The Hazards of Pet Doors


Pet doors offer the convenience of allowing your pets to come and go from your home without your involvement. They are ideal for owners who are away from their homes for long periods of time, because they allow pets to go outside whenever necessary. However, pet doors also pose potential dangers. When considering placing a pet door in your home, make certain that you are aware of the dangers that pet doors pose to your children and your home.

Dangers to Children

  • Pet doors can pose a potential hazard to small children. Even the smallest pet doors can provide access to the outside. According to a consumer alert report from ABC in 2009, “More than a hundred children have died or been seriously injured in the last decade after squeezing through tiny pet doors and getting into swimming pools or other dangerous places.” In addition to drowning, children who are unsupervised may also become lost or venture out into busy roadways.

    To protect children, suggests placing pet doors several inches above the ground, high enough so that your children cannot escape through them, but still low enough to allow your pet to go outside when necessary. In addition, many pet doors currently on the market can be locked, or operated electronically through a sensor on your pet's collar.


  • Pet doors can also be hazardous because they create an opportunity for intruders to enter your home. Doors made to accommodate large dogs may also be large enough for a person to fit through. Intruders in the home can place possessions and lives at risk.

    To minimize this threat, suggests making pet doors inconspicuous, so that potential intruders are less likely to spot them. In addition, place pet doors so that your dog or cat can come and go, but in a place not easily accessible to humans. Use shrubbery and landscaping to hide pet doors and limit access to potential intruders. Finally, place pet doors so that they provide access to an enclosed yard, rather than the street or an open area.

Strange Animals

  • The convenience pet doors provide your pet to go in and out of your home allows other animals to do so as well. Raccoons, possums, cats and even snakes can find their way into your home through your pet's door. To prevent this, purchase an electronic or lockable pet door, which will allow your pet to come and go as needed, while preventing pests from entering your home.

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  • Photo Credit dog image by Krzysztof Gebarowski from swimming pool tiles image by Alison Bowden from
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