Hardwood Flooring and Dogs

Hardwood Flooring and Dogs

Our dogs are just like family, and I bet yours are too. As man’s best friend, dogs bring joy into people’s lives and provide unconditional love. Because people love their dogs, we often get asked if hardwood flooring is good to have with dogs – both for the dog as well as for the floor. Our answer is, of course it is! It is hands down better for the dog and for the home than carpet is. Some might tell you that laminate or vinyl are the best types of flooring for homes with dogs. While there are benefits to laminate and vinyl when it comes to scratch resistance, we still recommend hardwood based on its durability, eco-friendliness, beauty and the potential added value to your home. Nevertheless, here are a few things to consider:

Dog laying on hardwood floor

Do dogs’ nails scratch wood floors?

The bigger the dog, the more likely it is that you might see a scratch or two show up on your floor. However, there are species of trees that are harder and more resilient to scratches as well as finishes that can help prevent it. It’s also important to remember that any type of flooring you choose will eventually show damage over time – hardwood floors are no exception. You will see scratches, dents, scuff marks, even staining if the floor is not properly maintained, no matter the flooring type.

What hardwood species is best for dogs?

As mentioned above, the harder the wood, the less likely your dogs’ nails can cause damage. Some examples of harder species include white oak, hickory, and maple. These types of wood are less susceptible to scratches and other damage than softer wood species like pine, black walnut, and cherry.

Many trees grown in the Northern United States have a shorter growing season which results in trees having closer, more uniform grain – making the wood harder and more durable.

Different types of wood flooring diagram

Investing in more scratch-resistant finishes can also help prevent damage to your wood floors. Applying a finish like UV urethane with aluminum oxide added in will result in a highly scratch-resistance surface. However, too much aluminum oxide can make the floor look cloudy, covering up the natural beauty of the wood itself. It can also result in a plastic-y look. If you want to protect your floors while maintaining the natural look and feel of your wood, then using a natural or European oil finish is a good option. These types of finishes penetrates the wood, creating a molecular bond in the fibers that hardens the wood from the inside out.

Another option is to opt for prefinished wood floors. Manufacturers can often use stronger and more protective finishes in a factory than what can be safely applied on-site. However, when your floor is prefinished, the edges of the planks tend to be slightly beveled, which could result in some of the edges and seams not being protected. This could lead the ammonia in pet urine causing damage between the boards. Finishing your floor on-site usually results in seams that are fully sealed, preventing damage between the boards.

Distressed Wood Floor

In additional to harder wood, and strong finishes, you might also want to think about camouflage. And no, we don’t mean Mossy Oak!

You can “camouflage” a floor by choosing a species with a more pronounced grain pattern. With a more pronounced grain pattern scratches will blend in and be less noticeable. Red Oak and Hickory are excellent choices due to their dramatic grain patterns.

You can also camouflage your floor by choosing distressed looking wood. Using distressed wood for flooring is a current popular trend in the Southern United States that creates a more rustic look and feel. Plus, it usually involved utilizing reclaimed wood, which helps the environment!

How to protect your hardwood floors from dogs:

After choosing the proper type of flooring and the right finish, there are a few things to do that will increase the longevity of your hardwood floor:

  • Clip your dog’s nails
    • Not only is this more comfortable for your dog, it will help lower potential scratches on your floor.
  • Use rugs for high traffic areas
    • It is a good idea to place rugs where your dogs walk in the house. This could be in front of a window or door that leads outside. Just make sure the rug doesn’t slide, or your dog will slide with it!
  • Place a mat under food and water bowls
    • It is no secret that dogs are usually messy eaters and drinkers. Having a mat under food and water bowls can save your floor from food particles and water droplets.
  • Clean up accidents quickly
    • The ammonia found in pet urine can damage finishes and wood. Make sure you clean it up sooner than later so it doesn’t have time to set in. If you are looking for the best way to clean your hardwood floor accidents happen, visit our blog post


Interested in learning more about the best hardwood flooring for your home or business? Give us a call or fill out the contact form below.


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