door, most can be dismantled and the aluminum parts recycled. You must remove all the screws and flaps.  Some doors can be repaired, have new flaps installed and reused.

Is it installed properly?
Dog doors must be properly installed for the greatest efficiency.  Doors installed in the walls need insulation packed around the tunnel.  Inside and outside frames must be properly caulked and sealed

How energy efficient is it?
As we try to live a greener life, by installing energy efficient doors and windows, blowing in more insulation and upgrading furnaces/AC units.  Ever think about the energy efficiency of your dog door?
Only a double flap dog door is considered an insulated door.  Even with 2 flaps there are differences in efficiency between medium priced doors and higher priced doors.  “You do get what you pay for”, includes dog doors also.
One easy way to increase energy efficiency is to put in the security panel at night when temperatures drop.  It will seal the door closed when the door is not in use.

Replace flaps when they show wear and tear.  New flaps are more flexible and create a better seal around the frame.  Most flaps have a one year warranty and need to be replaced regularly.  Regular cleaning will extend the lifespan of the flaps.

ErinProvancha, Manager
www.tucsondogdoors.com
520-240-8345
-Tucson’s only Dedicated Dog Door Installer-
“Enriching Dogs lives one door at a time”