How to Install a Pet Door

Are you tired of letting your pet in and out all day long? Do you find yourself playing doorman for your pet? Building a pet door is fairly easy and inexpensive. While it may take a little work, in the long run it will make your life much easier and give your pet a great deal of independence. Here is what you will need to get started:

Pet door (with template)
Pencil
Tape Measure
Drill with a 1/2″ drill bit
Jigsaw
Safety goggles
Plastic sheet or old towel

Step #1 Determine the Pet Door Size

Before you run out and purchase a pet door, you will want to take a good look at your largest pet. Measure him/her in a standing position, from head to paw and shoulder to shoulder. This is a very important first step and should not be eliminated. Just like pets come in different sizes, so do pet doors. Select a door that is 2″ longer and 2″ wider then your pet. After you have purchased your door and have gathered the above items proceed to step #2.

Step #2 Measuring for the Pet Door

Measure your house door across and mark the halfway point. Use this center point as a guide to help you center your pet door. For example if the pet door is 8″ wide, you will want to mark 4″ before the halfway point and 4″ after.

Once you have determined the placement of the pet door, you will need to decide how high off the ground you would like it to be. For smaller animals measure 3″ from the bottom of the house door. For larger animals measure 5″ from the bottom. Use a pencil to mark this spot. Keep in mind, your pet may have a more difficult time entering from the outside, as the height of the pet door may increase with steps, etc. Make sure your pet will have easy access to the pet door from both the inside and outside of the house.

Next, remove the template from the pet door packaging. Place it at the bottom of your 3″or 5″ mark and line it up with your other pencil marks. Mark the top of the template in pencil. Tape the template in place and trace the inside using a pencil. Finally, remove the template and set aside.

Step # 3 Constructing the Door Opening

Make sure the room is well ventilated and your work area is free of children and pets. You will want to lay a plastic sheet or old towel under the door. Put on your safety glasses, insert a ½” drill bit into your drill and plug it in. Drill a hole in each inside corner of the outline. Set the drill aside and unplug it. Next, with you safety glasses on, and using the outside of the outline as your guild, insert the jigsaw into one of the holes and cut out the outline. Set the jigsaw aside and unplug it. Now, with both hands, firmly press on the wood and pop out the pattern.

Step # 4 Install the Pet Door

Place the pet door inside the hole and use the hardware provided to secure the door on both sides, according to the manufactures specifications. After you have finished installing your pet door you will want to teach your pet how to use it.

Step # 6 Teach your Pet to use the Door

Be patient and give yourself a moment to catch your breath before you take on this task. Before you begin, you will want to completely check the pet door to make sure there are no sharp edges or screws sticking out. Next, shut the door securely and stand on the opposite side of the door. You may want to use a treat to lure your pet to use the door, or simply calling your pet’s name may be encouragement enough. After he/she has used the door properly, repeat this same technique on the opposite side of the door.

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