Garage How-To: Avoid Common Mistakes When Installing A New Dog Flap

Posted on: 31 August 2015

Being able to go out into the yard or come back inside can do wonders for a dog's sense of freedom. Installing the dog flap on your garage door is one way to help your little buddy better enjoy his life, but it shouldn't come at the cost of your own happiness. If you've never installed a dog door before, be mindful of these common mistakes before you embark on your new DIY project.

Installing Too Near The Ground

It's tempting to simplify the installation process by cutting a hole out of the bottom of your garage door. That way, you only have to cut three sides, right? Unfortunately, installing the dog flap this way will only cause it to break or fall out of the door more easily. The framework of the flap isn't strong enough to hold itself up or withstand the force of the door shutting, so you'll only be costing yourself more money and time when you have to replace the prematurely ruined door. Plus, your pet could be injured if the door breaks as it tries to pass through.

Be careful not to cut too close to the bottom of the door, either. If the strip of door material is too thin, it may snap during the flap installation. A thin lower strip also won't last long over repeated door closings. Mark off the bottom cut at least 2 inches above the edge of the door, to be safe. Don't worry, even small dogs should be able to clear that threshold without difficulty.

Thinking In The Short Term

Measuring your dog is important for choosing the right door, but your pet's current measurements aren't the only ones that matter. If you choose a door that fits your dog now, it may not be the right size in the future. To find out how big the door needs to be, you'll need to write down the answers to a few questions about your pet:

  • How big do dogs of your pet's breed grow to be? Even if your pup is over a year old, it may not yet be mature. You should only assume dogs are done growing if they're already several years old.
  • Is your dog at risk for weight gain? The last thing you want is for your pet to get stuck in the door after one too many treats. If you think your dog may be gaining weight, or be prone to overeating, it's a good idea to add a little width to your requirements.
  • Can you see yourself getting any new pets in the future? As families grow, new furry friends are often added. Consider whether your household is likely to be the home for a larger dog in the future, even if you only have a small one now. It may be prudent to install a larger door in advance.

You may not have to worry about any of these issues, in which case you can proceed with the installation. If one of these questions gives you pause, however, it might be a good idea to reconsider the size of your chosen pet door.

Buying A Flimsy Dog Flap

Garages are usually the least energy-efficient room in a home, but that doesn't mean you should get a dog door that doesn't help maintain your insulation. You wouldn't be comfortable leaving your garage's windows perpetually open, and your dog flap should live up to that standard.

Uninvited visitors are also an important concern. Unless you want rats, raccoons, or other woodland pests getting into your garage, you'll need to invest in a sturdier door. On the plus side, a thicker door is also more chew-resistant, so you don't have to worry about the dog destroying it, either.

Installing your new garage door with cautious thoroughness may feel like a hassle, but the effort will pay off when you don't have to do any future repairs. Before you make a single pencil mark on your door, double check every step in your plans. You could save yourself a headache in the future.