Pets and Floors

You may like the look of laminate flooring and some of the other "hard" floor types, but your pets may feel differently. Watching a dog try to walk on laminate can be painful, and if Fido gets excited when you get home and runs around corners overflowing with excitement, it can be very easy for him or her to slip on some types of floors. Dogs' hips aren't meant to go those directions, so this could lead to a serious injury. Also, little claw marks can take their toll on certain kinds of flooring materials.  You don't want to spend a lot of money on your "perfect" floor choice, only to have it messed up after a few months of pet foot traffic.

So, what's the smart thing to do if you are a pet owner? Install a floor that not only your family will enjoy but that will be pleasant underfoot for cats and dogs to walk (or run) on. Let's take a look at the pros of cons of different flooring materials, as seen from a pet owner's eyes:

Ceramic tile and stone are practically impervious to claw scratches and potential damage from, ahem, accidents.  The glazed tiles clean easily, so they're easy to keep looking good year in and year out.  The downside is that stone and tile aren't that comfortable for pets to lie on.

Solid wood or bamboo flooring isn't as scratch- or stain-resistant as stone or tile, but applying a hard urethane finish can minimize damage.  Most manufactured wood products come pre-finished and are durable enough to stand up to claws.  As with other hard floors, they're not that comfortable for pets to lie on, but you can solve this problem with a few area rugs.

Laminate floors resist scratches well, but they are very hard and slippery for our clawed friends.  They also aren't very comfortable to rest upon.  If you buy laminates, you should definitely invest in some rugs, but truly, the slippery factor makes laminate one of the worst options for people with pets.  

Even though carpets are often poo-pooed in comparison with gorgeous hardwoods, they are the most comfortable for pets to walk and lie on.  The downside is that they are also the easiest type of flooring material to irrevocably stain.  If you go those route, try a tight-piled carpet to reduce the chances that your pet's claws will catch in it.

Whatever flooring type you choose, you can minimize problems by keeping your pet's nails trimmed.  Also sweep or vacuum the floor weekly, and wipe up any stains or spills promptly.  To further protect your floor, choose water bowls with wide bases, or consider a pet placemat to keep the eating area clean.

Source: Ortho's All About Floors and Flooring

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