Hardwood floors and dogs seem like two things that don’t mix that well. However, there are ways to make sure that your dog can have fun and that your floors remain clean.
Dogs ruin hardwood floors by scratching them or making them wet. However, you can prevent this damage by coating your floor with a stronger finish, placing carpets in frequently used areas, or trimming your dog’s nails.
Naturally, there are a few more ways to prevent damage to your beautiful hardwood floors. If you’re just thinking of installing new flooring, you can consider certain types of floors that take damage better than hardwood floors. If you want to know more about this, read on.
What Kind of Damage Can Dogs Cause to Hardwood Floors?
The damage dogs can cause to hardwood floors is twofold.
For one, they might relieve themselves on the floor, especially if you’re just training them if they are pups or senior dogs. Catching the mess in time can help you wipe it and avoid any serious damage. Most hardwood floors can take a bit of wetness as long as it’s not there for a long time.
But if it sits there for longer, you might have a serious issue with hardwood floor damage. As urine decomposes, it turns alkaline and can damage the floor. The ammonia in the urine is capable of eating through the top finish of your floor, and unfortunately, into the wood. This problem is much harder to solve.
Of course, this is more likely to happen if your pet is alone in the home for a longer amount of time or if they relieve themselves on the carpet that’s on top of the hardwood floor. Most of the urine will seep through the carpet fibers and you won’t even notice as your hardwood floors decompose and the situation gets worse.
If you think that an almost-dried urine stain has been sitting on the hardwood floor for a while — you’ll want to spray it with vinegar. The vinegar will deactivate the corrosion and make it more likely that the damage won’t spread.
However, you might still have to do some sanding or other corrective actions. Keep in mind that your dog may return to the same spot and dispose of urine there again as they return to spots that smell like them. If this happens, the damage will be even greater.
The other bad thing dogs could do to your hardwood floors is scratch them. The scratches are usually not as bad as urine, but they do look unappealing, especially on darker hardwood floor varieties.
The damage of the scratches could go through the finish or it can just be in the finish, which will depend on how thick the coating is. In both cases, the scratches can be sanded out. Still, the best thing to do is to add more coats or stronger ones to your floors to avoid having to sand the floor.
Which Floors Are More Resistant to Dog Damage?
If you’re planning on installing a new floor, then you might want to reconsider your choices based on the fact that you have a dog. Certain varieties of hardwood and other floorings are not too susceptible to damage, but they can look just as good as hardwood.
For one, you could pick factory-finished wood floors that come pre-sealed with a finish stronger than anything you could apply at home. So, it could be a lot more resistant to the scratch marks and urine stains than regular hardwood floor and commercially available finishes.
You could also choose engineered wood for your floor, which has a very strong layer of wood on top. These floors are the best against stains and wetness, so you will have a much easier time with dogs that are prone to accidents like senior dogs or small pups in the training stage.
Another solid option is distressed wood, which will give your home a rustic look, and the scratches will be much harder to see. Hand-scraped wood has similar properties. Any wood with more character marks will be a good choice if you don’t want those inevitable scratches to be visible. Floors with more graining are also a good idea.
Finally, make sure that the floor you choose is one that ranks well on the Janka hardness test, which will help you find the perfect, strong wood for your floors and avoid scratches and stains.
How to Prevent Your Dog From Ruining Hardwood Floors
In order to keep your floors looking pristine for a longer amount of time, you have to learn some nifty tricks on how to prevent the damage.
Clip Their Nails
One of the best ways to prevent issues regarding scratches is to trim your dog’s nails. Dogs have very big, strong, sharp claws, and they damage the floor easily. However, if you trim them regularly, you should have no problem with the scratching.
The best way to do it is to take them to the vet or a dog groomer since they will know how to do this well without harming your dog. This is especially a good option if your dog is really big.
You can also do it on your own, but make sure that you stop trimming where the tissue with blood vessels starts and that you don’t leave any sharp edges.
Place Rugs on the Floor
Rugs along hallways and in areas where your dog spends the majority of its time are another excellent idea. This way, your floors cannot get damaged by scratching. Of course, you have to be vigilant about urine, and make sure that you remove and dry the carpet before putting it back.
As mentioned, urine has a hard time drying when it’s on a carpet, so you’ll have corrosion issues later on. However, if you allow it to dry before using the rug or the carpet again, you shouldn’t have this problem.
A rug could also pick up any dirt and debris that your dog brings inside.
Have Your Dog Wear Dog Booties
Dog booties don’t just look cute, but they are also really useful if you want to prevent your dog from scratching your floor. They come in different shapes, sizes, and styles and you can find them in most pet stores.
Dogs aren’t that great at wearing clothes, so the booties may not stay on for long, but they will do a good job if your dog is calmer and if you get them used to the booties.
Equip Your Dog With Nail Covers
If the booties can’t stick, you can also get nail covers for your dog. These are made of rubber and they won’t bother your dog in the least. There are many brands making them and you can even take your dog to a salon to get them applied.
Use a Stronger Finish
A good way to protect your floor is to apply a stronger coat of finish or several coats of finish. This will prevent the urine from doing the damage too quickly and it will keep the scratches at the finish level without you needing to sand your entire floor.
Clean Fresh Stains
As soon as you notice a fresh urine puddle, make sure that you wipe it. Train your dog not to pee in various corners of your home and take them outside whenever they need it.
The Bottom Line
While dogs and hardwood floors don’t match that well, the situation becomes easier if you apply some protective measures like clipping their nails and wiping urine as soon as the accident happens. Several coats of finish or a stronger finish help as well.
However, it’s also important to have realistic expectations. Any floor, no matter how weak or strong, will develop scratch marks and stains over time, so remember to invest some time every year or so to repair some of the damage and reapply the coating.