All dog owners will spare no expense when it comes to pampering their beloved pooch, but not all of them realize that their flooring choices can have a major impact on their dog’s quality of life. This article covers the five best types of flooring for dogs, covering cost, durability, aesthetic appeal, and more.
What to Consider When Deciding on Dog Flooring
If you’re a dog owner, you have a few extra things to think about before you decide what type of flooring will work best for you. Nowadays, there are tons of flooring options that are both aesthetically pleasing and dog-friendly, so you can get the look and feel you want without worrying about whether it will work for your fuzzy buddy.
Here are the main factors to consider when looking for dog-friendly flooring options.
- Scratch resistance – Even if you keep your dog’s nails trimmed, they’re still going to put some wear and tear on your floors. Tile and laminate floors are good at resisting scratches, while carpet and hardwood are prone to damage from digging and scratching.
- Maintenance – Dogs aren’t known for being clean and tidy, so you’ll want to choose a type of flooring that’s easy to keep clean. Vinyl flooring is a great low-maintenance option, while hardwood and carpets can be a pain to keep looking nice.
- Comfort – Not all types of flooring are good for dogs. Smooth, slippery floors can be hard to navigate for some dogs — especially senior dogs — and hard floors can put stress on your furry friend’s joints over time.
- Water resistance – If you have a puppy or are considering getting one, you’ll definitely want to choose water-resistant flooring. Carpets and dogs famously don’t get along and it would be a shame to ruin expensive hardwood flooring when Fido drools all over it after a big drink. Pet accidents are inevitable no matter how well-trained your animal is, and choosing waterproof flooring is the best way to save yourself from headaches like stains, mold, and mildew.
- Cost – Most dog owners prefer cheaper flooring options since they know that even the most dog-proof flooring will be subject to canine-related damage and wear given enough time. It doesn’t make sense to spend a lot of money on fancy flooring if it will wind up scratched and stained.
Carpet is almost never the right choice for a home with a doggy, as muddy paws are all but guaranteed to leave a stain at some point. Pet dander and pet hair are also much more difficult to manage in a carpeted home, so unless you don’t mind spending one-third of your free time vacuuming, you’ll want to choose a hard surface floor instead.
Hard floors like wood, vinyl, and laminate floors are much easier to maintain than carpets, and you can get some of the advantages of carpets by throwing down an area rug.
The 5 Best Flooring for Dogs: Pros, Cons, & Cost
Below is a table summarizing the five best types of flooring for dog owners.
|Type of Flooring||Pros||Cons|
High traction makes it easy to navigate for dogs
Easy to clean up
|Not very scratch resistant|
May hurt resale value
|Tile||Water and stain-resistant|
May increase home value
Most durable; ideal for high-traffic areas
Can damage easily
|Prone to water damage|
Can be slippery for dogs
|Engineered Hardwood||Beautiful design|
More affordable than solid wood floors
Adds value to your home
Easily damaged by water
|Bamboo||Easy to maintainResists scratches|
Available in engineered and solid varieties
|Not very water resistant|
Solid options can get expensive
Vinyl is one of the best types of flooring for dog owners due to its low cost and high durability. Before you turn your nose up at the thought of gluing vinyl strips to your floor, go to your local flooring showroom and take a look. Modern luxury vinyl flooring is very convincing and looks far better than the cheesy patterns of yesteryear. While vinyl won’t give you the same feel as real hardwood flooring, there are plenty of convincing options that work for a variety of different tastes.
Vinyl is cheap, extremely water resistant, and easy to maintain, making it an excellent choice for people with a rambunctious pup or two at home. The only downside to vinyl is that it shows scratches, so you’ll want to make sure you keep your dog’s nails trimmed and discourage digging as much as possible.
From a canine perspective, there’s little difference between luxury vinyl plank flooring and luxury vinyl tiles. Both options are equally dog-friendly, offering a low-friction surface that’s easy to navigate for most dogs. Vinyl planks are better at mimicking wood floors, while vinyl tiles offer a wider range of styles, so choose whichever suits your style better.
