You probably know that dogs can be hard on floors, but floors can also be hard on dogs — especially those with mobility issues. The best flooring choice will accommodate your dog's needs as well as your own. Finding such flooring might seem like a challenge, but there are great options on the market that will satisfy your and your pet's needs.
Read on to learn what floor materials are best for dogs and dog parents alike, and to discover the best hardwood floors for dogs.
The Best Flooring for Dogs: A Number of Choices
The best flooring will depend on your specific priorities. Style is no doubt important, but so are things like durability and ease of cleaning. If your pup sheds, you might want to choose a floor color or pattern that hides pet hair. That way, you won't need to sweep constantly. If your dog has special needs, those might come ahead of any other considerations. Cost is also likely an important factor when searching for the best floors for dogs. Fortunately, you can find lots of stylish and affordable flooring options that meet your and your pup's requirements.
Ceramic, stone and porcelain tiles are easy to keep clean — a quick swipe with a damp mop is all you'll need to wipe up muddy paw prints or housetraining fails. Tile is durable and scratch-resistant, so it will stand up well to doggy nails.
The downside of tile is that your dog may find it slippery. And, while lying on cool tile might feel good in warm weather, tile in the winter can be downright cold. Both of these problems, however, can be solved with cozy rugs and pet beds. The Spruce points out that you can check a tile's coefficient of friction specs to find one that's easier for paws to grip. They add that thicker grout can also help keep your pooch from slipping.
More affordable than tile, vinyl flooring is another option that's durable and easy to clean. Vinyl tends to be easier for paws to grip than tile. Vinyl stays cool during the summer, and it doesn't get as cold as tile in the winter. Still, you may want to provide more comfortable surfaces on which your pooch can relax.
If you love the look of hardwood floors, laminate could be your best bet. While mimicking the appearance of wood flooring, laminate is more durable and scratch-resistant. One drawback is that laminate floors can get damaged from spills that don't get wiped up quickly enough. This might take laminate out of the running if you're housetraining a puppy, if you have an older dog with incontinence issues or if you have a dog who's prone to the occasional accident.
Another potential disadvantage of this flooring, says the American Kennel Club, is that the finish used to seal and protect laminate floors can be very slippery. However, you can ask for a more textured matte finish that will provide some traction for your pup.
Cork flooring is another pet-friendly option that will give you that hardwood look. Besides being durable, cork absorbs sound, which means the noise of your pooch's nails tapping on the floor won't ring throughout the house. Better yet, cork not only stands up better to spills than laminate flooring but, according to Floor Critics, it's also naturally antimicrobial and easy to maintain, which is good for pet parents who often clean up after accidents.
Cork flooring tends to provide a good grip and retain heat well, making it a comfortable surface for pets to walk and sleep on.
With properties similar to the hardest of hardwood flooring, bamboo floors are a stylish and durable option if you're looking for flooring that can stand up to wear and tear. Durable and scratch-resistant, bamboo provides enough friction to keep paws from slipping and sliding — and it tends to stay at a warm temperature. Just be aware that bamboo flooring can vary in quality. For harder flooring that can stand up to your pet's nails, look for strand-woven mature bamboo, says Home Flooring Pros.
Wall-to-wall carpeting is probably the most comfortable type of flooring, both for pets and people. But pets tend to be especially hard on carpet, which is prone to staining, traps odors and allergens and is easily ruined by nails snagging on fibers. If you have your heart set on carpeting, consider carpet tiles instead of wall-to-wall carpeting. Carpet tiles provide all the advantages of carpeting — including comfort, warmth and ease of mobility for your pooch — but if a section gets damaged, it's easily replaceable.
The Best Hardwood Floors for Dogs
Wood floors are generally not counted among the best floors for dogs, as they're easy to damage. However, if you're determined to have genuine hardwood flooring, the key is to go with the hardest wood you can afford. The softer the wood, the easier it will be for nails to gouge it.
Here are your best hardwood flooring options:
- Brazilian walnut: Hard enough for outdoor use, Brazilian walnut, also called ipe, is one of the hardest wood floors on the market. While it's a pricey option, the cost has lowered in recent years, says The Spruce.
- Hard maple: Often used on basketball courts, domestic hard maple flooring — sometimes called sugar maple or rock maple — is slightly more affordable than Brazilian walnut. It has a hardness rating that means it should weather most pets' use, though it can still become gouged if your dog is especially large and heavy or is particularly active.
- Reclaimed wood: The most affordable option, reclaimed wood floors can give your home a vintage, lived-in look. Since they're meant to look distressed, any scratches or dings your dog leaves behind will blend in and add to the charm.
How to Make Your Floors More Dog-Friendly
If you're not looking to completely overhaul your flooring, there are still steps you can take to protect your floors from damage and make them more comfortable for your pooch:
- On hard floors, lay down area rugs to provide softness and warmth.
- Place machine-washable rugs and carpet runners in high-traffic areas to protect your floors and provide plenty of traction for your pup.
- Trim your dog's nails regularly. It will make your dog easier on your floors and will make them less likely to slip.
- Give your dog a pet bed so they don't have to lie on a cold, hard floor and won't resort to taking over your furniture.
- If your dog is prone to accidents, place puppy training pads in strategic locations and encourage them to go there when they can't make it outside. You might also consider dog diapers or belly bands if they struggle with incontinence. Always consult your veterinarian if your dog is prone to accidents in the home, as this is often a sign of a larger health issue.
With so many pet-friendly flooring options available on the market, you're sure to find an option that suits the needs of your whole family — Fido included.
Jean Marie Bauhaus
Jean Marie Bauhaus is a pet parent, pet blogger and novelist from Tulsa, Oklahoma, where she usually writes under the supervision of a lapful of furbabies.