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What is the Best Type of Flooring for Pets?

When building a new home or remodeling an existing home, flooring choices are everything. With pets in the home, this becomes even more important, because pets are just as hard, if not harder, than people on flooring surfaces. What are the best flooring choices for pets in the home? Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of several types of flooring to help in the decision making process.

Hardwood Flooring

Though this is one of the most desired types of flooring in a home, it is not the best choice for homes with pets. Pet urine can stain the hardwood, leaving a terrible smell and a dark spot in the wood. Even if urine accidents are cleaned up quickly after the fact, the urine may still seep into the wood, causing damage. To remove these stains, you may have to go so far as to strip, sand, and refinish the floor. If the stains are contained to one small area, this is hassle enough, but if the stains all over the place, the entire floor may need to be redone. At times, the odor and stain may reappear because of salt crystals left behind from the urine that cannot be dissolved. If this happens, completely replacing the wood may be necessary.

Another thing some pet owners forget to factor in when it comes to hardwood is the pet’s water bowl. If possible, place the water bowl on a mat of some sort to help protect the hardwood from moisture when the bowl spills. Quickly dry the spill after it happens, because moisture can soak down into the wood causing it to swell and contract.

Keeping pets nails trimmed or filed will also be necessary to avoid extraneous scratches on the flooring. As pets walk or run across the floor, their claws may damage the surface. While some owners may elect to declaw their pets, it certainly isn’t a possibility for all.

If the flooring is coated with a high quality urethane, it will be more scratch and stain resistant. Sweep the floors clean at least once a week for best maintenance.

Bamboo is harder than the hardest hardwood flooring and is one of the best pet-friendly flooring choices.

Laminate Flooring

Lamton Laminate - 8mm AC3 - Phoenix Collection / SKU: 15192056

Lamton Laminate – 8mm AC3 – Phoenix Collection / SKU: 15192056

Due to the hardness of laminate flooring, pet owners may turn to it instead of traditional hardwood. While this may work to provide the décor people want, it can be difficult for pets, especially dogs, because they will slip and slide as they walk or run through the home. This will cause their hips to move in unnatural ways, which may cause damage to their bodies. This is pronounced in smooth, high gloss laminate floors and can be mitigated somewhat by choosing a laminate floor with an embossed or textured finish. Laminate won’t show scratches as easily as some other surfaces, but because they are slippery and uncomfortable to lie on, rugs are recommended throughout the home to help the pet.

Bamboo Flooring

Bamboo is an excellent choice for homes with pets, for many different reasons. It’s harder than the hardest hardwoods, meaning it will stand up to more traffic. It won’t wear out, and it’s completely renewable, so it makes a good choice for those who are trying to be green. It is stain resistant, so people don’t have to worry about accidents or spills. Due to bamboo’s hardness it will save money compared to repairing other types of flooring. For those who are trying to decide between using hardwood and vinyl flooring, choosing bamboo floors is a great compromise.

Cork Floors

Evora Pallets Cork - Porto Tile Collection - Glue Down Floor / SKU: 10094427

Evora Pallets Cork – Porto Tile Collection – Glue Down Floor / SKU: 10094427

Cork is a green flooring choice good for the environment and the health of the occupants, pets included. Cork is an antimicrobial type of flooring that will reduce the growth of mold and other allergens. Cork is scratch resistant, though it should be swept regularly to prevent scratching from particles of dirt left on the floor. It is an excellent sound absorption option, so as pets walk across the floor, it will not be as loud. While the flooring is water resistant, it is a natural product, so spills should be cleaned up promptly. Discoloration of this flooring will happen over time when exposed to sunlight.

Stone Tile Flooring

This type of flooring is amazing for pet owners because it does not scratch easily, and scratches don’t show as they do in other types of flooring. When pets have accidents on the stone tile floor, there is much less reason to worry over how this will impact the condition of the flooring. With these two factors considered, this is a good choice for pet owners, but the floors are hard and cold so they are not very comfortable to lie on, unless the floor is heated by radiant heat. Consider using area rugs and pet beds to alleviate this problem. Granite is the hardest of the natural stones and is the best choice for scratch resistance. Softer stones such as marble, slate, and travertine may require somewhat more maintenance than granite, especially if they feature a polished finish.


