How to Protect a Glass Door from Dog Scratches

protect glass door from dog scratches

If like me you’re a dog owner with a large sliding glass door on the back of your property, you’re probably familiar with the following situation. You’re sat there all relaxed when suddenly the dog runs up to the patio window and starts manically pawing at scratching at the glass… before you’ve had a chance to open it.

Frustrating and annoying doesn’t even come close. You can count yourself lucky if it’s just muddy paw prints and streaks left on the glass. In the worst-case scenario, your patio or sliding glass door will have dog scratches down it, possibly meaning some very expensive repairs.

Short of getting rid of your dog (and I am sure you’ve considered in this option in a peak of anger and frustration), what can you do to protect a sliding glass door from dog scratches?

I’ve looked into various solutions, including how you stop a dog from scratching a sliding glass door. Stopping them scratching the glass is not easy, and there aren’t any fool proof methods that I can find. Instead, you need to take steps to protect the glass from your dog completely, so you’re not left with scratches and a terrible finish on the sliding doors.

Here are the best ways I’ve found to protect patio windows and glass doors from dog scratches. Hopefully one of the methods will make sense and work for you, or possibly even a combination of them all.

How to protect sliding glass doors from dog scratches

I’ve listed some methods here which will require some work on your behalf. In truth, a couple of them might make your sliding glass doors look a bit odd, which is why I’ve started off with what is the best-looking solution, although possibly the most expensive.

1. Install a glass door protector

Scratch screens or glass door protectors can either hang over a door handle, or affix to the glass itself to provide a barrier. The one I like best though is the stick-on door protector as it can fit over a larger glass window that you tend to get in patio doors.

Check it out by clicking the photo below, or seeing it on Amazon.

There is also this one on Amazon also helps to discourage door scratching as it makes an unpleasant noise when scratched that dogs don’t like. It hangs on a door handle though, so I don’t like it as much and don’t think it would work perfectly on large glass doors.

Or make a glass door dog protector yourself

If you don’t want to buy one you could actually make a glass protector yourself. All you will need is some transparent fiberglass sheeting or plastic and cut it to the right size. You could then connect some cheap plastic suckers to it and stick it to the glass window.

I can’t imagine it would be that tricky!

2. Use protective easy to roll film

One method that I’ve heard people get great results with is a transparent and sticky roll on film. It works very similar to how those screen protector films do that you get on a brand-new phone.

All you do is cut the protective film so size and then smooth it over the glass. Dog owners have said that it’s easy to apply and works best if you have a window squeegee to smooth out all the air bubbles and creases.

It’s completely transparent so won’t ruin your view out of the patio windows, but according to the Amazon reviews (read them here) also protects the glass door from dog scratches.

What I would say though, is that there’s no guarantee that your dog’s sharp claws won’t scratch through the film and damage the glass doors. You might also need to replace it regularly, and it won’t look great once it gets scratched up itself.

3. Use reflective window film

A similar product that could work if your dog is outside the door and looking into your property before scratching at the glass could be a reflective window film. You peel it and stick it to the outside of the patio window, and it acts like a reflective surface.

That means when your dog is outside, he can’t see you inside. For some dogs, the trigger for them scratching at a glass door will be seeing the owner behind it.

This film is also great for privacy, keeps heat in, and means if you’re inside, you can still see the outside. It’s kind of like a two-way mirror used for security purposes. It’s cheap for a roll, and like my other suggestions is available to buy on Amazon.

4. Install a dog flap door into the glass door

This is a more preventative method and the most expensive. But it is the one solution that is almost guaranteed to stop your dog from scratching at the glass door, because he won’t need to. It will also look a lot better than any of the other solutions listed above and below.

It’s simply a dog flap that can be integrated into your glass doors. Or… and here’s where it’s cool – you can get one which you don’t need to cut into walls or glass for!

Check out this simple to fit dog door on Amazon that can be used with glass doors and patio windows.

Once it’s fitted correctly it should look relatively seamless and in-fitting with the design, and will mean your dog should never scratch at the sliding glass doors again – your dog won’t need to paw at the patio glass, as they will have the freedom to come and go as they please.

For a more permanent solution you will need an professional who can cut glass and properly fit a dog flap.

