My sweet boy, Riggins, is 11 years old. Together we’ve lived in three different homes and experienced a number of different flooring materials and dog-related flooring damage that left us wondering — what is the best flooring for dogs?
When Riggins was 3 months old, we lived in the top floor apartment of a three-story building. Puppy damage made the collection of my security deposit upon moving iffy at best! This included a large chunk of carpet and padding being damaged beyond repair. Who knew that puppies like to “dig” into carpet? Well, besides anyone who has ever owned a puppy.
Puppies tend to be the hardest on home flooring, but dirt and damage doesn’t go away as a dog ages. To help uncover some helpful tips and tricks to keep your floors looking good for as long as possible, I reached out to a couple of experts. Their feedback along with experiences from my own life can help you determine the best flooring for dogs:
Search for scratch-resistant flooring for dogs
A dog getting his nails trimmed. Photography by Remains/Thinkstock.
Hardwood floors can be easily damaged by sharp dog nails. Keeping your dog’s nails trimmed will help, but post-cut nails can be their sharpest and most damaging. To help cut back on possible damage:
- A Dremel tool or nail grinder/file will take off the sharp points.
- Nail caps are plastic covers you can attach to your dog’s individual nails. They come in pretty colors or clear. Booties or socks work if your dog will keep them on. For indoor use, I find that socks with a “grip” on the bottom (like on the bottom of footed pajamas) work the best.
Stop pups from slipping on floors
Wood, laminate and vinyl may be the easiest to keep clean, but they are also the hardest for older dogs to gain traction on. These items help keep your pup from slipping:
- Toe grips — plastic rings that go over your dog’s nails allowing the tip to still be exposed — can be put on by you or a professional.
- Musher’s wax applied to the bottom of your pup’s paws can help with traction.
- Keep the fur around and in between the paw pads cut back.
- Get a mat or throw rug path for your dog to use.
- Put water and food on flooring that won’t get damaged
- Place water and food bowls on a mat and, if possible, on flooring that won’t be damaged if water is on it for too long, like tile. This is especially important if your dog is a drooler or water digger.
- Keep a mat both inside and outside any door your dog uses.
- For extra dirty pups, set up a paw washing station outside for a quick cleanup before heading inside.
- Keep training and pee pads in a holder, so any leaks have zero chance of hitting your floor.
How to clean your floors with pets
- Use a handheld carpet cleaning tool for small jobs. This is a life saver. I’ll even go so far as to say it’s my favorite cleaning tool in my arsenal!
- Vacuum, vacuum, vacuum! Try to remember how good it feels when your carpet has just been vacuumed. If you own a dog, you’ll need to break out that machine a lot and will need that personal memory as motivation!
- Get your carpet cleaned. There are conflicting recommendations on how often to get your carpet cleaned, but I say it depends on how filthy your dog is. My pup is an outdoorsy type, so I err on the side of cleanliness and try to clean any rugs or carpets every six months.
Expert tips on the best flooring for dogs
Empire Today has been in business for more than 55 years and has more than 2 million satisfied customers. Here are some of its professional suggestions:
- Shop for carpet with built-in stain protection. Scotchgard™ 3M, R2X® Protection and Stainmaster® make it more difficult for puppies to leave permanent stains, odors and soiling.
- Always check for “pet urine protection” labels on carpet samples. (Some brands have different names for it.) This can help keep accidents and odors on the surface for easy cleanup, rather than deep in the fibers where it can turn into a tough stain.
- Scratch, stain and moisture resistance goes for hard floors, too. Check for tough protective coatings such as aluminum oxide on flooring samples. This can defend floors from most scratches, stains and moisture.
- Even if you keep your dog’s claws trimmed, avoid looped carpet, as nails of any length can snag and rip looped carpet easily.
- Don’t let sleeping dogs lie. Not only is sleeping on a hard surface uncomfortable, but a dog’s dead weight could leave an impact over time. Find a dog bed large enough for your pup to stretch out on.
- Consider tile or vinyl entranceways. They’re a lot better next to the backyard door than wall-to-wall carpet. It adds a buffer for liquids, mud and dirt.
- Keep bones and toys in one place. Bones and doggie toys can be pretty heavy! If they’re being knocked off a couch or dropped from a decent height, bad things could happen to your floors.
- Where there’s a will, fur will find a way. While cleaning up shed hair, use mops, brooms and vacuums without the beater bars to avoid scratching your floors.
Thumbnail: Photography by OksanaZahray/Thinkstock.
Read more about dogs and your home on Dogster.com:
Wendy Newell is a former VP of Sales turned dog sitter, which keeps her busy being a dog chauffeur, picking up poop and sacrificing her bed. Wendy and her dog, Riggins, take their always-changing pack of pups on adventures throughout the Los Angeles area. Learn more about them on Facebook at The Active Pack and on Instagram at /wnewell.