Four on the Floor: Best Flooring for Dogs

best flooring for dogsDogs might be man’s best friend, but they can be a floor’s worst enemy. Between tracking in dirt, scratching surfaces with their nails or relieving themselves wherever they please, a dog can really do some damage to your house’s floors, especially rugs and carpets.

If you happen to be in a situation where you are building or remodeling your home and you have a dog who makes messes on your floor, you’re in the right place. We’ve compiled a list of several different pet-ready flooring types that not only can handle what your dog throws (or flings or excretes) at them, but they look good, too. While these different flooring types look and act different from each other, what unites them all in their pet-friendliness is their hardness and density, which can deal with messes and scratches alike.

Tips for Keeping Floors Clean

Before we get started breaking down the most pet-friendly floors for you, here’s a few tips to help curb potential messes and keep them corralled in specific areas of the house.

  • Trim your dog’s nails. Sometimes dog owners just focus on the messes their dogs might make and don’t think about them scratching up the floor. Scratching can be just as destructive as any mess a dog can make and potentially last much longer.
  • Keep their toys in a separate room that can take abuse, or just keep them outside. You don’t want your dog to get too rambunctious in the same room you keep your priceless Ming vases and Faberge eggs, now do you?
  • Keep water and food in an easy-to-clean room. Maybe keep these in the kitchen so you can easily mop or sweep up any mess that gets made. It may be smart to go a bit further and put an easily cleaned mat under their food and water.
  • Speaking of mats, use walk-off mats near the doors your pets use to enter and exit the house to catch the big messes they may drag in. Make sure the mats can be easily wiped down or tossed into the washer.

Dog-Friendly Floorings

These tough surfaces are a pet-owner’s best bets. If you have the option, the type of surface you want to stay away from at all costs is carpet. Chances are you have heard horror stories from other dog owners about the hypnotic and swirling patterns of filth that their dogs (and probably kids) have created on their carpets and rugs. Carpet is a sponge for messes and easily ruined. If carpet is your only option and you have a pet, try to go with the kind without loops so your dog’s nails don’t get caught and ruin the carpet or hurt themselves. Otherwise, here are some other popular and nice looking options for your dog’s house, which you also happen to live in.

  1. Bamboo – This wood-like surface is not just for pandas, but also makes a great flooring for houses with pets. It is incredibly hard, so it will stand up to all kinds of foot traffic, not just the four-legged kind. Bamboo is a great compromise between hardwood floors and vinyl flooring and is stain resistant. It is also completely renewable, so it’s good for the Earth.
  2. Cork – Like bamboo, cork is another green option which is also antimicrobial and will reduce the growth of mold and other allergens that dogs may be responsible for. It’s scratch resistant and sound absorbent so not only will your floor not get scuffed, your pup will move silently through the house like a hairy little ninja. Cork is water resistant, but it is a natural surface and spills should be cleaned quickly.
  3. Stone Tile – This option is great for pet owners, as this tough surface doesn’t scratch easily and when it does get scratched, they don’t show. Also, any mess that may befall the stone tile is easily cleaned up. The downside of stone flooring is that it is cold and may be uncomfortable for your dog to lie on and for you and your human family to walk on. Granite is one of the better stone options as it is low maintenance compared to other stones such as marble and slate.
  4. Porcelain/Ceramic Tile – Porcelain and ceramic are similar to stone tile and much like that option, it can stand up to wear and tear pretty well. Also like stone, this surface is easy to clean and maintain, but can be cold and uncomfortable at times. You can also get a style of porcelain that looks like wood grain.
  5. Vinyl – This type of flooring can take a beating from both pets and people alike, especially small children. It’s scratch and stain resistant, easy to maintain, low in allergens and quiet to walk on.
  6. Laminate – This option, like porcelain, can be made to look like wood. Its super strong, water resistant and very popular with pet owners.

Hardwood Floors

This popular flooring is surprisingly not very compatible with dogs. Urine can stain the wood and make it smell bad, even if the mess is cleaned up quickly. Same thing with the water bowl – if a mess is made and not quickly cleaned, the moisture can seep into the wood and warp it. Also, pets nails will scratch the wood almost beyond the point of recognition, not to mention the noise your dog will make walking around on the wood. Sweeping the wood surface and coating it with a urethane protectant may help in the long run.

If you insist on having hardwood on your floors, harder is better, and here are a few options that stand up best to your pet’s punishment.

  • Brazilian Walnut
  • Hard Maple
  • Oak
  • Hickory

If you happen to be in the unique position of changing your flooring or are building a house and are deciding what type of floor to put down and you have a dog that you want to consider when choosing your new flooring, these are the most popular options out there. Taking cost, look, environmental impact and what kind of dog (or dogs) you have into the equation will help you decide what kind of flooring to get. And don’t forget about the family members that walk on their hind legs, they have to use it too.