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Despite their generally calm demeanor and love of snuggling, Great Danes are strong, athletic dogs who need a decent amount of age-appropriate exercise every day.
However, the last thing you want is a Great Dane ‘exercising’ (aka having the zoomies) inside your home.
A dog door can be the perfect solution – your Great Dane can let herself outside whenever she needs to, and you won’t be on constant door duty.
Of course, since Great Danes are so huge, it can be difficult to find dog doors that they can actually fit through comfortably without taking the entire door off its hinges!
Fortunately, I’ve done the research so you don’t have to. I’ve put together a list of 6 of the best dog doors for Great Danes:
- Best Overall: Extra Large PlexiDor Performance Pet Door
- Runner Up: Extra Large PetSafe Extreme Weather Dog Door
- Best for Sliding Glass Doors: Super Large Fast Fit Pet Patio Door
- Best on a Budget: Extra Large PetSafe Plastic Dog Door
- Most Secure: Large PetSafe Electronic SmartDoor
- Best Wall-Mounted Dog Door: Extra Large Insulated All-Weather Double Flap Dog Door
We’ll go over what to look for in a good dog door as well as the pros and cons of each of these options, but let’s first look at the benefits and potential risks of dog doors.
Are Dog Doors a Good Idea For Great Danes?
Dog doors provide more freedom for your Great Dane, allowing her to go outside to play, exercise, or relieve herself whenever she needs to. That means you don’t have to constantly let her in and out of the house and it reduces the potential for indoor messes if you need to leave your Dane alone for long periods of time.
Even though Great Danes often have a reputation as being lazy, they’ll greatly appreciate the chance to exercise on their terms!
Additionally, a well-insulated dog door can actually help maintain the temperature of your home better than opening the entire door and waiting around for your Great Dane to go outside or come back in.
However, there are a few potential cons of a dog door. In most cases, it requires permanent alteration of your wall or door (unless you have a sliding patio door), and a fenced yard is generally necessary. There is also the possibility that intruders (human or animal) could enter your home through a dog door, although most dog doors have a locking feature of some kind to help prevent this.
Finally, your Great Dane needs to be somewhat trained in order to be safe and well-behaved while alone in the yard.
Overall, a dog door can be a major convenience for both you and your Great Dane, and it can help her to get more exercise, be more active, and stay healthy throughout her life.
Do Great Danes Need Special Dog Doors?
The only unique thing a Great Dane needs out of a dog door is for it to be big enough that she can easily fit through without getting stuck, hurting herself, or having to duck. And, fortunately, there are plenty of options that are easily large enough for even the biggest Dane!
While you should always measure your specific Great Dane to get her exact chest width and depth, weight, and height, here are some general guidelines for the overall size of a Great Dane:
An adult female Great Dane will likely stand 28-33 inches at the shoulder and weigh between 100-140 pounds, with an average chest width of 9-11 inches. A male adult Dane will likely be 30-36 inches tall and weigh 140-200 pounds, and have a chest width of 10-12 inches.
Of course, there are some outliers – you may have a very small or very large Dane and will need to plan accordingly when shopping for a dog door. The recommendations in this article are made based on the average size of a healthy adult Great Dane.
What to Look For in a Great Dane Dog Door
Now, let’s look at some more specific considerations to keep in mind when looking for a dog door for your Dane:
Again, size is a critical factor when shopping for a dog door for a Great Dane. As one of the biggest breeds around, this is the first thing you need to consider.
Many dog doors have weight ratings in addition to the measurements of the opening – both important things to keep in mind. Naturally, you’ll want to measure the exact depth and width of your Dane’s chest to make sure she will be able to step through the opening easily.
For sliding door dog doors, the opening will need to be nearly as tall as your Great Dane is from floor to shoulder. That’s because the dog door portion of the insert is generally closer to the floor, and you don’t have the option to mount it higher or lower.
However, wall or regular door dog doors can be mounted above floor level at whatever height is most comfortable. This means that your Great Dane will have to pick up her feet to step through it, but her back won’t hit the top of the opening as she brings her hind legs through the door.
Heavy Duty Materials
While there are some very affordable dog door options available, they can be quite expensive and as such, you’ll want them to last a long time. Look for a dog door that’s made of heavy duty materials so it’s chew-proof and won’t wear out.
Especially if you live somewhere with extremely hot or cold temperatures, look for a dog door that offers a significant amount of insulation to keep your heat or air conditioning in your home and your energy bills down.
Some dog doors have multiple layers of flaps, solid doors that open like saloon doors, or double doors (usually on wall-mounted dog doors that are more tunnel-like) to help with this. Some also have magnets to hold the flaps in place against wind and blowing rain or snow, or they are on springs/hinges that keep the door closed until your Great Dane pushes against it.
