- Bamboo, concrete, tile, and laminate are some of the best flooring for dogs — Smooth concrete or tile floors are a breeze to wipe or mop clean, especially ones that don’t have grout. If you’re on a tight budget, vinyl and laminate are some of the cheapest choices for pet-friendly flooring. Bamboo is a natural option that’s resilient against scratches, but you’ll need to keep it clean to avoid staining.
- Hardwood flooring and carpet take more work with pets — Potty-trained adult dogs generally fare better with carpet and hardwood than puppies. Senior dogs with incontinence issues are an exception — older dogs might make maintaining these flooring options a real challenge.
- No flooring options are completely off-limits — If your heart is set on hardwood, go for it! We’ll show you how to keep it clean, even with pets.
Your dog may not care what color you paint your walls, but you might want to consider Fido before installing that new floor. Some materials are naturally more pet-friendly than others. Tile and laminate flooring generally last longer under the heavy traffic of muddy paws and sharp claws, while hardwood and carpet aren’t nearly as forgiving.
Renter, don’t despair — you can make any type of flooring work for nearly any pet with the right tools. We put together this guide to keep your pad in top shape, too, so you don’t owe hefty fines at the end of your lease.
How to choose the best flooring for dogs
Since you share your space with your dog, you’ll need to consider their potential impact on your flooring throughout their life.
As a puppy, your dog may damage your floors by urinating or pooping before they’re fully housebroken. Even as adults, they still may occasionally feel sick or not be able to hold it until you can take them outside. Your dog’s nails may also scratch or shred certain types of flooring, such as hardwood, cork, and carpet. Finally, as your dog ages, they may face incontinence issues that mimic their puppyhood.
Since dogs have the potential to damage hardwood and carpet at every stage of their life, we typically suggest these pet-friendly options instead:
Tile: Best for large dogs and long-haired breeds
Whether you choose porcelain, ceramic, or natural stone, tile is our favorite choice for large dogs. Long-haired breeds such as the Siberian husky will appreciate how it’s cool and comfortable to lounge on in the summer. It’s also scratch-resistant, which is great for large dogs with tough nails. Although its cooling properties are beneficial in the summertime, you might want to consider laying down some washable rugs during the winter so your dog can stay warm. If your puppy isn’t potty-trained yet, you might want to consider how thick you want your grout since it’s harder to clean in between the grooves.
Cost. You can expect to pay anywhere from less than $1 per square foot to around $4 for ceramic tile if you plan to install it yourself. Porcelain tile may be much more expensive. On average, it costs $3 to $4 per square foot, but certain tiles may cost up to $40 per square foot.
Pros and cons of tile
✅ Ceramic can be cost efficient
✅ Simple to sweep and mop
✅ Not as easily scratched as some flooring choices
❌ Cool during the summertime, but may be too cold in some climates or during winter
❌ Grout can be difficult to clean
❌ Certain types of porcelain tile are expensive
Concrete: Best for the most destructive breeds
You can’t get much tougher than concrete. Scratches, water, and even fire can’t cause significant damage to this dense flooring type. Unfortunately, some breeds are naturally more likely to destroy things, especially if they’re bored. Even the beloved Labrador retriever may be destructive without the right amount of attention and exercise. Concrete is an excellent choice if you’re worried about your dog chewing on your house while you’re away.
Concrete won’t aesthetically match all styles since it has an industrial appearance, and you’ll need some cushions for your dog since it’s hard. For this reason, it may not be the wisest choice for elderly dogs since it can put pressure on their joints, but it will perfectly suit dogs that like to stay cool.
Cost. Depending on the finish, concrete can cost anywhere from $2 to $30 per square foot.
Pros and cons of concrete
✅ Inexpensive, depending on the finish
✅ Virtually indestructible
❌ May not suit all styles
❌ Stays cool year-round (even in winter)
❌ Can be uncomfortable on a dog’s joints
Bamboo: Best for houses with low humidity levels
Bamboo floor has built a solid reputation over the last few years as a natural option that resembles hardwood. If you buy quality bamboo, it’s likely resistant to scratches. The caveat is that cheaper-quality bamboo may scratch and even buckle under extreme humidity levels. It works best in living areas such as bedrooms and kitchens rather than bathrooms and basements where moisture may gather.
Although it’s not as cozy as carpet, bamboo is warmer than tile, which some pets may like. Bamboo is easy to clean, but you’ll need to mop up spills sooner rather than later because of the risk of water damage.
Cost. Expect to pay between $1.50 to $11 per square foot, with $2.25 being the national average.
