A Veterinarian’s Opinion On Doggy Doors

With people working long hours away from home, more families are installing doggy doors for their canine companions (and the feline variety for cats).  Although doggy doors are convenient, they also have risks.  It is important to weigh the risks versus benefits before installing one. 

Here are common problems associated with doggy doors:
1)  Allows uncontrolled entry to houses.  Robbers gain access by crawling through the doggy door.
2)  Allows wild animals into the house.  I heard about a woman who fed a coyote over her yard fence (I agree with you readers who believe this is a bad idea at many levels).  One night she didn’t have any leftovers.  The coyote ran into the house through the doggy door and grabbed her cat.  Kitty was never seen again.
3)  Dogs with poor vision, dementia or orthopedic problems have trouble getting back inside.  Depending upon the weather, hyperthermia or hypothermia may result.  I recently treated an elderly Pug for heat stroke because she couldn’t find her way back inside the house due to poor eyesight.  Thanks to the quick action of her family, and a great medical team at the clinic, she made it.  
4)  Escaped cats.
5)  They allow access to the pool.  Although most dogs can swim, getting out may be a problem.  If you have a pool, please show your dog how to get out.   

Published by kristennelsondvm

Dr. Kristen Nelson grew up on a farm in Watertown, Minn., where she developed a deep love for animals of all kinds. She received a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from the University of Minnesota, College of Veterinary Medicine. Kris then completed a small-animal internship at the prestigious Animal Medical Center in New York City. In addition to writing and speaking, she cares for small and exotic animals in Scottsdale, Az. Dr. Nelson is widely quoted in the media. Her credits include Ladies’ Home Journal, USA TODAY, the Los Angeles Times and numerous radio and television interviews. Dr. Nelson has written two books, Coated With Fur: A Vet’s Life and Coated With Fur: A Blind Cat’s Love. Kris and her husband Steve share their home with rescued cats, birds and a dog.