If you don’t have the time at the moment to read through my full guide to the best large dog flaps with sensors, the top pick online we found was the PetSafe Automatic Large Locking Door. Through testing and plenty of research into what dog owners are looking for from their automatic dog flaps, this was the runaway winner.
Ever considered buying a dog flap before? While cat flaps are fairly common all around, electronic dog doors are becoming more and more popular. A great dog door is one which your pup can just stroll through and head on out of whenever they want to use the garden.
As dogs generally shouldn’t be let out in public without a leash, it’s always a good idea to fit a dog door – or multiple dog doors – into spaces where your pets can’t escape. Things are a little different in this respect when you compare dogs to cats, as many cats are conditioned to roaming alone.
But what should you really be looking for when you consider an electronic dog door for your pets? Do you need a large dog door? How does an automatic dog door actually work? On top of all of this – what is the top dog door available for you to buy right now?
I’ve gone to the effort of hunting down the top rated electronic pet and dog doors available for owners to invest in right now. If you’re new to the idea of an electronic dog door or flap, or even dog doors in general, I’ve also set up a complete guide for you below on what you can expect, as well as what you’re going to need to compare while shopping around
In this guide, we will be reviewing the following large dog flaps with sensors:
- PetSafe Automatic Locking Large Door
- Multi Key & Energy Efficient Pet Door
- Battery-Powered Microchip Pet Door
- Ferplast Swing Door
- PetSafe Staywell Aluminium Door
Are Dog Flaps a Good Idea?
Yes – dog flaps and dog doors are great ideas if you find that your pet wants to go in and out of the garden a lot, and if you’re not necessarily available to help them get access. For you, it means saving time and effort having to constantly open doors, as well as to avoid letting in unwanted drafts.
What’s more, it’s convenient for your dog, too. For small dogs and large dogs alike, a dog flap or door is always available for those pets who don’t want to have to ask for permission! They can just stroll in and out whenever they want to explore, get some fresh air, or use the outdoor facilities. One of the top reasons to invest in an electronic dog door, large size or otherwise, is the fact that they can come and go as they please.
There is a little bit of misconception out there regarding how safe or useful dog doors actually are. Thankfully, these doors are getting safer and more secure from line to line, which means that you shouldn’t have anything to worry about providing you buy a top-rated brand.
If you’re really not sure about how useful or safe automatic dog doors can be, keep reading – and I’ll give you the full lowdown.
Why Buy a Dog Flap with a Sensor?
Ok – while a dog door is great an all, a traditional dog flap – no matter whether it is large size or otherwise – is only ever going to be so convenient. Rightly so, some people worry that a traditional flap could be used by other outdoor critters trying to get in – even would-be criminals might try and use them to unlock your doors!
This is unlikely providing you use a reputable model of automatic dog door. The huge benefit to using an electronic dog door or pet door lies in the fact that your dog has VIP access. This means that only they will be able to trigger the scanner to get in and out. I don’t mean to suggest giving your pets an ego – but let’s face it, if you only have the one dog, then you should really try and exclusive automated sensor on for size.
How does this work? Your dog will have a small fob or disc that clips to their collar. This means that, providing they are wearing their collar and disc, your pets will always be able to get in and out. The sensor will scan a microchip to ensure that they can get in and out without any fuss.
You can also buy a microchip pet door system, which actively scans the microchip implanted in your dog by your vet. This makes the access through your door even more exclusive. You wouldn’t leave a door open throughout the day or night otherwise – so why should an electronic dog door be any different?
You can also find dog door and pet door systems out there which have curfew settings. This means that they will automatically ‘shut’ after a certain time of day or night. These are great on paper, but you will always need to make sure you have an emergency override, and that you don’t accidentally leave your dog locked out for the night!
A great reason for investing in a microchip pet door or flap, too, is if you have an enclosed garden and you are likely to be leaving your dog alone while you are out at work. It gives them the freedom to go out and explore the garden without you needing to be there to keep opening and closing the back door. However, you MUST make sure that your garden is closed off if you wish to do this – and that your pet is unlikely to start leaping fences to escape!