Pros and cons of bamboo
✅ Easy to clean
✅ More comfortable than tile
✅ Resembles hardwood floor
✅ High-quality bamboo doesn’t scratch easily
❌ Not a good choice for areas with high moisture levels
❌ Needs cleaning immediately after spills to prevent moisture damage
Vinyl: Best for puppies and seniors
If your dog is still learning to go outside to relieve themselves, vinyl can take some of the stress of cleaning off your shoulders. It’s often waterproof, and most messes wipe up easily. You don’t have to worry if you miss a urine spot for a day or two since it won’t absorb.As an added perk, it’s one of the easiest types of flooring to install if you’re planning on doing it yourself.
Types of vinyl
Some types of vinyl flooring are coated with a scratch-resistant layer, while others may have an anti-skid coating that can prevent your senior dog from sliding. While vinyl can be an excellent solution to many common obstacles that pet parents and homeowners face, it may not pay off when it’s time to sell your house. Vinyl is usually considered less desirable than hardwood, carpet, or tile.
Cost. Vinyl is a relatively inexpensive option, costing between $1 to $3 per square foot. Luxury vinyl flooring that resembles more expensive floor types, such as stone, usually costs between $2 to $5 per square foot.
Pros and cons of vinyl
✅ Usually waterproof
✅ Different types of vinyl meet certain needs
❌ Doesn’t hold as high of a resale value as some materials
Laminate: Best for budget-friendly renovations
Less expensive than vinyl but with a similar look and feel, laminate may be your best option if you’re on a tight budget. Unless your dog has frequent potty accidents indoors, there’s little worry about them damaging your floor since laminate has a scratch-resistant layer. Laminate typically isn’t waterproof, however, so if your dog isn’t housebroken, opt for a slightly more expensive waterproof version.
You’ll also need to consider how you plan to keep your dog safe as they approach their senior years since some laminate floorings can be slippery. From a style standpoint, some laminate floor patterns may be outdated.
Cost. It’s hard to beat the price. Laminate ranges from under $1 to $2 per square foot.
Pros and cons of laminate
✅ Generally the least expensive flooring material
❌ Not waterproof
❌ May be slick
❌ Some styles are outdated
Cork: Best for eco-friendly dog owners
If you’re annoyed by the “click click” sound of your dog’s nails, tell them to cork it! You’ll be happy to find that cork absorbs sound better than most types of flooring. A clean and eco-friendly option, cork is antibacterial and made from a specific type of oak tree.
Cork flooring isn’t a good option if your dog likes to scratch or isn’t housebroken. Just as this natural material absorbs sound, it’ll also soak up water or urine if they’re allowed to rest on it for too long. Cork is also easier to scuff and dent than other types of flooring since it’s soft. If you decide on cork, you might consider sealing it for added moisture protection. Cork can be comforting to an elderly dog’s joints since it does have some give, so it might be a good choice as long as they don’t struggle with incontinence.
Cost. Between $2 and $12 per square foot
Pros and cons of cork
✅ Natural and eco-friendly
✅ Soft on your dog’s joints
✅ Absorbs sound well
❌ Prone to moisture damage
❌ Easily scratched and dented
Engineered hardwood: Best alternative to hardwood floors
If you love the appearance of hardwood floors but want to avoid them because they’re prone to scratches, engineered hardwood may be a canine-friendly compromise at half the price. The top layer is hardwood with a plywood base layer underneath, which is why it’s less expensive. It’s also more water-resistant than traditional hardwood and can be cleaned with a mop. You still want to clean up spills sooner than later, and certain types may be more susceptible to scratching.
Unfortunately, its lifespan is considerably shorter. While you can refinish hardwood, engineered hardwood gets replaced once it’s run its course. That probably won’t happen for a long time — you can expect around 30 years with engineered flooring.
Cost. Generally, engineered hardwood runs between $4 and $7 per square foot.
Pros and cons of engineered hardwood
✅ Less expensive than hardwood
❌ Not waterproof
❌ May show scratches
❌ Can’t be refinished
Types of flooring to avoid
We love our pets, but they might be just one factor when selecting new flooring for your home. If you choose one of these types, you’ll have to go to greater lengths to maintain these materials around dogs and cats.
Despite its last syllable, carpet isn’t pet-friendly at all. Its dense fibers hold a smelly grudge against every pee stain your dog leaves, not to mention muddy pawprints. If you live somewhere where fleas run wild, the carpet may serve as a haven for laying their eggs. A single adult flea can lay between 40 and 50 eggs in one day, so it doesn’t take long for your carpet to become a breeding ground for an infestation. Once the eggs are buried deep into the fibers, fleas are difficult to eliminate. Carpet also traps allergens such as dust mites and animal dander, bad news for allergy sufferers.
