Monday, January 18, 2016

Are Dog Doors Dangerous?

Thinking about installing a dog door?  It would be great to join your friends for dinner after work, if only you didn’t have to run home to walk the dog.  Your dog would love to get some afternoon sun in the yard and a potty break whenever nature calls.   A dog door sounds like the perfect solution, right?  Although a dog door can provide an enticing level of freedom and convenience for you and your dog, there are some potential dangers associated with them.


Are dog doors safe?
Why can't we just let ourselves out?!
There are 4 potential dangers you should be aware of before installing a dog door in your home.

Before installing a dog door in your home, be aware of these 4 potential dangers:

Invaders of the furry kind
With most dog doors, there’s nothing to prevent other animals from discovering this magical portal to your castle and entering at will.  The neighbor’s cat may slink in to sleep on your furniture or the local raccoon might decide the fruit bowl on your kitchen table is irresistible!   In Florida, alligators have even crawled through dog doors!  Personally, I can deal with a cat or a raccoon but an alligator?? No way!
 


The risks of dog doors in your home
It would be great if your dog could let herself outside with a dog door, but is it safe?
Invaders of the human kind
The real danger isn’t wildlife or the neighbor’s pet crashing your pad, it’s the human variety that is the most dangerous.  According to FBI crime reports a robbery takes place approximately every 15 seconds!

Think your dog door is safe from intruders because it’s small-dog size?  Not so.  Your dog door doesn’t need to be Mastiff- size in order for an intruder to gain access.   My neighbor, an elderly woman named Connie, was robbed a couple of years ago.   She had a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, a dog that weighs about 15 lbs.  Apparently, one of the thieves brought a child along on the heist to gain initial entry to the house.  The kid slipped  through  the dog door and unlocked the main door for the real perps to get inside.


The dangers of installing a dog door in your home
Is it safe for us to be free to roam the yard while you're at work?
There are electronic pet doors that open & close and lock automatically via a battery operated device on your dog’s collar.  Sounds great, but if a dog is anything like mine, as soon as anyone approached the back door they’d be right there barking.  They’d be inadvertently opening the dog door for the intruders with their electronic collars!

Danger Beyond The Dog Door

Another consideration is that if your dog has entry to your yard on his own, is the yard itself secure?  Could your dog jump the fence if sufficiently motivated?  Could someone from the outside jump the fence and steal your precious pooch right out of your yard?  Although we have a 6 foot concrete wall around our house, common in the Phoenix area, we don’t leave our dogs in the yard unattended.


There are 4 big dangers of dog doors in your home
I would love to lounge in the yard all day but not if it isn't safe!
A Danger To Small Children In The Home
The last potential danger is the scariest of them all.  Small children have been known to crawl through dog doors and get injured, wander off, or worse.  In 2008 a 3 year old boy crawled out of a pet door and fell into his family's backyard swimming poor in Ahwatukee, Arizona.  Tragically, he did not survive. 

Leopold Law Child Safety Advocates in Florida reported that “ In the last decade there have been at least 100 incidents of small children squeezing through a pet door and incurring an injury.  50% of those occurrences ended in fatalities”  They also stated that “A 38 lb baby can easily crawl through an 8 x 11 opening”   


100 incidences over the course of a decade may sound small, but where child safety is concerned even one incident is too many! 

These are all important things to consider if you’re thinking about installing a dog door.  Convenience is great, but safety comes first.  I’m not a fan of dog doors, and we don’t have one for our two dogs, Icy and Phoebe.  The important thing is to do your research and be aware of the potential risks of dog doors.

What are your thoughts on this post, were you aware of all these potential dog door risks?  What are your thoughts on installing a dog door in the home?  Leave us a comment, we always love to hear from you!





28 comments:

  1. I have had a dog door for years. I don't regret my decision. When I am not home and Blueberry needs to go outside, she is free to do so. I put the cover on for safety at night and when there is potential for fireworks and a couple other reasons. There are always potential dangers, even inside of the house. I think the benefit of B not having to hold her bladder contents in for 8-10 hours is worth it. If I lived in an area where wildlife was an actual issue I would be more cautious. And the time someone broke into my house during the hottest part of summer, they didn't use the dog door. They shut off the breaker to turn off the electricity and left my front door wide open. It was a furnace inside of my house when I got home from work. Because of the dog door, my dog was able to go outside and keep herself cool in the kiddie pool. She surely would have died from heat exhaustion had she been "safely" in the house with no outside access. I later learned that the break in occurred mid morning. The dog door saved her life. A case can be made for either side. It's really about what any of us are comfortable with.

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    1. Thanks for taking the time to share your feedback. I'm so sorry you and Blueberry had such an awful ordeal with a robbery! Thank goodness Blueberry wasn't hurt and didn't run away out the front door out of fear. It's important to be aware of the potential risks and make the decision that's best for you. Thanks for stopping by & sharing your thoughts!

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  2. I have had dog doors in all the places I have for over thirty years and never once have I had another animal apart from my own cats or dogs come through them. Equally I have never had anyone use them as a way to break in - most the time the dog barking at them from the other side is a deterrent in itself. Now dog cages (kennels) are a whole other issues - I have seen so many dogs injured in those due to corners coming apart, dogs tipping them over, cutting themselves on the metal floor and having severe mouth lacerations from chewing madly at the wire trying to get out. We even dealt with one one dog who severed a leg off as a result of getting caught between the wire. Now those are dangerous!

