The Pros and Cons of Dog Doors

Dog doors are permanent or, in the case of sliding door versions, removable structures that allow household dogs to freely exit and enter the home. Many include locks so that owners can keep their pets from leaving when not supervised. Installing a dog door in a home presents both advantages and disadvantages for dog owners.

Con: Potentially Permanently Altering the Home

The typical dog door requires homeowners to cut holes in their walls or doors in order to permanently install an accessway for their dogs. This is impossible for renters without the owner's permission, and it proves potentially damaging to home structures. Permanent dog doors can also result in a less insulated home and make it easier for hot and warm air to escape. However, there are temporary doors for dogs that both renters and homeowners who don't want to structurally alter the home can opt to use; these often install in sliding glass doors.

Pro: Not Having to Take the Dog Out

Besides providing access to fresh air and play, the primary function of dog doors is to allow dogs to relieve themselves whenever the urge strikes them. This means that the dog owner won't have to interrupt their tasks in order to let their dogs out. This also means that owners won't have to come home at lunch hour during the work day or worry about spending long hours away from home, because their dogs can leave the house to relieve themselves without assistance.

Con: Potential for Stray Animals or Criminals to Enter the Home

When the dog door is unlocked, any animal or even person, if the door is large enough, can enter the home. Strays and wild animals can bring dirt, bacteria and disease into the home that can affect either the household pets or the people who live there. Strays and wild animals can also relieve themselves inside. Criminals can use the door as an accessway to steal items without attracting as much attention as they would by breaking a window.

Pro: No More Indoor Messes

Dogs that are not allowed outside for long periods of time may relieve themselves inside. Feces and urine can cause odors and bacteria to thrive and can be a hassle to clean. A dog that is able to leave the house as necessary is less likely to relieve herself indoors.

Con: The Dog Must Be Well-Behaved

Not potentially a con that all dog owners must face, but an important one to note nonetheless, is that dogs with access to dog doors must be well-behaved. Their owners must be able to trust them not to leave the back yard or bother neighbors. Owners can potentially avoid problems as long as the yard into which the dog can go is fenced in.

Owners should carefully consider the pros and cons of installing dog doors in their homes before they make the decision to permanently alter their home and give their dog the freedom to come and go. While doors for dogs may not be the best option for all owners, they can prove to be a great convenience to others.