Are Dog Flaps a Security Risk?
The best dog flaps and pet doors won’t be a security risk providing you can lock them!
Traditional dog flaps or cat flaps may hang or swing loose, which in this day and age, really isn’t a great option. That’s because not only will your pets come in and out, other critters and pests will want to sneak in, too! This also means that you could be putting yourself at risk of burglary attempts, no matter the size of door you have installed.
This is certainly no reason to panic. For one thing, electronic pet door systems largely come with sliding glass that locks in place. In other cases, you will find that they can only be activated with a microchip, whether on a collar or embedded in your pets. The best door for security – which still lets your dog go in and out as they please – will be one that locks and opens on request, and one which only you and your dogs have access to.
There’s also the point that traditional door solutions for dogs and cats can also let in a lot of wind and cold, and might even sweep in a ton of leaves and debris during autumn months. Therefore, it makes sense to install an electronic pet door if you can, simply to be energy efficient.
Do also keep in mind that a dogs’ door should also have some form of manual lock and override, and again, this applies to doors of any size. If your dog is safely indoors and you really want to be extra safe and secure, lock your door with a separate latch or key. In the modern age, we have more to lose than ever before – which is why the best pet door solutions online while put safety and security right at the top of the priority list.
Can I Install a Dog Flap Myself?
Yes! It’s entirely possible to set up and install a pets’ door or dogs’ flap on your own. However, the more intricate the model, and the more advanced the technology, the more likely it will be that you need to arrange for an expert to come and help out. This is no bad thing.
In many cases, stores and wholesalers online will offer a pet door installation service which you will only need to pay a one off fee for to get up and running. If you ask me, if you are keen to give your pets (cats, dogs and otherwise) access in and out as soon as possible, it’s probably going to be the least hassle to ask a contractor to handle the installation.
After all, no matter the size of your pet door, you are still going to need to measure carefully and cut into your existing door. This takes a lot of precision, and if you over-measure by accident, your pets will have a nice, gaping hole in the door where they can hop out as they please! Number one tip – if you are really unsure how to measure and install a pets’ door in your home, ensure to consult with a professional. That goes for large size doors and smaller flaps. too.
Take a look at dog doors and flaps which come with DIY instructions, however, be prepared that it can take a little bit of work to get one door installed, and to keep your other, main door, free from any unwanted damage.
How Big a Flap Will My Dog Need?
This is something you’ll need to take up with your dog! If you have a larger breed of dog, then naturally, you are going to be looking at a range of large size options. However, if your dog is of a smaller breed and is simply overweight, it might be a better option to try and get them to trim down a bit first!
There’s also the matter of puppies. A simple mistake to make is to invest in an electronic pet flap which fits your dog when they are young, but which they will quickly outgrow. Puppies grow amazingly fast, which means you’ll soon find that the money you’ve spent on a flap or pet door really will go to waste.
Therefore, in my opinion – and experience – be sure to take your dog’s potential size into account before you buy, as you will certainly do best to invest for the long term, not for a short term fix while your dog is a puppy!
What Should You Look for in a Large Dog Flap?
Let’s take a really quick look at things to keep in mind when shopping for the best dog flap or pet door for your home.
Fixing and Opening
Some pet door options have sliding glass which is easy to open and close. Others will have traditional flap mechanisms. This is often a matter of tastes, but it’s worth considering which will work ideally for your dog.
Traditionally, older dog flaps and pet doors can take a beating by the weather, whether it’s wind, rain or otherwise. You’re going to need to find a weather resistant door that’s going to stand up against the threat of rust, or blowing off altogether!
Yes – if your dog is bored enough, it might well take a shine to chewing on your pet door! Therefore, make sure your door comes with enough resistance and rigidity to withstand some serious gnawing. Otherwise, you are going to be looking at a pretty flimsy piece of kit that’s going to need replacing
You should also be sure you know what type of door you want to install with – such as composite. If you choose to set up a pet door or flap with the help of an installer, this probably won’t be much of an issue. However, it’s still worth shopping around for and knowing what you get.
