The Best Pet Friendly Flooring if You Own a Dog

Picture of a puppy laying on a hardwood floor

There is no doubt that flooring takes a beating in a home with pets. Dogs seem to be particularly hard on things. One of the biggest challenges dog owners face when it comes to their flooring is damage inflicted by dog nails. Unsightly scratches and gouges can wreak havoc on your floors, leaving them looking far less than attractive. If you’re thinking about replacing your flooring, it’s important to consider the latest pet-friendly options on the market. After all, new flooring is a considerable investment of both money and time.  You want the flooring you decide on to last. Durability is important to you, but you don’t want to have to sacrifice style for functionality.

What are the best pet friendly flooring options for families with dogs?

Some Important Considerations

In looking for your new flooring, it is important to take the time to weigh out your options by carefully considering what you need out of your new floor. Families with small dogs face different challenges than those with larger dogs, meaning each has a different requirement for the flooring they ultimately settle on.

Here Is a List of the Leading Things to Consider When Searching for the Ideal New Flooring for a Home with Dogs:

Damage resistant
Flooring is expensive, and replacing the flooring in any one room in your home is going to be a significant output of money as well a large inconvenience during the renovation period. With this in mind, you really can’t afford to choose a flooring that cannot stand up to regular dog wear and tear.

It is best to look for flooring that can withstand abuse from the hardest of dog nails; otherwise, you will soon find your flooring has a new “pattern” to it that you don’t particularly care for and can’t get rid of without replacing the flooring again.

But it’s not just wood and laminate surfaces that can become damaged by dog nails. Certain types of carpeting also reflect pet wear very badly. Nails can easily become caught in certain fabrics, leading to runs in carpeting and unexpected vet visits for torn dog nails. Both which will cost you time and money.

Provides good traction
A floor which offers excellent grip is a great way to reduce added scuff and scratch marks from dog use. Dogs who cannot get adequate traction on a floor will often dig their nails in a little harder, leaving marks and even gouges as they skid across the floors trying to find their footing. Floors with a slight texture to them provide excellent grip and help to protect your flooring against permanent marks.

Comfortable for dogs and their owners
Though there are many beautiful floors to choose from, not all of them are easy on canine and human joints, especially not as age starts to slowly creep its way in. Select a flooring which has a little give to it, and that is easy on your feet, hips, and joints if you have to stand on it for any length of time. If a flooring feels good to you, it most likely will feel good to Fido too.

In a home with dogs, durability cannot be sacrificed. You need a floor designed with pet use in mind. This does not, however, mean that you cannot have something that is both stylish and beautiful. There are many attractive flooring options to suit every pet owner’s tastes. It is important to remember that a beautiful floor that is very delicate in nature will not remain beautiful for very long. Choosing a floor that has been designed to withstand pet use ensures your floors can take a beating and still remain as lovely as the first day you installed them.

Easy to clean
Let’s face it; pets make messes. They drag in dirt, they roll in poop, and sometimes, they even bring in a dead animal they found in the yard. All of these things end up finding their home on your flooring. Since some floors retain odors and stains, it is best to select a flooring option that is easy to clean, and that can stand up to frequent spot treatments if necessary.

The Best Flooring Options Today

The good news is there are many different flooring options available today with something sure to meet the needs of every family including those who see some pretty serious flooring abuses by their dogs. Each, of course, has its commendations as well as its drawbacks. But what one dog owner can live with another cannot, so it is important to carefully consider all of your options before coming to a conclusion about the right flooring for your home.

Among the great flooring options to consider are the following:

Bamboo is a type of wooden flooring that has a mid-range rating on the Janka scale. The Janka ratings were developed to provide a comprehensive list detailing the hardness of each wood type. From this list, homeowners can then determine the suitability of a type of wood for the project they are considering. While bamboo has much to commend it, it is a slightly softer wood, though still considered a hardwood, than other wooden flooring options. This may mean that homes that see wear and tear from large breed dogs might want to pass on bamboo in favor of a wood with a higher Janka rating such as rosewood, walnut, or cherry. Timbergras bamboo has a Janka rating of 1,645. For comparison, anything earning less than a score of 850 falls within the category of softwood with woods ranking 1,250 or greater receiving the classification of hardwood.

Bamboo earns high marks from homeowners for its ability to stand up well in high traffic areas of a home. It is a wood option which is environmentally friendly as well as easy to clean. Best of all, bamboo is highly resistant to staining and rarely succumbs to damage from regular wear and tear from pets. However, it is recommended that those considering bamboo flooring choose a lighter color as some of the darker hues more easily reflect nail marks. Bamboo is also prone to damage from liquid spills.

Bamboo is considered an expensive flooring option; however, it offers a moderate level of durability. It also does not retain odors, pet hair, or dander, meaning it is an excellent choice for people with allergies.

Cork is another popular flooring option for families with dogs. In many ways, it is similar in functionality to bamboo; however, it is constructed of an entirely different material and is marginally cheaper in price.

