Pets become family, and so it makes sense to want to give them the best things in life—and that includes plenty of time outdoors. Pet doors seem like the best of both worlds: They allow your dog or cat the freedom to come and go as they please, while not requiring that you’re home 24/7 to let them in and out. There’s no doubt that pet doors are wildly convenient—but do they pose any risk for home security? We’re diving into the details below.
Safe or Not? Assessing Security Concerns
The accessibility factor of cat and dog doors is undeniable; they can even save a pet’s life in the event of a fire. However, there are valid concerns about potential home security risks. One common concern is that unwanted intruders will have access to your house, including burglars or wild animals such as racoons.
The short answer is yes: Burglars could possibly squeeze through a pet door. Realistically, though, these openings are small, and the average-sized adult would find it difficult—though not impossible— to finagle their way inside. The more likely scenario would be someone poking their head inside and taking a good look around to take stock of what’s inside the home. Another unlikely, but not unheard of, situation is using the doggie door to reach inside with their arm or a tool to unlock a deadbolt.
To mitigate these risks, consider these security tips:
- Opt for a doggie wall instead of a doggie door.
If it’s possible for you to install a pet door on a wall space instead of your door, you may be able to avoid the arm-reaching-inside scenario.
Choose a high-quality pet door.
Investing in a well-constructed pet door can significantly reduce security threats. You want to look for secure locking mechanisms and tried-and-true durability to prevent unwanted access.
Use a pet door barrier.
A range of options exist on the market, but the most common design is an attachable barrier that you can lock and unlock from the inside. This may not be a good solution if you aren’t home most of the day, as someone needs to operate the lock from the inside.
Upgrade to a security panel.
If you’re willing to make a bit more of an investment, you can install a security panel with sensor technology. Most have some sort of motion detection or collar device, although some have the ability to connect to your smartphone or computer so that you can lock/unlock even when you’re not at home. This also solves the problem of wild animals making their way inside your home.
Let a pro install it.
While not a direct security risk, the average pet door involves cutting a hole in a wall or door for permanent access. As we’ve talked about before, poorly fitting doors are susceptible to all kinds of issues—and this is no exception. To ensure your HVAC bill won’t be through the roof, and that moisture from rain isn’t entering your home, consider having a professional handyman install the pet door with waterproof silicone or acrylic caulk.
Think through the location carefully.
Place your pet door in a discrete location that is not easily visible or accessible from the street or a neighboring property. It may seem simple, but an out-of-sight pet door may be just enough to deter potential intruders.
Consider a home security system.
Of course, one way to know for sure if anyone or anything is entering your home when it’s not supposed to is to install a security system with surveillance cameras and alarms. That way, you’ll have peace of mind whether you’re at home or away.
RELATED READ: 6 Signs It's Time to Replace Your Door Locks
To sum it up, pet doors can add convenience to your day-to-day life and freedom to roam for your pets. While the related security concerns are rooted in reason, there are steps you can take to make sure you and your family stay safe.
Perhaps you’re dealing with the opposite problem. Instead of wanting to install a pet door, maybe you’ve recently moved into a home that housed a former pet—and you don’t want a pet door. If that’s the case, your best bet is to start anew with a brand-new door. Luckily, we know just the place to find quality doors at low prices. Shop our range of exterior doors now!