Hardwood floors are beautiful, but they can get easily scratched if you have pets, especially dogs. This is one of the most prominent problems that pet owners with hardwood floors must face. The reason behind this problem is that these homeowners bought and installed a hardwood floor without keeping in mind that they have a dog or pet. If they had considered it earlier, they would not have to face this problem.

The nails of pets, especially dogs, can scratch the surface of hardwood floors easily. That is why you should consider buying a hardwood floor that is good for pets and especially dogs. Not all hardwood species are good for pets, some hardwood species can carry heavy weights and do not get damaged, but they can easily get damaged by the sharp nails and teeth of your dogs.

If you are a pet owner and still want a beautiful hardwood floor in your house, you should choose the hardwood species carefully. The hardest hardwood species are the best ones for you because they are better able to resist the scratches on the surface. Below is the list of a few hardwood species that are the best for pet owner’s houses.

Best Hardwood species for homes with dogs and pets

Below are a list of 4 hardwood species that are the best for homes with dogs or pets.

  • Brazilian Walnut: This is one of the beautiful, exotic, and strong hardwood species that is better able to resist scratches. Apart from this, the color of Brazilian walnut is also better able to hide the marks in case your floor is already scratched. The color of the Brazilian walnut hardwood floor is not completely dark or light, it is in transition between these two, so can be used in any kind of interior setting.

    The ability of this hardwood to resist scratches is because it is dense, heavy, and has a grain that can mask the scratches. The grain of the hardwood can easily hide the imperfections and scratches if your dog scratches the surface of your hardwood floor. This wood of this species comes in both engineered wood for flooring and hardwood for flooring. Both are equally strong and can be used in any part of your house.

    The Janka hardiness rating of the Brazilian walnut is 3684, which makes it one of the strongest hardwood species in the world. In strength, durability, and longevity, it can be compared with the mahogany, hickory, and other top-quality hardwoods for flooring. This strength of the Brazilian hardwood protects it from scratches and that is why it is one of the best hardwood species in the market for pet owners.
  • Hard Maple: The hard maple hardwood species is not only hard, but it is also a non-slippery hardwood species. So, this is one of the perfect hardwood species for dog owners and pet owners. This hardwood floor will make sure that your pets do not slip when they are walking on the surface of the floor and this is how it can ensure fewer scratches on the surface of the hardwood floor.

    Also, the strength and higher density of this hardwood species enable it to resist the scratches from the sharp nails and teeth of the dogs and other pets. Not only your floor will get fewer scratches but also, the color and grain of the hardwood are better able to hide the scars and scratches on the surface of the hardwood floor as well.

    The Janka hardness rating of the hard maple hardwood flooring species is about 1450. It is stronger as compared to other hardwood species such as oak, soft maple, and others. This strength makes it a suitable choice for dog owners and other pets owners to use this on their hardwood floors and avoid problems.
  • Bamboo: Not all bamboo hardwood flooring species are good but the ones that are engineered and have a strength rating above 1400 on the Janka hardness scale are an extremely suitable choice for hardwood floors for pet owner’s houses. This makes it one of the hardest engineered hardwood flooring species. This can protect your hardwood floors from scratches and other problems that pet owners mostly face.

    The hardwood of the bamboo is very durable and long-lasting hardwood, it is also not very glossy or slippery. This protects your dogs and other pets from slipping over the floor and getting hurt. Apart from this, this less slippery nature also protects the hardwood floor from getting scars or nail scratches.

    The lighter color of the bamboo hardwood is also capable of hiding the scratches better as compared to the other forms of hardwood floors. The bamboo hardwood if scratched can easily be repaired, repainted, restrained, or recoated with polyurethane. So, not only it protects your pets, but also provides a better long-lasting hardwood floor that is more scratch-resistant and is also able to hide the scratches better.
  • Cork flooring: cork hardwood floors are considered one of the most dog-friendly or pet-friendly hardwood floors. This is because the hardwood of the cork is not as hard as the other hardwood species in this list, but it provides a better grip to your pets on the floor. The non-slippery nature of the cork hardwood flooring protects your pets from slipping and helps avoid any accidents that mostly happen.

    This hardwood is also better able to react if your dogs or pets wet the hardwood floor. Most of the other hardwood varieties react with the urea in the urine of dogs and this turns the surface of the hardwood to black. But the cork hardwood has no such problems.

    The cork hardwood flooring is one of the easiest to repair in case your dog or pets puts serious scars on its surface. You can easily take care of it in terms of cleaning, maintaining, and repairing as well. The only problem with the cork hardwood flooring is that it is not as hard as the other hardwood species are in this list.