Much similar to stone, porcelain or ceramic tile is a good choice in terms of wear and tear for pets. It won’t scratch easily. If pets don’t manage to make it outside before relieving themselves, the urine won’t damage the condition of the floor as it would with hardwood. However, much like stone, the surface is hard and uncomfortable for pets to lie on, but rugs will help.

Vinyl Flooring

Vesdura Vinyl Planks - 8.5mm WPC Click Lock - XL Renaissance Collection / SKU: 15198443

Vesdura Vinyl Planks – 8.5mm WPC Click Lock – XL Renaissance Collection / SKU: 15198443

While many people wouldn’t think vinyl flooring be a very pet friendly flooring choice, the new luxury vinyl flooring is an excellent choice, and it’s great for small children, too. The flooring is scratch and stain resistant, low in allergens, easy to clean and maintain, and even quiet to walk on.


When it comes to pets, carpet is likely the worst flooring choice one can make, simply because it is easily damaged by pets. Even normal wear and tear on carpet in a pet-free home happens faster than with other flooring options. If carpet is the only choice because it is the most cost effective option for home flooring, the best thing to do is choose a carpet without loops as pet nails can snag on the loops and cause the carpet to wear faster.

While budget and ease of installation will be factors impacting the flooring decisions of a home, taking time to consider the best flooring options for pets beforehand may save money in repairs and frustration in the long run. Cutting corners on flooring to save money is not a good choice if the flooring needs to be replaced in a few months or even a year due to the wear and tear from the pets.

Are pets a factor in your flooring decision?

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(87) Comments

  1. SLA can’t you just remove the stained tiles? We have 7 dogs and 8 house cats so looking for a flooring easy to clean, waterproof, and slide resistant. Love it to be a do -it yourself but just not sure what way to go yet. I wish I had found more answers to whether vinyl planking was waterproof. Has anyone used the Karndean Loose Lay planks?

  2. Tile is not necessarily the best option … we have decades-old Saltillo tile in our downstairs. When we bought the house no one told us we needed to have the tile re-sealed every couple of years. So we’ve been here ten years, and suddenly our 12-year-old cat decided to pee in the same place on the floor over and over and over … in the beginning it was often at night, so we didn’t know what was going on until she’d done it three or four times. When we finally caught her, we cleaned it up right away, of course. By then it was too late … she’d stained the tile, the urine had soaked into the tile and the grout and the smell … UGH! We tried using an enzymatic cleaner on the tile, just poured it on, let it sit until it tried; poured it on, washed it off; nothing helped. We are now in the process of trying peroxide-and-diatomaceous-earth poultices to draw out the urine, but this is a long, laborious process, and I dont think it will work, in the end. (And, in the meantime, because we have the poultice on, we keep it covered with foil and we have a motion-detector-activated fan aimed at the spot, she has found a NEW place to pee. The litter box now sits in the middle of the living room. Not entirely acceptable, even with a cover, but what can we do?) So I think in the end we will have to spend the $8,000-$10,0000 we were quoted to have all the tile in the great room ripped up and replaced. So be SURE your tile is well-sealed or not porous before you count on tile floors to stay clean with pets!

  3. The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certifies wood according to stringent ecological and forest management
    criteria. Do not just take a companies word for the quality of
    their product, but do your own homework to find out which flooring will actually meet your needs.
    The wood tiles should be stored in the room they are to be
    installed in for at least 24 hours so they can acclimate to the temperature and humidity.

  4. We are needing a floor for our basement family room and have pets. How would the cork type flooring work in a basement? Does it scratch or tear easily? Your site states it is a good choice for pets. Just need to know how it would work in a basement.

  5. When it comes to choosing flooring for dogs and cats, it is also a good idea to select floor that is stain resistant. You just need to make sure that you have both the group and the tile sealed when you have them installed. The reason for this decision is the fact that it will keep your floors looking immaculate while making them extremely resistant to the mud that dirty paws have the tendency to bring in from outside.

  6. Vinyl is definitely not a good choice with dogs. They can dig it up just as easily as carpet. The advice above is very misguided.

  7. Found your site, so glad
    My dog only pees in living room wood floor and misses the wewe pad (poor me)
    want to replace the junk in my kitchen.Cloice is Vinly by Halo Floors called Something Different. I think it is a vinyl (high grade) or Porclian tile. The dog may in the future pee on this floor. Which tyoe do you recommend?

  8. Pingback: Tips for Choosing Flooring Materials for Mountain Homes

  9. Hi Jessica,

    Thank you for your well-stated rebuttal to Bob! I was feeling the same way, but you chose the best way to respond. Thanks again — I feel validated!

