Hardwood Flooring: What To Consider When Living With Pets

Maybe you’ve heard it said that wood floors and pets don’t mix. Most of our furry friends have claws, and inevitable damage to wood floors results when dogs walk or run on them daily. You don’t want to pass on beautiful, hardwood flooring, but your dog isn’t going anywhere either- what can you do?

Super hard hardwood flooring

Not all wood types are created equal. There is a scale for measuring “hardness” called the Janka hardness scale. Based on this, we’ll advise you about the toughest options.

Brazilian Walnut and Ipe

Exotic hardwoods tend to be the hardest. Brazilian hardwood is incredibly dense. It won’t feel as soft and warm underfoot, but it will resist marks and dents very well in the long term.  Ipe is also called Brazilian walnut. Tough enough to be used outdoors and in high traffic regions, Ipe has become more affordable in recent years as well.

Select hard maple

Hard Maple, as opposed to other variants of Maple, has a Janka hardness rating of 1450 or more. It’s used on basketball courts and also sometimes called sugar or rock Maple. It comes from trees grown above the 38th parallel where the brief growing seasons create a closer, denser grain.


Bamboo is technically grass, not wood. In the category of hardwood flooring in Toronto, you’ll see bamboo listed because it shares many similarities with solid wood. During manufacturing, the bamboo is infused with hard resins which lend resilience and resistance to scratching.  Fossilized bamboo flooring boasts a Janka rating of 5,000 which is much higher than the still impressive, 2000-3000 rating for natural bamboo. If you have dogs at home, bamboo could be the longer-lasting and more economical choice.

Classical Inspirations Collection


Will trimming my pet’s nails help?

Yes and no. Unfortunately, blunt clipped dog nails do still scratch and mark floors. The sealant or wax on your floor’s surface will suffer a multitude of fine, shallow lines over time. One option is to invest in regular manicuring which files and rounds out the nail edges. There are also soft, plastic caps which your veterinarian can place on top of your dog’s nails. You may want to lay down non-slip runners and carpets in the high traffic areas and especially along your dog’s regular paths to the door.

Avoid softwood types

Softwoods such as fir or pine will make a poor option for your floors if you own dogs. They look pretty and feel soft under feet but if you plan to use any softwoods, confine them to a bedroom or office where the dog does not frequent.

Consider pre-finished

Stained and sealed in the factory, this wood planking comes protected with many layers of tough urethane finish. 

Divine Flooring Herringbone Collection

Keep your hardwood flooring waxed

A cat’s claws retract and don’t tend to scratch on surfaces as they walk but a dog’s nails can often be heard clicking along on a hardwood floor if they grow too long. It’s advisable that you not only trim regularly but file the nails too so there are no sharp, scratchy edges. Many people don’t feel comfortable handling this job on their own,but a pet groomer can help and is a worthwhile investment. Another handy trick for dog nails is application of nail coverings. There are a few kinds,and they essentially clip over the nail, creating a smooth surface that can’t scratch. You can talk to your groomer about putting them on for you. Waxed solid wood floors look beautiful,and this type of product helps to keep the floor clean-looking and shiny. The wax builds up a coating over the wood which repels dirt, spills,and dust, but also protects somewhat from rough nails. One interesting benefit of a waxed floor is that it can offer some extra traction for your dog which keeps them safer and helps discourage them from digging nails in deeper.


Daily prevention

This can be tricky when there’s a puppy in the house, but watery urine will soak into floors quickly and cause damage. Hardwood readily absorbs moisture which can warp and change it. To reduce lingering odours and the need for aggressive cleaning, don’t give pee any time to soak in to your Hardwood flooring. If raising a young pet who has frequent accidents, it will be worthwhile to place puppy pads or even additional rugs and runners which can be removed and washed, rather than sacrifice the floor. You don’t need to choose between beautiful floors and pets, but you do need to make some choices about daily prevention.

Consider alternatives

If you haven’t installed flooring yet, consider alternatives just to be sure you understand the various benefits. Vinyl, laminate and stone will all hold up better to the daily scratching and gauging of hard nails. If you’re confident that your home must have real solid hardwood, then you can guide your choice to a few resilient types rather than others.

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