Have a Dog? How to Pick Hardwood Floors for Your Home

Do you have dogs? A lot of pet owners want their floor to look nice, but worry about their furry friends leaving permanent marks. The good news is that owning dogs doesn’t mean you can’t have hardwood floors. San Jose Hardwood Floors can help you pick the best floor for you and your entire family – including the dog!

As loveable as they are, dogs can do a lot of damage to any style of flooring. From leaving scratches and stains to stirring up dust, dirt, dander and more, there are two main factors we recommend homeowners consider:

  1. Ease in cleaning and repair.
  2. Health of your family.

When compared with carpet, hardwood floors sustain the same use but don’t confine allergens, hair, dust or odor. In fact, hardwood floors are the only option in which moisture damage, scratches and other surface damage can actually be sanded and refinished to look new again, making them a practical choice for families with pets.

What type of hardwood floors should you pick?

While we don’t offer a “dog guarantee” we do have helpful advice for selecting the best hardwood floors for dog owners.

  1. Select more durable woods. Hard woods (such as oak, cherry, maple, hickory, elm, balsa, mahogany and sycamore) are the most durable. Soft woods (like birch, cedar, pine, redwood, fir and larch) tend to dent more easily. For a full list of wood hardness, feel free to refer to the Janka hardness test.
  2. Invest in high quality finish. It’s important to stress that, while wood hardness can be helpful, the reality is that the finish is what’s most important in helping prevent wear and tear from your pets. A soft floor with a good quality finish will wear much better than really hard wood with a bad finish product. We are always happy to make recommendations regarding which types of finish would be best for your floor.
  3. Opt for less sheen. By selecting a finish with less sheen, your floors will be able to hide dents and scratches more easily. As an added bonus it makes it harder to see the pet hair and dirt, too.
  4. Use distressed wood. Because distressed and hand scraped hardwood floors have character built into them, additional dents and scratches from your furry friends won’t take away from the floors’ beauty.
  5. Consider alternatives to hardwood. If you’re not completely convinced you want hardwood floors, consider some of the other practical flooring options for dog owners, such as luxury vinyl tilevinyllaminatebamboo and tile.

Additional Tips to Keep Hardwood Floors Looking as New as Possible

  • Clip your dog’s nails regularly.
  • Wipe up urine and drool as quickly as possible.
  • Keep water bowls off the floor (use a rug or raised dog bowls with a mat underneath).
  • Place an area rug at doors in and out of the house your dog uses frequently.
  • Use an area rug or oversized dog bed as the “play area” where your dog can play with chew toys, bones, etc.
  • Condition your floors once per year, have your hardwood floors buffed once every couple of years, and have the top layer of your highest traffic areas sanded, stained and refinished every 10 years or so.

How to Prevent Your Dog From Slipping & Sliding

Hardwood flooring can certainly make the day-to-day life of your furry friend, who will likely slip and slide on it, a little more difficult.

Although dogs and hardwood floors can be quite entertaining, it’s not all fun and games. Physical Rehabilitation Veterinarian Shannon Budiselic explains that slippery hardwood flooring can actually be quite dangerous for dogs, including:

  • Older pets that have joint disease, muscle issues and eye conditions that limit their mobility.
  • Puppies that are less stable in general, and more susceptible to excessive joint movement.
  • Small dogs that often try to jump from one surface to another and end up hurting themselves badly from lack of traction.

Fortunately, there are a lot of options for homes with both dogs and hardwood floors. Here are a few products* that can help your four-legged-friends stay safe on your high quality hardwood flooring:

  1. Paw Wax – This product both softens and protects your dogs’ pads so s/he can grip slippery surfaces better. If your dog has dry, cracked paws, Paw Wax also repairs and rehydrates. Just be aware that this product does take some time to dry, so if your dog goes outside after a new application, his/her paws will pick up extra dirt. Just make sure you either wipe their paws off carefully or keep your pooch indoors for a while after application.
  2. Dog Booties – In addition to helping prevent your dog from slipping on your hardwood flooring, these little socks can keep Fido’s feet warm on chilly days. One thing to keep in mind with this solution is that, because of the way dog’s feet are shaped, sometimes the booties rotate around the paw, so the traction side is on top. If you opt for this solution, just keep an eye on your pets’ feet.
  3. Soft Paws – Invented by veterinarian Dr. Toby Wexler, these non-toxic vinyl nail caps protect your hardwood flooring from long, sharp nails. Plus, once those nails are covered, your dogs’ ability to grab the floor increases.
  4. ToeGrips – Made from a rubber cylinder, this product grips your hardwood flooring so your dog doesn’t have to. By sliding onto your dog’s nails, ToeGrips use pets’ natural biomechanics to grab onto the floor through their toenails.

Want advice for picking the best flooring for your home? Make sure you visit our showroom, your one-stop-shop for everything related to your floors. Don’t forget to contact us for a free in-home estimate, too!