The Best Hardwood Floors For Dogs

What flooring is best if you have Pets?

Since people get concerned from time to time what effects their pets may have, it's a good idea to discuss the best hardwood floors for dogs. The short answer is that you need to select hardwoods that are hardy, resistant to scratching and staining.

That involves selecting some pretty tough timber, but luckily many of the hardwoods with the requisite hardiness are common flooring materials. So let's dig a little deeper into what makes for the best hardwood floors for dogs and other pets.


Why Does the Best Hardwood Floors for Dogs Matter?

Beyond the intrinsic desire for your hardwood floors to resist scratching, there are other things to consider when choosing the best hardwood floors for dogs. You have to think about their shedding and possible bathroom mistakes that require cleaning. Not all cleaning materials are appropriate for hardwood floors and those don't always do the best with pet cleanliness. 

Sweeping is something we all must do, whether you have tile or hardwood floors. Considering the best hardwood floors for dogs, sweeping becomes more important to fight the ever-flowing fur shed by your pup. So, what's the best broom for dog hair on hardwood floors? While there isn't a particular brand, there is a general rule of thumb when it comes to sweeping the floor. Essentially, use an extremely fine and soft bristle broom or horsehair or rubber-bristle brooms. Even a dust mop is a good idea to clean up after your pup. Just stay away from the hard bristle brooms as they could scratch your floor as easily as your pup's nails.

Another concern when looking for the best hardwood floors for dogs is cleaning up possible messes. We all know that even the best pup can have an accident but, that can cause a stain on or damage to your hardwood floors. To help prevent the odor of a puppy pee accident, you want to avoid more porous hardwood floors and clean up the mess as soon as possible. This means going for a wood that is high on the Janka hardness scale. Don't worry, that scale will be explained later on. Also, it should be noted that the kinds of cleaning materials used to keep hardwood floors at their best aren't the best to clean up urine. You want to make sure that any pet supplies cleaning materials don't wear out your hardwood finish or damage the wood itself. So, make sure to research any cleaning supplies you want to buy and perhaps, stick to some safer home remedies like baking soda or white vinegar. Either of those are often referred to as the best cleaner for dog urine on hardwood floors. 

While both of these points are important to consider when looking for the best hardwood floors for dogs, the most pressing thing is the hardness of the wood itself. Everything else is second as the harder the wood, the less likely it is to scratch. So, let's go over some things about you and your pet's lifestyle, as well as how many pets you have. 

What Makes The Best Hardwood Floors For Dogs

Dogs and other pets can scratch wood floors, so it behooves you to consider the best hardwood floors for dogs and other pets if looking at a hardwood floor installation. Now, what you need to consider is first the nature and number of pets that you have.

For instance, if all you have is one cat or one small dog with delicate nails, then you can relax a little. Softer woods won't necessarily scratch or dent if all you have is one small pet. However, multiple pets, medium to large dogs will require hardier flooring.

The more pet activity, the harder the wood needs to be. You want to find a wood for flooring that is both hard and scratch-resistant, as well as water and stain resistant. Staining and sealing, of course, can help with this. That said, you want to have a hardwood underneath it so that it will stand up to abuse without having to fret over the finish.

In other words, dogs and hardwood floors will get along fine if you select a material suitable for the pet or pets that you have. The higher the traffic, the heavier the abuse the material may take, the harder the wood you should choose.

What sort of woods qualify?

Hardwood Floor Materials Suitable For Use With Pets

flooring if you have pets


So, if you have one or maybe two small pets, suitable hardwood floor materials include the softer woods such as pine, larch, fir, and hemlock.

The guide you want to stick to is the Janka hardwood scale, which measures the relative hardness of a material. The number expressed is the foot-pounds of pressure required to bury an 11.28mm diameter steel ball halfway into a plank of the wood in question.

  • Eastern white pine rates about a 380 on the Janka hardness scale. By contrast, balsa wood is about a 70.
  • A Janka rating of 850 or below indicates a soft wood; a rating of 1250 or more is a very hard wood.

Ideally, you'll want to consider a wood with a hardness rating of 850 or more.

  • Southern Yellow Pine, with a rating of 870, should be roughly a minimum. This will stand up to some wear, though it will not take too much abuse before scratching.
  • Most oak, one of the most popular hardwoods for hardwood floors, generally starts at about 1300 and up, so that makes it an excellent choice of hardwood floor for dogs. That said, it's tolerances are not unlimited. If you have the standard medium dog (say the bog-standard retriever, a popular breed) then you may want to consider oak or harder.
  • If you have larger breeds of dog, such as a German Shepherd, Rottweiler, Mastiff and so on, then a hardier wood may be a good idea such as hard maple (1,450) Rosewood (1,780) or Santos mahogany, at 2,200 or more depending on the species. Bamboo has a Janka rating of 1380 for most species, though Timber-grass bamboo is rated at 1645.

Granted, what usually correlates to the hardiness of a wood is sometimes the expense, but the harder species of oak are very common and quite able to take the abuse.

  • Live oak, sometimes called southern oak or southern live oak, has a Janka rating of 2,680.

If you have several pets, including larger dogs, then you'll want to get a harder species of wood for your floors. After all, the best hardwood floor for dogs is one that can take the traffic without so much as a scratch...but the best wood for the application can depend on circumstances.

Thinking of hardwood floors, give us a call, we love to talk through all the options, the advice is free, give us a call