Wood flooring and pets are not mutually exclusive.

Pets, particularly dogs, are notorious for scratching up wood flooring. They can slip on wood flooring too, especially when they get older.

However, most scratches and slips can (and should) be prevented with frequent nail clippings. Homeowners who really love their fur babies, but will love their new wood floors almost as much, will find that certain woods and stains are more pet-friendly than others.

First, consider tile floors over wood if you’re open to that. Tile is durable, strong and scratch-proof. The best wood flooring for pet owners is the most durable with more rustic finishes or lighter stains (naturally, scratching a dark floor to reveal the lighter color below is going to be more noticeable).

How Distressing!

Fortunately for pet owners, the look of distressed natural floors is gorgeous and here to stay. By far the most pet-friendly option, any scratches and nicks (from pets or otherwise) will blend right in.

Choose hard wood like oak that’s naturally scratch-resistant in a lighter stain with a touch of distress, and you’ll easily camouflage scratches. Oak comes in a variety of grain patterns and natural colors, and it’s wildly abundant in North America, making it a high-quality yet affordable option.

Maple, hickory, poplar and some types of cherry are also harder woods that make for gorgeous flooring.

Another consideration is genuine hardwood vs. engineered. Engineered hardwood is made up of thinner layers of wood glued together. It’s more affordable, but it can’t stand up to as much re-sanding as full hardwood.

Keep in mind that restoring engineered hardwood isn’t always an option if it suffers severe damage, but full hardwood can often be re-sanded, salvaged and repaired with more ease.

Wet ‘n’ Wild: Keep Wood Flooring Safe

Scratches are just one problem hardwood floor owners face. Pets can have a tendency to tinkle, even when potty trained, and that can cause serious problems for floors. It’s important to wipe up any messes immediately, otherwise you risk warped and stained floors.

If possible, keep pets out of wood-floored rooms when you’re not home. It’s much easier to clean carpet than floors, and sectioning off “pet rooms” for when owners are away, or kenneling, can help save your floors.

Your floors will get scratched at some point, whether you have pets or not, and the first time it happens can be heartbreaking. However, some great products are available to effectively hide scratches, like Parker & Bailey Wood Scratch repair pens or Glow Scratch Aide. Most pet-related scratches are shallow and don’t really damage the wood, so a simple cover-up is all that’s needed.

All floors should be selected based on preference and lifestyle, including consideration for your pets. You can still get the wood flooring of your dreams, even if you have a menagerie at home.

Jen Stott is a writer and blogger, and works as the Content Director at Be Locally SEO in Salt Lake City, Utah.