How to build your own pet door & dog door

Written by jeffrey brian airman
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How to build your own pet door & dog door
Even small pets are able to push through a lightweight dog door. (pet dog image by NorthShoreSurfPhotos from

You can build your own pet door and dog door using a few inexpensive items you may already have in the garage. Once the custom dog or pet door is assembled it can be permanently or temporarily mounted in an entrance to the home. Self-sealing pet doors make it possible for dogs and cats to go in and out of the house anytime without leaving a large opening for outside air and insects to come in.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Measuring tape
  • Rubber floor mat
  • Tin snips
  • Aluminium roof flashing
  • Permanent marker
  • Thick leather gloves
  • Drill
  • Pennies (optional)
  • Metal file
  • Self-adhesive magnetic ribbon
  • Flexible vinyl trim
  • Small machine screws

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  1. 1

    Measure the dog or pet at their widest section. Take measurements from top to bottom and side to side.

  2. 2

    Trim a rubber floor mat with a pair of tin snips to make it two inches wider and three inches taller than the pet at their thickest point.

  3. 3

    Lay the trimmed rubber flap on a piece of aluminium roof flashing or other thin non-corrosive sheet metal. Trace around the rubber flap with the permanent marker, then remove the flap from the metal.

  4. 4

    Draw a box around the outline of the rubber flap that is two inches away from it on all sides. Make a line inside flap outline square that is parallel to the top section of the box and one inch away.

  5. 5

    Cut out the largest outer box outline on the metal sheet using the tin snips. Wear thick leather gloves to keep from cutting yourself on the newly cut metal edge. Drill into the centre of the sheet to create a hole where you can access the interior excess.

  6. 6

    Cutout the outline of the rubber flap accessing through the drilled hole. Follow the newly added top line that is one inch away and parallel the original outline.

  7. 7

    Mount the rubber flap to the one inch section of sheet metal at the top of the opening using short machining screws. Drill small lead holes or use the drill to drive in the screws.

  8. 8

    Test the dog door or pet door by pushing on it lightly to make sure it opens and closes easily. Trim the rubber flap or file down the sheet metal if the door is not operating smoothly. Sometimes a small amount of weight, like half a roll of pennies, taped onto the bottom of the flap helps a less flexible pet door to close.

  9. 9

    Apply a few strips of self-adhesive magnetic ribbon to the free-hanging edges of the rubber flap and the surrounding metal surface of the same side.

  10. 10

    Press flexible vinyl trim onto all the inner edges of the metal sheet to avoid scratching pets when they use the door.

Tips and warnings

  • Install the homemade dog and pet door using outdoor grade caulk to keep out pests and moisture.

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