The Best Flooring When You Have Dogs

If you have pets -- particularly dogs -- their nails are something to consider when choosing a new floor covering. Those nails scratch, and they don't provide much traction on super-hard surfaces. Keeping in mind that dogs can have accidents, even when they're house-trained, you want to stay away from floor coverings that can sustain permanent damage from them. With vinyl flooring, you get a good combination of durability, water resistance and pet-friendly resilience.

Tired dog is lying at home
credit: Chalabala/iStock/Getty Images
Walking on a slippery floor can tire your dog out.

Laminate Flooring

Laminate flooring is hard enough to resist nail scratches, but that hardness can actually make it difficult for dogs to walk; their nails can't get a purchase on super-hard plastic. Even if the laminate you choose isn't that hard, choosing this type of flooring presents another danger: Liquids can seep between the planks and may soak into the backing or the subfloor. Even well-trained dogs can have accidents, and if you don't clean up quickly enough, you might have to replace part of the floor. The cracks between boards can also become repositories for hair.

Vinyl Flooring

Vinyl sheeting is dog-friendly while being easy to maintain. It's a continuous surface, so you never have to worry about seepage, and it provides enough traction for comfortable movement for your pet. Vinyl sheeting usually looks best in the kitchen or bathroom, but if you like the idea of vinyl in the living room, you can also consider luxury vinyl tile. Closely related to laminate flooring, LVT snaps together and floats on the subfloor, but because it's vinyl, it won't soak up liquids. You still have to be vigilant about cleaning up after your pet in a timely fashion, however.

Carpet Options

Choosing carpeting for the floor in a house with a dog may seem preposterous, but canine-friendly options do exist. They have cut -- not looped -- pile, which doesn't catch nails, and they are either made of polyester or treated nylon to resist staining. They also have a gel-back coating that doesn't absorb moisture. Some dogs, especially young ones, may find carpeting particularly interesting material for chewing, so you may want to install carpet tiles instead of wall-to-wall carpeting. Each one of the tiles can be easily replaced whenever it's frayed or damaged.

Protecting Hardwood Floors

Hardwood flooring can be a liability when you have a dog. It's vulnerable to scratching, and liquids can seep through the finish and cause permanent damage to the wood if not wiped off promptly. If your house already has hardwood floors, mats made of natural fibers such as seagrass or sisal can complement them while providing protective coverings that are easy to remove and clean. You may also want to consider carpet tiles, which can be individually removed and cleaned. A longer-term solution is to lay a LVT floor directly over the hardwood.