What Are the Best Dog Door Systems Available?
Now that we’ve taken a look at what you need to know about pet door options before you buy them, here’s my pick of the five best large dog doors with automatic functionality. Keep in mind, of course, that while these systems are not built for small dogs, there is no reason why you can’t still encourage smaller animals to use these systems! These are doors which are simply built with the bigger canine in mind.
Best Electronic Dog Door – PetSafe Automatic Locking Large Door
This large, locking pet door may be on the premium side of things, but it’s easily one of the most impressive doors on the market right now, and great for any pets who want to go in and out with ease. It offers five separate keys for you to fit to pet collars, and it’s fairly versatile with a range of door size options.
You can even program this dog door so that it will only ever activate when a specific smart key is in use. It’s available in various sizes and it’s pretty easy to measure your dog for the best door to fit.
- May be a little pricey for some people
Best Budget Dog Flap – XGG Pet Exclusive Dog Screen Door
This more reasonably priced dog flap is great for animals of medium size and build, and will actually double as a cat flap, too. What I really like about this door is the fact that the flap is one way. Too many times, pet owners have had to struggle with pet door systems that let in unwanted traffic from the outside!
This is a really easy system to install, and comes with a strong magnet to help lock in place. It may look less sturdy than some of the other pet door options out there, however, it’s an energy efficient option which should satisfy any pet owners that don’t want to have to deal with nuisance breezes and anything that wants to come and pay you a visit!
- There are fancier systems out there
Best High-End Electronic Dog Flap – Battery-Powered Microchip Pet Door
If you’re ever worried about how exactly you’re going to power an electronic dog door of any size, there is no need for you to panic. That’s because doors such as this come with battery functionality, meaning there’s no need for any clumsy wiring. It’s damage proof and claw-resistant, meaning that if you don’t want any nasty scratches and scuffs marking up the glass, you won’t have to worry.
This is a super secure door system. The door comes with a double lock for added safety, and what’s more, its built-in microchip scanning system will ensure that your pet can easily go in and out of the flap without hassle. Even if your dogs aren’t chipped, this door will still pick up on RFID tags, meaning it still offers all the appealing features you’d normally expect from an automated door elsewhere.
- Again, maybe a little pricey
Best Small Dog Sensor Flap – SureFlap With Microchip Identification
If you’re desperate to keep your small pup safe while going in and out, you’re going to want a pet door that benefits from microchip interactivity. This pet door is actually built with cats in mind, but measured correctly, there are no reasons why you can’t use this for smaller breeds of dog, such as Yorkshire Terriers.
It’s very easy to program, and if you are the sort of pet owner that has a massive brood of animals, you’ll be pleased to hear that you can store up to 32 creatures on one device! It’s versatile to set up, too, and this system will also run on batteries if you’d prefer not to bumble around with wiring and the like.
- Maybe not as secure as some sliding glass options
Easy to Install Dog Flap – 4 Way Manual Locking Flap
Amongst some of the biggest pains of getting a pet door or a dogs’ door in place at all is the installation. Therefore, it’s always a good idea to look for a weather resistant option which is going to neatly fit into your back door, front door or even side door setup. This is another flap that is in a size designed for moggies, but again, small enough dogs should be able to use the door pretty easily.
It’s very easy to program and runs on basic batteries, and you can override the control panel and internal system if you need to. Therefore, you can set up as many animals as you like all the way up to 30. What’s more, this pet door is backed by great customer service lines available, meaning you can always call in to find out more.
- Again, there are bigger dogs’ door systems out there for larger size breeds
In the past, the idea of a pet door at all might have raised a few eyebrows with regard to security and draught control. However, thanks to smart sliding glass and the likes of the Petsafe Automatic Locking Door ranges, it’s now easier than ever to give your pets the freedom they deserve, all the while you are happy that your house is safe and secure!
Ensure to take a look at the top pet door options listed above – and you may well find that you are an automatic dog door convert sooner than you think. Why stick with the same old doggie door systems when you can have a super safe model that automatically opens, and is well protected in extreme weather?