Best Flooring for Dogs: A Pet Owner's Guide
Whether you’re in the market for a new home or working on renovating your current one, choosing the right flooring as a pet owner requires some important considerations. Finding flooring that both suits your personal style and accommodates your animals might seem like a challenge, but there are plenty of options that will work for everyone.
If you’re wondering how to choose new flooring that aligns with your style and can also withstand the wear and tear that comes with owning dogs, read on to learn the best options to best suit you and your dog’s needs, or jump to the infographic below for more tips.
Choosing Flooring for Dogs: What to Consider
It’s entirely possible to find floors that support the lifestyle of your dog while still retaining their beauty — you just need to know what to look for. The best option will ultimately depend on the kind of dog you have but there are a few main considerations to keep in mind.
- Scratch resistance: Dogs can do a lot of damage with their nails, so scratch resistance is an important factor to look out for when comparing different floor materials.
- Water and stain resistance: If your pup isn’t potty trained or is more prone to accidents and spills, finding floors that won’t easily ruin or stain will keep them looking pristine for the long haul.
- Upkeep: Choosing floors that aren’t a hassle to maintain will make your life easier as a dog owner.
- Comfort and traction: If you’re like most dog owners, you want your pets to be comfortable and safe. Different floor types offer varying levels of comfort and traction for your dogs.
- Cost: Your floors are a significant part of your home, and it’s important to find an option that will provide a good return on your investment while still meeting the needs of your budget.
Keeping these factors in mind will help you narrow down all the flooring options you have to choose from. Once you know what to look for, read on to compare some of the best dog-friendly flooring options and decide on a floor type that works best for both you and your dog.
6 Best Dog-Friendly Flooring Options
Choosing a material that can withstand scratches, dirt and accidents over time is important for the longevity and quality of your floors. Below are some of the best flooring options that can meet your needs as a pet owner.
Tile is a timeless option that has frequently been a go-to choice for pet owners. Unlike a material like laminate, tile can withstand spills and wet-mop clean ups, and is less sensitive to moisture than luxury vinyl. Thanks to the advancement of today’s flooring technology, the high definition imagery of modern porcelain tiles gives it a highly realistic appearance of natural stones and even hardwood floors.
When combined with grout, the texture of tile offers plenty of traction for pets. One potential downside is the cold, hard feel of tile that may be less comfortable for your pets than other flooring options. There are two popular types of tile:
- Porcelain: Slightly more durable and water-resistant than ceramic, porcelain tile is a good choice for high-traffic areas like kitchens.
- Ceramic: Ceramic tile can cater to more intricate or eye-catching designs, and some varieties have textured surfaces that add visual depth and dimension.
- Natural stone: Natural stone such as marble, granite or travertine has a distinct beauty that can’t be achieved with substitutes. While it can be expensive, it’s a great way to infuse natural beauty into your home.
Besides being one of the most durable and long-lasting floor materials available, the timeless style of tile can also add value to your home. While it can be expensive, most types of tile last anywhere from 10–20 years, and there are plenty of cost-effective options available.
2. Luxury Vinyl
Vinyl flooring is durable, cost-effective and waterproof, making it an excellent choice for dog owners. Today’s vinyl flooring options can replicate the look of genuine hardwood flooring and other natural materials like stone or tile, with the added benefit of being more scratch-resistant and long-lasting. There are two main types of vinyl flooring:
- Luxury vinyl plank: Vinyl flooring designed in planks that mimic the look of traditional hardwood floors, with a softer underfoot than vinyl tile.
- Luxury vinyl tile: Vinyl flooring designed in a tile shape that mimics the look of traditional tile.
The affordability and durability of luxury vinyl make this one of the best choices for pet owners who want pristine-looking floors that will withstand the wear and tear of pets. Besides being easy to clean and maintain, there are countless patterns and finishes that can suit a wide variety of styles.
Laminate is known for its durability and ability to withstand scratches, making it a great option for highly active pets. Laminate has a similar appearance to vinyl but it tends to more closely mimic the design of hand-scraped or distressed hardwood thanks to its surface detail and texture. Smoother laminate finishes may provide less traction for your dog’s paws and tend to provide less insulation than other floor options.
While it’s not as waterproof as other types of flooring, it’s just as easy to clean and usually more affordable. This hard-wearing material is protected from scratches, wear and straining — all the things dogs love to test our floors on.
4. Engineered Hardwood
For those who don’t want to sacrifice the look of genuine hardwood floors, engineered hardwood flooring is a cost-effective alternative. Made with a thin layer of natural hardwood on the top, this material emulates the appearance of natural wood floors and typically lasts longer. While engineered hardwood can handle surface moisture if cleaned quickly, it’s not as water-resistant as plastic-based materials like vinyl, and excessive moisture can cause permanent damage.