Vinyl Pros & Cons
- Very affordable
- Plenty of styles to choose from
- Not very scratch-resistant
- Has an (undeserved) bad reputation that may hurt home resale
Vinyl flooring offers the best bang for your buck of any flooring option. Both the upfront costs and long-term maintenance costs of vinyl are low, and you won’t have to repair or replace it very often, even if you have a high-energy breed.
If vinyl isn’t your thing, the next best option for dog-friendly flooring is tile. Tile is more scratch-resistant than vinyl while being just as waterproof and easy to maintain. Unfortunately, tile flooring is much more expensive than vinyl, so it’s not the best option if you’re on a tight budget.
Tile flooring is usually either porcelain or ceramic, and both options work well for dogs. Generally speaking, porcelain tile is more durable than ceramic, although the difference is minimal. Ceramic tiles often come in a wider range of styles, making them better for people who want to inject some color and life into their flooring.
A big benefit of choosing tile over vinyl is that tile flooring often adds value to your home, making it easier to sell, unlike vinyl which can have the opposite effect.
Tile Pros & Cons
- Resists stains and water
- Highly scratch proof
- Easy to clean and maintain
- Adds value to your home
- Very expensive
Tile flooring is expensive no matter how you slice it, although the long-term value tile brings to your home makes it a little easier to stomach the hefty price tag. If you’re thinking about selling your home down the road, tile will help you get a big chunk of your investment back.
Laminate flooring can also be an excellent choice for pet owners, although you’ll have to choose the right kind of laminate if you don’t want your dog slipping around like a newborn giraffe on ice. Some laminate flooring has a smooth finish that makes it hard for dogs to walk on without sliding. Textured laminate is almost always a better choice for dog owners, although even textured laminate doesn’t offer as much traction as vinyl.
If you can find laminate flooring with enough texture to keep your dog’s paws from slipping, it’s a good low-cost, medium-maintenance option. Laminate is very scratch resistant, so you shouldn’t have any trouble keeping it looking like new.
The only downside to laminate floors is that you need to be wary of spills and splashes since it’s not very water resistant. We recommend keeping a water mat under your pooch’s bowl if you decide to go with laminate and make sure you always have plenty of paper towels on hand to mop up messes and accidents.
Laminate Pros & Cons
- Fairly easy to clean
- Not very water-resistant
- Can be slippery if you choose a smooth textured laminate
Laminate flooring is affordable and relatively low maintenance, so the initial and lifetime costs are very manageable. The only risk is water damage, which can lead to recurring costs if you’re not careful about protecting your floors from moisture.
If none of the options presented so far strike your fancy, engineered hardwood might be more of what you’re looking for. While it’s not as dog-friendly as the flooring options listed so far, it is considered more aesthetic than the other options and a viable alternative to genuine hardwood floors.
Engineered hardwood floors have a thin layer of real hardwood on top of one or two layers of plywood, giving them the look and feel of hardwood at a fraction of the cost.
While engineered hardwood shares the look of hardwood flooring, unfortunately, it also shares its disadvantages. Engineered hardwood floors are not water-resistant or scratch-resistant, so you’ll need to be prepared for them to show signs of wear from your canine companion. If your dog is a digger, you might want to steer clear of engineered hardwood.
Engineered Hardwood Pros & Cons
- More affordable than real hardwood
- Beautiful look and feel
- Many design choices
- Expensive compared to vinyl and laminate flooring
- Prone to scratches
- Easily damaged by water
Engineered Hardwood Cost
Engineered hardwood is more affordable than hardwood, but that doesn’t mean it’s cheap. You should expect engineered hardwood floors to cost more than vinyl, laminate, or tile floors, so they’re not a great choice if you’re looking to save money.
Read our full article about the cost of engineered hardwood for a closer looking into pricing details.
