If your dog frequently needs to go out, you may want to give them the ability to do so on their own — but you shouldn't have to compromise your energy bill in the process. The best insulated dog doors let your pet out while keeping warm or cool air in, all thanks to their self-closing and weather-blocking components. Still, there are a variety to choose from, so be sure to consider your preferred placement, the size of your pup, and the materials before you make any purchases.
First, know exactly where you plan on putting your pet's new entrance, as this will determine the type of dog door you need. For example, one that's meant for a door should be thinner and suitable for materials like wood, PVC, and metal. (Door-entry options are the most popular and the most readily available.) A wall-entry dog door, on the other hand, needs a telescoping tunnel that'll reach from your interior wall to your exterior wall — and it should work alongside materials like drywall, siding, stucco, and bricks.
Next, let's discuss size. Obviously, you want to choose something that's big enough to accommodate your pet — but if you go too big, it'll let additional air out whenever your pet leaves or enters your home, which might end up costing you more than it needs to. So always check the product's dimensions and sizing guide beforehand. Then take a measuring tape to your door or wall (and, if necessary, your pet) so you can better visualize the finished result.
Last but not least, research the materials. Most of the best insulated pet doors have plastic or vinyl flaps that auto-seal using magnets, but the material of the frame is also important; if possible, opt for aluminum over plastic, as it's more durable and easier to secure without the likelihood of cracking. However, plastic will usually be cheaper. These six dog doors come in multiple sizes and are made to better insulate your home all year round.
1. The Overall Best Insulated Dog Door
With more than 1,000 reviews and a 4.6-star overall rating, the PetSafe extreme weather door is the best option for most pet households. It has three different flaps with automatic magnetic seals, which help to secure the air inside your home, not to mention an aluminum frame that's durable and easy to install in most doors made from wood, metal, and PVC. It even has a locking slide-in panel to keep stray animals out and to prevent your pets from leaving when you want to keep them inside. Choose from three sizes — the largest is suitable for animals up to 23.7-inches tall. And if you want to save a little bit of cash (though it's not as durable), it also comes in a plastic-framed option.
One reviewer wrote: "We live in Minnesota and have 3 large dogs. So we need a doggy door durable enough to handle high traffic and -30 below temperatures. [...] What a game changer! It took a couple of times for the dogs to get used to the additional effort needed to open the flap but was no big deal. Best part is that it is heavy enough to stay closed even with winter wind."
- Placement: doors (1.5 to 2 inches thick) made from paneling, wood, PVC, or metal
- Available sizes: medium, large, X-large
2. The Best Budget Option
For those looking to stick to their budgets, there's the Air Seal pet door from Ideal Pet. It comes in three different sizes, the smallest of which starts at less than $50 and the biggest of which won't cost you more than $70. Still, despite its affordability, this option has a 4.7-star overall rating and manages to preserve your home's temperature with its ultra durable multi-pane panels. The compromise? The frame is made from plastic rather than aluminum, but reviewers still say it's "sturdy, durable, and a tight fit." It also has a lock-out slide, and the largest size is suitable for animals up to 90 pounds.
One reviewer wrote: "Great quality and durability. The way it opens is ideal. Also, no wind or cold comes through the door like other doggie doors I've had. This is the 'Rolls Royce' of doggie doors for a great price."
- Placement: doors (1.25 to 1.75 inches thick)
- Available sizes: small, medium, extra-large
3. The Best Non-Permanent Option
Maybe you're a renter who's unable to make permanent changes, or maybe you'd rather not slice into your doors or walls. Either way, for those who have sliding doors, the aluminum PetSafe Freedom door lets you install a pet-friendly entrance without permanent damage and no cutting required. Simply choose the right size, slip it into the tracks on your sliding door, expand or condense the height adjusters, and position and secure the brackets and weather stripping. This one also has a tinted, flexible flap with magnets for insulation and a blocker panel. Plus, it comes in five sizes, two door heights, and three colors. It comes with a lock as well.
One reviewer wrote: "We are renters and were contemplating where/how/if we could put in a doggie door. Then I stumbled across this and read the reviews. We ordered this hoping it would work, and it did! Installation took no more than 10 minutes! Solid, good construction and if you use a little extra weatherstripping should be able to handle the coldest Wisconsin winters."
- Placement: sliding doors (75.875 to 96 inches tall)
- Available sizes: small, medium, large, large-tall, X-large
4. The Best Wall-Entry Dog Door
This wall model from PetSafe is the best option if you want your pet to be able to exit and enter from an opening in a wall rather than in your door. The durable aluminum frame has a plastic telescoping tunnel that can reach up to 7.25 inches, and it installs securely in almost all materials including siding, stucco, and brick. In terms of insulation, it has two replaceable flaps that automatically secure shut as well as a closing panel for when the pet door shouldn't be in use. It even comes with step-by-step instructions and a cut-out template. It also comes with a lock.
One reviewer wrote: "Wow! What a time-saving tool this is for our Maltese. It was easy to install in the wall beside our door. The magnetic flaps really work, and keep out unwanted pests and keep in our air and heat."
- Placement: most walls (4.75 to 7.25 inches thick) including siding, stucco, or brick
- Available sizes: small, medium, large
5. The Best Smart Electronic Dog Door
Last but not least, there's the PetSafe electronic SmartDoor, which is ideal for multi-pet households, those with a lot of local animals trying to sneak in, or owners who want more control over their pet's comings and goings. This innovative door made from a heavy-duty plastic automatically unlocks when it reads the signal from the SmartKey worn on your pet's collar. (That way, your dog can leave but your cat can't, and wild animals won't be able to enter your home). It comes with one waterproof SmartKey but is programmable for use with up to five different SmartKeys. You can buy more SmartKeys here.
One reviewer wrote: "We have two dogs and two cats, so we needed something that would allow the dogs outside but keep the cats in. [...] Since we put this in a couple of months ago we haven't had a single issue. One dog took to it immediately and after a few days the other one did as well."
- Placement: doors (1.25 to 2 inches thick)
- Available sizes: small, large