In the summer and spring it’s great to have a screen door that lets in the cool outdoor air while keeping out flying bugs. But if you have a cat or a dog that needs to go outside, the door can create a problem. Either you will be jumping up to open and close the door whenever your pet wants to go in or out, or your pet will start scratching or pawing its way out, tearing up your screen.
Pet screen doors solve this problem. Basically, these are pet doors that install directly into a screen. They allow your pet to go in and out whenever it wants to, leaving you in peace and your screen door in one piece.
There are two primary types of pet screen doors: unsupported and supported. Both are designed to be installed in the door’s screen.
If the pet screen door is unsupported that means that only the screen itself is supporting the door. Cats and smallish dogs usually have no problem with the unsupported door. A large or active dog, however, will probably need a pet door with some support.
A supported pet screen door means that part of the pet door is being supported by the frame of the screen door. The supported door is usually connected to the bottom and side of the screen door frame. That means the pet door will be on the bottom left or right side of the door.
Some of the smaller pet screen doors can be used in a window screen. This can work well if your cat can jump up to the window ledge. Of course, the window should not be so far off the ground that your pet will get hurt jumping out.
There are locking pet screen doors which let you close them at night or when you are away to prevent someone entering your home through the pet door. Others of these doors are magnetic. This allows them to close completely after your animal has gone in or out. Having this seal keeps the bugs out and keeps the air you’ve been heating or conditioning inside your home.
Installation typically involves cutting the right sized hole in your screen door, then attaching the pet screen door that fits over the hole. Many people advise taking the screen door off when doing this cutting. This helps keep the pet screen door square which helps the pet door fit better.
And one note of caution. A crawling young child can crawl through a pet door. DO NOT install a pet door if your child can crawl through it.