5. Fit curtains and keep them closed

Have you considered putting curtains up in front of the sliding glass doors? This method only works when the dog is inside the property and scratches at the door glass to get out. It also means you will lose the view and a degree of light coming into your home.

But this could be just the trick if your dog is scratching at the patio doors when you are not at home. When you leave, pull the curtain across the patio doors and you should stop the dog from scratching at them.

6. Clip and file your dog nails down

If all else fails, you could help to protect your patio or glass door from dog scratches by clipping and filing their sharp nails down.

I’m not an expert at trimming dog nails, so can only refer you to this guide on the Dog’s Naturally Magazine website where you can see more details.

cutting dog nails
You could trim your dog’s nails to reduce the amount of scratch damage on the glass doors.

7. Train your dog not to jump at the glass door

And lastly, the most obvious but worst way to protect your glass doors, is to stop the dog from jumping up completely. I’ve looked at multiple YouTube videos from dog trainers who claim they can show you how to stop a dog from scratching a sliding glass door.

The majority of their advice is about re-training the behavior, with the core lesson being to ignore the dog until the animals realizes they won’t be rewarded for scratching at the glass.

Well, duh! That’s really not going help in situations like this. I am sure like me, there’s no way you are going to sit there while your dog scratches paws down the glass, while you wait for them to stop.

I believe that after multiple attempts of them scratching at the glass and you ignoring them and not letting them in or out the door, they will get it.

But… it really is too late by this point. Your expensive glass door will be ruined.

It really is bad advice. It won’t work for people like you and more who need those sliding glass doors protected now, and not in the future.

Other impractical solutions I found

The useless advice didn’t end there. Other things I saw dog trainers advising included:

  • Play with your dog to make it tired so it doesn’t scratch your glass door to be let out.
  • If you are going out, get a dog sitter to watch over your dog so he doesn’t scratch patio windows.
  • Stop your dog going in the room with the sliding glass doors by blocking access with baby stairgate.

However, I don’t want to completely ignore what dog trainers say about stopping a dog from scratching at glass doors, as some of it did have some merit… and that was figuring why your dog does it.

Handy Hint: Dog urine can stain wooden floors and leave a smell behind. Here’s how you get dog urine out of wooden furniture or from under carpets.

Why dogs scratch at sliding glass doors

The bottom line is, most dogs will scratch as glass patio doors and windows because they want to get out. It could be that they want a walk, have seen something that attracts their attention, or just want to go out and play.

But your dog could be scratching at the glass doors for a behavioral reason that you might possibly be able to cure, providing you know what the root cause is.

The most common causes outside wanting to come through a glass door, are:

Separation anxiety

Some of the worst scratches to your glass doors will be seen once you return having left your dog home alone. Scientists believe they have proven that dogs miss their owners, and it can lead to a range of problems – patio glass door scratching being just one.

There are many guides online from dog charities that explain how to cure separation anxiety, so read those for some tips. It could be the solution you need to protect a sliding glass door from dog scratches.

Handy Hint: I have also written a guide which shows you how to protect the interior of your car against dog scratches.

Boredom

Dogs that are mentally challenged will keep their brains active. If they are tired out mentally, they are less inclined to be destructive.

Think about it… let’s say your dog is sat next to that glass door with nothing to do. He might feel like giving the door a paw, and the next thing you know, he’s scratching at it like mad.

If you then react to your dog scratching the glass in an excitable manner, that might be a reaction your dog likes. He will the associate the scratching of the glass with getting attention to be careful about how you react to the behavior.

Shouting, screaming, and chasing might actually be the result your dog wants to alleviate their boredom.

Conclusion

It is incredibly difficult to stop a dog from scratching a sliding glass door. You can’t be alert 24/7 to what they are doing. Whilst trying to train it out of them is important, you should not take any chances with your expensive patio windows.

Just one scratch mark can be heart-breaking for the more house-proud of dog owners.

That’s how I feel about this, so I hope that my research into how you can protect your sliding glass doors from dog paws has helped.

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Image in header licensed via StoryBlocks.com

Marc Aaron

I write about the things I've learned about owning a dog, the adventures we have, and any advice and tips I've picked up along the way.

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