Pets quickly take up residence in their owners’ homes and hearts. Many pet parents treat their pets as full-fledged members of the family, with the same privileges and attention they devote to other family members.
A 2016 Harris Poll found 95 percent of Americans consider their pets to be part of the family, and there is not much they won’t do for their companion animals. One area where pet owners may focus their attention is giving their pets more freedom to explore the outdoors. This can be achieved with the installation of a pet door. With busy schedules taking many pet parents away from home, pets may spend many hours home alone. An outdoor retreat could be just what the veterinarian ordered for pets who need more fresh air. Before pet owners install doors for their four-legged friends, it may behoove them to consider the advantages and disadvantages to doing so.
Pet doors can be very convenient for pet owners and pets. Unencumbered bathroom breaks is one of the prime reasons to get a pet door. Not having to wake up early in the morning or rush home from work to let out a pup can give pet owners more freedom. Cat owners may choose to have their cats soil outdoors, removing the hassle and odor of indoor litter boxes.
A pet door provides a way for pets to regulate when they need to go and not be at the mercy of their human companions. This is handy when training a puppy who cannot hold his bladder for more than a few hours. Avoiding indoor accidents can be a great reason to install a pet door.
Pets need exercise and stimulation to alleviate boredom and avoid destructive behaviors. Access to the outdoors promotes physical activity and mental stimulation. Cats may chase bugs or small animals. Dogs may run around the yard and play with a ball or stick. Easy access to outdoor play can take some of the burden off of busy pet owners.
As convenient as pet doors can be, they may disconnect pet owners from their pets. People may feel they don’t need to spend the time in the yard or walking the animal, and that can adversely affect the bonds between pet owner and pet.
Another potential disadvantage concerns alpha-driven pets. Giving pets control over their comings and goings may reinforce ego and potentially cause the animal to be less responsive to his owner’s commands.
Safety is also a concern. Although there are smart doors that can only open when triggered by a chip on the pet’s collar, one never knows what pets may bring indoors. Cats may present dead rodents and dogs may dirty the house with muddy paws.
Weather is another concern. In colder climates, pet doors may be another source of drafts, contributing to inefficient heating and cooling situations. Dogs or cats who are prone to roaming could get into trouble if left to their own devices outside.
Pet owners should consider a host of factors before installing pet doors in their homes.