Best Flooring for Your Dogs & Cats
You are ready to upgrade your floors, and you need to find something that works for you and your pet. So, it stands to reason – finding the best flooring for dogs and cats is important. After all, you could never imagine getting rid of your furry friend, or banning him to the backyard. Or, perhaps you are a cat lover and you fear the cat will ruin any new floors you choose.
Fear not. The good news is that there are plenty of options in flooring for pet owners.
In fact, in 40% of all homes, you’ll find at least one dog. And dog (or cat) lovers have found many pet-friendly options in new floors. There are compromises, of course, as is the case with most things. The good news is that, depending on your unique situation, with a little research and patience, you can find the right flooring for you home. Just keep in mind that the best flooring for dogs, cats, or any other pet should be one that you also enjoy. While it is great to take into consideration your furry friend, you also want to consider your needs and those of any other family members.
Let’s look at some of the best flooring options when you have pets.
Tile and Stone Flooring
If you want to find the best flooring that can hold up to whatever your pet dishes out, then tile and stone are your best options. These floors are water resistant, stain resistant, and easy to clean. Tile and stone flooring work well with pets of all ages. So, if you have a new puppy still learning to potty-train or an older dog who has trouble controlling its bowels, these floors are very forgiving. And if you forget to trim your pet’s nails, you don’t have to worry about them scratching or damaging your floors. Now, the downside is that while tile (including wood-look tile) and stone are convenient for you, they aren’t the most comfortable flooring for your pet. These floors are hard and cold.
Cats can easily find a cozy couch or chair to rest in. But, if you have dogs, make sure that they have a soft rug or dog bed somewhere in the house to lie down on. And if you live somewhere that gets cold in the winter, you may also want to consider installing a radiant heating system underneath your tile or stone flooring. Radiant heating will add warmth for both you and your pet. Tile and stone are definitely top picks in flooring if you want to preserve your floors and allow pets inside. However, they are not the most comfortable for your pets, so make sure to add softness and warmth to them.
Cork flooring is an excellent choice of flooring for pet owners. It resembles hardwood flooring and it is microbial.
What does this mean? If your pet has an accident on the floor, it is less likely to lead to the growth of bacteria, mold, and other harmful allergens.
So, while you want to clean it up quickly, if you don’t discover the accident right away, you can still remove it safely. Another benefit of cork is that it absorbs sound. If you love your pet but are not a fan of the sound of it traipsing noisily through your house, cork is a good option.
Cork is also scratch-resistant. However, this doesn’t mean it won’t scratch, and keeping your pet’s nails trimmed is still a good idea. Choose a lighter shade of cork flooring to minimize the look of scratch marks. And make sure to finish it with a tough, scratch-resistant finishing product. While cork flooring is not entirely “pet-proof”, it is an option that provides a natural warmth similar to hardwood flooring, yet resists some of the elements that other floors are vulnerable to when it comes to pets.
Like cork, bamboo flooring is another great option if you want a natural, wood look with pets. It is extremely durable, stain resistant, and scratch resistant. So, you can feel at ease as you watch your pet run across your brand-new floors. Just make sure to choose the right bamboo flooring. Not all bamboo is created equal. Choose one that has a high rating for hardness according to the Janka test. Strand woven bamboo floors-hold up the best over other types of bamboo flooring. Bamboo flooring is also easy to maintain. So, whatever your pet drags into the house from the outside is easy to clean up. Food and water spills or pet accidents won’t damage these floors either if cleaned up properly.
Plus, bamboo is very sustainable. So, you are also doing something good for the environment when choosing bamboo. Overall, bamboo flooring is an excellent choice at a great price point for a home with pets, as long as you choose one that is hard and durable.
Luxury Vinyl Flooring
Luxury vinyl flooring is a great choice if you have pets. It can mimic the look of natural stone tile or hardwood but is much easier on your pets (and your budget). Luxury vinyl comes in several forms: luxury vinyl planks (LVP) and luxury vinyl tile (LVT). LVP and LVT work well with pets for many reasons. Luxury vinyl is very durable. If you use a good quality product and install it correctly, it can withstand many of the challenges that come along with pets. And it won’t scratch or tear. It holds up well against accidents and food or water bowl spills. Most luxury vinyl is water resistant and some varieties are even waterproof. It is easy to maintain, and easy to clean. Plus, it is soft underfoot. So, your pets will be comfortable walking or resting on it. So, if you are looking for a budget-friendly flooring that you and your pets will enjoy, luxury vinyl is an excellent choice.
