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How to Install a Pet Door or Dog Door

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How to Install a Pet Door or Dog Door

There are many pet door and dog door products that allow your dog or cat to go in and out of your house without you having to open the door all the time. This article focuses on the installation of a dog door or pet door in your screen door. If you have a small dog or cat, these simple doors can work well and the installation is pretty simple providing you are careful.


Pet doors or dog doors that mount in the sliding screen door are usually installed in the lower left or right corner of the screen door depending on how your patio door opens.
Take some masking tape and mark the required location by sticking tape in an "X" shape right on the screen door before you remove anything. This prevents you getting the screen door out and accidentally installing the dog door or pet door on the top instead of the bottom!
Remove your screen door and lay it flat on the ground. Take an old rectangular piece of plywood or particle board, slightly larger than the size of the pet door or dog door, and place it underneath the screen door, right behind the spot you marked with masking tape. You will need to hammer on this board so make sure it is flat and secure.
Take the two halves of your pet door or dog door and place one half behind the screen door and on top of your piece of wood. You may need to put several sheets of wood behind the screen door to get the pet door sandwiched between the screen and the wood so it does not move around easily. Carefully adjust the pet door or dog door frame so it is exactly where you want it. Check the manufacturers instructions to see that it is not upside down or that you have the wrong half in place. Some pet doors have locks which need to be accessible from the inside of the screen door. Check this now.
Once the pet door or dog door is in position, there is usually a groove in the center of the pet door frame to guide your utility knife as you cut away the screen to make the door opening. Make sure the pet door frame is secure before you cut, and make sure you are cutting in the right groove according to the manufacturers instructions.
Take the remaining half of the pet door and lay it over the half you have sandwiched between the screen door and the wood blocks. Now you have to hammer the two halves together with a rubber mallet. Hammer with firm blows all around the frame until the two halves are joined together
You should now have a completed pet or dog door in your screen door. Stand the screen door up test the operation of the pet door. Check the magnetic lock to see if it holds the pet door closed
Reinstall the screen door in your patio door and see if your pet will use the new pet door.

When you hammer the two halves of the pet door or dog door together, place a piece of plywood over the door half so you can hammer on it without damaging the pet door. Make sure you don't crush the plastic lock with the plywood.
You can drill holes right through the pet door frame and reinforce the door with machine screws and nuts. Several #10 machine screws with nuts and lock washers will help prevent the frame from coming apart.

Pet doors and dog doors that mount in the sliding screen door are best used with small dogs or cats. Your screen door is not a particularly strong place to mount anything and it wont stand up to a large dog going through a door mounted in it for any length of time. Better to use a dog door mounted in the wall for that.