  10. This web page has me making my final decision of getting vinyl in my kitchen/dining area. I’ve always had vinyl up until I moved in my condo a couple years ago. There is light colored laminate from the entrance door, down a long hallway and through the kitchen up until the living room. My cats go running, sliding, and try and dig their nails in to stop but can’t, resulting in more scratches than I can count. Thank you!

  11. I am planning a new house and need input on the flooring- I have young children, two cats, two large dogs, and a laminate floor that has been ruined with scratches from kids toys and dog toenails. One of my children also has asthma issues so I was looking for a hard-surface flooring to keep the dust and pet hair down. Anything short of stone or ceramic tile that will stand up to scratches? The dogs are the primary culprits- 60 and 80 lb. greyhounds.

  12. Hi, I am looking into installing vinyl cork planks in my 3 dog home. Accidents arent a problem but I still want to make sure I won’t have to worry about water damage. Any insight? Thanks.

  13. What kind of flooring would you suggest for a bathroom in a house with three males. No matter how much i beg them to be careful there is always pee on the floor and even on the walls. I don’t like ceramic because it is too slippery when wet. I noticed Bob mentioned “grass”. Is this a new green product or must I send the males outside to use the grass in the backyard? Or should I just give them away to a good home?

  14. Considering installing laminant planks to replace old vinyl in busy kitchen and laundry area. Family includes cats and large dogs. Pet accidents and spills do happen! Does pet urine and wet spills seep between plank joints causing odor and damage under the laminant planks?

  15. I am so glad to have found this site! I have a very beloved Dauschund who has accidents and I live in a very small condo with heavy traffic. The carpet that was new 5 years ago is just gross now, due to me having to pull out the carpet cleaner on a bi-weekly basis. I really thought I was just a bad pet owner and that no one else had these problems! I’m planning to replace my flooring and it was nice to read that many posters have gone with vinyl. That’s the way I’m leaning now. Thanks for the support!

  16. Hey bob…I have an idea. Keep your negative opinions to yourself and realize that for many of US our pets are our family. You don’t have to understand or like it. But people were looking for advice not your ranting or judgement. You must be a real peach

  17. this article fails to mention that natural stone (granite, marble, travertine, etc) and ceramic tiles are naturally porous, and will need to be maintained (sealed) or just like hardwood floors, the smell will seep into the pores. porcelain tile is not porous and is the most maintenance free tile for pets.

  18. I used a high-quality Armstrong sheet vinyl flooring on my kitchen and den. It is 23 years old and has worn like iron. Lasted through 8 large dogs plus my kids used to rollerskate on it and ride their trikes on it (many years ago). I don’t know if this helps anybody with their decision making, but just thought it might help to provide info about my long term experience. My suggestion is to go with a high grade vinyl if you’ve got dogs and young children and durability and ease of cleaning is a major concern.

  19. Hello,
    After reading this site and comments, I’m leaning towards vinyl. My question is about vinyl planks. They look good, but I’m wondering how waterproof are the seams? If a pet goes to the bathroom on the floor, would any of the urine possible get into the crack in a seam and hurt the plywood underneath over time? Or are the seams in the vinyl plank water tight?

    Thank you,

  20. Hi
    I have a special needs home I own and run, I have carpet in the bedrooms when we moved in, but now it is so destroyed in one of the bedrooms because of urine from the clients, we have one client who wets the beds every night, and it is so heavy it soaks through the mattress and onto the floor..What in the world can we put down for his room???

  21. My new mother in law is paying to put in new floors as a gift, we have a Boston that has major allergies and the medication she takes causes her to urinate more often. So between the periodic accidents she also spits up phlegm on occasion and plain old wear and tear from dog claws. I need to know what type of flooring would be best?

  22. Looking to put flooring on an unfinished basement (cement). We have an 80 lb. dog and a small cat. The cat is old and sometimes as accidents but mostly is good about using the ltter box. The dog is well trained and only has an accident if we leave her too long in the house alone. Can’t put the blame on her.

    I am looking at laminate or engineered wood flooring. Are these good choices? Which would hold up best to the pets and husband? Oh, I forgot to mention, husband is prone to spills and not cleaning them up. Which I sometimes find days later as I only use the basement to do laundry. (The laundry room is already tiled with porcelain tile.)

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