Whether you’re considering purchasing a new home or remodeling an existing house/apartment, the choice of which floor to use is one of the most important selections you can make, especially if you have dogs. Your fur babies are an integral part of your family and their comfort should be taken into consideration. That's why you need to consider what the best flooring for dogs is, and how it affects your pets.
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With so many home flooring options out there, it might be difficult to make a wise choice. Most new (and even veteran) pet owners don't even know what the best flooring for dogs would be, or why dogs would even care. As long as food is provided, who cares, right?
The truth is, dogs themselves do not care about flooring, but there are different types of floors that are better or worse for canines and their health. If you do your due diligence and research the pros and cons of each type of flooring for your dog, you are sure to come out with the right option that would be a compromise between you and your pooch.
Should we even care about dog floors? Science says YES!
Did you know that studies have shown how certain types of floors can negatively impact your dog's health?
Specific types of floors can cause lameness in dogs, locomotion problems, and allow dogs to injure themselves easier. A type of floor also may cause general dog paw and feet related health problems and simple discomfort.
Further research into this has also shown how certain animals – dogs included – are also affected psychologically by the type of flooring they walk on daily. Moreover, in another scientific study, when given a choice of different flooring types, animals clearly had their preferences and chose one type of flooring over another. Good enough sign, no?
Because your pet will be walking on this floor daily, playing on it and sleeping on it all the time, it simply has to fit your dog's profile. Surely you want your Fido to be comfortable and avoid health issues that could've been prevented. At the same time, you also want to make sure the floor will be beneficial for you, look good and complement home decor.
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What to consider when choosing the best flooring for dogs?
There are several criteria for choosing the best floor for dogs. The following are all factors that you must consider before you make your final decision. The flooring should:
- Give enough support and comfort for lying, walking, sleeping and standing;
- Allow your pet to separate himself from his excrement;
- Be safe for running and playing on;
- Be easy to clean (for your own sake).
Certain types of floors will be very good at absorbing your dog's excrement and urine (which is a bad thing). You won't necessarily see them, but whatever has been absorbed remains as an irritant to your dog's paws and skin, which causes problems in the future.
Even though the actual scientific evidence on what type of flooring for dogs would be best is scarce, one study assessing interdigital cysts in Beagles has found how specific type of floors affect their paws, thereby providing us with some pointers on what to choose.
Drawing from all the available scientific data we have today, NRC's Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals has stated that “flooring should be solid, perforated, or slatted with a slip-resistant surface”. This type of flooring helps to avoid lesions and irritations. They also mention that floors made of wire-mesh or slatted cage floors are not a good option for most animals.
In conclusion, taking a look at all the above evidence, it seems like any type of floor will have its pros and cons, and there's no such thing as the absolute best flooring for dogs, including their natural environment. With that in mind, we can pick “the best of all evils.”
So let's take a look at the types of floors owners can install in their homes, and which ones are considered to be at least semi-appropriate floorings for dogs based on this criteria.
Top Choices of the Best Flooring for Dogs
1. Hardwood Flooring for Dogs
Hardwood flooring is one of the most desirable flooring choices for most people. It’s beautiful, it’s elegant, and depending on the type of hardwood floor you get, it usually goes very well with everything at home.
However, when considering our furry friends, some accommodations should be made to make the flooring pup-friendly. Hardwood floors can be especially slippery when they’re waxed and can be a tough surface for your dog to get a firm footing on.
If you choose to use hardwood floor for dogs, make sure you put down slip-resistant mats or area rugs to give your pet a stable place to walk. Doggy mats and area rugs will also come in handy to prevent the scratching of your floors, as hardwood floors scratch very easily. Enough scratches will compromise the beauty of the wood, and the flooring will need to be re-sanded and refinished in order to bring it back to its former glory.
If you do proceed with installing a hardwood floor for your dog, it’s always best to choose harder wood. Some examples of more durable hardwood floorings include:
- Brazilian Walnut (something like these)
- Hard Maple (like this one)
- Oak (a good option)
- Hickory (most popular one)
Be cautious of pet accidents as well, as this flooring stains easily when urinated on. In fact, it often leaves a dark spot and a bad smell, even if it’s cleaned up quickly. If a mat is not used under your dog's food and water bowls, hardwood flooring is susceptible to warping, should any water get spilled on it.
2. Laminate Flooring for Dogs
The good news is that laminate flooring is pretty durable and scratch-resistant. The bad news is that it is not scratch-proof, and you'll see the signs of dog's presence quickly.
If you have a larger or heavier dog, it is very possible for your Fido to scratch the flooring surface. This type of flooring can be affected by water spills over time. But as long as urine accidents are cleaned up promptly, there is little to no damage, unlike hardwood.
Like hardwood flooring, laminate flooring can be extremely slippery. I would advise you to consider slip-proof mats for dogs, as well as area rugs to provide your pet with a good way to get around the house instead of it becoming an ice ring.
Finally, laminate flooring can also be much cheaper for dog owners to buy and replace. You can find tons of affordable options at online retailers like Amazon.
