By Kacey Bradley:
Adopting a pet is a big and exciting step for you to take in your life. It means that you’re no longer just responsible for yourself, and in return for protecting and providing for them, you get a best friend. Whether you get a dog or a cat, you’ll bond with your pet and create memories that you’ll cherish forever. Pets are a lot of fun, but they may also require you to think a little differently than you’ve done in the past.
Prepping for a pet may sound easy. They need food, a way to go to the bathroom and typically a collar. If you get a dog, they’ll need a leash for walks and chew toys. Cats need toys too, plus a scratching post to help them keep their nails healthy and filed down. While you may get all these things before or just after your pet comes home, sometimes you’ll be surprised and find that you need something you hadn’t thought about.
For many pet owners, that surprise is a pet door. Cats and dogs both love to be outside, but when you eventually get sick or otherwise occupied, it’ll be difficult to let them out regularly. Pet doors create an easy way for pets to go outside without needing constant assistance. It will grant both you and your pet a new sense of independence, but what should you know before installing one? Read on to learn everything you should know about pet doors, so you can determine if it’s the right thing to get for you and your pet.
1. Prepare for a Big Job
Pet doors can look cute, but installing them isn’t a quick five minute job. You’ll have to get the right toolsin addition to buying the dog door, which for some owners will mean putting the project off for a bit to save some money. You’ll need to have a drill, the right size drill bits and a jigsaw. Some pet doors will differ in how you put them together, but these are the basic tools you can use with almost any door set. If you’re not confident that you can handle it all on your own, ask a friend to come over who’s more experienced with tools. They can watch your back and help with any questions you might need to ask.
2. Keep It Closed Sometimes
Think about how good you are at remembering to get things done. Are you the kind of person who has a daily checklist that you like to complete, or do you get things done as you think of them? After you install a pet door, you’ll have to remember that sometimes you need to keep it closed. If you hear that a major storm is rolling in, the temperatures are going to drop or there’s going to be a big freeze, you’ll need to be proactive and close the door ahead of time to keep your pet safe. This shouldn’t be an issue for those who are naturally proactive, and for those who aren’t, you can set alarms to remind yourself to close it off.
3. Install It Somewhere Safe
Where you put your pet door may not seem to matter, but you could inadvertently harm your pet by installing it in a bad location. You should install it away from your garage door, in case of an emergency. Your garage door may have an automatic sensor that shuts or opens it while your dog is passing through. Your garage door may be something you use every day, but it’s not the best place for pets. Plan to install it close to where your pet normally likes to hang out or go to the bathroom outside, so they more easily connect the pet door to doing what they normally do.
4. Think to the Future
Your pet is going to grow over time, unless you adopt an older animal who’s already done growing. For younger pets, it’s essential to not only measure them correctlyfor their pet door, but to also think to the future. How much could your pet end up growing? You can estimate this based off of the size of their parents, or of their breed if you adopt a stray. How much they could end up growing will change the width and height of your pet door. You don’t want your eventual elderly pet to have to crouch through the pet door to use the bathroom when it could be painful for aching joints or hips.
5. Give Your Pet Time
Humans look at doors and don’t think anything of them because from the time kids start walking, they’re trained to use doors every day. It’s second nature to open and close a door to get where you’re going, but pets don’t have that same advantage. They’ve never used a door handle, much less needed to rely on a door being open or closed. They won’t be able to easily comprehend that there’s now a door they can go through whenever they want to reach the backyard.
Know that you’ll need to give your pet some time to adjust to using a pet door. Before you get the door, read about training your pet so you know how to communicate how they can use it in a way they’ll understand. With practice, most pets catch on to when they should use the pet door. It’s fun for them to be able to go outside, so as they have more fun while using it, they’ll become less afraid of pushing through to the other side.
After your pet has some time to use their pet door, you’ll be able to see what a difference it’ll make in their lives. Independent pets are some of the happiest pets, and a pet door can solve many issues related to pet boredom and potty training. The best way to know if you should get a pet door is to get used to living with your pet. Learn their personality and what they like to do. Afterwards, you’ll be able to confidently say if they’d enjoy a pet door or not. Take a weekend afternoon to install one and you’ll change you and your pet’s lives forever.