Whether you’re buying a brand-new home, taking on the task of renovating a fixer-upper or are just looking for a change around your own house, nothing is as important a consideration as the floor that you choose to stand and walk on.
After all, the flooring supports you, your family, and all your stuff. It needs to be easy to clean and look great. But what happens when you add a dog into the mix?
What type of floors are able to withstand doggo turning the corner at high speed with untrimmed nails? Ahead we take a look at the best flooring for dogs, that should help in making your ultimate decision.
How dogs can ruin floors
As suggested above, if you have or are planning to get a dog though, then you have a whole slew of problems on your hand:
- dogs play with toys (sometimes aggressively)
- dogs chew and drool.
- dogs poop and pee everywhere, before being trained
- dogs have claws
- dogs enjoy walking, running, and sometimes even jumping around!
If you choose the wrong kind of flooring, then before long it’ll be scratched up and dirty, and you’ll have sunk thousands in dollars into something that you suddenly regret.
However, there is hope! Sitting on shelves out there in your nearest home improvement store is a floor that can easily accommodate both you and your dog. You just need to choose the right one, out of the dozens of options you have.
That’s why, in this article, we’re going to be running you through a definitive care and purchasing guide for your new floors. We’ll present you with the pros and cons, and by the end of it, you’ll be able to decide on something that works great for both you and your fun loving pet.
How to choose dog proof flooring
When choosing any material for your floor, you primarily want to be looking at three things.
Easy to clean
First, you want something that’s going to be easy to clean, which is crucial if you have a puppy that’s still going through potty-training or have an older dog that’s more prone to “accidents.” Long story short, you’ll be doing a lot of cleaning and don’t want to waste precious hours of your day.
Make sure it’s durable
Second, you want something durable. On dark, stormy days, chances are your dog is going to be indoors with you more than they will be outdoors. That means they might want to play, and the thick nails of a big dog can quickly dig into your beautiful new floors. Is it the end of the world if they do? No, but you paid all that money for it. You want it to stay nice, don’t you? Especially if you’re considering selling the house anytime soon.
Choose something comfy
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, you want something that’s going to be comfortable for your dog. Having a pet is a lifetime commitment, and in taking in your dog, you took on the duty of looking after it. That means you want something warm that they can feel comfortable laying down, and walking, on.
How to maintain floor quality
Before we get into specific types of flooring, we’re going to give you a few universal tips to make sure that anything you choose gives you the least headaches possible.
Trim those nails
The most important aspect is to keep your dog’s nails trimmed and proper . This not only helps to avoid splintering, but it also makes your surfaces much more comfortable for your dog to walk on. Keeping them short can also make their steps quieter and reduce the risk of scratches.
Restrict feeding to one room
You should also consider keeping food and water dishes in strictly one room of the house. Definitely take the preferences of your dog into account, but with all of his or her services located in one place, you’re less likely to encounter spills, drool, saliva or worse, tracked all around your home.
Related: Check out the best doggy bowls we came across.
Indoor doggy loo
Finally, a good choice for most working families is an indoor dog potty. This shouldn’t need an explanation. If they’re alone for eight or more hours a day, chances are they’ll need to go at some point. Make both of your lives easy by investing in and indoor dog potty.
What is the best flooring for dogs?
These next sections will break down the most popular types of flooring and detail the pros and cons of each, so without further ado, let’s get started!
Let’s start with the single worst option you can choose to make for flooring. Carpet doesn’t work with dogs, period.  It shreds, it stains, it absorbs odors, and it’s impossible to clean.
It can be cheap, it’s warm, and your dogs will undoubtedly love sleeping on it during the fall and winter, but after just a few short weeks/months you’re going to regret your purchase and look for something else. Save yourself the time and money by skipping the carpet.
Arguably the most popular type of flooring is this classic style. It works well in modern homes and looks great in a variety of finishes, but it still has many hiccups for dogs.
First, the pros:
- It’s soft, pliable, and is comfortable for your pet to lay down or sit on for long periods of time.
- For humans, it can also accommodate huge amounts of décor thanks to the various colors and price-points it falls under.
- In general, it’s also pretty easy to clean.
Before you go placing your order though, consider the cons:
- Because it’s so soft, it’s prone to dents in heavily trafficked spots of the house. If you have a heavy pet with a favorite spot, you might experience some sag on a lower quality hardwood.
- Cleaning it can also quickly become a nightmare after an accident, especially if it happens long before you’re home. Urine is extremely acidic, and as it sits in a pool, it can wreak havoc on the finish of your floors which can lead to noticeably discolored “patches.”
That doesn’t mean dog owners are out of luck. You can still opt for hardwood floors; you just need to take a few extra precautions. By incorporating other materials, notably acrylic, in the production process, companies are able to make the floor sturdier and more resistant to nails and sags.
Choosing darker colors and heavier grains are also a wise choice since the lack of a uniform pattern won’t draw visitor’s eyes to your dog’s favorite section of the floor. In either case, there are compromises.
You’re either paying more money or locking yourself into a specific style. If you don’t mind though, then hardwood can still be a perfectly serviceable option.
Training time? Have a look at the best dog training books we’ve come across!
If you want the strongest, most durable option, then you might want to go with tile. It might be slightly out of style, but you can be sure that it won’t bend, sag, or stain, right? Well, all of that is true. They clean easily and resist the wear and tear of everyday pet life quite well. 
They’re not perfect though. The biggest problem won’t come to you, but to your pet. Stone floors can get really, really cold – especially if you live in a northern climate. Chances are your dog isn’t going to want to spend a lot of time laying by your feet, so you have to choose between one of three options:
- You can install an expensive heating system under the floor
- You can allow your dogs to snuggle up with you on the sofa
- You can get them a bed or rug of their own to keep warm on the cool winter nights
Any of these options will work as a wonderful remedy, the ultimate decision is entirely yours.
