Unlike some old-school dog doors that require your pet to stay outside after exiting the house, an automatic dog door will let your pet exit and enter, while still keeping unwanted visitors out. (Goodbye, raccoons.) So whether you’re gone all day or just a little lazy when it comes to letting your pup out, you can depend on the best electronic dog doors that'll work with your dog’s microchip or RFID collar tag to give your pet freedom to roam. Plus, these are sized for your dog and are easy to install in your door or wall. Yup, it's all about high-tech pet parenthood. As you're shopping, keep these considerations in mind:
- Microchip or RFID collar tag: Electronic dog doors need to be paired with your pet in order to work, and they can be paired with either your pooch’s existing microchip (if they have one) or with an accompanying RFID collar tag. This ensures security, since the door will only open when it detects the microchip or collar tag that’s been programmed in, which keeps wild animals and neighborhood dogs out. Double check to see if the door works with either or both, and — if you have multiple pets — see how many tags or collars the door can sync with.
- Size and installation: You’ll need to make sure the dog door is big enough for your canine to fit through, so be sure to measure before purchasing. (Many electronic dog doors tend to run small.) You'll also want to consider installation and door materials since you'll be required to cut a hole in your door [or wall in most cases. However, if you have a sliding door, you can opt for a smart dog door panel that fits on the track right between the door and the wall — totally installation-free.
The best electronic dog doors give your pet autonomy, so you can both come and go as you please. Check out three of the best ones on the market, below.
1. The Overall Best
The PetSafe automatic dog door is the only option on the list with two size choices, and reviewers report that it works equally well with chihuahuas and German shepherds alike (although be sure to double-check measurements if you have a large dog). The door works with an RFID tag that's worn on the collar, so only the pet wearing it will have the power to come and go through the door, but if you have multiple pets, you can purchase additional tags and program up to five to work with the door. (Keep in mind: This option does not sync with microchips.) The battery-operated door lets you toggle between three entry options: automatic, fully locked, and fully unlocked.
It can be installed in doors made with wood, PVC, and metal, and you can also install it in a wall, but you'll need to purchase a wall entry adaptor kit for better results.
- Available sizes: small (5.5 x 8-inch flap opening), large (11 x 16-inch flap opening)
- Pairing: RFID collar tag
- Power source: 4 D batteries
According to one reviewer: “We have a large, 85 lb. dog and a cat. We needed a door that would let the dog out but keep the cat in. This is about the only electronic door with decent reviews that will handle a large dog.”
2. A Small Dog Door With Microchip Or Collar Tag Entry
If you have a smaller pooch and want to have the option of using a microchip, you can opt for this electronic pet door that can be paired with up to 32 pets, including cats. For non-microchip pairing, it also comes with one RFID collar tag, and additional tags can be purchased separately. And here's a really great feature: It's designed with a curfew timer that allows you to program the door to be fully locked between certain hours every day, so you don’t have to remember to set it on “lock” before you go to bed every night. There's also a manual lock button that blocks access in and out, as well as an "entry only" function that lets your canine back in, but will prevent them from exiting again.
It can be installed in doors made with wood and PVC, and — with the help of a compatible installation kit — you can install it in glass, windows, and walls, too.
- Available sizes: one ( 7 x 6.7-inch flap opening)
- Pairing: microchip or RFID collar tag
- Power source: 4 C batteries
According to one reviewer: "Best thing ever. We use this for our 22–23 lbs beagle. It took about 20 mins and a lot of treats to train her to use it. Makes life a lot easier knowing she has access to go outside whenever she needs it, but the stray cats and raccoons do not have access to come inside."
3. An Easy-Installation Option For Sliding Doors
While it is the priciest option on the list, this automatic dog door is worth it if you have a sliding glass door and are looking for hassle-free installation that doesn't require cutting a hole in your door and wall. The paneled design makes it really easy to install: Instead of having to cut a hole, you simply place the panel on the track between the wall and sliding glass door — no tools required. Plus, it comes in two panel sizes to fit your sliding glass door setup and the spring-loaded design means it's height-adjustable, so it'll fit snugly in openings of various heights. (Note that the pet door itself remains the same size and is on the small side — 7 by 7 inches).
Like the above pick, there's a built-in curfew timer, as well as an option to fully lock or unlock the door at any time. There's also a unique raccoon-blocking feature: If the door senses an animal that hasn't been allowed access, two exterior locks will activate to make it impossible for a raccoon or other animal to barge in.
It's compatible with microchips and comes with one RFID collar tag (you can also purchase additional tags), and you can program it for up to 32 pets. However, this door only accommodates small dogs up to 15 pounds, so it's not an option if you have a larger breed.
- Available sizes: 7x7-inch flap opening, 74.75 inches - 77.75 inches (panel,) 77.25 inches - 80.25 inches (panel)
- Pairing: microchip, RFID collar tag
- Power source: 4 C batteries
According to one reviewer: “No more skunks, birds or raccoons in my home! No more doggy droppings on my carpet! Dogs get in and out easily.”