As of now, you know what hardwood species are better for the homeowners that have pets and dogs. But this is not all you need to know to get a good hardwood floor for your pets. Below are some of the pro tips that can help you choose even better options if you do not want to choose any of these and want to explore more options for flooring.

Here are some of the tips related to hardwood floors that are the best for dogs and pets.

  • Do not use softer hardwood species: It is important to avoid soft hardwood species for flooring. Softer hardwood species mostly provide better grip, and they are easy to repair but they can also easily get scratched. There are a lot of benefits in softer hardwood species that most pet owners want but not all softer hardwood species are good. You should avoid them because they are not long-lasting, not durable, and can easily get scratches. So, if you choose a softer hardwood species, you will spend most of your time fixing the scratches on the hardwood. Apart from this, maintaining costs of the softer hardwood species are also far more as compared to the harder hardwood species. Below are some of the hardwood species that you should avoid using.

    American Cherry

    These hardwood species look beautiful and they provide various other features such as better grip for the pets, but they can easily get dents, scratches from the pets walking on them. You should avoid such hardwood species if you have pets in your house, you should choose the hardwood species that are hardest. This will provide your hardwood floors more strength and durability. So, if you are looking forward to having a pet-friendly hardwood floor, you must choose harder hardwood species that provide better grip and avoid the softer hardwood species.
  • Use solid hardwood instead of engineered hardwood: Most people choose engineered hardwood flooring species, but this is also a wrong choice if you are a pet owner. Engineered hardwood species are mostly harder, but they are also glossier and more frictionless, meaning that your pets will not be able to walk normally. They will have to walk on these floors with their nails out to provide better grip. This increases the chances of getting hardwood floors scratched.

    The second reason for not choosing an engineered hardwood species is that if your pet wets the floor, the materials in the engineered would absorb and react with the uric acid. This can turn your engineered hardwood floor’s surface into black. That is why you should avoid using the engineered hardwood if you have pets in your house.

    Using the hardwood planks for flooring will provide your hardwood floor with more friction so that your pets can easily walk. This reduces the chances of getting your hardwood floors scratched. Apart from this, they are also better able to avoid the reaction with uric acid as they do not absorb and have no synthetic materials in them to react with hardwood floors. So, if you have pets in your house and want fewer scratches, you should use hardwood planks instead of engineered wood planks in flooring.
  • Consider distressed hardwood flooring: Distressed looking hardwood floors are nowadays more in style. They are a perfect choice for a homeowner with pets and especially dogs. These distressed looking hardwood floors can better hide the marks of scratches and scars. You can stain your hardwood floors rustic so that they not only look unique, modern but they are also better able to hide the scratches from the nails of the pets.

    This design and look of the hardwood already look like it is distressing, and in this distortion, it can easily hide the dents, scars, and scratches on the surface of the hardwood floor. Also, the distressed hardwood flooring is better able to hide the stains if your dog ever wets the floor. The distressed look of the floor will not change the color that much because this hardwood already has this distressed look. So, if you are a dog owner, you should have this type of hardwood floor in your house.
  • Light hardwood floors are better for pets: lighter hardwood floors are better able to hide the scratches if compared to the dark hardwood floors. So, if you are a dog owner, you should not invest in a dark hardwood floor but a light hardwood floor. Most of the hardwood species that are used in the light hardwood flooring also provide more friction and your pets can walk with a better grip on the floor without the need of using their nails.

    Dark hardwood floors do not hide these scratches and they are also very hard to fix if your dog’s ever scratch them. They also cost more in comparison to the light hardwood floors for repairs and restaining. So, if you are a dog owner, you should consider lighter hardwood floorings over dark hardwood flooring.

Additional Care guidelines for floors that are good for pets

Here are some of the additional care guidelines that can help you protect your hardwood floors even if you have pets.

  • Take off your shoes: Most people think that their floors are being scratched by their dogs but in most cases, it is not true. If you walk on your hardwood floors with shoes, there are more chances of your hardwood floors getting scratches as compared to having a dog or pet in your house.

    So, you must make sure that you do not damage the hardwood floors. Always take your shoes off before you walk on the hardwood floors. This will protect the surface of your hardwood floors and make them last longer and will also not damage their surface.
  • Periodically cut the nails of your pets: The nails of your pets are the most dangerous thing for your hardwood floors. If you do not cut them periodically and they grow proportionally larger, they will cause more damage to your hardwood floors.
  • Use oil-based polyurethane: Using a water-based polyurethane coat to protect the surface of your hardwood floors is not a great idea if you have a pet inside your house. This is because the water-based polyurethane coat provides a very fine and thin layer of protection over the surface of your hardwood floor.

