How to Cut a Pet Door Into a Door

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Installing a pet door will allow your cat or dog to gain access to outside areas without your assistance. This reduces the amount of accidents a dog will have in the house and helps to feed a cat's natural need for independence.


Cutting a pet door into a door is a project that can be completed in a few hours with the proper tools. Wear safety glasses while cutting the pet hole in the door, as flying debris can injure your eyes.

Things You'll Need

  • Safety glasses
  • Sawhorses
  • Straightedge
  • Tape measure
  • Drill
  • 1/8-inch drill but
  • 1/2-inch drill bit
  • Jigsaw
  • Sandpaper
  • Phillips screwdriver
  • Hammer
  • Remove the hinge pins from the door hinges, starting with the bottom hinge: Place the Phillips screwdriver at the tapered end of the pin, and hit the screwdriver with the hammer. When you are ready to remove the top hinge pin, place a foot under the front edge of the door to stop it from falling, and remove the last pin.

  • Pull the door off of the hinges and set it on sawhorses.

  • Pet doors come with a template that is taped to the door and traced to lay out the hole. Measure the location height for the pet door; applicable heights will be marked on the template. Remove the template after you make your pencil marks on your door.

  • Place a mark 1/4 inch in from each traced template line, on each mark. Drill a 1/8-inch pilot hole. Drill a 1/2-inch hole at each corner using the 1/8-inch pilot holes as a guide. Drill the 1/2-inch hole only halfway through the door.

    Flip the door over, locate the 1/8-inch pilot holes, and drill the 1/2-inch holes through the door. You drill from both sides of the door to eliminate cracking the door's fragile wood veneer.

  • Cut the hole by inserting the jigsaw blade into the 1/2-inch holes that you drilled in the door. The jigsaw blade will not start out on the line. Guide the jigsaw to the line, and after the hole is cut, clean up the corners by cutting in reverse.

  • Mount the pet door into the pet door hole. Use the screwdriver to run the screws through the pet door's frame and into the door.

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