If you’ve been considering buying a dog door so that your pooch can come and go as she pleases, you may have already seen — and been overwhelmed by — all of the models out there. There are some that mount inside existing doors, others that require you to cut into your walls, and what is with all the different flap options you can get?
You may also be worried that the door will be confusing to your dog, or it will let a lot of bugs and cold air in, or that it will be a security hazard.
Don’t worry about any of that. We’ve spent hours comparing some of the top dog doors on the market, and in the reviews below, you’ll learn which ones we feel are the best for use in cold weather.
We’ve broken them down according to their build quality, ease of use, and whether you need an advanced engineering degree to install them.
A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites
|PERFECT PET All Weather|
|Endura Double Flap|
|PetSafe Extreme Weather||1 year||4.40/5|
|PetSafe New Wall||1 year||4.15/5|
The 7 Best Dog Doors for Cold Weather
1. PERFECT PET All-Weather Dog Door – Best Overall
One of the most frustrating aspects of buying a dog door is finding one that fits the space you have available. This model sidesteps that issue almost entirely, as it has an adjustable frame that can telescope to fit your available space. There’s also a wall kit that’s sold separately if you would rather make this a permanent addition to your home.
The PERFECT PET AWXL comes with an instructional template that makes installation relatively easy. It boasts both a nylon draft restrictor and a double-nylon flap to help keep expensive treated air inside.
This makes it a smart choice for users who live in extreme climates while also serving to keep bugs at bay, ensuring that your pooch won’t let any friends in on her way through the door.
There are two minor quibbles we have with this unit. The first is that it’s made of plastic, which makes it less attractive and potentially less durable over the long term. Also, the magnets in the flaps sometimes cause them to stick together, which could confuse your dog.
Ultimately, though, these are small issues, and they barely detract from what is overall an excellent dog door.
2. BarksBar Plastic Dog Door – Best Value
Despite its relatively low price point, this door can make a long-lasting and useful addition to your home. The heavy-duty vinyl flap isn’t prone to breaking or warping and it’s bite- and chew-resistant, so the door should survive even if your dog decides to get destructive.
It’s a very versatile and user-friendly unit as well. It can accommodate virtually all breeds up to 100 pounds, and you can likely install it in about half an hour, thanks to the clear instructions provided by the manufacturer.
The biggest problem with the BarksBar Bar-0832 is the magnetic strip. It tends to break off after a few months and require replacement. Replacing it isn’t very expensive, but when you’re trying to curb your spending, every unnecessary expenditure adds up. Also, the door is likely to get stained over time, which could make it a bit of an eyesore.
These issues were enough to bump it down to #2, but don’t be fooled — this is still an excellent dog door. While we believe the PERFECT PET AXWL is a little superior overall, it’s also more expensive, which is why the BarksBar is our best dog door for cold weather for the money.
Rather than fitting inside a door, the Endura Flap is a wall-mounted option that’s capable of handling extreme weather. It’s made using a heavy-gauge aluminum tunnel, so your pup can’t wreak havoc on it, and it can stay shut in winds up to 50 mph.
You can even adjust the strength of the magnets that provide the seal, so you can make the flaps harder to open on windy days or easier to move if you have a small or elderly dog that would otherwise struggle to get in and out.
Installing it is more complicated than many other models, as it requires cutting into your walls to put the thing in. This might necessitate hiring outside help, and it also makes it a pain to repair if it gets damaged.
While they provide a lot of respite from the weather, the aluminum flaps also slam shut loudly after your dog walks through, which can get annoying (especially if you’re trying to sleep).
For the price, you’d expect it to be a little more user-friendly. It’s still a fantastic door, but it’s hard to rank it above our top two options when it’s so noisy and difficult to install.
4. PetSafe Extreme Weather Door
If you live in an area with extreme weather, you should give this door careful consideration. It has three flaps, and the center one is actually insulated to keep the chill at bay. This can cut down on your heating costs dramatically compared to some other doors.
It also has a paintable frame that enables you to match it to your existing décor, so it will blend in (or provide an attractive contrast, your choice). Your dog might not appreciate that, but guests certainly will.
While the Pet Safe PPAA00-10986 is good at keeping the elements at bay, it’s not as effective at keeping other things out. The security door snaps on, and can easily be pried off from the outside. So, you’d better either have a big dog or a Pomeranian that knows how to use a knife, because otherwise there’s not much of a deterrent against burglars.
The included hardware isn’t exactly top-notch, either. It uses plastic screws that can easily strip or break, so you’re probably better off making a trip to the hardware store to replace them before you begin the installation process (good luck with that, by the way, as the instructions aren’t much help).
5. PetSafe 16203 Wall Entry Dog Door
From the same manufacturer as our #4 pick, the PetSafe ZPA00-16203 installs in your wall instead of an exterior door. It’s considerably less expensive than many other wall models, but it’s not quite as heavy-duty as its extreme weather cousin listed above. It can be installed in direct sunlight with little risk of fading or cracking, though, thanks to its UV-resistant frame.
The telescoping tunnel allows it to be put in walls from 4.75 to 7.25 inches thick, and there are extension kits available if you need more room than that. The manufacturer says it will accommodate pets up to 100 pounds, but broad-shouldered breeds may have a little bit of trouble squeezing through.