    This thin layer can easily get damaged by the strong nails and claws of your pets. That is the reason you should choose the oil-based polyurethane coats to provide your hardwood floors more strength and provide better protection from scratches.
  • Consider doggy socks (socks for pets): You can also make your dog’s wear doggy socks (socks for pets). These socks are made with fine materials that cover the entire claws of your pets. This cover protects your hardwood floors from the scratches that are normally caused by the nails of the pets. But not all the dogs love this option, you must train your dog’s first to walk while wearing these so that they become aware of the situation.
  • Use area rugs and felt pads: Using area rugs and felt pads in places where your dog mostly walks or sits is the best thing to do to protect the surface of your hardwood floors from getting scratches. These provide an extra layer of protection from the sharp teeth and claws of your pets.
  • Use carpet in the place where the pet sleeps: Using a carpet in the place where your pets mostly sit, or sleep is also a great idea. This will not only protect your hardwood floor but will also keep your pets warm. This will also protect if your dog/pet ever wets the place. Urine will take more time to reach the hardwood as it will first get absorbed in that carpet layer and this will protect your hardwood floor from the bad impact of uric acid on the floor.
  • Do not place the food bowl on the floor: Hardwood floors mostly get scratches when your dog is either walking or eating. When your dog is eating there are chances that its teeth might touch the surface of the hardwood floor and damage it.

    So, never feed your dogs or pets on hardwood floors. Also, place something under the bowl of food or water so that even if your dog creates a mess during eating or drinking, it causes no damage to the floor.
  • Place entry mats near the door: Placing entry mats near doors is very important for all hardwood floor owners. This will help you keep your hardwood floors clean and will also provide more protection. It also works if you have dogs. When dogs enter the house, their feet are covered in dirt, and if there is no entry mat, all this dust will enter your house and you will have to clean your hardwood floor.
  • Quickly clean up the floor if your dog wets it: To protect your hardwood floors from discoloration due to uric acid it is very important to wipe out as soon as possible if your dog or pet ever wets the floor. The long-term presence of dog urine on the floor can create severe problems such as smell, discoloration of hardwood, and can also damage the look and feel of the hardwood floor as well. That is why it is very important to clean it up as soon as possible.

How to hide/repair the already present scratches

If you have a hardwood floor that has already been scratched by dogs or pets and you want to fix it. Below are some of the best things that you can try to fix the scratches and improve the look of your hardwood floors.

  • Fill in the scratches: You should start by filling up the deeper scratches on the surface of the hardwood floor. First, you need to identify the planks that need repair, and then you should fill all of these with the recommended fixing materials.
  • Restain hardwood: This is the second step after properly filling up all the scratches, you need to restrain your hardwood floor planks so that they look like the original hardwood floor.
  • Recoat with oil-based polyurethane: Once you are done with restaining and your floor has been dried. You should apply an oil-based polyurethane coat over it to provide more protection in the future.


If you are a pet owner, you should avoid using the softer hardwood species that easily get scratches and avoid using the engineered hardwood species that change color due to reaction with pet’s urine. Also, you should choose a hardwood floor that is better able to resist and hide the scratches. Apart from this, you should also consider the repairing costs and maintenance costs in mind while choosing a hardwood species. If you keep all the basic points in your mind, you will be able to choose a hardwood species that is not only according to your choice but also provides more protection and is pet friendly and especially dog friendly.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Question: Are there any dog proof hardwood floor finishes?

    Yes, there are some of the dog proof hardwood flooring finishes available in the market that dog owners can choose. These are the best hardwood finishes that not only provide more protection from scratches but also make your hardwood floors look exceptionally beautiful as well. The distressed hardwood floor finishing is one of these dog’s proof hardwood floor finishes.

  2. Question: What is the best hardwood flooring for the dogs that pee on them?

    For dogs that pee on hardwood, you should choose the hardwood flooring species that do not react with the urine of the dogs. Most of the engineered hardwood species react with the dog urine, so, you should avoid these and use the hardwood instead of engineered wood. Bamboo hardwood is one of the best choices for the dogs that pee.

  3. Question: What are some of the best flooring for bedrooms with pets?

    here are some of the options for you if you want to have a hardwood floor in a bedroom with a pet.

    1) Cork hardwood flooring
    2) Bamboo hardwood flooring
    3) Brazilian walnut hardwood flooring