Smart pet doors, also called electronic pet doors, come with a bunch of features that can make the life of a pet owner much easier. Here are five features that will make you want to install one this weekend. (The products mentioned below are examples of what to look for, not specific endorsements.)
1. Key fobs
The biggest problem with regular pet doors is other animals can get into your home. I had a friend who once came home to a kitchen full of cats— and only one of them was hers.
Many brands of smart pet doors, like the
PetSafe Dog and Cat SmartDoor Plus, eliminate that problem by allowing only your pet to go through the opening. How do they do it? A key fob that attaches to your pet's collar triggers the door to open, just like a key.
The downside of this feature is that you will need to ensure that all of your pets have a key fob. If your pets often lose their collars or the items attached to their collars -- like mine do -- then that could present another problem.
2. Microchip access
The alternative to key fob problems is to purchase a pet door like the Cat Mate Elite Super Selective Microchip that works with your pet's microchip that was injected at the vet. Just make sure that the pet door can be programmed to open for more than one chip if you have more than one pet.
3. Insulated flaps
Regular pet doors tend to be a bit drafty. Most smart doors have insulated flaps. These doors prevent air from passing through the opening, making your home more energy-efficient. Look for doors that have gasket seals for the best insulation, like the PX-1 Fully Automatic Power Pet Door.
4. Curfew timers and lock modes
If you want to keep your animals outside during certain parts of the day, then a smart door with a curfew timer or lock modes is a good option.
Lock modes allow you to control where your pet is. The most common modes let your pet in but not out, or vice versa. For example, the High Tech Pet Power Pet Electronic Pet Door has In Only, Out Only, Full Access or Closed and Locked modes.
Curfew timers can be set up to lock the door during certain hours and then automatically unlock when it's time to let the pooch out. This is particularly handy if you want to keep your animals inside at night, but you don't want to have to get up to let them out in the morning.
Still not convenient enough? Some doors, like the SureFlap Microchip Pet Door, can be operated using an app on your phone. This will ensure you never have to get out of bed before you're good and ready.
These apps can also monitor how many times your pet goes out in a day. A monitoring feature can be useful if you're tracking a sick pet's behavior for your veterinarian.