What is the best wood flooring for pets?
According to PDSA figures for 2022, just over half of us (52%) have a domestic animal at home. That equates to some 11.1 million pet cats and 10.2 million pet dogs – or an awful lot of furry friends!
But, much as we love them, having an pooch or kitty in the house may mean thinking about the wear and tear on your home, and being sure that floors in particular can withstand claws, hair shedding, ‘little accidents’ and the like.
The good news is there’s no reason why you can’t have your beloved four-legged family members and a glorious-looking floor. After all, real wood is naturally hygienic and low-maintenance. Read on to learn more about the best wood flooring for pets.
Laminate flooring gives a room the appearance of hardwood finish at a fraction of the cost – but it’s not fully waterproof. Any liquid left on the surface could damage the floor or cause it to swell. So laminate may not always be ideal – but some types are specifically designed to accommodate domestic animals. A matte or distressed finish will also improve traction and stop your kitty or pooch from sliding around. And if you choose a thicker veneer on top, this allows you to buff away smaller scratches with sandpaper.
If you need to do it, refinishing a laminate floor isn’t hard – options include whitewashing, staining or painting.
Especially if you choose products at the higher end of the market, vinyl flooring can be one of the more pet-friendly wood floors around.
After all, it’s pretty easy to maintain, the outer layer is generally scratch-resistant, plus there’s a typical lifespan of around a decade. Additionally, it’s possible to fit it yourself if you have the requisite skills.
On the downside, pets may take some time to adjust to walking over this surface. So try putting down a rug for them to trot over initially.
Ideally, try to refinish vinyl flooring once or twice a year; you can do this yourself quite easily.
Wood flooring is warm with a lovely texture, and so it’s understandably popular with homeowners. It can also last decades and is hypoallergenic. An oiled finish to retain the wood’s natural look will make the scratches appear less obvious, while overall your floor will look less tired.
Again, your four-legged friends may find wood flooring somewhat slippery underfoot. Additionally, it does have some potential for staining and scratching. Go for a harder variety such as maple, hickory or white oak rather than softer timbers, for example cherry or pine.
The hardwood floor refinishing process is pretty easy and cost-effective – you can have your wood floors looking as good as new in a few hours. Try hiring a buffing machine, and then just vacuum up the dust.
Tips for pet owners
Here’s how to minimise the impact of pets on hardwood, laminate and vinyl floors:
1) Clip claws
Both cats and dogs have strong, sharp nails which can potentially mark flooring, although these scratches and scuffs don’t always constitute permanent damage. (Being lighter, cats are usually less problematic.) As a rule of thumb, if you can hear claws against the floor, it’s time for some trimming. Equally, if dogs have fluffy paws, this can make it harder for them to walk, so it’s more likely they’ll skid and scratch your floor.
Laminate and vinyl floors in particular feature a protective coating which keeps lighter scratches at bay.
2) Cleaning up spillages
Younger pets especially may pee (and worse) on the floor. The key here is to act quickly. The acid in urine will start to decompose floorboards, often leaving a dark stain. Mop up swiftly with a vinegar and warm-water mix before the liquid seeps into the floorboards, and don’t use any products containing ammonia. If a rug is affected, wash and dry thoroughly. Training pads should go in areas where pets are more likely to have accidents; place food and water bowls and litter trays on tiled surfaces, or have a thick mat underneath them.
It’s also worth always keeping a towel easily to hand for drying your dog before it shakes water over your floor. Cover a bathroom hardwood floor with old rugs, mats and towels when it’s bathtime (equally, clean paws after walks).
This can be an issue, especially with some canine breeds, e.g. Labrador Retrievers and German Shepherds. Clean up hairs with a microfibre mop and brush your pet frequently to reduce shedding.
4) Regular cleaning
Having a good cleaning routine is important in homes with pets. A twice-weekly vacuum or a sweep with a broom (one with softer bristles) should tackle most dirt, dust and grime. Use a damp mop where necessary, and remember to use cleaning products designed for your type of floor.
5) Rugs and runners
Rugs can make smooth wood flooring more comfortable for pets and offer a protective layer against scuffs and marks. A runner can help stop your pet from skidding along the floor and potentially hurting themselves.
Visit our showroom handily located not far from the town centre in Basingstoke and see our laminate, vinyl and wood flooring for yourself. Ask us your questions about pet-friendly wood floors; equally, check out our range of cleaning, repair and products available to buy online by brands such as Bona, Quickstep, Treatex, Ciranova and Osmo.