3. Bamboo Flooring for Dogs
Bamboo's surface is considered to be hard and durable, but that really depends on whether or not the bamboo wood itself is heated and for how long.
The way to know this is that lighter colored bamboo is heated for less time and is harder, while darker bamboo is heated for more time and is softer. See what fits your home and budget best.
Any type of bamboo flooring is not entirely scratch-resistant, unfortunately. But most bamboo floors are stain-resistant and easy to clean, which makes them a great option. Pet accidents won’t negatively affect the flooring as long as those accidents are cleaned up promptly and thoroughly. Another pro is that it's extremely renewable and eco-friendly.
It seems like recently, majority of pet owners have chose to go with bamboo floors due to the factors mentioned above and that it's also fairly affordable compared to other types of flooring for dogs. You can find a huge range of these floors on Amazon.
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4. Cork Flooring for Dogs
This type of flooring is another environmentally friendly choice. It is relatively inexpensive compared to hardwood and is a soft flooring, so it resists scratches and pressure from your pooch. However, it is possible for a dog with longer nails to gouge out parts of the floor.
Since it is a soft surfaced flooring, cork is very comfortable for your dog to lay on. It also absorbs sound and will not magnify the clacking of your dog’s nails on the surface, which is one of its best features, in my opinion. It's also been shown that cork flooring is antimicrobial and reduces the growth of allergens and mold – another pro.
Besides being a softer flooring able to be gouged, cork can also be dented if heavy objects are left in place for too long. This type of best flooring for dogs can become discolored over time due to exposure to sunlight, so while your pet will definitely enjoy cork flooring the most out of the already mentioned options, there are a lot of cons to using it.
Nevertheless, if you decide on cork flooring, take a look at these available options.
5. Linoleum Floor for Dogs
Like other flooring options mentioned above, linoleum is eco-friendly, hypoallergenic and antibacterial. It is easy to clean, and is a softer, quieter flooring choice for dogs.
Even though it is softer, it’s pretty durable and not easily scratched. However, one thing to consider is that it is prone to fading over time and requires regular maintenance, which isn't ideal for pet parents themselves.
Moreover, linoleum also looks the cheapest (which it is) out of all flooring types we've mentioned so far. So if that's not an issue with you, you may want to consider this as yet another winner right next to cork flooring, and pick something affordable from here.
6. Stone Tile Flooring for Dogs
Stone tile is an extremely durable and attractive option for your home and your pets. It can definitely be considered as one of the best flooring for dogs and owners for several reasons, but naturally, it comes with its own disadvantages as well.
Stone tiles do not scratch easily, if at all, which is the main selling point of this flooring type. It's also easy to clean stone tiles, even if the mess is left to stay for a while.
The main drawback to this type of flooring is that it can be hard and cold, which can make it uncomfortable for your dog to lay on. This type of flooring can make things especially difficult for dogs with canine arthritis. However, if you provide your dog with a good quality orthopedic dog bed, then this solves the problem for the most part.
There are a few things you can do to make this truly the best flooring for dogs and a bearable surface for your pooch long-term. You can install radiant heat under your stone floor to keep it warm and comfortable; you can also put down area rugs or doggy mats to provide adequate warmth and cushion for your dog. But the dog bed will be the best.
The disadvantage for you as the owner is that stone tile flooring can be expensive and difficult (or time consuming) to install. Here are some prices for you to peruse.
7. Ceramic or Porcelain Tile Floor for Dogs
A tiled floor is generally a good choice for a home with pets, and is one of the most common options pet parents use. It is reasonably priced and is pretty durable. This best flooring for dogs can handle most wear and tear from pets, and it doesn’t scratch easily.
Ceramic or porcelain tile is easy to clean, and pet messes won’t damage the condition of the floor. Again, the only drawback to this type of flooring is that it is hard and cold, which can easily be remedied by area rugs or a nice doggy mat or a chew-proof dog bed.
Ceramic flooring or porcelain flooring is the best looking one out of all these mentioned above (subjective, of course). It's also one of the most expensive choices. So if you feel you can afford it, this may be the top choice in this list. Take a look at what's available.
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Take Home Message
Choosing the best floor for a dog is not easily, mostly because there really is no ONE best option. Every one of these mentioned types of flooring has their pros and cons. If you've read the provided criteria for choosing the floor for your dog and perused the studies, then you'll have a good idea of what works best in terms of your pet's health.
Whatever you choose as the best flooring for dogs for your own home, there are a few things you can do to help keep your floors lasting longer and your pup to be happy:
- Make sure you keep your dog’s nails clipped to a reasonable length;
- Clean up urine or other accidents as quickly as possible to avoid stains;
- Use doormats at all your entrances to eliminate most dirt and debris;
- Use non-slip mats or area rugs on slippery surfaces;
- Consider a designated doggy play area and use play pens for that.
Have you chosen the floor for your dog? What factors did you consider, and how did you come to the final conclusion?