When Does Pet Convenience Trump Safety – If Ever?

pet convenience

Pet owners are always looking for innovative, smart home solutions that will help them take care of their pets; especially in this day and age when humans are busier than ever. From work to hobbies to sports, pet owners might find that they can’t always get home to let their dogs out as much as they’d like. While there are doggie doors available, not everyone is comfortable cutting a hole into their door(s).

There are smart home solutions to this problem that sell systems that automate sliding doors. These system uses sensors to detect your pets, then opens the sliding door so they can get outside or inside. The door will close again after a time delay.

While this might sound like an upgrade to the existing hole-in- the-door option, it presents a ton of obvious issues that will probably make any home and pet owner very uncomfortable. Here are a few of the safety issues that, in my opinion, make pet conveniences like this a rather stupid smart home device.

So…can you never lock your door?

I didn’t see anything that explains the door-locking issue. Now, let’s assume that your sliding door is going to be at the back of your house – which is pretty standard. That still doesn’t make me want to leave the door unlocked. It’s not that difficult to get into someone’s backyard. So, if this system only opens the door, but doesn’t unlock it….will I only be using this when I’m home, because that defeats that whole purpose. This point alone is enough for me to want to burn this idea to the ground, but sure, I’ll present a few more reasons too.

Oh, great, now any animal in the neighborhood can get into my house.

This is one of the reasons that people don’t love doggie doors – it exposes your house to unwanted critters, like skunks, cats, and opossums. That’s if they are smart enough to figure out the hole in the door is open. Imagine if the door was just open. Even if it is just a short amount of time, something can follow your pet in. Good news is your dog didn’t pee on your carpet; bad news is a skunk sprayed your whole house. And your dog.

Just what I need: another liability issue

There are so many things that could go wrong with this system, including your dogs getting out when you don’t want them to. Sure, most people don’t come to the back door when they visit your house, but if for any reason someone did enter your backyard and your system was activated, there is nothing stopping your dog from getting outside and getting to the person or people on your property. Maybe it’s not people, though; your pets can get out whenever they want, even if it’s just to chase another animal.

Criminals, obviously

I mean, come on. This one is so obvious. Criminals can use this system in a number of ways. They can entice the dog to come to the door to open it; they can wait for the dog to go outside then slip in; they can even snag the sensor from your dog once it is outside so that it can’t get back in.

My official rating is that this “smart” idea is too dangerous and convenience should not trump safety. If you are desperate, consider getting smart locks and smart cameras that will help you manage a dog walker or dog sitter.