Are Hardwood Floors Bad for Dogs?
You did it! You finally adopted the puppy you’ve been ogling for weeks. You created a checklist of everything you need to ensure your new bundle of fur feels right at home. You bought the highest-rated wet food, the squeakiest chew toys, and oh so many treats. You even went as far as puppy-proofing your apartment. As you let out a sigh of relief and settle in for a mega cuddle session with your new best friend, you realize you didn’t consider one major significant detail – your hardwood floor. Dogs can be hard on wood flooring and vice versa.
Hardwood floors are not bad for dogs, they just require a little extra care. For example, you'll want to do your best to keep the pet off of them when wet or dirty; otherwise, it can lead to some pretty gnarly scratches and other damage that may be tough to cover up.
So, can your new pup and your hardwood floor co-exist without any injuries? It's possible. We’ll take a look at the most common issues and how to avoid them!
What Could Go Wrong?
Not only do hardwood floors look great, but they’re easy to maintain and uphold (win, win). Unfortunately, for your dog, his paws weren’t meant for walking on such firm, smooth surfaces; that can lead to sliding, tumbling, and falling, causing him to hurt himself – badly.
Puppies are still learning about their little bodies and the world around them. Saying they’re just “spirited” is an understatement. Their keenness and excitement for life can often lead them down a path of injury caused by running across a room, hitting a slick floor, and twisting their body, or even slamming into a piece of furniture. Ouchie.
On the other hand, senior dogs are also at risk. These older dogs have their own set of concerns when it comes to walking on slippery floors. According to Raising Your Pets Naturally, “senior dogs are likely to be less secure on their feet, causing them to lose their balance. It is also harder for these dogs to get up from a down position on a hard floor since they don’t typically have the strength in their legs and body to push up, given their toenails can’t dig in as they would on carpet or the ground.”
How to Prevent your Pup from Slipping
According to Animal Wellness Magazine, there are several ways to help prevent your furry friend from hurting himself. This includes:
- Keeping your dog’s nails short.
- If your dog has fuzzy foot pads, keep them trimmed and neat. Otherwise, he is essentially trying to walk in slippers, not an easy task on a slick surface.
- Placing carpet runners or rugs through main traffic areas, especially where your dog is most likely to walk. Make sure the rugs and runners are secured to the floor to prevent slipping when your dog (or anyone else) walks or runs on them.
- Paying extra attention to where your dog likes to nap or rest. Getting up from a slick floor can be quite challenging, especially for larger or older dogs, so placing a rug there will make things easier and more comfortable for him.
- Considering the stairs, as well. If your dog slips and falls down the stairs, any injuries he sustains can be especially serious. Invest in a good runner and install it securely on your steps.
- Keeping your dog physically fit is important, too. If your dog maintains an ideal body weight, there will be less pressure on his joints, and that makes walking easier. Feeding your dog a healthy diet of wholesome, nutritious foods will prevent him from gaining too much weight. Couple it with regular exercise, which improves your dog’s mobility as well as maintaining a healthy weight.
These tips will help keep your pup safe from harm and save you from having to take a trip to the emergency vet.
Factors to Consider When Choosing Flooring
If you’re in the process of moving, you may want to keep the following factors in mind when looking for a new home. Here are some important features to consider when choosing the best flooring:
- Resistance to scratches. Some dog breeds tend to have long, sharp nails that can easily damage the floor, especially when the dog is playing. A pet-friendly floor should offer a high level of resistance to scratching damage.
- Resistance to stains. For pets that have not been housebroken, it is important to have a floor that does not stain easily. But even for house-trained pets, it is important to guard against the occasional accident.
- Pet comfort and safety. The safety and comfort of your pet should be a priority when you are choosing what flooring to install. Some floors offer little traction, which could cause slipping and injuries.
Finding a Solution
In a dog’s idyllic world, all surfaces would be made of dirt or grass. I’m not going to recommend you to tear up your hardwood floors and do a complete home makeover. I wouldn’t even go as far as saying to carpet your entire house, although that is a delightful possibility for a lot of pets and families.
- Slip-resistant carpet runners (non-slip tape is another option): One viable option, though, is to buy a carpet runner and place it where your dog plays the most. I recommend House, Home, and More Skid-Resistant Carpet Runner, which comes in an array of sizes, and the best part, it’s super easy to clean.
- Rugs, mats, or a runner in your pet’s favorite resting spot: We have found that using a rubber mat is helpful in keeping our dog from slipping on the floor while also protecting it from any potential scratches. The mats we use are made out of natural rubber and come in different sizes depending on what type of room you need one for. They're easy enough to clean with soap and water so they don't get too stinky either!
- A doormat at the front door to wipe off dirt and debris before entering the house. This will also help with muddy paws during rainy days!
- Socks for dogs: they might not be too happy about this one, but you’ll feel better knowing they don’t have to walk on a cold, hard surface.
In conclusion, the best way to keep your dog safe on hardwood floors is through prevention and making sure they are as comfortable as possible.
Dogs love to run and play, which can make for some slippery floors. On top of the physical pain your dog might experience from slipping on a slick surface or falling down stairs, it's also expensive! Slipping is more likely when you have an older pet that walks slowly with arthritis because their joints become stiffer over time too.
Bottom line: Dogs need flooring just like we do. Something safe and comfortable so they don't slip at home while playing around or sleeping in their favorite spot
Happy dog, happy life.