How to Install a Pet Door

If you have a pet that likes to go in and out of the house more than you like to get up and down to allow it, or you simply would like to create an easy way for your pet to allow himself in and out of the house at will, installing a pet door is just the solution. Of course you can create interior pet doors as well with this guide, depending on your preference.

First of all you will need to measure the largest pet that will be using the door so you know the appropriate sized door kit to purchase. You want the door to be very slightly larger and wider than your pet’s measurements. Now it is time to gather your supplies. You will need the following:

A pet door kit

Safety Glasses

Measuring tape

Drill and drill bits

Jig Saw


Masking Tape


In the pet door kit you will find a template for marking cut holes on your door. Use that to find the spot you would like your pet door to be. Use the tape measure to ensure you have it evenly spaced on all sides. You also need to make sure that you have it spaced approximately four inches from the bottom of the door or more (depending on the size of your pet). If you cut any lower than that you could very easily compromise the sturdiness of the door. Use your masking tape to put the template in place when you have decided where it will go. Measure again for accuracy on where it is placed. When you are sure that it is where you would like it to be, mark the holes with a pencil to denote where you will be drilling and use your pencil to trace the outline of it. You can then remove the template from the door.

Use your drill to make holes where you have marked them with the pencil. You also want to use it to make a slot big enough for your jig saw to fit into. Put your safety glasses on and then use your jig saw to cut out the space inside of the outline you have made. Be careful to wear your safety glasses to avoid splinters or shards of wood from getting into the delicate eye area.

Follow the manufacturer’s instructions included with the pet door to secure the pet door into place. You will need to attach installation pieces to both the front and back sides of the door by installing bolts into the holes you drilled from the template. Apply caulk where directed and allow to dry. Now you want to attach the door flap. You may have to encourage your pet to want to use it until he gets used to it. If you want to show the pet how it is used prior to the panel going into place, to ease his training, you can do that as well.

One word of advice, when installing an exterior pet door, determine ahead of time if you are certain you want to install such a door if your pet is rather large. Remember, other animals outside of your home, in addition to your pet, will also be able to gain entry into your home should they discover the new opening. Also, if you would like to install a pet door inside instead of (or in addition to the exterior door), adjust installation to manufacturer’s instructions. The biggest variation with an interior door, vs. an exterior one, is that many inside doors are hollow and as such an added support system would have to be added during the installation process of the pet door to ensure it was held securely in place.

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