Should I get a Leather or Upholstered Sofa if I have a Pet

Picture of man and his dog looking at a phone

If you own a pet, you get it.  Your furniture takes a beating.  From roughhousing to muddy paws and more, it doesn’t take long for your couches and chairs to start to show signs of wear.

It’s finally time to consider purchasing some new furniture, and you’re wondering what the most durable options are for families with pets.  It’s a great question, and you’re definitely not alone in your desire to find just the right product that is a blend of comfort, style, and resilience for your home.

Is There Such a Thing as a Pet-friendly Couch?

We think there is!  While there is no perfect “one size fits all” solution, there are definitely options to suit every pet lover’s needs.

Is pet hair sticking to your microsuede chairs driving you crazy?

Worried about nail holes in your brand new leather couch?

Here are some guidelines to mull over before you head out to your nearest home furnishings store.

Quality Counts

You have no doubt heard the old adage that you get what you pay for, and it’s true.  Sometimes that gorgeous couch at a bargain basement price isn’t such a great deal.


There are a lot of attractive furniture options on the market, and many of them seem to be available at a very low price point.  But in general, saving money up front means spending more in the end.  Inexpensive furniture options generally are not made to last as long as their more costly counterparts.  To keep costs low, manufacturers of lower priced furniture have to sacrifice quality fabrics and sturdy construction in order to offer their goods at such rock bottom prices.

What does this mean for you?

It means these items aren’t likely to stand up to the every day wear and tear of a home with pets.  Let’s face it, our pets can be rough on things.  Cats sometimes view the wooden legs on the antique sofa to be a scratching post, and dog bones leave unsightly grease stains on your cream linen chair.

The number one component to consider, regardless of the type of material you choose for your new piece of furniture, is its quality.  Spending a few more dollars now to buy fabric or leather with a reputation for durability or that is backed up by a warranty may seem like an extravagance now, but it will save you money and headaches later.

Fabric or Leather?

Many people head into the furniture shop with a picture in their mind of what their ideal sofa will look like right down to the colour of the fabric.  When it comes to furniture suitable for pet friendly living, it really comes down to two basic choices—leather or fabric.  There are certainly pros and cons to either option, and ultimately, it comes down to your family’s specific needs.  Perhaps for your family, the clawing of furniture is not an issue.  Leather might be the perfect choice for you.  More concerned about sitting down on your couch only to stand up and find out you’ve acquired a new fur coat?  You might be more interested in something upholstered in canvas that is resistant to hair sticking to it.

Let’s Take a Closer Look at Our Options:

  • Leather—Leather-covered furniture’s are great additions to any pet lover’s household. They boast the advantage of a protective layer of sealant over the leather to guard against scratches and tears.  This is not a fool proof deterrent from pet-inflicted damage.  It is a hopeful precaution at best.  But leather has so much to offer families with pets that this one con is but a minor deterrent compared with the many pros for leather furniture.

Leather is an appealing option for many families with pets because pet hair will not stick to it meaning the surface itself is easier to clean and also gentler on your clothing.

In addition to its other wonderful properties, leather also has the added bonus of not being porous which means that odors , debris, and bacteria will not cling to it.  It generally also comes in dark colors, but even the lighter shades are resistant to staining.

  • Fabric—When it comes to considering fabric upholstery for the pet-friendly house, it gets a little more complicated. The key to choosing an upholstery for your furniture is to look for fabrics that can stand up to a little bit of “abuse”. You want to avoid fabrics that stain or snag easily, and in general, opt for bold patterns or dark colors which can help disguise any discolorations that may arise.

Some of the most durable and pet friendly fabrics to choose from are synthetic fibers such as acrylic, nylon, or microsuede; patio furniture upholstery, or heavy duty patterned fabrics.

There are advantages to each of these types of materials.  They all share the ability to withstand pet nails without succumbing to snags or tears in their surfaces.  They can take a beating and still maintain their functionality and beauty.

Each of these fabrics is also easy to clean.  A gentle wipedown with a mild soap cleanser is generally all that is needed to remove any dirt or debris from the sofa’s surface.  However, unlike leather, deeper staining is far more challenging to remove from fabric, and sometimes, can prove impossible.

Fabric is more likely than leather to attract and hold odors and pet hair.  However, choosing a fabric that has a tight weave can help discourage this.  Outdoor fabric, in particular, is treated to be moisture and odor resistant.  It is an excellent choice for furniture to be enjoyed by pets and their families albeit it is not as comfortable as some of the other fabric options.

An industry leader in durable stain resistant fabric solutions is a product called Crypton.  Crypton is up to the dirtiest challenge your pet can dish out while at the same time remaining soft, luxurious, and stylish.  Available in a variety of patterns and colors, it is an excellent choice for any pet lover’s home.

Not finding a fabric you love?  Consider adding a slipcover made of denim or canvas to a couch whose design you like.  They can be custom designed for a clean, stylish fit, and they have the added advantage of being removable for frequent cleaning in your home washing machine.

So, what’s it going to be?  Thinking leather is the right fit for Fido?  Or is your heart set on that gorgeous red microsuede chair for Fifi?  We are spoiled for choice!

Leather or upholstery?   Why not one of each?



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