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Installing Hardwood Flooring With Dogs

Installing Hardwood Flooring With Dogs

Dear Bob and Betsy,
Since I was a child, I’ve always loved the look and feel of real hardwood flooring. Now, I’m planning to install it in my home but I’m concerned. I have two large dogs that storm in and slide across the floor. I have tile right now so it’s not an issue. Will this scratch hardwood floors? Is installing hardwood flooring with dogs a terrible idea?
-Savannah C.

Dear Savannah,

Hardwood flooring is stunning. It has a rich finish and beautifully natural appeal. We can certainly understand why it’s your top pick for your house.

Still, its natural allure does bring a few downsides.

The wood itself is softer than most other flooring, so it’s easily scratched or dented. Unlike laminate or vinyl flooring that mimics the look of hardwood, hardwood doesn’t have the protective layer on top. Instead, it has a sealant that helps protect against scratches, but it does not fully stop them from happening.

Manufacturers know this, which is why they do not cover pet damage under warranty. It is too hard to fully prevent.

Since your heart has been set on hardwood floors for a very long time, there are a few protective measures you can take to help keep them from getting scratched up.

Add Area Rugs to Your Floors 

It sounds like your pets skid across the floor in similar locations time and time again. You can add an area rug to these locations to stop them from digging in their claws to the hardwood while they slide.

Remember, hardwood will change color depending on sun exposure over time. Make sure to move your rugs regularly so you don’t risk having uneven tones.

Keep Your Pets Nails Trimmed 

You might already trim your pet’s nails, but with a hardwood floor, regular manicures and pedicures are vital. Keep them trimmed regularly by setting a schedule. This will help you always remember to cut their nails so they’re not as long or sharp. Taking them for a walk on the road can also help to keep the nails trimmed!

Avoid Putting Water or Food Bowls on the Hardwood 

Nails are only one concern. Putting water or food bowls on the hardwood can also cause damage. If you must put their bowls on the hardwood floor, clean up any spills immediately. You might also want to invest in a bowl that sits slightly above the ground so your dog cannot slide it across your floors while eating. Another option is to purchase a non-skid bowl mat that is much larger than your pet’s food bowl to catch any spills.


Accidents happen with pets, sometimes more than others. These can be a big threat to hardwood floors, especially if they are not cleaned up immediately. Even if there is an accident on a rug, above a hardwood, it can still damage and stain the hardwood if it seeps through the material.


A nice option with hardwood floors is the ability to refinish them over time. If your pets do end up damaging and dulling your hardwoods, you can always choose to refinish them. This will sand away any damage and create a stunning new look. You may even opt for sealing the floors with a more protective barrier.

We hope that this article helps you weigh some of the pros and cons with pets and hardwood floors. If you have anymore concerns, our flooring specialists will be more than happy to help!

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