How To Burglar-Proof A Dog Door

Nick Durante
by Nick Durante
Credit: Shutterstock / The Image Party

Many homeowners have a dog door to conveniently let their pets in and out of the house. While this is nice, you can also consider a dog door as a weakness in your home’s security. Because of that, many people struggle with how to burglar-proof a dog door.

Install motion-activated floodlights and security cameras to burglar-proof your dog door. Put the dog door in a discreet spot on an exterior wall instead of your front door. Invest in a smart dog door that only opens when your dog wears a collar with a unique chip. Turn the lights on inside near the dog door if you must leave the house.

This will make the potential burglar assume that you’re home, and they’ll hopefully go away. Follow along as we explore how to burglar-proof a dog door so you feel safe at home.

Are Dog Doors Safe?

While dog doors are safe, they provide a way for burglars to break into your house. The location of the dog door is the biggest security risk factor. You will put your home at risk if you install a dog door in an entry door.

It will be too easy for a burglar to crawl through the dog door and into your house. That’s especially true if the dog door is close to the doorknob. All they would need to do is put their arm through the door, grab the doorknob or lock, and let themselves inside.

How To Secure A Dog Door

Whether it be installing floodlights and cameras or turning lights on, there are many ways to burglar-proof a dog door. Luckily, each of these options is cheap and easy to accomplish.

1. Install Floodlights

Would-be burglars will think twice if you install floodlights near the dog door. Motion-activated floodlights are enough to scare someone away when they have bad intentions. At the very least, the lights will make it easy for your neighbors to see the burglar.

If the burglar has any common sense, they will run away because of the risk of getting caught as floodlights can be jarring. Ideally, you should look for 120-watt motion-activated floodlights. They are quite bright and cover plenty of ground in front of the dog door.

Install the floodlight above the door or on your porch if that’s where the dog door is. Otherwise, you can install floodlights high up on the wall if your dog door is in an exterior wall, so it has a wide range.

2. Set Up Cameras

Today, there are countless options for affordable home security cameras, such as Ring and Blink cameras. These cameras are cheap, easy to install, and instantly recognizable. Some home security cameras also come equipped with motion-activated lights to scare burglars away.

Install the cameras in spots where people can easily see them. The goal is to let the potential burglar know that you are recording them. There’s no limit to how many security cameras you can install, and it’s a good idea to have at least two.

This will help you burglar-proof a dog door as well as other vulnerable parts of your home. Some people even install fake security cameras to intimidate potential burglars. While that is better than nothing, it won’t help if the burglar gets into your house. You won’t have any footage to help prosecute them.

3. Make Sure Your Dog Door Is The Right Size

There’s no reason to install an overly large dog door unless your dog is huge. The bigger a dog door is, the easier it is for burglars to gain access to your home. Carefully consider your dog’s size and how much space it would need to make it through the door.

Measure your dog, then measure the space in the door or wall you plan to install the dog door. The door should be just big enough for your dog to comfortably get in and out.

A good rule of thumb is to make sure the door isn’t wider than your dog’s shoulders. Otherwise, the gap will be so big that a burglar could reach their arms inside, or even crawl into your home.

4. Lock It

Luckily, most dog doors feature locking mechanisms to help boost home security. Many cautious homeowners lock their dog doors once their dog is inside for a while. It’s especially important to lock the dog door when you know your dog won’t go outside again for the night.

However, ADT has said that burglaries are most common from 10:00 AM to 3:00 PM. That’s why it’s a great idea to lock your door throughout the day as well whenever your pet doesn't need to use it. The dog itself should deter burglars if it stays outside, but you must also secure the door.

5. Put The Dog Door Far From The Door Knob

You will make it easy for burglars to break in if the dog door is too close to the door knob. Otherwise, what would stop them from sticking their arm through the door and turning the knob? If possible, install the dog door on the opposite side of the door from the knob.

This will make it hard for burglars to reach the knob even if they use another object, like a hanger. Measure the distance from where you want to install the dog door to the knob. If it’s short enough for an adult’s arm to easily reach the knob, you must adjust the design.

6. Install The Door On An Exterior Wall

It’s much harder to burglar-proof a dog door when it’s built into a door than when it’s in a wall. The burglar won’t be able to reach in and turn a doorknob when you install a dog door in a wall. Of course, you must still be careful to make sure the dog door isn’t too wide.

It will also be less obvious to burglars that you have a dog door if you choose the wall. Simply train your dog or cat to use the wall-installed dog door and lock it as often as possible.

7. Turn Some Lights On

Do you plan to leave the house for a while? If so, make sure to turn on some lights near the dog door so it appears that you’re home. Burglars are much less inclined to break into houses where they believe people are home.

That is defined as home invasion, and that’s a more serious criminal charge than burglary. This is a great option to use in conjunction with other burglar-proofing methods, such as installing cameras.

8. Install A Smart Dog Door

Today, you can find electronic chip-activated dog doors that only open when your dog is there. These doors respond to chips within your dog’s collar. Smart dog doors typically cost at least $200, but they can cost as much as $800.

While that is expensive, it’s worth the cost to burglar-proof your dog door and home. Some electronic dog doors require professional installation, and that can add to the cost. The brand Sure Petcare sells an electronic dog door that you can pair with a smartphone app to boost security.

9. Install An Alarm

Install a security alarm for your dog door so you always know when it’s used. These simple security fixtures notify you when the dog door is in use or has been manipulated. For example, you will get a notification if someone tries to push through the dog door.

While this can be scary, it will at least tell you that you and your home are in danger. You can find dog door security alarms for as little as $30. That said, this shouldn’t be your only security measure. Pair your security alarm with a camera and floodlight for the best results.

So, How Do You Reinforce A Dog Door?

The best way to reinforce and burglar-proof a dog door is to install motion-activated floodlights. Set up cameras above or near the dog door so burglars see them and avoid your home. Smart dog doors feature chip-activated sensors that only open when your dog tries to enter. Lock your dog door when your pets are in for the day.

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Nick Durante
Nick Durante

Nick Durante is a professional writer with a primary focus on home improvement. When he is not writing about home improvement or taking on projects around the house, he likes to read and create art. He is always looking towards the newest trends in home improvement.

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