How to Measure Your Pet for a Pet Door

How to Measure Your Pet for a Sliding Glass Pet Door

Pet doors are a convenient way to give your cat or dog access to both outdoors and indoors, even when you’re not home. This is especially helpful to pet owners who work long hours and can’t always let the pets out for bathroom breaks.  Having a pet door for cat or dog helps eliminate accidents during housebreaking and can reduce overall training time. It also prevents boredom by providing all the mental and sensory stimuli the outdoors has to offer. Boredom leads to a number of unwanted behaviors like chewing, so an entertained pet means less household destruction. It’s important to install the correct size door for your pet or pets in order to prevent injury to the animal and undue damage the door. To begin, you will need a tape measure and you will want to measure the largest pet that will be using the door.

Sizing Up Your Pet

Using your largest pet, take the following measurements:
  1. Measure across the widest part of the pet, usually the chest, then add one to two inches to this number for door width
  2. Double-check your width by opening the door this amount, then having the pet step through
  3. Measure from the ground to the highest point of your pet’s back (not the head), usually the top of the shoulders
  4. Measure from the ground to the lowest point on your pet’s underside (in some breeds, this is the stomach, while in other breeds, it will be the chest)
  5. Subtract the low-point number (belly) from the high-point number (shoulders), then add one to two inches to get your door opening height
  6. Rise (how far the pet has to step up to use the door) plus your door opening height should be one to two inches higher than the tallest pet’s shoulder height

Cardboard Test

Before you order your sliding glass pet door, it’s a great idea to confirm your pet's measurements. In addition to taking all the measurements a second time, you can make an easy mock-up of your dog door. Using your final measurements, draw a rectangle of those exact dimensions on a piece of cardboard or poster board. Make sure the bottom of your rectangle is situated at the same rise height that you want your pet door. Cut out your rectangle, then have a friend hold up the poster board while you coax your dog to step through it. If he fits with no problems, you’re all set to start the installation of your pet door.

Tips to Remember When Measuring Your Pet for a Pet Door

Your dimensions should be large enough to comfortably accommodate your largest pet. They should not have to crouch or stoop to fit through, as this repetitive action can lead to a strain injury to the neck or back. However, your smallest pet should be able to easily see and step through as well, so factor that into your rise height. Keep in mind that as pets age, it may be more difficult for them to step through a high rise. When in doubt, always go with one size larger rather than smaller. For more information on measuring your pet for a pet door or any of Advanced Windows USA's services, head on over to our contact page or call us at 801-505-9622.


Download a PDF on how to measure your pet for a pet door.