Steven L. Smith, Bellingham, WA Home Inspector (King of the House)


Homeland Insecurity By Pet

In the Pacific Northwest, everywhere I suspect, we all like our pets. Some of our pets are larger than others. And many of us decide that we want our pets to be able to enter and exit the house at will. When a pet is large, the size of the pet door required to provide access can be a significant security risk.  I remember at one house I inspected, when an agent locked the key inside, I was able to get back in by squeezing through the pet door. Since I weighed 200 pounds at the time, that was not a small nor a secure pet door.

This pet door (above) is a good example of an entry point into the house that an uninvited human could pass through. Not only could an uninvited human enter, so could rats, various other rodents and even large animals you do not want in the house such as raccoons. I have a neighbor with a pet door and he has to clear raccoons off the back porch several nights a week and that species can be nasty.

Holes such as this pet door compromise the integrity of the house door and they defeat any efforts at energy efficiency and weatherproofing. Often, buyers plan to replace exterior doors that have been damaged by pet doors. Other times, the buyers have big dogs themselves so they keep the altered doors.

Large pet doors may accommodate the big dog but, if the big dog is on an outing, or if he moved out of the house, then that big pet door is a great big open invitation to a burglar.

Steven L. Smith

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Comment balloon 14 commentsSteven L. Smith • December 26 2012 04:11PM


I see this all the time Mason.  You could probably walk in and out of that door!

And those thin, metal covers they put over it for "security" is NOT security!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 7 years ago


That is a real good point. I would not sleep well with a pet door like that. Humans or even other uninvited animals could come sliding right in.


Posted by Dana Basiliere, Making deals "Happen" (Rossi & Riina Real Estate) almost 7 years ago

Hi Steven,

Really? That's crazy. I have had a few of these but much smaller.

I did'nt like those either. At all.

Have a great week in the Great Northwest my friend.,

Best, Clint McKie

Posted by Clint Mckie, Desert Sun Home, Comm. Inspection 1-575-706-5586 (Desert Sun Home, commercial Inspections) almost 7 years ago

Jay, half the time here there is not even an attempt at security.

Dana, I used to have a small pet door and stray cats came in

Clint, we grow big dogs here

Posted by Steven L. Smith, Bellingham WA Home Inspector (King of the House Home Inspection, Inc.) almost 7 years ago

Low-life thieves take their children with them sometimes, they squeeze them through the pet doors, then have the kid unlock the door. 

  But Good Grief!  You could drive a truck through that door!

Posted by Fred Griffin, on leave of absence from ActiveRain, Licensed Florida Real Estate Broker (Fred Griffin Real Estate) almost 7 years ago


I often think of that with the smaller doors...small kids could get through many of them

Posted by Steven L. Smith, Bellingham WA Home Inspector (King of the House Home Inspection, Inc.) almost 7 years ago

The only security for those big pet doors is if the big pet is still on the other side of the door.

Posted by Richard Iarossi, Crofton MD Real Estate, Annapolis MD Real Estate (Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage) almost 7 years ago

I really like the ones installed in the garage entry door. A double whammy. 

Posted by James Quarello, Connecticut Home Inspector (JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC) almost 7 years ago

Richard, that is true for sure.

James, I see those all the time too.

Posted by Steven L. Smith, Bellingham WA Home Inspector (King of the House Home Inspection, Inc.) almost 7 years ago

Next thing we will see is an alarm for your pet door, probably would have to put a "get throughtthe pet door free" collar on the pet though so they would not set it off. You just never know!

Posted by Jeanne Kozak, REALTOR and Broker/Owner in WV and VA (RE/MAX In Action) almost 7 years ago

Unless I had a death wish, if I was a burglar I'd pass on that!  Large pet door = large dog.  No thanks ;-)  Yes, it can be an easy access, but who would want to give it a try?!? 

Posted by Carla Muss-Jacobs, RETIRED (RETIRED / State License is Inactive) almost 7 years ago

Jeasnne, I know they do make some small cat pet doors like that, although the security is pretty minimal but the idea is to keep other cats out that don't have the collars.

Carla, It is a risk some bad guys would take. With a big dog, you can get a clue as to whether or not he is still around.

Posted by Steven L. Smith, Bellingham WA Home Inspector (King of the House Home Inspection, Inc.) almost 7 years ago

Here in Florida many people make sure that they put the metal door in the slot before going to sleep.  Otherwise you may wake up with an alligator in the house.   Strange, but true.

Posted by Marnie Matarese, Showing you the best of Sarasota! (DWELL REAL ESTATE) almost 7 years ago

Thank goodness that I own small dogs not even a child can get through the pet door.

Posted by Tim Lorenz, 949 874-2247 (TIM LORENZ - Elite Home Sales Team) almost 7 years ago