Remember that glossy shine on the floor of your first apartment? Uninformed shoppers might mistake it for real, natural wood, but laminate flooring is actually a synthetic substance that can look like almost anything.
The benefits of laminate flooring for dog owners are almost immeasurable. But here are a few:
- they look great,
- cleans easily,
- and are almost impossible to damage.
Whether it’s glass, metal, or the nails of your pet, it seems like nothing can scratch its surface. As an added little benefit, it’s also quite a bit cheaper than any natural substance.
If you’re looking for something like hardwood on an extreme budget, laminate won’t get you the prestige, but it will get you just about everything else.
The cons that it has for dogs are actually quite minor, all things considering. Laminate flooring can be quite a bit slippery for both humans wearing socks, and for a pet that loves to run.
As they turn corners or come to a stop it’s not uncommon to see them skid and slide into objects and furniture, and, funny as that might be, the laughter ends when a pet gets hurt or breaks something unintentionally.
There are some ways around that though, and if you have a doggy door to let your dog play outside or an older pooch that prefers to laze their days away though, then laminate can still be an excellent choice.
Among pet owners, cork flooring really isn’t as popular as it perhaps should be. This sustainably harvested wood has a unique look at an attractive price, that also has quite a few innovative features:
- One of the key things that make this an attractive option is the fact that it is antimicrobial. Bacteria naturally struggles to grow in cork, so this makes it fantastic for accident-prone pets since cleaning it up late won’t result in a biohazard.
- It’s also extremely quiet, so pets with heavy steps shouldn’t wake you up at 3 AM.
- The one-two punch that every homeowner wants to hear: it’s difficult to ruin since it’s cushioned, so pets with long nails will have to exert a decent amount of force before ruining the tile, and even if they do scratch it, it’s difficult to see due to the natural grain of the cork!
- It’s fairly easy to install.
Amazingly, there aren’t any real cons of note that you should be aware of, either. If you choose to go with cork, just know that your pet will still make its mark on your floor.
Over the years, you’re bound to find some new scratches all over the house. What makes this a great option though is that this one downside is fairly minor and hard to spot, and it still has a ton of positives.
The king of artificial flooring is undoubtedly vinyl, and while some cheaper options can look unappealing, we’re telling you right now that premium vinyl is undoubtedly one of the best options for pet owners.
It combines all of the best aspects of the different materials we looked at with none of the drawbacks, for example:
- it’s durable,
- easy to clean,
- doesn’t cause slipping or sliding issues,
- and can mimic a wide variety of natural materials,
- it’s also non-porous and is a great insulator, so the floor will be as comfortable as they come for your canine companions.
So, with all of that said, are there even any downsides to this option? To your pets, not really. It’s a great all-around floor for most use cases.
For you, however, there are a few things to keep in mind:
- cheap vinyl can be made with a variety of chemical compounds that can potentially trigger reactions in the eyes and skin of people living there,
- they are also infamous for yellowing over time which gives them a dingy, dirty look that’s just impossible to clean. That’s why it’s always better to go with high-quality options, but those don’t come cheap.
The final option we’re going to look at here today is another top-tier option for those who don’t want to deal with the potential limitations and difficulties of vinyl.
It’s harder than cork, and so it won’t show off scratches while still maintaining its stain-resistant qualities. It’s generally cheaper than hardwood and is also resistant to termites which makes this a fantastic long-term option.
There’s very little upkeep of note, and these expenses are few and far between, so long as you choose to purchase a quality variant. This distinction comes from that fact that not all bamboos are equally as hard as one another.
“Engineered bamboo,” for example, is softer than “distressed bamboo,” which itself is softer than “strand bamboo.”
You can find these details in what’s known as the Janka Hardness Scale, and this will tell you exactly what’s you’re getting when you’re putting down your hard-earned cash for some new bamboo flooring.
Scale questions aside, bamboo is great for your pets, and it should find itself on your shortlist of options if you desperately want something with the look of hardwood, but is at the same time, a little more practical.
You now have a better idea of some of the best (and one of the worst!) options available to you when you remodel your house or choose to purchase a new one. Just keep in mind that carpet aside, there’s no real wrong answer. 
There are things to consider with each of the options we looked at, and like most things, choosing to simply spend more money on workarounds of higher-end options will get you through a vast majority of the problems and compromises you’ll be forced to make with each one.
If you don’t want to go through all of that and just want to avoid the headaches though, then choose vinyl, cork, or bamboo flooring. All three are durable, versatile, and can be affordable if that’s an important consideration for you.
Choosing between the rest is a matter of personal preference, how high your budget can go, and which of the downsides you think you and your dog can live with.
Remember that he’s part of your family! Let him in on the decision making so that he can live a long, happy, and most of all, comfortable life.
Another must read: Best Electric Dog Fences (In-Ground)
- “A “Pedi” Cures All: Toenail Trimming.“ C. Sean. P. Joseph. A. Stephen. Felt. T. Jerome. Geronimo. K. David. January 2018
- “Animal Allergens and Their Presence in the Environment.“ Eva Zahradnik and Monika Raulf. March 2014
- “ What is living on your dog’s skin? Characterization of the canine cutaneous mycobiota and fungal dysbiosis in canine allergic dermatitis.“ Courtney Meason-Smith, Alison Diesel, P. Adam, Patterson, E. Caitlin. Joanne M. Mansell, Jan S. Suchodolski, and Aline Rodrigues Hoffmann. December 2015
- What Is the Best Flooring for Dogs and Other Rambunctious House Pets? – American Kennel Club