The Advantages of a Smart Dog Door (Do You Need One?)

Are you bothered by stray or unexpected animals getting into your house? Smart dog doors can be the solution for you. Going over some of the advantages of a smart dog door may help you decide if it’s right for you.

It’s an almost effortless way to avoid all kinds of animals, wildlife, or neighborhood pets from entering your home while keeping your house locked uptight.

It can work in a few different ways:

  • Identify your pet using its existing microchip.
  • Using a special collar.
  • Facial recognition scanner.

Advantages of a smart dog door with other animals

cat in front of door

It’s surprising how many stray visitors you can get into your house after installing a dog door. It obviously all depends on the environment you live in, as to how many you get.

From the local wildlife that lives in a surrounding park or reserve, to the hungry neighborhood stray animal. This can be annoying and it can also increase your pet food bill. This can also happen sometimes, without you even realizing it.

According to the ASPCA, 6% of dogs and 27% of cats are found stray. So only out of the stray animals alone, this can indicate that it’s likely that animals would be entering through your pet’s door, especially in certain kinds of neighborhoods.

How do other animals entering my home, affect my pets?

Your pets could be dealing with extra stress from other animals entering your home. 

Not only could it induce more stress, but also make them susceptible to a host of infections or viruses. Just like us, your pets can get affected by unwanted visitors. 

Here are a few things you can look out for when seeing a stray animal. It may give you a better understanding of what you are dealing with.

A few diseases are known in animals:

  • Distemper: Symptoms include high fever, reddened eyes, and a watery discharge from the nose and eyes. The pet becomes lethargic, tired, and eventually anorexia. Persistent coughing, vomiting, and diarrhea may also occur.
  • Influenza: Symptoms for this: Coughing, sneezing, variable fever, clear nasal discharge that progresses to thick, yellowish-green mucus. Other ones are: Rapid and difficult breathing, loss of appetite, and lethargy.
  • Parvovirus: This is what is displayed with the Parvovirus: Bloody diarrhea (often severe), fever, lethargy, loss of appetite malaise, rapid weight loss, and vomiting.
  • Various Parasites: Some of these things will be displayed in the animal: Scooting, vomiting, diarrhea, distended abdomen, weight loss, and occasional coughing.
  • Fungal Infections: You may observe the following: Musty odors, thickened and/or darkly pigmented skin. Flaky, scaly, or crusty skin. Itching and redness. Chronic or recurrent ear infections.
  • Heartworms: Symptoms of this: Soft dry coughing, inactivity or lethargy, weight loss or anorexia, rapid or difficult breathing, bulging chest, allergic reactions, and the animal may collapse.

What’s the right kind of smart dog door?

Smart dog doors are wonderful for controlling your pet’s curfews. Now you know where your pet is at certain hours.

Your pet can be identified by the door, to allow access to only your pet through it. It can do it through the three most common ways, as mentioned at the beginning of the article.

Most of the electronic doors for dogs have excellent seals, so no more drafts coming in.

Here are some brands that provide the three different methods of identification.

  • SureFlap Microchip Pet Door (Works with your pet’s microchip)
  • High Tech Pet Power Pet Electronic Door (Works with collar)

Some people are DIY’ing their own versions in the meantime, without too much difficulty:

YouTube video

Typically, smart pet doors are generally powered by batteries. These can roughly last for up to six months.

What is the impact on my health, from stray animals?

girl cuddling dog

Upon doing some reading up on the internet, I realized that our health can be affected too. 

There are a few diseases that can be passed on to us if we aren’t careful. So be very careful when handling stray animals. There is a list of potential diseases that are listed on the Medical News Today website.

The other possibility is if you have stray animals sneaking into your home, and you haven’t discovered them yet. Especially if you have young toddlers around that put everything into their mouths.

Will your pet fit through the smart door?

The various models and makes vary in size. Generally, the larger end of the typical pet door is around: 24 inches high by 14 inches wide.

You can look at this video to get an idea of what size you need:

YouTube video

I like the idea in this video.

You can simply take a piece of cardboard and cut the size out so that your pet fits through easily enough. This will be a definite way of knowing whether your pet will fit through any given size.

Are they reliable?

Like anything, you always can get a bad apple. However, the electronics are quite simple and the moving parts are low speed and low torque. So mechanically, it should last for many years, if it’s been designed and built reasonably well. 

Electronics are something that should outlast everything else.

You will always receive a warning of some kind if the batteries are starting to run low. This will give you plenty of time to add batteries to your shopping list or pick up some new ones whenever it’s convenient. 

If it works with a rechargeable battery, you will be alerted when it’s time for it to be recharged.

So to sum up, these types of pet doors should be quite reliable and continue to be reliable, for at least a few years. If it has a rechargeable battery pack, it may need to be replaced every couple of years.

Some better-quality batteries can obviously last longer.

Conclusive thoughts

More and more products are becoming available for our pets. From ways to feed your pet automatically, to even throwing out a treat for your special companion using your smartphone.

Automated doors are becoming the accepted way of life, from automatic garage door openers to internal home doors. It makes sense that we would find the same technology for pets too.

Smart dog doors are just another product to help with making our lives more convenient while still caring for our pets.

When choosing one, consider future pets you may want, with regards to their potential size.

If you are wanting a larger animal that you don’t have right now, plan ahead and get something that allows for larger animals.

I would personally do just that, anyway. If you are a pet lover, you wouldn’t which animal you might end up with in the future.

Make sure it’s nicely secured upon installation and everything is nicely sealed up. You don’t want unnecessary drafts to flow through your house.

A cheap door might be nice on the wallet initially but could give you an annoying experience. Things like seals not lasting and mechanical glitches can occur from substandard quality products.

Here is something else, that is somewhat of a personal choice. If you are thinking of adding a new smart dog door to your home, it may be something you could consider.

Note which side of the house the door is on. If it’s on a side where it’s facing most of your bad weather during the winter months, I would try if possible, to choose a more sheltered door instead.

I hope that you find your ideal smart pet door and that your pets remain safe and well.