Does my dog need a large or small dog door?

If you are considering installing a pet door for your dog, the question has probably already arisen:  “Does my dog need a large or small dog door?”  The answer to that question is fairly straightforward, barring a few exceptions.  The size of the door should be proportionate to the dog.  A small dog may have trouble opening and maneuvering a door that is too large, and obviously, a large dog will not fit through a small door.

Measure your Dog

Your first step in preparing to install your door is to measure your dog.  Your dog must be able to move through the door without scraping his back, so you will need to measure the height of your dog at his tallest point.  While most dogs are tallest at the shoulders, some dogs like greyhounds and whippets are tallest at the center point in their backs.  Next, you need to know the width of your dog.  Once you have established the width, allow for an additional inch on either side so that he can move through easily.  Finally, you must measure the distance from the lowest part of his belly to the floor to determine the best placement of your door.


So, to answer the question, “Does my dog need a large or small dog door,” you must know his height, width, and distance from the floor.  However, there are sometimes extenuating circumstances that change this formula.  For example, if you are installing a door for two or more dogs, you should use the measurements of the larger dog.

If your dog is old or if he is very heavy, you may want to adjust the dimensions and placement of the door to cater to his needs.  Place the door closer to the floor than you otherwise would so he does not have to step too high to get through it, and you may want to give him a little more room from side to side to make the door easier to manage.

Finally, if your dog is a puppy, you will need to allow for growth, realizing that you are taking a gamble that he may grow larger than expected.  If, of course, your puppy is much smaller than he will be in a few months, it might be wise check the size of his parents.  So, does my dog need a large or small dog door?  Ask your dog; he’ll tell you.

Does my dog need a large or small dog door?
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