Dog House Door Construction Guide

A dog house door is something that you trust to protect your loyal companion in rain or shine. It is expected to be sturdy and roomy enough for your pet to turn around and be comfortable in. Similar to the importance of the dog house, the dog house door is just as much, if not more important. The ease with which it operates will determine if your pet will like his new house or not. Hence, following a few basic steps will make sure that you build a perfect dog house door that will be appreciated by your pet.


As with any other project, this too will need a set of tools before beginning the construction. The tools included are not very complicated and are pretty much straightforward. The tools that are needed are a hammer, square, handsaw, or a skill saw, drill, and jigsaw.

Choosing a Size

No two dogs are the same and this is the reason why you have a multitude of choices in door sizes as well. Depending on your breed, choose one that can accommodate him with minimal problems and is also easy to operate. The important aspect to consider is that you measure the "rise" of your dog (the measurement from the floor to the lowest part of your dog's chest or stomach). This measurement will give you an idea where to keep the bottom of the dog door. The difference between the rise and the bottom should be around an inch. With puppies and smaller dogs, you will need to install the dog door 1 inch from the ground; and you will need to re-install it at higher intervals as your pet grows.

Choosing a Type

There are many different types of dog doors out in the market. The most preferred variety is the two way swinging one which dogs can grasp in a short period of time. This type of a swinging door can swing in either direction and also closes by itself once the dog finishes using it. The training of your pet to use this door should begin early on. Another option is to use a guillotine-style door which requires manual intervention. Once must be careful with this however because you could seriously hurt yourself or your pet if you do not operate it wisely.

Installing the Door

For swinging type mechanism, installation is pretty simple. To begin with, draw a template and drill 1/2" holes. Typical swing door sizes vary from 12-1/2" x 17-1/2" to even 16-1/2" x 25-1/2". Next, jigsaw-cut to each (1/2") drilled corners. For steel doors, the hole is cut 1/2" larger to allow for 1/4" thick wood inserts. Next, use silicone caulking around trim kit for adding insulation. To remove noise when the door is closing, staple 5/8" window felt to the sides and the bottom. Once that is completed, frame the inside and outside of the hole on the door by using 1/4” cedar or pine 2” wide, as desired. Your swing door is now installed.

For a drop-in door, begin by constructing a 2” wide frame on inside mounting surface. Place the channel angle one inch from dog door cut opening. Next, install one inch tabs at the base of each channel. Finally, slide the closure into the channel; remove as needed.