Do pet doors pose security risks?

A pet door can open your home to security risks. Follow these tips to reduce them. (Photo courtesy of Valery L. of Troy, Virginia)

A pet door can open your home to security risks. Follow these tips to reduce them. (Photo courtesy of Valery L. of Troy, Virginia)

When you add a dog door or other pet entry to your home, you could be giving unwanted intruders a way to get inside. Here are tips, all from highly rated service providers, on reducing security risks posed by pet doors:

Consider a basement location: Security issues almost vanish when pet doors are installed in glass blocks or out-of-reach basement windows. These doors are great for cats and other small pets that can jump to basement window exits. Other small pets may be able to reach the pet door with a ramp or other feature.

Look for locking doors: Choose pet doors with enhanced security features like one- or two-way locking latches that keep multiple pets safe inside and unwanted pests, such as raccoons and opossums, where they belong.

Go higher tech with big doors: A Great Dane needs a bigger door than a Chihuahua. Since large pet doors are a security risk, especially on back doors, look online for an electronic pet door. Seek one that works with a collar-based sensor to activate the door.

Door behind a door: Another option is to install a pet door in an interior door, such as the house door that opens to the garage. That way, you can close the garage door and keep intruders out when the pet door is not in use. However, when installing a pet door, don’t alter fire-rated doors because they will lose their safety rating.

To prevent unwanted moisture penetration, caulk the pet door with waterproof silicone or acrylic caulk. Some models feature insulation to reduce energy inefficiency.

Looking for someone to install a pet door? Consider a handyman or carpenter.

Editor's note: This is an updated version of a story originally published on July 7, 2010.

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