Best Pet Friendly Flooring Options for Dogs
So, you have pets...more specifically dogs...and you are looking at the best flooring options if you own pets. Which do you choose? Hardwood? Bamboo? Laminate? Carpet? I recently had to do a ton of research on hardwood floors and what type of wood (if any) would be best for my 80 something pound mutt. After all, when you are looking for flooring alternatives and you have dogs, the first thing you need to worry about is selecting a floor that will be the least resistant to dents and scratches that will be made by our furry friends. In this article, I intend to show you the pro's and con's of each type of flooring when you have pets. The good news is that there are pet friendly flooring options. The bad news is that there is not one flooring option that is 100% scratch resistant and eventually your flooring will get scratched, whether this is from you or your pet.
Best Flooring solution for dogs?
Hardwood flooring and Dogs...what to look for...
I have been in homes with hardwood floors all my life so when the first house we bought was wall to wall carpet, the first renovation we planned on making was to strip the carpet and lay down either hardwood floors or something that looks and feels like hardwood, like laminate.
My first stop was lumber liquidators in which the salesperson kind of eased my concerns in terms of scratched or dented hardwood floors. As he put it....it doesn't matter how careful you are, chances are certain that you will eventually dent and scratch any flooring....it may be the dogs..it may be your wife or child...it may be you....but I can guarantee that your flooring will eventually have a few dings.
Hardwood comes in a variety of choices and what type you choose will ultimately depend on your lifestyle. If you have big dogs, then you are going to want to choose the more durable hardwoods. These include:
This is good news for most as oak is probably the most popular hardwood in the United States.
Some of the hardwood you will want to avoid if you have dogs is:
These are the softer hardwoods out there and will not only scratch easily, if you have pets, they will ruin these types of floors. This said, your animals will scratch up your floors if you don't keep their nails trimmed down.
Bamboo Flooring and Pets
I did a lot of research on bamboo flooring, primarily because bamboo is supposedly eco-friendly AND durable. And what I got were a lot of mis-signals. My first stop was Lowe's. When I asked the guy about bamboo toughness, he went off into a vietnam story which I won't go into about exactly how tough bamboo flooring is. He was basically really trying to sell me on the idea that bamboo was the best flooring for large dogs.
However, when I researched it online, what I discovered was that many homeowners were not very happy with bamboo and found that it not only chipped and scratched easily, it did so without pets, nevermind the fact that I have a 80 pound dog that could make minced meat of this hardwood.
The reason behind this can be found on the Janka Hardness Test. While bamboo is just as hard as some other hardwoods (it is somewhere in the middle), what isn't mentioned is that the difference that dictates the durability of bamboo is whether it is heated and for how long.
In other words, the lighter the bamboo, the less it is heated and the harder it is. Since I was going for a darker wood look, the wood I would have selected would have been on the softer side of the bamboo types.
For more information on this, you can check out this article on the pro's and con's of bamboo flooring.
Laminate Flooring and Dogs
If you ask any hardwood flooring installer for advice and you tell them you have dogs, then it is very likely that they will suggest laminate flooring. And while this isn't good news to those who are hoping to find hardwood that is resistant to your dogs scratching the surface and ruining your floors, laminate is pretty much the way to go.
Does laminate look and feel like hardwood?
This really depends on the quality of the laminate. When I was in lumber liquidator's I asked the salesperson this very question and he answered by putting a piece of laminate up against an upper end hardwood. You literally couldn't tell the difference.
All this said, laminate doesn't have as much "give" in the floor as hardwood does which means that it is feels a little harder. This can be remedied by going after the thicker pieces and being sure to add additional softer laminate underlayment such as cork.
Is Laminate that scratch and dent resistant?
The jury is still out there on this one and it really depends on the quality of the product. I eventually chose laminate over hardwood and the difference in price per square foot really wasn't that different.
My installer told me that the laminate I chose would be less likely to chip or scratch but that there is no flooring that is 100% scratch resistant.
Still, I have yet to find anyone that would argue that laminate is not the best flooring solution for dogs. And considering that it is the cheapest flooring solution outside of carpeting (which isn't good for dogs in this author's opinion), laminate is something that will give you the look of hardwood. For more information on this comparison, you can check out hardwood floors versus laminate flooring.