Incidentally, this is also why many dog doors have minimum weight ratings, because a 5-pound Chihuahua would likely not be able to push open the same heavy, weather-proof door that your Great Dane has no trouble walking through. If you have a multi-dog household, this is something to keep in mind to make sure that you don’t accidentally trap your smaller dogs in the house with a too-heavy dog door.
Wall vs. Door Installation
As mentioned, there are a few different types of dog doors based on where they will be installed. Most dog doors are designed to go into your normal front or back door – you simply cut out a section of the door and install the dog door.
However, there are also dog doors that can be installed directly through an exterior wall of your home, if you don’t have a door that leads where you want your Great Dane to be able to go. They can also be used to pass through interior walls of your home, like if you want your Great Dane to have access to your attached garage but there’s not a door directly into it. These dog doors are usually adjustable to fit a variety of wall thicknesses.
For both of these options, the door will generally come with a template to help you cut a hole that’s exactly the right size for the dog door.
Finally, there are inserts that you can put in your sliding door. These are usually adjustable vertically to fit slight variations in the height of your sliding glass door opening. These lock into place against the edge of the opening, and you can either lock the door to the insert or open it so you can still pass through the door.
Panels vs. Flap
The classic dog door design is basically a heavy flap that is attached to the dog door frame at the top. However, some Great Danes might get spooked by the flap hitting the back of their hind legs if they don’t go through the door fast enough.
There are also some dog doors that look more like saloon doors, with two door pieces that are hinged along the sides. These can be less intimidating or scary for Great Danes who don’t like the flap-style doors.
Luckily, with some gentle training and practice, almost any Great Dane can learn to successfully operate either style of door.
Most dog doors have at least some type of security feature, whether it’s a locking mechanism for the door or flap, a plastic or metal plate that slides over the opening to secure it closed, or an electronic system where the door will only open if your Dane, who must wear a small electronic key fob on her collar, is nearby.
These features are super helpful if you are concerned about intruders, don’t want wildlife or stray animals getting into your home, or you want to be able to restrict your Dane’s access to the outdoors at certain times of day.
Finally, since a dog door is a fairly permanent installation and requires seriously altering your door or wall in most cases, you will likely want to find one that is aesthetically pleasing or, at the very least, unobtrusive. Some dog doors have paintable frames, so you can match it to your door or wall color if you so desire.
Best Dog Doors for Great Danes
Now that we’ve covered what to look for in a Great Dane dog door, let’s look at the specs of the six best options:
Best Overall: Extra Large PlexiDor Performance Pet Door
- Never buy replacement flaps again. Solid high impact, chew proof acrylic panels open and close tight....
- Accommodates Giant Breeds up to 220 pounds. Able to withstand abuse from even the most powerful dogs....
This saloon-style dog door is rated for dogs up to 220 pounds, and the manufacturer recommends it for Great Danes and other giant breeds. The XL option measures 21 x 27 inches, although that is the size of the entire unit rather than just the door opening, which is probably closer to about 17 x 23 inches.
The doors are lockable with a key, and a steel security plate is included as well. The frame comes in white, bronze, or silver so you can match your home’s color scheme.
The doors are translucent acrylic panels that are chew-proof and can withstand high impact (such as a Dane galloping through the door). Weather stripping keeps in heat and air conditioning, and hidden heavy duty springs keep the doors closed.
While this dog door doesn’t come cheap, it is backed by a 10-year limited warranty and many reviewers say they have had this door for 20 years or more.
The manufacturer recommends installing this dog door 12-14 inches off the ground, so that the top of the opening is about 2 inches taller than your Great Dane’s back.
What I love about it: This door has saloon-style doors, is lockable, has a security plate, and is aesthetically pleasing, heavy-duty, and weather-proof.
What I wish it had: A more affordable price tag would make this dog door the perfect option for more Great Dane owners.
Runner Up: Extra Large PetSafe Extreme Weather Dog Door
- OPTIMIZE YOUR ENERGY BILL: PetSafe brand’s most energy-efficient pet door will protect your home from...
- ENCOURAGE EXERCISE AND INDEPENDENCE: Give your cats and dogs freedom to go in or out without asking for...
This flap-style dog door is meant for dogs that weigh 12-220 pounds, and the flap opening measures 13.75 x 23.25 inches. It has a triple-layer flap that helps maintain your home’s temperature and keeps wind, rain, and snow out. A magnet along the bottom helps the flap stay closed.
This door has a slide-in security panel to control your Great Dane’s access and keep wild animals out. It works with doors that are 1.5-2 inches thick.
Although the triple flap is heavier than a single flap and requires a bit more effort from your Great Dane to open it, most dogs will soon get used to it and be able to pass through easily.
This dog door has a durable metal frame and reinforced aluminum corners to help it stand up to heavy traffic and big dogs.
