After the Move: Installing a New Pet Door [Guest Post]
Now that your move is complete, it's time to make your new home safe and comfortable for you and your pet. In this guest post, Home Depot's Ronique Gibson offers some advice for installing one of humanity's greatest inventions: the pet door.
How to Choose the Best Location for Your Pet Door
You've found the perfect new house, and you're eager to settle in -- both for yourself and for your pet's sake. But if the previous homeowner didn't have pets and your dog or cat loves to go outside and inside without your assistance, one of your first challenges will be providing that access.
Installing a pet door in your new home can help your pet be independent and can save you from attending to their every move. Before you pull out the drill and screws, take a look at these tips to choose the ideal location for the door. Remember, just because your wall looks ideal, ensure it works architecturally with your home and, of course, is safe against intruders.
Ensure your new home is comfortable for your pet
Assess your new house and its outdoor area
The first step to choosing the perfect location is to walk around the outside of your home and determine where the outdoor area coincides with your exterior walls. A pet door should be placed on an exterior wall that is adjacent to a dog run, enclosed patio, or fenced-in yard area.
Make sure any outdoor repairs are made before letting your pet roam free outside. The previous owner may have a broken fence or a gate that doesn't latch closed properly.
Trace along the exterior wall of your home to a back patio door, utility room door, or a bare wall that serves a utilitarian function on the inside of your home. Private rooms such as bedrooms and bathrooms may not serve as a good choice for privacy and security reasons.
Choose a wall or door that works architecturally and is secure from intruders
Choosing the right exterior wall or door
The construction of your house makes a difference when choosing the location for a pet door. If you're moving into a home that has a brick or concrete load-bearing exterior wall, it may be more of a challenge for you to install a pet door. Instead, you may want to opt for a flap door inside of an exterior door. Many homeowners get custom pet doors made to fit into the construction of their exterior walls. Especially if you're moving to a climate that has extreme temperature conditions, an insulated pet door that can be locked could be the perfect option.
A pet door installed in a door could be easier than a wall installation
Measuring your pet and wall for a pet door
Once you've determined what area of your home will work best for the pet door, don't forget to measure your furry friend! (I have a neighbor whose cat used to fit through the pet door in their garage, but now he can't use it because he's gained too much weight as he's aged.)
Here are some basic guidelines for measuring your pet door; you will need these measurements to ensure your pet can fit safely.
· The width of your pet: measure around their widest part and add a few inches to be safe.
· How tall or high does your pet stand off the floor? Measure them from the top of the shoulders to the floor. The top of your pet door should be 1 ½"-2" above this measurement.
Once you have these basic measurements, outline them on a piece of cardboard and hold it up to the interior and exterior of your home to ensure the measurements won't impede on any downspouts, doorway entries or other structural pieces of your home. Now you're ready to install your new pet door.
Moving can be exciting but also a little scary if your pet doesn't feel at home in their new house. Use these guidelines to assess the safest, most convenient and architecturally ideal place to put your new pet door. Before you know it both you and your pet will be settled into your new home as if you've lived there for years.
Ronique Gibson writes on home styles, DIY, and interior design for the Home Depot. Ronique is the author of the ebook 111 Simple Tips for your Everyday Home and she has a Bachelors of Architecture from Tuskegee University. You can view a variety of pet and dog doors available at Home Depot, including styles mentioned by Ronique, on Home Depot's website.