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    1. I'm glad you've had good experiences with dog doors, hopefully that will continue. Yes, dogs sometimes get injured in kennels, especially if they get bored or anxious and start chewing at them. It's important to know the potential risks of dog doors and make the choice that works for you. Thanks for stopping by & sharing your feedback!

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  3. We think so. Around here a coyote came in one a took a pup, a skunk came inside our neighbors house and are our friends kibble
    Lily & Edward

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    1. GASP! A coyote got in the dog door and made off with a precious pup?! Oh how awful! I hadn't thought about Coyotes but they are very common here in Phoenix. How awful for the family. A skunk - Ugh! I hope he didn't spray around the house. Thank you for sharing about these incidences with us!

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  4. You make some very good points. We don't have a dog door here. Mom doesn't want us outside when she isn't home anyway. Someone might steal us:)

    Woos - Ciara and Lightning

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    1. That's my biggest fear as well, I don't like my dogs outside unattended. I'm kind of paranoid about that. Thanks for stopping by!

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  5. I've never had a dog door. Here I'd be worried about snakes, gators, and coyotes coming in.

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    1. I'm not fond of dog doors either. We have snakes and coyotes here as well. It would freak me out completely if a coyote or snake snuck into our house - Yikes! Thanks for weighing in on this discussion.

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  6. Those are all the reasons that we don't have a pet door. I thought about it years ago but nixed the idea. Too many negatives for me.

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    1. Same here, I weighed the pros and cons but I just don't like my dogs outside unattended at all. When our neighbor had that robbery, it really jolted me. I hadn't thought a person could get through a dog door, but apparently it's possible. Thanks for stopping by & providing your thoughts on this M.K.!

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  7. I definitely agree with you!! Dog doors can be helpful, but are they worth the risk? I wouldn't have one because of all the wildlife around here. I am stunned to hear that those awful people made a child crawl through a dog door so they could rob the place!! WOW!
    ღ husky hugz ღ frum our pack at Love is being owned by a husky!

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    1. I know, isn't it so awful that they used a child to commit a crime!? What kind of life will that child have with such awful adults around him?? For me, I don't think it's worth the potential risks either so we don't have a dog door. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this Jenna!

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  8. I don't think dog doors are bad in and of themselves. We have a dog door but we close it at night. We have a motion detector light in hopes of scaring off any critters that might approach the door in the darkness before it gets closed for the night. We have a 3 layer fenced yard with locked gates so it is as secure as one can reasonable be. When someone did try to break into our house once he was trying to come through a window. The doggie door adds to our dogs' quality of life.

    Keep Calm & Bark On!

    Murphy & Stanley

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    1. I think a dog door is a personal choice based on potential risk vs. added convenience. The important thing is to be aware of the potential risks and make the choice that works for your situation and lifestyle. I'm glad the dog door works well for you. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this discussion!

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  9. Great article! We don't have a dog door and I admit I would probably way to nervous to have one. I hadn't thought about dog doors potentially leading to robbery. This gives me another reason not to want one.

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  10. I grew up in a house with a doggy door and added a doggy to my house as an adult. I love the freedom the doggy door provides for our dogs allowing them in the backyard to potty, to play, to rest in the sun or shade, and to get fresh air whenever they like. They also love running into the backyard when they spot a squirrel or a neighbors cat passing through. All that being said, I am aware of the potential dangers. Fortunately, we've never had a bad experience by having a doggy door.

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  11. One of the house I lived in as a kid had a doggy door. Our dogs loved it (as did we), but we only left it open when we were home. I was so sad to learn about the number of children who have had tragic accidents because of a doggy door. I would appreciate the convenience of having one today, but I would also lock it when I wasn't home.

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  12. We've never had a doggie door, too afraid of critters inviting themselves in! lol Great post!

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  13. We live in a condo but even if we were in a house, I probably wouldn't have one anyway. I go out with Mr. N just in case of predators who want to eat him.

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  14. Great post: We always keep our dog door closed unless I'm home and in a room near by the backyard. I cannot imagine -- there are outdoor cats everywhere and my dogs don't play nicely so I want to avoid accidents

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  15. Alligators through a dog door.... really? I wouldn't want to take that risk! Great post.

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  16. I am fearful of a doggie door. I am lucky that Chuleta is attached to my side and will only go outside to potty, these days.

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  17. Excellent points to consider. We do not have one here, but, thankfully, two of us work from home so someone is always here to let our Huskies out. I can picture one or two of them getting stuck in a doggie door if we had one...or just demolishing it! I, too, have city wildlife here (believe it or not, we're quite a popular backyard! The critters must not have received the "This Yard Has Huskies" memo!) that I bet would definitely wind up in my house!

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  18. When we had outdoor cats, we used to have a cat door. I can attest to other critters finding their way in through it...though I think they were invited or brought in by the cats! I'd love to have a dog door, but it would lead to our fenced in yard and it would only be used when we were home (I could use a break from being door person some days!). But as long as we have indoor cats we wouldn't do it anyway.
    Jan, Wag 'n Woof Pets

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  19. i have a doggie door maybe not a good idea. My kirby a shepard runs in and out now he has very bad nose damage.can,t proof it but i can't fiqure any other reason how kirby could get this damage to his nose. if any other dog owners have this proplem.please send info

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    1. Sounds nasty! I recommend you contact your Veterinarian, you don't want his nose to get infected or suffer any adverse effects. Perhaps you can change the door to a softer material? Maybe ask the manufacturer? Good luck, I hope you can resolve this. Thanks for taking the time to share your experience here.

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