- Resistance to scratches
- Resistance to damage
- Pet traction
- Pet comfort
When it comes to scratches, dogs’ nails are a definite concern. Depending on the dogs size, weight, and nail length, they could cause permanent damage to some flooring options. With cats, their traction should be more of a priority to ensure they can move around your home safely. Both dogs and cats can have the occasional accident in the house, so looking for floors that are more resistant to urine damage should always be a focus for pet owners.
7 Pet-Friendly Flooring Options
Although hardwood flooring is a go-to flooring choice for its clean, classic look, it is not always the best option for pet owners as hardwoods are more prone to stains and water damage. If you already have hardwood floors or your heart is set on a beautiful style, the best pet-friendly hardwood materials include: oak, cherry, maple, hickory, walnut, mahogany, sycamore, and bamboo. Softwoods, such as pine, chestnut, larch, hemlock, and fir are more prone to dents and scratches and are not ideal for homes with larger breed dogs.
The harder the wood, the more likely it is to resist scratches from a dog’s nails. Reference the Janka Hardness Scale(below) to determine the hardness of wood. (The higher the number, the harder the wood). Any rating less than 850 is considered to be softwood. A rating 1250 and above is considered to be a hardwood. You can find this rating on each of the product pages.
- Available in various colors and finishes
- Easy to vacuum or sweep
- Prone to water damage and scratches
- Can easily stain if not cleaned immediately
- Salt crystals in pet urine can cause odor and stain to reappear over time
Out of all hardwoods, Bamboo is the best and one of the most popular hardwood flooring options for pet-friendly homes. Its natural hardness makes it more stain- and scratch-resistant than traditional hardwood floors. A customer favorite for sustainability and durablity, bamboo is an excellent choice for someone trying to decide between vinyl and hardwood flooring.
- Can withstand high traffic
- Resistant to wear and tear
- Darker finishes are sometimes more susceptible to water damage and scratches
Similar to bamboo flooring, cork flooring is eco-friendly and a naturally antimicrobial material that will reduce the growth of mold and other allergens. This is a perk that benefits both you and your pet! Additionally, cork flooring is warm and pliant making it comfortable to walk upon and can withstand foot traffic very well.
- Requires little maintenance
- Quiet underfoot and sound absorbing
- Discolors overtime from exposure to sunlight
- Surface can get scratched from sharp nails
- Not suitable in rooms where heavy furniture will be placed as it can indent the flooring permanently
Although laminate flooring looks similar to hardwood flooring, it provides a much easier clean up after your pet. Despite its hardness and durability, laminate flooring can also be quite slippery. If you’re interested in a smooth, high gloss laminate floor, it will reduce your pet’s traction even more. It’s best to select an option that has a textured or embossed finish to reduce slipping, or layer an area rug and rug pad over the flooring to provide extra traction for your pet.
- Scratches visibally less noticable
- Slippery surface causing pets to be less stable on their feet
Tile is a great option for pet owners as it is extremely durable and scratch-resistant. Tile also makes for easy clean up of accidents and spills. Most tile materials are scratch-resistant, but some softer, more porous stones (like marble) may require more maintenance and treatment. The one downside to tile is that the cold and hard surface provides little to no comfort underfoot. For added comfort and warmth, consider radiant heating and using area rugs throughout the space. A pet bed is a must to give your furry pal a cozy place to relax.
Stone Tile Flooring
- Cold and hard surface
Vinyl flooring is the ideal choice for most pet owners. Compared to other flooring materials, it is an extremely affordable option and can be installed almost anywhere in the home. Vinyl also provides great traction for your pet. Available in a wide variety of designs, such as wood-look luxury vinyl, it us a durable option that does not compromise on style.
- Scratch- and stain-resistant
- Promotes low levels of allergens
- Quiet underfoot
- Dulls easily
- Water spills can cause mildew or lifting if spills left unattended
- Comfortable underfoot and a soft landing for pets
- Available in various colors and styles
- Carpet tiles are easily replaced
- Difficult to clean
- Hard to remove urine stains or smells
- Prone to wear and tear
6 Tips to Keep Pet-Friendly Floors Looking Newer for Longer
These quick tips can help prevent or minimize damage to your brand new floors:
- Clip your dog’s nails regularly; their nails and claws can scratch the surface of your flooring
- Wipe up urine or other accidents as quickly as possible
- Food and water bowls create a lot of unexpected damage to your floors. Place a mat underneath your pet’s food bowls to catch any excess water
- Use doormats at all entrances to catch excess dirt and debris
- Designate an area rug or oversized pet bed as the “play area” where your pet can play with toys
- If you choose hardwood flooring, consider conditioning your floors once per year; buff once every couple of years; and have the top layer of your highest traffic areas sanded, stained, and refinished every 10 years