Bamboo is a less common flooring option that’s been gaining popularity in recent years. Engineered bamboo floors feature a thin layer of bamboo on top of another material, like plywood. They’re more affordable than solid bamboo floors, offering most of the aesthetic appeal at a lower price point.
Bamboo flooring is extremely resilient to physical damage, making it a great option for people who own dogs that like to play in the house. However, if your dog is a messy drinker or prone to accidents, bamboo isn’t the best choice since it’s easily damaged by moisture, which also makes it a poor choice in humid climates.
Maintaining bamboo floors is much easier than maintaining hardwood floors, although you’ll still need to be on constant alert for spills if you want to avoid damage and warping.
Bamboo Pros & Cons
- Sturdy and scratch resistant
- More affordable than hardwood floors
- Easy to clean
- Water needs to be wiped up quickly to avoid damage
- Solid options can be expensive
Engineered bamboo floors are more affordable than engineered hardwood floors in most places, but solid bamboo flooring can get fairly expensive. Luckily, with proper care and maintenance, bamboo floors can last for many years, making them a low-cost option in the long run.
Factors That Affect Dog Flooring Cost
The following table offers a quick look at the most common factors that affect dog flooring costs.
|Factors that Affect Dog Flooring Cost||Relative Importance for Overall Cost|
There are several factors that affect how much pet-friendly flooring will cost. The most important considerations are durability, the level of maintenance required, and aesthetic appeal.
In general, more durable flooring will be more expensive, although it depends somewhat on the flooring material and demand. Cheap vinyl flooring is often extremely durable, although it doesn’t look as nice as more expensive options, which drives the cost down.
Floor types that require a lot of maintenance might not have high upfront costs, but the cost of keeping them in good shape might add up over time. For example, many people wind up replacing cheap laminate floors earlier than they intended to because they show wear more readily than more expensive options. Keep in mind that saving money upfront doesn’t always mean you’ll save money in the long run.
Finally, aesthetic appeal is a primary driver of flooring costs. Many people want the refined, elegant look of hardwood floors, allowing manufacturers to charge higher prices for hardwood and engineered hardwood floors.
Dog owners should seriously consider whether they must have hardwood floors before purchasing hardwood or engineered hardwood flooring since neither is very dog friendly, and the odds of eventually needing expensive repairs and replacements are high.
DIY or Hiring a Professional Contractor for Floor Installation
Redoing your flooring is a big home project, but one that’s doable for anyone with some DIY skills and the right tools. Whether or not you should attempt to tackle a floor installation depends on your level of home improvement experience, the type of flooring you plan on installing, and whether you have enough free time to finish a large project.
Most people can handle installing a basic laminate or vinyl flooring, but tile and hardwood floors might be above the average homeowners’ pay grade. If you aren’t sure whether you should attempt to install your floor yourself, take that as a sign that you should hire a professional.
Professional contractors will get the job done more quickly and do a better job than most amateurs, so it’s usually the best option for most people. Of course, hiring a professional contractor will cost more than purchasing the material and installing your new floors yourself, so you might not want to go the professional route if money is tight.
Conclusion: Choosing the Right Flooring Option for Your Needs
Choosing the right flooring as a dog owner means making both your life and your furry friend’s life better. Vinyl and laminate floors are both affordable and good for dog owners, striking a balance between cost, maintenance burden, and style. Vinyl is our top choice, but laminate is also an excellent option.
If you have a bit more money to spend, you can consider tile, which is more expensive than vinyl or laminate flooring but offers similar dog-friendly characteristics like water and scratch resistance. If you absolutely can’t live without hardwood floors, go with engineered hardwood. It’s cheaper than solid hardwood, so it won’t hurt as much when Scruffy inevitably scratches it up or has an accident.
Honorable mentions for dog-friendly flooring go to cork flooring and concrete flooring, which are workable but have several major drawbacks that make them less desirable than the types of flooring on this list.