Engineered hardwood comes in many different finishes, qualities, colors and patterns to suit almost any style. While it isn’t as scratch- or moisture-resistant as other flooring types, there are protective finishing options that can make this a viable option for pet owners.
Bamboo is an attractive option if you’re looking for pet-friendly floors that offer the look and feel of natural hardwood. It’s known for its extreme durability and stain resistance, as well as easy care and maintenance. Bamboo can come as either an engineered or solid product, and can be stained and finished in a number of ways.
Bamboo flooring is one of the strongest flooring materials available, and is resistant to major damage. While it can be sensitive to moisture, permanent stains are unlikely with proper care and the ease of maintenance bamboo provides.
Cork is a unique, eco-friendly flooring material that checks most of the boxes for pet-friendly flooring. Hypoallergenic and antibacterial, cork flooring is naturally resistant to mold and mildew and can withstand fair amounts of moisture — although a quick cleanup is required in most cases to prevent permanent damage.
Thanks to its natural softness and cushion, cork makes for a comfortable surface for pets with great traction. However, this also leaves it more vulnerable to dents or punctures, either from your dog’s nails or heavy furniture. Because it absorbs sound well, it can also reduce the noise of your dogs running around.
Types of Flooring to Avoid
If you’re planning to install new flooring as a pet owner, there are certain types of floors that are best avoided. That said, if you’re set on a type of flooring that’s not recommended for pet owners, you can still have them — just keep in mind they will require more work and effort to maintain.
Carpet is a traditional flooring type that unfortunately isn’t the top choice when it comes to coexisting with pets. Carpet is far more prone to permanent stains, and can be more easily damaged if your pet tends to chew or claw on things around the house. It’s also more likely to trap dander, pet hair, fleas and other pests, and it doesn’t fare well with moisture.
If you can’t part with the cozy look and feel of carpet, there are options available designed to resist pet stains and odors, such as water-repellent and stain-resistant styles. There are also many options for higher end carpets with pet stain protection warranties.That said, you can expect to spend more time on cleaning and maintenance if you choose carpets for your home.
Solid hardwood is one of the most stylish and timeless flooring options available. While this classic flooring type is appealing to many, most types won’t hold up in a home with pets. It doesn’t do well with moisture, and excessive moisture will warp and stain hardwood floors. It’s also not as resistant to scratches as other flooring types, but there are scratch-resistant finishes that can boost durability.
If you’re determined to incorporate hardwood floors in your home, it’s best to go with the hardest wood you can find to increase scratch resistance, along with a scratch-resistant finish. Hardwood floors can be refinished multiple times if necessary, which can boost their longevity. It’s also a good idea to keep your dog’s nails trimmed and handle clean ups as quickly as possible to maintain solid hardwood floors.
Types of Flooring to Avoid
Regardless of the type of flooring you end up choosing, they all require proper care and maintenance to keep them looking pristine. This is especially true for dog owners, who are no strangers to dirt and debris being tracked inside the house, as well as pet hair and dander, and general wear and tear. Follow the tips below to keep your floors looking and feeling clean.
Clean Spills Immediately
No matter what types of floors you have, cleaning any spills or accidents as soon as possible will reduce the likelihood of stains or permanent damage. The longer water sits, the more prone your floors are to sustaining water damage.
Trim Your Dog’s Nails Regularly
Making a point to keep your dog’s nails trimmed can reduce the amount of scratches on your floors. Make sure to keep your dog trimmed and groomed on a routine basis to limit damage to your floors.
Maintain Your Dog’s Food and Water Area
The area your dog eats and drinks is likely messier than other parts of the house. To block spillage and reduce damage, place mats under your dog’s food and water bowls to keep them from coming into contact with your floors.
Vacuum Frequently and Mop Regularly
Adopting a quick daily floor cleaning routine can significantly reduce the amount of effort you have to put into maintaining your floors. Taking care to vacuum frequently, if not daily, can help keep pet hair and dander at bay, and mopping once a week can keep your floors fresh. Focus on high-traffic areas for daily vacuuming to make things simple.
While no flooring is 100 percent pet-proof, it’s still possible to find floors you love that can withstand the wear and tear that come with owning a dog. With a dedicated cleaning routine, you can keep your floors looking beautiful even with furry friends running around. With different options like waterproof flooring and scratch-resistant finishes, there are endless possibilities to finding the right floors that fit your lifestyle.
For more guidance on how to choose the right flooring for your home, our flooring experts are available to answer your questions and offer personalized recommendations to suit your needs.