If your dog likes to dig, they can easily destroy low-quality carpets. Cats are especially notorious for scratching carpet and can demolish your floor in patches. The smell of cat urine is stronger than a dog’s and harder to neutralize.
If you buy a vintage house with 100-year hardwood floors, you don’t have to rip them up just because you have a dog. However, if you’re looking to lay down new flooring, hardwood isn’t the best option for the future. The wood and veneer finish are easily damaged by standing water, which will cause your floor to buckle and turn cloudy. Because of this, you’re restricted to cleaning with a broom and a dry mop, which might not adequately fight the toughest stains.
Hardwood is usually crafted from a softer wood than similar choices such as bamboo and engineered hardwood, so it’s more easily scratched and dented. If you really want a classic hardwood floor, you might opt for engineered hardwood instead.
Renters: When carpet and hardwood can’t be avoided
So, you’ve signed the lease. The place fits perfectly with your budget, has a pool, and even has the rare advantage of being pet-friendly. With all these perks, you may not notice there’s carpet in almost every room … until your Labrador takes their first muddy step into your new home.
If your rental has carpet or hardwood floors, don’t despair. Let’s talk about some ways you can protect the floors (and get your pet deposit back at the end of your lease).
Standing water and scratches can permanently damage that beautiful hardwood floor so here are a few tips to prevent both:
- Place a mat under water bowls — This will prevent spills from damaging the floor or water collecting sight unseen beneath the dish.
- Clean up pet urine immediately — The acid in pet urine may damage some finishes.
- Find another place to hand out treats and toys — Heavy dog bones or other chew toys may scratch some floors, so get in the habit of supervising treat time in a room with more durable flooring.
- Establish a cleaning routine — You’re already cleaning your floors, of course, but a daily sweep, weekly vacuum, bi-weekly mopping, and monthly cleaning with a recommended hardwood floor cleaner will extend the life of your hardwood flooring.
Did you know that the average pet deposit costs between 40% and 85% of one month’s rent? Depending on state regulations and your leasing agreement, this fee may be non-refundable or returned to you at the end of your stay, provided there’s no pet damage to the property.
Permanent stains from muddy paws or potty accidents are the biggest concern in homes with carpet. Here are a few tips to head off those problems:
- Set up a pet cleaning station at the front and back door — Clean your dog’s dirty paws before they can step foot on your plush carpet.
- Use scatter rugs — In addition to entrances, throw rugs can protect high-traffic areas.
- Vacuum more often — You probably already vacuum once a week, but like hardwood floors, more frequent vacuuming will cut down on the loose dirt and hair that can become ground into the carpet.
Frequently asked questions
What is the most durable flooring for dogs?
Vinyl, concrete, and laminate are all excellent choices for pet owners because they resist water and scratches more than other options. Laminate isn’t always waterproof, but it’s generally the cheapest flooring option overall. Unfortunately, vinyl and laminate have a shorter average lifespan than other flooring options and may decrease the resale value of your house. This shouldn’t be a problem though if you’re a homeowner who isn’t planning on selling in the next 10-20 years.
If you can afford to spend a little more, tile is also a great option that won’t depreciate your home value. Plus, it looks nice and is easy to clean.
Is laminate or vinyl better for dogs?
While laminate is cheaper, vinyl is usually more water-resistant. If you have or plan on adopting a puppy anytime soon, vinyl is probably a better choice.
What is the best flooring for dogs that have accidents?
Vinyl or tile floors clean easily, as long as you tend to the grout. Smooth, finished concrete actually offers the most resistance to pet accidents and moisture, but the modern look doesn’t complement every room. No matter which flooring you choose, clean up accidents as soon as they happen to minimize long-term damage and keep your pad smelling fresh.
Do dogs scratch vinyl plank flooring?
Vinyl plank flooring is a top choice for pet-friendly households because it features a protective outer layer that guards against scratches. Even so, keeping your dog’s nails trimmed can reduce the risk of damage. If you have a senior, you might consider something like ToeGrips. These small rings slide onto your dog’s nails to help them keep traction on slippery surfaces.
What is the best flooring when you have pets?
When deciding how to renovate your space, you’ll need to consider what type of pet you have and their needs. For example, with large dog breeds that shed, you’ll want a smooth surface like bamboo that you can quickly dry mop to catch the loose tufts of fur. For puppies in potty training, find a water-resistant material such as vinyl.
The necessities of the room itself must also be considered. Areas of the house that experience more moisture, such as bathrooms, don’t do well with certain materials like bamboo or even certain types of laminate. Overall, you’ll want to avoid carpet and hardwood when you can because they’re harder to maintain with pets. Most other options can work as long as they fit the other requirements of your space.