Cork is also an environmentally flooring option and is comprised of a material which is naturally resistant to germs and allergens, making it a better choice from a health perspective.

Cork has an added benefit of being gentle on joints. It also absorbs and retains heat well, meaning it is comfortable on canine and human foot pads.

Among cork’s many great benefits are its ability to withstand regular household spills. It is exceptionally easy to clean and requires little to no maintenance. Cork’s main disadvantages are its predisposition to discoloration when frequently exposed to the sun and its poor resistance against scratching. Since cork is soft and porous, it is also not a great choice for rooms that contain furniture pieces that are heavy as they can leave permanent indentations in the flooring.

Since cork is not a wood product, it does not have a Janka rating.

Carpet, like all floorings for homes with pets, has its advantages and disadvantages. There are many different manufacturers of carpets, and many of them offer leading edge technologies to prevent odor and hair accumulation and to eliminate damage from spills, stains, and dirt.

Carpet receives high accolades for its comfort. There is no question that it lends itself to a more luxurious “feel” for both canines and their owners. Carpeting also comes in a number of styles, textures, colors, and patterns to allow each homeowner to customize the “look” they are going for in that particular room.

Though carpet can be prone to permanent damage from pet wear and tear, many home owners opt to purchase carpet tiles instead of laying a singular piece of carpet. This provides the added advantage of being able to remove and replace one tile instead of the entire floor if it becomes stained, discolored, or stinky beyond all repair.

Carpet’s main disadvantages are that it can be quite difficult to get and keep clean, and it does show its age and wear on it quite quickly in comparison to other types of flooring.

Many consider laminate to be a more affordable version of hardwood. Homeowners espouse the virtue of having the look of an oak floor without the hefty price tag typically attached to installing the “real thing.” But price is not the only benefit laminate brings to the table for families with dogs. Laminate is exceptionally easy to clean, meaning it is a low maintenance flooring option. Though it is resistant to damage from fluids, it can buckle at the seams if spills are not cleaned up in a timely manner. Laminate disguises scratches from pet nails exceptionally well, meaning wear and tear is less noticeable.

However, laminate is an extremely slick surface, offering little in the way of traction. This can be particularly troublesome for older pets. Though its lower price point is a selling feature, the down side to it is that it is not as durable as hardwood and has to be replaced more frequently to maintain its appearance.

For many families, hardwood is the gold standard. Wood can make a very durable and attractive floor indeed; however, it is very important to note that not all woods are created equally and not all of them will stand up well to a home with pets.

If hardwood is your flooring of choice, it is crucial that you carefully scrutinize the Janka ratings to ensure that you are selecting a type of wood that is best suited to the type of abuse your floors are sure to receive. Among the wood types which receive the highest Janka ratings are the following: oak, maple, hickory, walnut, sycamore, cherry, bamboo, and mahogany.

As a general rule, the higher the Janka rating for the type of wood, the greater its ability to withstand scratching and gouging from persistent dog nails. An added layer of protection can be procured by the addition of a urethane coating.

Hardwood earns high marks for its versatility in both colors and finish types. It is also exceptionally easy to clean. However, hardwood is one of the most expensive flooring options, and it can be prone to damaging easily.

Vinyl is an excellent option for families with dogs. It is relatively inexpensive and comes in a vast selection of styles, textures, and colors. Many families love it because of its low maintenance needs. It is easy to clean and repels all stains and scratches exceptionally well. It is not prone to attracting or trapping allergens or bacteria, making it an allergy-friendly flooring choice.

Vinyl’s main down points are that its surface can easily lose its shine, leaving your floors looking less than brilliant. Water can also cause the glue backing to lose its adhesiveness, causing lifting and even the growth of mold or mildew underneath the flooring.

Ceramic/Stone Tile
Ceramic or stone tile is an excellent choice for most homes. It is easy to get and keep clean as well as incredibly durable and resistant to damage of any sort. The grout can be a nuisance to get and keep clean, and for this reason, selecting a darker grout color is preferable to white.

Tile is a surface that can be chilly on the feet and is not as comfortable as other flooring options. Additionally, it provides very little traction for aging pets.

Things You Can Do to Reduce Damage to Flooring
Unfortunately, there is no perfect flooring option, and damage will occur over time to even the most durable of floors. However, pet owners don’t have to stand idly by waiting for it to happen. There is much that can be done to reduce potential damage to our floors.

Here are a few simple things that homeowners can do that will have a big impact on keeping their floors looking shiny and new:

  • Keep your dog’s nails short.
  • Clean up any spills or accidents right away.
  • Place doormats at each entrance to pick up any errant dirt after outdoor activity.
  • Place mats under any item that is likely to leave debris on your flooring such as your dog’s water dish.

So, you’re ready to purchase new flooring! By taking some time to consider each of the great flooring options available today, you will be able to select the flooring that is perfect for Fido and the whole family. Happy shopping!



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