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Patio Pet Door FAQs



Do you have dual pane/insulated glass?

If so, you may be glad to know about the Thermo Panel IIIe, both Hale Pet Door Panels, Pet 1 Products,  Ideal VIP and Ideal 900 "Energy Saver" patio panel pet doors. They all offer a dual-pane insulated glass panel. Even better, you can get low "e" glass in the Thermo Panel IIIe, and the Ideal VIP. Hale Patio Pet Door offers low "e" at extra cost.


You may choose any single pane glass panel instead; however, dual pane glass pet doors give the best energy and acoustic performance.


How do I tell if the glass is dual-pane or single pane?

Easy. Open your slider and put a finger on both sides of the glass. If your fingers look like they're touching, you have single pane glass. If they stop about 1/2" apart, you have dual pane glass.



Do you have anything for my newer vinyl framed sliding glass door?

If so, and if the flap dimensions are suitable for your pets, then get the new Ideal VIP panel. You'll be thrilled with the result. If the flap dimensions are not appropriate, or if you need a temporary installation, then the new Thermo Panel IIIe is your best choice.



Which track shall I install in?

Most people install panel pet doors in the glass track against the sliding door jamb and that is the recommended approach.


Some choose an outside screen track. In that case, we suggest you use a 'spring-load' type like the Quick Panel III or the Ideal Fast Fit.

Please notice that the thickness of the pet door will not be the same as the thickness of your track. There are too many track widths to make a separate panel for each one and so no manufacturer does. They are all built on the 'thin' side so as to fit any sliding door track. Properly installed, this fact is not noticeable.


Do I want a 'temporary' or a 'semi-permanent' installation?

A temporary installation panel pet door may be put in and taken out again easily. Use them when you don't want the panel installed all the time. You might, for example, wish to use the panel only during warm weather or only when you are at home.


A semi-permanent only pet panel, on the other hand, must be fastened into the track with sheet metal screws or by some other method. The reason is that the manufacturer has put the lock on the pet door which mates to a bracket on the sliding glass door. For that lock to work, the panel must be fastened in place. The Hale Standard Panel and PetSafe Deluxe are examples of this type of installation as is the Ideal 900 Series.

There are, as well, a group of patio panel inserts that are neither a temporary install or a semi-permanent install but somewhere in between. That is they may require tools to set up but are not fastened into your track with sheet metal screws


Hot Tip:

If a semi-permanent install is desired and the furniture and drapes permit, installing between the stationary panel and the opposite wall may be excellent. By so doing you may avoid needing to reset an alarm system or you may allow use of an existing outside keyed lock.



Hot Tip:

A little understood fact is that all pet doors designed for temporary installation may be made semi-permanent by fastening them into the track with sheet metal screws. So a temporary type panel has the broadest range of installation choices.



What 'rise' do I want?

'Rise' is the height that the flap is raised above the ground. So a Bassett Hound and a Doberman may both be able to use a typical 'large' size flap but only if the 'rise' is set low for the Bassett and higher for the Dobe. The rule is that you want the rise to be tall enough to get the top of the flap at least as tall as the height of the pet at the top of his shoulder. So, if you are using a 10"x15" flap for a dog standing 22" at the withers, you'd like the rise to be at least 7".

But that isn't the end of the story. What happens when the dog gets old or arthritic and has trouble stepping over 7"? Then you'll wish you had bought a taller flap with a shorter rise!

So one thing to look for in a flap is 'aspect ratio' which is the ratio of the height to the width. Taller aspect ratio flaps allow for lower rises in fitting the same dog. The pet panels with the highest aspect ratios on the market today are the Thermo Panel IIIe and Quick Panel III with the new Endura flap, and the Hale 'Standard' and 'Omni' panels.

You can simply buy a larger size in a different brand, of course, to get more flap height. But then you'll be getting more width than you need in addition to the additional height. Major disadvantages of excess width include loss of space in the opening for people use and additional cost. Worse, sometimes going from an 8" width to a 10" width introduces a security problem. 10" x 15" is large enough for a person to wiggle through while 8" x 15" isn't in most cases.

What if your tall dog goes to the Rainbow Bridge and you replace him with a shorter one (from the local shelter, of course!)? Now the little guy can't get over the rise that was easy for the big guy. Ideally, you've purchased a panel with a ' user adjustable rise'. Then you can simply lower the flap to accommodate him. At present, the only pet door panels with a user-adjustable rise are the Thermo Panel IIIe, Quick Panel III and Pet 1 Products (under license from Patio Pacific Inc).

Do I need an electronic patio panel or will a regular manual one do?

Generally, we think that if you haven't got a specific reason to get an electronic panel then you should get a regular manual one. There's less to go wrong. However, if you've got a stray cat problem or especially a raccoon problem, you'll need an electronic patio panel. Another point: If your dog or cat is infirm or very old, one of the motorized panels that allows him out without his having to push a flap might be the ticket.

Can I return a panel after purchase?

Yes, our regular return policy applies to all panel pet doors except custom doors. However, Please be alert to a specific problem area: A few customers have applied the weather-strip to the edge of the panel before deciding that they really want it. When those panels are returned, it takes a considerable amount of labor in the shop to remove that weather-strip. In some cases, the panel had to be completely rebuilt. These costs will be deducted from your refund or; if the damage is severe, the return may not be accepted.
Also note that we impose a restocking charge (we don't on the pet doors that we manufacture). You can check this out in advance by reading "restocking fees" which is linked from every category page.

What height adjustment ranges and trim colors are available?

