Several months ago, at the cost of many hundreds of dollars, we replaced an entire exterior door so we could give A.J. a dog door. The first company I talked to about replacing the door said I had to buy my own dog door. Then they’d order the door and put the dog door in, at which point we had to figure out how to transport and install an eight-foot door. I went ahead and found a dog door while we figured out what we were going to do about the transporting and installation part. With our 100-degree summers and negative-degree winters I knew we needed a door with as much insulation as possible. So I ordered a dog door with three flaps, one of which was an insulated layer. Then the door company fell through with the door.
I found another company, and this one would order the door, install a dog door, and do all the installation. They wouldn’t use the dog door I had already bought, but when I asked about the door being insulated they assured me it was. Unfortunately, they thought I was talking about the exterior door, not the dog door. When they arrived to install the door several weeks later, the dog door that came in it had a single flap. It flaps open whenever it gets windy outside (which happens almost daily here), and there are gaps on either side of the flap where air comes through unimpeded.
We lived with it throughout the summer because, well, we didn’t really see that we had much choice. The only thing we could do would be to find a more insulated dog door that’s bigger than the one in there, rip out the original, redo the opening and put in the new one. We’d already invested more than enough in this door.
But now winter is here. We had our first dusting of snow the other day. Thirty degree air blowing into the house is not helping our heating bill, and it’s only going to get worse. So today I got creative.
When we first brought A.J. home we bought a wire crate because we didn’t want to give this very young dog the run of the house when we were gone. But A.J. wasn’t crate trained, and the crate didn’t make it past our second attempt at leaving him in it. He managed to bend it up and escape. I don’t know why, but we kept the slightly-bent crate. So here’s how I insulated our dog door:
I unfolded the crate, leaving the back wall open. (Because of the way the crate folds, I had to tie the back wall to the top of the crate.) I put the open back of the crate up to the dog door, and left the front door of the crate open. I then draped a large comforter over the top of the crate, tucking it down on the sides and around the door as best I could. I then found two lighter-weight blankets and used them to make a flap around the door of the crate. I put a heavy box on top of the two blankets to try to hold them in place. Voila! I made an insulated tunnel for A.J. to go through to go outside.
He walked in and out of the crate and the dog door during this whole process. When I finally put the flaps on the front I threw a couple of treats into the “tunnel” and he went right in after them. Later in the day he heard something outside and went charging through his door to go outside. I went in to see if everything had held up, and remarkably it did. We’ll see how long it lasts, or if it really does any good.