A doggie door offers a convenient way for your pet to get fresh air and take care of his business while you're away at work or between walks. However, it can also become an entrance for unwelcome critters and human criminals. Take precautions to keep your house and pet safe.
Keeping food near your doggie door -- both inside and outside -- is a good way to draw unwelcome critters, such as raccoons, to your home. You don't want to draw attention to the doggie door by placing tantalizing smells close to it or just inside it. Once a wild animal comes into your home, it's difficult to remove and can leave germs and disease-filled feces behind. Keep dog and human food in closed containers near the doggie door or in a different room.
Plan ahead for your doggie door installation to help you keep your home secure. Measure the height of your furry friend's back; that should be the height of the door you install. The width should match his shoulder width. Don't buy a larger door than you need, as larger doors provide room for unwanted animals or people to enter. And you don't have to share your door with the doggie door; installing it in a wall is safer. If you install it in a door, a burglar can reach his hand in and unlock your door in many cases. Installing it in the wall is a bit more difficult than putting it in your door, but it eliminates the concern of intruders being able to reach your door's lock.
Most doggie doors include a way to close it securely, either with locking tabs for hard panels or a solid security panel for rubber flaps. Always secure the door from the inside, and push the panel all the way down so it can't be moved from the outside. Criminals and critters enter during the day as well as at night, so for the utmost security, close the security panel until it's time to let the dog out. This doesn't allow your pet to access the outside when you're not home, but it also doesn't let undesirables in. The security panels typically click into place and can only be opened from the inside, which keeps human intruders from being able to access your home through the doggie door.
If the main purpose of your doggie door is to allow your pup outside when you're not home, consider a door with an electronic lock. These can run several hundred dollars, but they offer the best of both worlds. Your dog wears a small infrared receiver on his collar, which triggers the electronic lock to open as he gets near the door. When he tries to enter or exit the door, it unlocks automatically. If anyone --or anything -- else gets near the doggie door, it remains securely locked.