Patio pet door manufacturers always offer the three colors shown in the graphic to the right--white, bronze (a very dark brown that is almost black looking, especially in room light) and satin (regular aluminum color). Note that Pride offers Tan and Black in addition to the three more common colors.

In addition, panel pet doors are offered in various adjustment ranges. The Thermo Panel IIIe and the Quick Panel III come in the ranges shown. Other manufacturers have other offerings.


Hot Tip:

Be sure that you order a pet door that will fit your particular track. See 'measure your track height' below.

Will I Get a Bug?

You can still get ventilation with a glass track installation by opening the sliding glass door and bringing the screen up even with the pet door. But how do you stop a bug from flying in between the screen and the pet panel?

Two ways: First you might get a temporary panel like the Quick Panel III or Ideal Fast Fit which can be readily moved to the outside screen track. Then the screen can close against it and you'll have a bug-tight seal.

But the best solution to this problem is the exciting new Bug Warden which was specifically designed by one of our customers to give a superior result.

Or, you can get "Universal Bug Seal" from us that will seal a "bug gap" up to 1 3/4" sp;wide.  It's best to install the pet door before ordering the "Universal Bug Seal" so you'll know how wide the gap actually is. Then call us with that information. For larger gaps  you can use an additional draft stopper mounted on the edge of the pet door together with a bug seal to cover the gap.

How will I lock up my house?

There are three methods for locking the sliding glass door when using panel pet doors:

1 - Those panel pet doors designed for a semi-permanent installation only will have a lock built into the pet door

that you will use instead of the lock on your sliding glass door. (There are too many different types of sliding glass door locks to build a pet door that works with each one.) That lock will engage a bracket mounted on your sliding glass door above your existing lock and locks the sliding door to the pet door. This system requires that the pet door be fastened in place with sheet metal screws. The Pet Safe Panel and Hale 'Standard' Panel incorporate this approach.

2 - The second approach is to use a pin lock, or dead-bolt lock,

illustrated to the right, to lock the glass door against the pet door. These can be used for both temporary and semi-permanent types of installations and are extremely effective. Quick Panel III, Ideal, Pride, Omni, Pet 1 Product and Thermo Panel IIIe use this approach. Note that pin locks are most readily used when the sliding panel is on the inside track. If it is on the outside track (an uncommon situation), it may be easier to install a threshold mount dead-bolt type lock. These are available from us but also from any hardware store.

3. A third approach that may be used with all patio pet door installations is to incorporated a "Charley  Bar".

This is similar to the "broomstick in the track" idea but avoids the stooping and is adjustable. They may only be used with an inside track sliding glass door.

Measure your track height!

Please don't assume that your track is 'standard' height. All pet panels are adjustable in a range of heights:  77" to 81" for one example.  But not all sliders are in a given range.  Some homes have undersize sliding doors that usually fall in a "standard undersize" range of around  74"-77".  Some homes have the big 8 foot tall sliders that generally fall in the "standard oversize" range of about 93"-96".  Pet doors in these three size ranges are kept available in stock.

A few sliding glass doors will fall outside those ranges and must be special ordered.  The Thermo Panel IIIe and Quick Panel III can be ordered in a custom height directly on the web. Because we need those orders in writing, ordering on the web is the simplest way to do it.

All custom sized panels cost extra and may cost more to ship.

The height adjustment on some doors, like the Ideal, Quick Panel III, Pet 1 Product and Thermo Panel IIIe is very simple because they are spring-loaded and fit in the track without tools.  Others must be cut to fit with a hacksaw.  Still others use a wrench (Hale Omni) or require drilling but just in the pet door (Pride).

A Note of Caution:

Even though your measurement falls within the adjustment range of the pet door panel you have chosen, you could still have a problem if you are at the shorter end of that range.  You will probably  require some clearance to get the pet door up and over the track wall at the bottom and into the track!

You should measure the height of the lowest track wall at the bottom (usually the outside). You'll need enough compression to clear that height. Please call our customer service department if you have any question about this. The Quick Panel III and Thermo Panel IIIe have special provision for decreasing or increasing the adjustment range a small amount (about 3/4") on the job site ('Anti-Whoops!). This feature can save having to ship the pet door back in case of a small measurement error.


Will the sliding door still accommodate you?

After fitting your pet, be sure the remaining opening in your sliding door fits you. If it's tight, look for a panel with a higher aspect ratio for the flap. For example, why get a 14" x 23" flap if your pet can easily use a 12" x 23"? No need to pay for that excess width and you save the two inches.

Is this for a sliding window?

A sideways sliding window is just like a sliding glass door but shorter. So you'll be purchasing a panel pet door built 'custom height undersize'.

Two things to remember: First, you must measure the width of your window track. It may not be wide enough to accept the panel. If you measure less than 1" call our customer service department to consult about this.

Secondly, the height you are specifying will be unusual enough that it must be a final sale--no return after manufacture. You will find the size limits for these undersized units at the Thermo Panel IIIepage.

Custom height orders must be in writing. Easiest way is to order directly from the web site. All Thermo Panels, Quick Panels and Hale Pet Door panels may be ordered custom height in this manner.

If your window slides up and down,

then you'll want a pet door for a sash window which is designed for that specific window type. A number of models are available at the "Sash Window Home" page.

Check out your plans with us at (888) 943-4364

Customer service is available Monday-Friday, 8am-4pm Central time.


Once you have the measurements you need you are ready to review the specific pet doors. However, if you have any question at all, please call our customer service department for advice. We really want to send you the right pet door the first try.

A Thermo Panel IIIe built "Custom Height Undersize" to fit a sideways sliding window
A Pet Door Designed for a Sash Window