Engineered Hardwood Flooring
While any type of hardwood flooring is not really recommended for pets, if you must have hardwood, then go with engineered hardwood. Just be sure to choose one that rates high on the Janka test such as Brazilian cherry or white oak. And you definitely want it to have a tough, scratch-resistant finish on it. In case your pet does scratch through the finish, go with planks that have a thick veneer. If the top layer is thick, you can sand and refinish it a few times. Another way to help hide the scratch marks is to choose flooring that already has a “rustic” or distressed look. These styles already look worn and any scratch marks will naturally blend in. Also, remember to clean up any accidents or spills immediately to protect your floors. So, if you don’t mind spending a little more for high-quality engineered hardwood, it is possible for pets and hardwood floors to coexist in your home.
If you plan to install new flooring, and one of your goals is that it is pet-friendly, there are some flooring types that are best to avoid. Now, if you have your heart set on any of these floors, you can still have them. Just keep in mind that you may have to make some compromises, or work a little extra hard to maintain them. The first, and probably most obvious of these is carpet. Especially thick, plush carpets. Unless you choose a carpet designed for pet owners. Carpet stains easily. Plus, cats like to claw it and dogs like to chew on it. Solid hardwoods should also be avoided. Pet accidents or spills can permanently damage and warp them. Plus, they can easily get scratched up. So, if you insist on hardwood, you are better off going with engineered hardwood.
Laminate is has not traditionally been a good choice for pets. It can warp if it gets wet, unless you manage to get your hands on one of the waterproof laminate options manufactured recently. Plus, its texture can be slippery for pets. This can be troublesome, especially for dogs who may be prone to hip injuries. However, recent technological advancements in the industry have spurred us to review a few dog-friendly laminate flooring options.
Cleaning Your Pet-Friendly Floors
Whatever type of flooring you choose, keeping it clean is important.
Animals track dirt and debris inside the house. They also leave pet hair and dander.
And even if you have a cat who never ventures outside, it may leave a trail of litter that can harm your floors.
So, here are some tips to help keep your floors clean.
Create a weekly routine schedule to whip out your pet hair vacuum, and sweep often.
Mop hard surfaces on a regular (though less frequent) basis.
Clean up accidents such as pet urine immediately. Use homemade remedies or purchase a special pet product to neutralize it.
Place a mat under food and water bowls to prevent spills from making contact with your floors.
Some floors need refinishing every 6 months to a year. Mark your calendars and keep up with this to protect your floors.
Tips to Minimize Pet Accidents
If you have pets, you can expect the occasional accident. It will happen. Dogs may not be able to wait as long as you need them to. Cats can miss the litter box. However, there are some ways that you can minimize the frequency of accidents. First, if you have a new puppy, make sure to read up on house training. And be patient. Or, you can hire professionals to train the puppy for you. If your dog is older and starts having accidents, it may be a sign of a medical issue. The best place to start is by having your pet examined by a veterinarian. Stress can also cause dogs to have accidents in the house. If there are changes in the home that are stressing your pet out, try to find ways to help it through this time. Cats may go outside the litter box for many reasons. If the litter box is too dirty, the cat may avoid it. Sometimes behavioral or medical reasons are to blame. If the reason is behavioral, cats will typically go in the same place repeatedly. Clean the area thoroughly with an enzyme cleaner so that they cannot detect their new spot anymore. If necessary, rearrange furniture and close doors so they can no longer access it. And try cleaning and changing the location of the litter box. If your cat goes different places outside the litter box each time, it could be a urinary tract infection or another medical issue. You may need to take the cat to the veterinarian. Just remember, if you have pets, you will probably have accidents on your floor. Try to be patient with your pets and figure out the root cause of the accidents. And clean your floors up immediately to prevent damage to them.
While there is no “perfect” flooring for pets, there are plenty of options that will work. And some work better than others. The flooring you choose should be individualized to your needs and the needs of your pet. If you want the easiest, most durable flooring with pets, ceramic or stone tile might be your best bet. Just remember it is hard and cold, so provide a soft rug or pillow for your pet to cuddle up on. For green options that can accommodate your pets, cork and bamboo are great choices. But don’t skimp on the materials, cheap versions of these floorings can easily be damaged. The most budget-friendly, easy to maintain flooring for pets is definitely luxury vinyl. However, this option may not help you with resale value, so if you plan to move in the near future, keep this in mind. Hardwood flooring is considered the best for resale, but it is not the most pet-friendly flooring. So, look for engineered hardwoods that can handle most of the challenges with pets. Whichever option you choose, just remember that accidents will happen. And scratches are always a possibility with certain types of floors. Try to keep your pets groomed and trim their nails frequently. With regular upkeep of your floors and your pets, you can have nice floors in a pet-friendly home.