Considering the best flooring for pets can be a complicated process. Many types of flooring contain trace amounts of dangerous chemicals – these may be warranted for human exposure, but our pets are often smaller in stature. You may be leaning towards a certain floor because of its sturdiness and scratch-proof properties. Before you pull the trigger, it’s important to understand how these properties achieved. Does the chemical finish make for pet proof flooring, or is it basically a pet-sticide? (See what we did there?)
Whether your pet is old or new (to you – all dogs are puppies) it’s time you start answering some practical questions. Most importantly, “how do I keep my furry friend from destroying my floors?”
This question plagues thousands of people across the country. Currently, 48 percent of homes in the United States own dogs, and 38 percent own cats. While they are adorable, having pets means you run the risk of them damaging your flooring via scratching, shedding, and having accidents. The deliberation then becomes: are the floors for the pets or the pet owners? Pet safety can’t simply take a backseat, but how do you choose a floor that is both safe for paws and safe from claws?
However, just because you have a pet doesn’t mean your home’s appearance has to suffer. There are plenty of pet flooring options that can withstand the wear and tear that pets dish out without staining, turning dull, and becoming scratched.
Characteristics of a Pet-Friendly Floor
The best flooring options for dog and cat owners help keep your pet comfortable while warding against the common messes and damages they inflict. To do so, they must have the following characteristics:
- Good traction
- Easy to clean
By choosing the floor with these qualities, you can avoid permanent damage caused by pets. Accidents happen – whether scratches or tinkles – and you want to make sure your floor can withstand the most unpredictable moments. Maybe you should have let your dog out sooner (bad human!), or maybe your furry friend just got a little nervous when you didn’t get home from work at your normal time.
Fortunately, the pet-friendly floors on our list include these features without sacrificing style.
If you’re looking for a “warm underfoot” natural hardwood floor that’s also eco-friendly and ultra-durable, look no further than bamboo. Held in high regard by interior designers and homeowners alike, bamboo flooring is one of the best options for dog and cat owners. Due to its extreme hardness, even the largest of dogs and cats can’t scratch it, and it provides 24-hour spill-protection against accidents. As a naturally antimicrobial material, bamboo will also help keep your house free of mold and other allergens.
When deciding which type of bamboo to choose for pets, we suggest strand woven bamboo, which is around three times harder than oak. You also typically don’t have to worry about refinishing bamboo floors because strand woven bamboo is more durable than traditional woods. As a bonus, bamboo is a rapidly renewable resource due to its quick growth rate, making it great for the environment. For this reason, it is also far more affordable than other hardwood options.
There is a wide array of discounted bamboo flooring in many different surface treatments, colors, and styles. To find the look that is right for you, you can choose from several natural bamboo flooring options such as hand-scraped, engineered, and click-lock floating floors.
Luxury vinyl flooring can imitate the look of natural stone or hardwood for a much lower price. This flooring option is durable enough to resist scratches from your dog or cat’s claws while also feeling soft on their paws. You won’t have to worry about them sliding around on its smooth surface as it also provides good traction to keep them steady. Luxury vinyl is a popular choice for many pet owners for a variety of reasons. Not only is it easy to clean, but it also promotes low levels of allergens. Also, many types of luxury vinyl are water-resistant, and there are even waterproof options.
Due to its durability, tile flooring is a popular option among pet owners. When you invest in tile floors, you don’t have to worry about your floor getting scratched. Its water-resistant and stain-resistant surface makes it very forgiving towards any common messes that accompany pet ownership. However, there are a few downsides to this type of flooring. For example, tile is tough and cold, which can be uncomfortable for pets to walk and rest on, especially older pets. Also, tile reflects sound, which can amplify your pet’s loud noise running around on the tile surface or barking.
Stone is a logical flooring choice for pet owners as it is water- and stain-resistant. Plus, its smooth surface makes it very easy to clean. However, much like tile, stone flooring does not retain heat. Due to this feature, it can be uncomfortable for your pet to rest on. If you decide to install stone flooring, you will want to purchase a few rugs and a pet bed to keep them comfortable.
Cork has several attractive qualities that pertain to pet owners. For one, it is hypoallergenic. This means that it repels pet hair, dust, and other small particles, making it very easy to clean. It also has antimicrobial properties, which organically fend off the growth of bacteria, mold, and the colonization of small insects that your pet may bring in from the outdoors. Owners of noisy pets will appreciate its sound-absorbing qualities, while pets will love its warm, pliant surface. However, cork is not the most scratch-resistant flooring on the market. If you choose to get cork floors, you should regularly trim your pet’s nails to avoid damage.
Floors to Avoid
Now that we have addressed the best flooring options for dog and cat owners, here are the ones you should avoid. If you currently have one of these floors and are thinking about getting a pet, you may want to consider switching to one of the options listed above.
While carpeting is a relatively inexpensive option, it is one of the worst flooring choices for pet owners. Due to its absorbent nature, it stains very easily. Also, it is much more difficult to clean compared to smoother flooring options.
Laminate flooring may be durable, but it is also very slippery. Smooth and high gloss laminate floor is hazardous for pets because its slick surface will cause them to lose traction when they walk. This should be a big concern for pet owners because sliding on the slippery surface can cause your cat or dog’s hips to shift abnormally. Over time, this can seriously harm your pet’s body.
Ultimately, your dog or cat’s claws will end up covering your hardwood floors in scratches. While there are a few extra-durable options, such as hard maple or Brazilian walnut, they come with a pretty steep price tag. Also, hardwood floors are not very water-resistant. If your pet tracks in liquid or has an accident in the house, this could cause permanent damage to your floor’s surface.
When it comes to pet-friendly flooring and maintaining your house’s style, there is no reason why you should have to choose between the two. Thanks to these durable flooring options, you can have it all.
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About the Author
Jen is your go-to guru for crafting a cozy, green cocoon. 🪴 Her dive into sustainable building wasn’t just about saving the planet—it started as a mission to make family movie nights eco-friendly (and to ensure the popcorn was the only thing getting heated!). With a knack for breaking down the jargon, Jen turns eco-lingo into everyday language. Swing by the Green Living blog for a mix of earth-loving advice and home improvement hacks. Whether you’re just dipping your toes into green waters or you’ve been swimming in the deep end of DIY projects, Jen’s here to guide, giggle, and remind you that every eco-choice is a step towards a planet that thanks you… and maybe even sends a rainbow your way! 🌈