Best Flooring for Pets (and Which Types to Avoid)

Published September 1, 2022
Cute Goldendoodle Resting In Dog Bed

We all know accidents happen. But pet accidents on your tricky-to-wash carpets can be incredibly frustrating. When putting in pet-friendly flooring, you want something that is easy to clean, isn't too slippery, and won't get scratched up by your critter's claws. The best flooring for pets includes vinyl, tile, textured laminate, and polished concrete. Make your choice based on the type of animal and any special needs they may have.

Best Flooring for Pets

Whether you're opening a dog daycare, putting in a bird room, or choosing something for your home, you want flooring that can withstand your pets. Some options scratch easily, and others are challenging to clean. Try one of these four pet-friendly flooring materials instead.

Luxury Vinyl

Luxury vinyl flooring is both attractive and durable, so it's a top choice for high-traffic areas with pets. Vinyl is waterproof, which means it can handle spilled water bowls, drool, or accidents. Plus, clean-up is a breeze. You should always keep your pet's nails trimmed to a comfortable length, but vinyl is relatively scratch-resistant, so you won't have to worry too much about your pet's claws leaving marks. However, over time, it will sustain some wear and tear.

Vinyl flooring can mimic several types of material, including hardwood, marble, or tile, at a fraction of the cost, which is another attractive feature of this flooring type. As an added bonus, it absorbs more shock than others, so it's easier on your pet's joints. With any species of pet in your home, it's best to choose a textured finish rather than smooth flooring. This will give your critter some traction while they're walking or running.

Tile

Cat Walking Indoors

Tile is another great option for pets. It won't scratch, is water-resistant, and is very resilient. However, the grout used between tiles can be susceptible to damage from water or accidents. It's wise to use a grout sealant to protect it.

As far as material, ceramic tile is generally the cheapest option, but you could also elect for natural stone. Smooth tiles can be too slick for older pets and some reptiles, so it's best to choose a textured tile. However, if you fall in love with something smooth, plan to place tread mats or rugs throughout the house.

Polished Concrete

Polished concrete has become an increasingly popular home floor option due to its longevity and durability. This flooring is resistant to water, which makes it great for messy pets. Allergic pets can also benefit from them because concrete won't trap allergens or mold.

Even though concrete won't scratch, its hardness can be a downside for pets. It can be hard on their joints, uncomfortable to stand on, or even cause pressure sores if they lie in one position for extended periods of time. Always provide your pet with a cushioned bed to sleep in. Also, remember that slippery surfaces can be dangerous for growing large breed dogs as well as older pets who aren't steady on their feet, so opt for a non-slip coating.

Textured Laminate

Bearded dragon on the wooden floor

Textured laminate is a fairly safe option with pets, though it's not quite as scratch-resistant as the others. Still, it's easy to clean should your pet leave you any presents on the floor. A downside to laminate is the fact that it's not moisture-proof, so warping can occur in areas of repeated accidents or spills.

Laminate is notoriously slippery, and even textured laminate can be slick. Strategically placed area rugs or traction mats might be necessary, depending on your pet's mobility.

Flooring to Avoid with Pets

Even though most flooring has its benefits, some have more cons than pros. These three probably aren't the best choice for a home with pets.

Carpet

It's soft, warm, cushiony, and your cat's favorite place to deposit a hairball. While carpet does have several benefits, it's not the best flooring for pets. Carpet is difficult to clean, holds odors, and traps dust and other allergens that can bother you as well as your pets. If you can't live without carpet, opt for a darker neutral tone that will hide stains and use odor-fighting products for pet messes. Also, professional carpet cleaning service or vacuum rentals can typically remove pet stains, but are expensive.

Smooth Laminate

While laminate is an affordable option, it is not ideal for some pets. Slick surfaces are difficult for most pets to move around on, particularly older dogs and cats, young growing puppies, small mammals, and reptiles. Senior dogs with arthritis can have trouble standing on glossy surfaces without any traction. Growing large-breed puppies who spend time on slippery floors are 1.6 times more likely to develop hip dysplasia. Some small pets, such as ferrets and even reptiles, have difficulty running on smooth materials.

Hardwood

Hardwood floors are attractive to many house owners, but they can be challenging to maintain with pets. They're vulnerable to liquid damage, especially urine, drools, vomit, and spilled water. These should be cleaned immediately, or they can harm the wood. They are also susceptible to scratches from claw marks. Consider luxury vinyl that looks like wood instead, or take precautions to protect your hardwood.

Choose From Pet-friendly Flooring Options

There are pros and cons to nearly every flooring option out there. Make sure you weigh the benefits of each for your individual animal while also considering your own personal preferences. Thanks to anti-slip coatings, traction rugs, and cleaning supplies, it's possible to make any flooring type work for your household.

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Best Flooring for Pets (and Which Types to Avoid)