What I love about it: It has a simple flap design, security panel, triple layer flap for insulation, and magnet to hold the flaps closed against the wind, and it’s a more affordable option.
What I wish it had: The security panel looks to be plastic instead of metal, and the heavier flap can take a bit of getting used to.
Best for Sliding Glass Doors: Super Large Fast Fit Pet Patio Door
It’s more difficult to find a glass door dog door for Great Danes, since they are so gigantic. In fact, this option is only rated for dogs that weigh between 91-120 pounds, so if you have a very large Great Dane, it may not be suitable. But, it’s the beefiest/biggest door of this type that’s currently available, and reviewers have said that their Great Danes have successfully used the door.
The opening of this XL door is 15 x 20 inches, but the opening is only 8 inches off the ground, which might make it harder for a very tall Dane to step through without hitting the top of the door opening.
The insert itself is adjustable from 77-80 inches tall to fit most patio doors. It’s 22 inches wide, so for standard size sliding doors, you’ll still have about 16 inches of space to walk through.
This type of dog door is easily installable, requiring no permanent alterations, cutting of holes, or tools. That means it’s a great option for rental homes where the owner may not want you to make any serious alterations.
What I love about it: This door is easy to install, doesn’t require any tools or cutting holes in your home, is affordable, and it’s the biggest available sliding glass dog door.
What I wish it had: To make it truly Great Dane accessible, it would be great to see the opening slightly higher off the ground.
Best on a Budget: Extra Large PetSafe Plastic Dog Door
This flap-style dog door is basic, affordable, and very well-reviewed. It features a paintable white frame, a tinted translucent single flap, and a snap-on panel to restrict your pet’s access. The flap opening measures just over 13.5 x 23.5 inches and the door is rated for dogs up to 220 pounds.
The frame is highly adjustable, so it can be installed in doors that are between 1/16-2 inches thick.
This no-frills dog door is a great budget option that won’t break the bank!
What I love about it: It’s inexpensive, it’s a simple design, and the frame is paintable so you can match your home decor.
What I wish it had: The security panel just snaps on rather than sliding into place, so it might not be as secure as other options if you are away from your home.
Most Secure: Large PetSafe Electronic SmartDoor
This door is programmable so you can allow selective entry and exit, or auto-lock the door at certain times. It can be programmed with up to 5 waterproof SmartKeys, so it will work well even for multi-dog households. Only pets that have a SmartKey on their collar will be able to go in and out of the door. The range can be adjusted up to 3 feet, which is helpful if your Dane likes to take the dog door at a run.
The system is battery operated and requires 4 D batteries, which are not included. This door is designed for door installation, although a wall installation kit can be purchased separately. SmartKeys also need to be purchased separately.
The opening of this dog door measures 11 x 16 inches, so it might be a tight squeeze for the largest Great Danes. However, many reviewers have said that the opening is much larger than they expected.
What I love about it: The electronic aspect makes this door very secure, which is helpful for areas with abundant wildlife or for those concerned about human intruders.
What I wish it had: This door doesn’t appear to come with a security plate, so someone or something could potentially crash right through the plastic door if they really wanted to get in or out.
Best Wall-Mounted Dog Door: Extra Large Endura Flap Insulated All-Weather Double Flap Dog Door
This dog door works with walls that are up to 8 inches thick and features two solid plastic flaps that are held closed with magnets around three sides, securing the doors against winds of up to 50 mph. The magnets are also adjustable to help train a timid Great Dane or to make it a bit easier to open.
The door also comes with a secure, lockable cover to protect your home in inclement weather or against intruders, or just to keep your Great Dane inside.
This dog door is meant for areas with harsh weather conditions, and the double-door technology can prevent energy loss from your home in temperatures as cold as -40 degrees Fahrenheit.
The flaps measure 12 x 23 inches and are molded from eco-friendly materials that are tough enough to handle a Great Dane (or multiple Danes) crashing through them multiple times per day. The internal tunnel is made of heavy-duty aluminum to stand up to heavy traffic and inclement weather conditions. The dog door can be used for internal as well as external walls.
This dog door is backed by a 15-year guarantee.
What I love about it: This door is suited for areas with harsh climates, it’s made of heavy-duty materials, it has a good warranty and a lockable cover, and it can fit many different thicknesses of walls.
What I wish it had: There’s really nothing I can think of that would make this wall-mounted dog door better!
A dog door can be a significant investment of money and installation effort, as well as a commitment to permanently altering your wall or door in many cases. So, it’s important to choose the right one – a dog door that’s functional, long-lasting, suited for your installation location and the climate, and, most important of all, allows your Great Dane to easily pass through it.
Hopefully this guide has been helpful and has given you a few ideas for potential dog doors for your Dane! Enjoy no longer being on door duty!