Best Options for Dog Friendly Hardwood Floors

Best Flooring for Dogs

Most of us consider our dogs as part of the family. This is why we let them stay inside our homes. However, what if you plan to install hardwood floor in your room? You’re probably worried that they will destroy your precious floor in a snap. If you have big dogs, their nails can easily scratch your hardwood floor. Aside from that, their urine and spilled fluids from food can damage the wood surface.

You are not alone though. A lot of homeowners have both dogs and hardwood floor in their homes and they’re doing just fine. They have a beautiful floor and at the same time enjoy the company of their furry friends. Compared to carpet, hardwood is still a manageable type of flooring when you have dogs.

The following guide will help you in selecting hardwood floor that’s ideal for having dogs at home. At the same time we will also give you tips in preventing scratches on hardwood floor from dogs.

Things to Consider When Choosing Your Hardwood Floor

1. Durable Hardwood

Choose a prefinished hardwood floor over an unfinished one because it is factory treated and will give your floor a more durable finish. Modern prefinished hardwoods have an Aluminum Oxide finish, giving you a dog resistant hardwood floor. It is a layer on top of the wood composed of aluminum oxide dusts that makes it last longer and resist scratches better. Choose a brand that has the max number of aluminum oxide coating and has it on the backing layer as well.

2. Light Colors with Texture

The color and texture of your hardwood is also an important factor to consider before purchase. Light colored finishes with a little bit of grains can hide scratches and dents that dogs can cause. They won’t appear as obvious compared to dark colored finishes. A light oak wood is one good option. Hardwoods with texture are also good in hiding those scratches and dents. Handscraped finishes are becoming really popular these days. You may want to consider them if you have pets at home.

3. Hard Wood Species

Some wood species are inherently harder and more durable compared to others, so you should also keep this in mind when selecting hardwood floor. Brazilian Walnut for example is much tougher than American Cherry. We would recommend the former not only for homes with pets, but also for high traffic areas. Other hardwoods with good hardness rating include: White Oak, Maple, Hickory, Amendoim, Brazilian Cherry and Mahogany.

4. Acrylic Impregnated Flooring

There are some manufactures that offer additional protective layers that are acrylic impregnated. These types of flooring are treated with sealant and acrylic all throughout the wood, including the pores inside. This makes the wood more durable and more resistant to moisture, dents and scratches. The only drawback with acrylic impregnated floors is that they are much more expensive than the regular prefinished hardwoods. They are commonly used in commercial projects like gyms, bars, restaurants, shopping malls and airports.

5. Additional Coats of Finish

You may opt for having additional coats of finish to your floor with oil-based or water-based polyurethane. However, this may void the warranty of the pre-finished floor that you purchased.¬†Therefore, ask the manufacturer for recommendations on how to add extra protection for your floor if you think the prefinished one isn’t enough.

Prevention and Maintenance

1. Proper Training

Giving your dog proper training can save you from a lot of trouble. It is a positive and fun way to letting your dog learn new things, including potty training. You need to set a regular schedule to bring him outside and do his business. You can also temporarily use training potty pads and place them in spots where your dog accidentally urinates. The best potty pads are quick-drying and can absorb lots of liquids, preventing it from seeping through to the hardwood. Should there be unforeseen accidents that happen directly on your floor, make sure to clean the surface right away.

2. Clipped and Trimmed

Dog scratches on hardwood are less likely to happen when the nails of your dog are regularly clipped and trimmed. Not only that, long unclipped nails can easily rip your furniture. Also note that larger breeds will do more damage than the small ones. You can place mats near doors and other areas, to help lessen the debris from the feet of your dog.

3. Mats at Eating Area

It is recommended to have a waterproof mat made of rubber, under food and water bowls to protect the floor underneath from spillage. This will also prevent the bowls from moving around, which could also cause water and food spillage. Lastly, buy sturdy dog bowls or dishes so they won’t fall over easily.

4. Regular Repair and Maintenance

The sooner you attend to repair dog scratches on your hardwood floor, the lesser problems you have to deal with if there are any future accidents. Let’s say prevention didn’t work and you notice a scratch on your floor - you can still fix it with a stained marker with a color similar to your floor. If it’s a deep scratch, you will need to go to the next level, which is to use a wood filler, sand it down, and restain the affected portion of the floor. If you’re not sure about the stain color, start light before going darker. If a large area is affected, you would have to sand, restain and then recoat with polyurethane. Matching the existing color of the polyurethane is tricky. Make sure you know if it’s glossy, semigloss or satin. If there are hard-to-remove stains due to dog urine, you may have to replace the affected wood boards if the damage is severe.


Having a wonderful-looking hardwood floor with dogs around can be challenging and requires more attention than usual. Protecting your hardwood floor from scratches is a combination of keeping your dog well-groomed, and putting different types of protection around your home. And of course more frequent cleaning and maintenance is needed if you want to enjoy your hardwood floor at its best.

Do you have hardwood flooring and dogs at home? How has it worked for you so far? Please share your experience by contacting us.

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