However, as you might expect given its budget-friendly price point, the PetSafe ZPA00-16203 is not made of the same quality of materials as some of the more expensive wall-mounted options. While many of those use steel, aluminum, and similar materials, this one is made of plastic. Also, unless you’re a skilled carpenter, you might drive yourself mad trying to install it (especially when it comes to making the flaps hang level).
6. Ideal Pet Products Ruff-Weather Pet Door
The Ideal Pet Products DSRWSL Ruff-Weather certainly isn’t the most attractive option on the market, but it can get the job done at a price that won’t break the bank. Just don’t expect it to impress company or increase the resale value of your house.
It’s made using foam-molded plastic, which makes it easy to finagle during the installation process and ensures it will survive in extreme weather. It comes in four sizes, from small to super large, so all kinds of mutts can be accommodated.
However, the Ruff-Weather’s size and lightweight construction mean it can also catch wind easily, and this is especially problematic because the flaps tend to curl. This creates an uneven seal, which allows dirt and debris inside (not to mention water when it rains).
It’s supposedly made for all manner of pets, but smaller animals like cats will likely struggle to push through it. You’ll know if they’re successful, though, because the magnets on the flaps make a loud and annoying “clacking” sound every time someone goes in and out.
7. Security Boss Patio Pet Door
Rather than fitting inside an existing door, the Security Boss actually replaces it. It fits in most sliding patio doors, as it’s available in a wide range of heights, and it can be put in without tools.
This makes it a smart choice for less handy users, as you don’t have to worry about screwing up your existing door or wall — all you have to do is slide the new door in. It has tempered safety glass above the flap, so you can watch your pup when she goes outside.
However, there’s only a single flap on it, so expect your heating and cooling bills to go up a fair bit — and that’s not factoring in the cost of buying the thing. It’s an expensive unit, largely due to its durable aluminum construction and attractive build.
Despite its name, the Security Boss actually offers little in the way of, you know, security. There’s no way to lock the door itself, so intruders can just slide it open and let themselves in. At least you can take solace in the fact that they’ll probably struggle to do so, as it’s extremely heavy and can be cumbersome for humans to operate.
Buying a dog door can be a confusing process, especially if you’re not very mechanically-inclined. How do you know if it will work in your existing space? What if you permanently damage your home during the installation process?
These are understandable concerns, but if you do the proper research beforehand, you shouldn’t have a problem buying a door that works for both you and your pet. Below are some of the things we believe you should consider before making a purchase.
Where Are You Going to Put It?
Typically, there are two options: putting it inside an existing door or cutting a hole in a wall. (There is a third option, which is buying a whole new door with a dog door already inside of it, but these are less common and usually expensive.)
Putting it inside an existing door is usually cheaper, and far less permanent (you can always buy a new door, after all — replacing walls is a bit trickier). It’s also more convenient, as it requires less technical skill, and doors are already equipped with paths to the outside world, whereas installing it in a wall will likely require building a ramp or stairs outside as well.
However, while wall-mounted units are more expensive and harder to install, the end result is often worth it. They tend to be more durable and attractive and are often made of higher-quality materials. If you expect to stay in the same house and have dogs the entire time, a wall-mounted door is usually worth the time and effort (although you should consider having a professional install it).
How Will You Insulate It?
Poorly-insulated dog doors can let a ton of cold air in, so think about what you’re going to do to combat that before you begin the installation process.
Many come with weather stripping or foam insulation, so you can fill in any gaps between the door and the outside world. If the one you buy doesn’t, however, buying some insulation yourself will probably be a wise investment.
The number of flaps the door has will impact this as well. A single flap is easier for dogs to use and less noisy, but it lets a lot of air (and possibly bugs) in. Multiple flaps do a much better job of keeping the elements at bay.
There are other questions you’ll need to answer — what material will you want it made out of? Will you install it yourself? These are secondary, however, and if you can answer the two primary ones above, you’ll go a long way towards finding the perfect door for you.
If you’re looking for an easy way to let your pup (and not the freezing cold) come in and out of your house, the Perfect Pet AWXL is our favorite door around. It’s easy to install, and its double flap does a great job of keeping both the weather and creepy-crawlies out of your home.
However, it is a bit on the pricey side, so if you’re looking for less of a financial commitment, the BarksBar Bar-0832 can offer most of the same advantages at a fraction of the price. We’re especially fond of the fact that it’s bite- and chew-resistant, so you won’t have to replace it just because your dog got bored while you were gone.
We know shopping for dog doors can be nerve-wracking, so hopefully these reviews have made the whole process easier. Pretty soon you’ll have a high-quality door installed, and you won’t have to hop up every time your pooch decides she needs to go outside.
Just try not to feel too guilty when she walks in from the snow and sees you still sitting on the couch, warm and snug.
Emily started this blog out of pure passion. She LOVES her 3 dogs; Chew Barka, Cooper & Nelson, and spends countless hours every day playing with them.
When she’s not nerding out on dogs, you’ll find her on a snowboard or in the kitchen baking chocolate brownies.
She’s been featured in PetAware, Dogtime, and ModernDog.
- A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites
- The 7 Best Dog Doors for Cold Weather
- Buyer’s Guide