How to Prevent Dog Scratches on Hardwood Floors

Updated: April 12th, 2024

It’s common for homeowners to believe that having a dog automatically means living with damaged, scratched hardwood floors. And in many cases, that can be true—withoutproper care and precautions, man’s best friend can become your hardwood floor’s worst enemy. Thankfully, there are a number of different ways you can help prevent dog scratches on hardwood floors, as well as general pet damage, and many of them are easier to implement than you might expect. Here are our top tips for keeping wood floors looking their best in a dog-friendly household. 

prevent dogs from damaging hardwood

Consider Putting Down Runners in High-Traffic Areas 

Most dogs will have a particular route that they take when running to check the door, head to the backyard, or just get to the food bowl at dinner time. With a little bit of observation, you should be able to accurately map that route, and take simple steps to minimize dog-induced scratches on your hardwood floors. One dependable way to do this is by protecting your pup’s preferred route with floor runners. A runner is a long and narrow low-profile rug commonly used in hallways, and it’s one of the best ways to protect a high-traffic area from pet damage and all forms of floor wear in general. It will also make your dog’s life a little easier by creating a more grippy surface for them to walk on. 

Plus, because runners typically don’t stretch from wall to wall, you’ll still get to enjoy some of the look of your hardwood flooring. They’re also a great way to add a little bit of additional style to parts of your home. And since they’re easy to install and usually a low-cost option, you can even regularly change them to match the seasons or whenever you want a fresh new look.   

Clip Your Dog’s Nails Often 

As the saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Sometimes the best solution for dog scratches on hardwood floors is to directly address the root cause. Your dog’s nails are quite tough and can grow quickly—some breeds can see up to 1 inch of nail growth in a single week! Long nails on your pup can do some serious damage to your hardwood flooring, so keeping dog nails trimmed is vital. These days, there are dozens of variations of dog nail clippers that make it easy for you and comfortable for your pooch. But if you don’t feel comfortable trimming them yourself, hire a pet groomer to do it on a regular basis.  

Invest in Dog Nail Coverings or Booties 

This is a great alternative for dogs that don’t enjoy having their nails regularly clipped. Sometimes called paw covers or nail clips, dog nail coverings are small caps made of soft plastic or silicone that fit snugly over a dog’s claws. Some types can be glued on similarly to press-on nails for humans. Dogs generally won’t mind them once they are on, and they can go a long way in protecting your hardwood floors. Some groomers also offer to put them on your pet after clipping their nails. Full-foot booties are another option for protecting both your floors and your dog’s paws. 

Clean up Any Accidents Immediately 

Another common source of pet damage on hardwood floors is those unfortunate accidents that dogs—especially puppies—will sometimes leave behind. Even the most obedient house-broken dogs can have an unplanned accident. And dog urine is not just a temporary nuisance; the longer these accidents are allowed to sit on the hardwood, the greater the damage. Prolonged exposure to pet urine can permanently stain your wood floors and leave a lingering odor that can be nearly impossible to neutralize. 

Protective pads or area rugs can help buy you time, but it’s important to address the mess before it can soak through to the hardwood. Many a pet owner has assumed that the rug prevented any urine from reaching the floor below, only to find lasting stains and discoloration on the hardwood floors underneath it. Hardwood needs to be allowed to dry as quickly as possible in order to prevent any lasting stains or discoloration. 

Dog Scratches on Wood Floors Can Become a Worry of the Past 

Gone are the days when you had to decide between having a dog and having pristine hardwood floors. Combining a few simple preventative measures with today’s more robust flooring materials will go a long way toward easing your worries. Whether you’re more concerned about dog scratches on hardwood floors or any of the other flooring hazards common in a pet-friendly household, we’re certain there’s a hardwood or wood-look material that’s right for your home. Schedule a FREE In-Home Estimate today to take the first step towards finding the floors that both you and your furry friends will love. 

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