Pets and Wood Flooring: What You Need to Know About Choosing the Right Wood Floor For Your Project.

What are the two things that no homeowner can live without? Cherished, lovable pets and beautiful hardwood flooring. Well, at least one of those is accurate. Our pets become family members, and we want them to enjoy our homes as much as we do, within reason of course. If you are a hardwood lover like many homeowners are, the challenge is finding the best fit for our favorite animals to coexist with gorgeous wood floors without damaging them. Here are some things to consider.


Character Camouflage

Many hardwood enthusiasts love the look of a well-worn wood floor and desire the distressed, hand-scraped, and rustic characteristics that create the reclaimed feel. All these trends are great if you live with pets. Why? Some of the scrapes or nicks caused by your pet’s paws can easily blend with the natural markings of a distressed floor compared to a smooth visual. Color variations within the wood itself will also help keep scratches from standing out. High-character wood floors are in demand, so there is no need to skimp on style when living with pets.


Protecting your Hardwood

Consider using area rugs and carpet runners over your new hardwoods to protect them from heavy traffic. Mats should be placed underneath water bowls to retain moisture, and do not forget to trim the nails and claws of your

Anyone who has both pets and hardwood floors know that these two things do not always go hand and hand. However, nobody wants to give up their family’s four-legged friend or their home’s striking hardwood flooring. Can you have both and allow them to exist in harmony?


Fortunately, the answer is yes. However, you must make sure you are purchasing the best hardwood flooring for the job. Choose hard hardwood or hardwood that ranked high on the Janka Hardness Test. Engineers use the Janka Hardness Test to measure the force needed to dent wood with a small steel ball. Some woods hold up great, others not so well. The higher a wood’s Janka rating, the tougher the wood is against forces, scratches, and stains. In other words, a hardwood flooring with a high Janka rating will hold up well against your pets.


Choose a Less Shiny Sheen

We recommend our dog-friendly finish for families with dogs. It has a lower sheen so it helps to hide the dents and scratches that pets can put on your floor. The combination of today’s high-power lights and a glossy floor can magnify every dent and scratch. Because a matte finish is not as shiny as a regular finish, it helps to visually hide the fine marks that animals’ claws can leave on wood floors over time. A lower-gloss finish makes pet hair and dirt less visible. If you cannot see it, you do not have to clean it. Right? If you dream of having dark hardwood floors, you know that they can make dirt, scratches, and dog hair more obvious. There is no such thing as “scratch proof wood flooring,” however, choosing a matte finish will get you a wood floor that appears scratch resistant.


Purchase Hard Flooring

When choosing the best hardwood floors for dogs, you should also look for hardwood flooring with a high Janka rating. The Janka Hardness Scale measures a wood’s resistance to dents, scratches, and wear. In other words, the higher the Janka rating, the more resistant the wood will be to scratches from your pet’s claws. Another option when seeking the best hardwood floors for dogs is distressed wood. “Distressed wood is great for pet owners because a dent or a scratch doesn’t detract from its beauty,” says Gaylord. “Before the hardwood is stained and finished, we distress it with a steel brush. We scrape out the softer fibers of the wood grain, leaving the textured, harder grain. Paired with the dog-friendly finish, it makes dents and scratches almost disappear.”


What Hardwood Floor is Best for Dogs?

Are you one of those pet owners who would love to have a hardwood floor but worried if they can stand up well to dog claws? Well, the good news is that your dog and a hardwood floor can easily co-exist with each other, provided you take a few simple measures to care for them.

Here are some guidelines you may want to consider helping you in choosing a pet-friendly hardwood floor.


Types of Hardwood Flooring Suitable for Dogs

  • You will want to avoid the soft woods like pine, fir, cedar, American walnut, and American cherry. Always remember that the softer the wood, the more they are prone to denting and scratching. It is always better to opt for hardwood as they can withstand high traffic from both pets and humans without getting damaged. Hardwood species such as Brazilian cherry, Brazilian walnut, hickory, red and white oaks, and maple are ideal choices.

  • Go for solid wood rather than engineered wood – As your dog’s claws are likely to cause scuffs and scratches to your floor; it is more advisable to install solid wood flooring. Solid hardwoods are not only of better quality but can also withstand significantly more sanding than engineered floors.

  • Consider for woods with stronger graining and higher Janka rating – The Janka hardness rating indicates the relative hardness of wood and its resistance to dents, scratches, and wears. Likewise, hardwoods with pronounced grain texture are excellent for masking the scratches. For example, White Oak, Red Oak and Hickory does an excellent job of hiding the dents and scrapes. When it comes to choosing a wood floor, they are the best choice for those with pets.

  • Use distressed wood flooring – You can choose distressed or hand-scraped wood, which has natural or stylized markings that helps camouflage any imperfections on your floor’s surface. Since the wood is already rustic and natural looking, the dents will easily blend in and will not be as visible. Hence, this type of flooring is perfect for you because you no longer need to panic about the scratches from your dog’ claws.


Once you have made up your mind as to which type of hardwood flooring you want to go with, there are other factors you may need to consider for keeping you floor looking beautiful longer. Choose a “dog-friendly” finish (low gloss and matte surface finishes) for your hardwood. Oil and wax-based finishes are better because they not only help hide dents and scratches but also protect the floor from further damages by forming a thick surface film on top.


  • Choose natural and light shades as it will make pet hair and dirt less visible. Anything from beige to dark brown color is a perfect choice, especially if you have a dog that sheds a lot.

  • Trim your dog’s nails or cover them with vinyl claw covers so that they do not cause scratches and other damages to your floor.

  • Make sure you mop up any accidental messes left by your pet, as quickly as you can to avoid causing deep staining on the floor, which will be harder to remove later.

  • Dry your pet before they step into the home to prevent dirt, grime, and moisture from ruining your floor.


Follow these simple yet effective steps and you will soon realize that it is no longer impossible for your dog to live in harmony with your beautiful hardwood

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