Choosing a flooring material when you don’t have any pets can be complicated enough, but trying to choose a pet friendly one can feel downright stressful.
Cost, appearance, and durability are things to keep in mind when shopping for a floor under any circumstances, but if you’ve got a dog living with you durability quickly becomes the most important factor.
The good news is that vinyl is probably the most durable option and is also one of the cheapest; but don’t worry, it doesn’t actually look cheap.
You’ve got a lot of choices, so we’ve compiled this resource to help you understand why we think vinyl is the best and to offer you a few other good options as well.
Top 3 questions to keep ask yourself when shopping for a floor
Before you start looking at patterns and styles, you’ll want to choose a type of flooring. After that, you’ll know what your options are and you’ll be able to find a pattern that looks great. Function should always come first when you’re shopping for pet friendly flooring.
Is it scratch resistant?
This is a major consideration because a dog’s claws can do a number on many different flooring surfaces, leaving them looking scratched and dull in no time.
How durable is it?
Consider things like how easily the floor could stain, dent, or crack. Some materials are better for busy areas, especially with pets running around.
Will my dog be able to walk on it comfortably and safely?
This is a matter of both comfort and safety. If your dog can’t get good traction on a particular surface, they’ll be sliding around and potentially hurting themselves. Not only that, but some materials are less comfortable for dogs to walk on than others.
With all of that in mind, let’s see how some of the most popular options stack up.
Why Vinyl Is Our First Choice
There are multiple types of vinyl floors, the standard and most affordable option is sheet vinyl. If you want an upgrade from that, you can look at some of the incredible options that exist with tiles and planks.
Here’s why we feel it’s your best option:
- It’s very durable and resilient
- It’s inexpensive
- It’s easy to clean
- It’s comfortable for pets to walk on
- It’s quiet
That’s quite a bit to go over, so let’s take them one by one. For starters, vinyl is known for being a very durable material, you won’t have to worry about it getting scratched by your dog’s claws.
It’s relatively inexpensive compared to most other flooring types. One thing to keep in mind, however, is that there are differences in quality. The absolute cheapest one you can find is not going to be the best option, unless you’re just tossing it down somewhere in a pinch. Otherwise, consider some of the slightly more expensive options as they’re still a lot more affordable than the alternatives that don’t work as well for pets.
Vinyl flooring itself is waterproof, but if there are seams or gaps when it’s installed, water can still get in and cause issues. It’s fine for spills, or if your puppy has an accident, since those are in isolated areas that you can wipe up easily.
Another very important point is that it’s got a little bit of “give” when walked on, a bit of softness. This helps to not only make it more comfortable for your dogs to walk on, but also quieter so there won’t be any “clickety-clack, clickety-clack” as your dogs claws touch the floor with each step.
Vinyl and Other Types of Flooring Comparisons
You may still be leaning towards something other than vinyl, that’s fair. Let’s compare some of the other options, it’s not like it’s the only viable option, in our experience it’s just the best one.
If you want something different, here’s how other types of flooring compare.
Vinyl vs. Hardwood Flooring for Dogs
Hardwood floors can be some of the nicest looking, but they aren’t without their own unique drawbacks. For starters, hardwood is susceptible to staining and damage from water or other liquids. If you’ve ever had to housebreak a dog you know exactly how important this is.
It’s not particularly resistant to scratches, but some of the harder woods like mahogany, Brazilian walnut, or hard maple are a lot more resistant. A urethane coating can help to make a hardwood floor more resistant to scratching and damage from pets too.
Vinyl vs. Bamboo Floors For Pets
Bamboo is a popular option for pet owners. It’s more stain resistant than many other types of wood flooring, and it’s also tough to scratch. It’s considered to be an eco-friendly choice, as well.
Bamboo floors offer less variety in style options than vinyl does and it’s more expensive. You’ll also want to take location into consideration, as bamboo will fade more quickly if it gets a lot of sunlight.
Vinyl vs. Laminate
Laminate is similar to vinyl in that it’s as easy to clean, it’s relatively inexpensive, and scratches aren’t as noticeable as other surfaces like wood. It’s water-resistant as well but not water proof like vinyl is. In most cases it’s just fine for dogs, however.
Look for laminate flooring that is textured a bit on top, rather than something super glossy. The high-gloss laminate floors are going to show scratches and damage more easily.
Vinyl vs. Stone Tiles
Stone tiles can have a very strong look to them, but they aren’t ideal for pets. The tiles are very hard, and can be noticeably cold.
On the plus side, they’re scratch resistant and very easy to clean in case there are any accidents. The toughest part to clean on them are the grout lines between the tiles. Some types of stone are more porous than others so if you do choose a natural stone floor make sure to get one that does a better job of resisting stains.
They don’t offer any cushion or give, so not only are they less comfortable to walk on for pets, but they can also be quite noisy.
Stone doesn’t offer any benefits that vinyl doesn’t so it comes down to it mostly being a trade-off because you love the look of natural stone. Stone tiles are more expensive, and not as good for pets, but if you really want stone, then make sure you’ve got some area rugs. We have two dogs and we put porcelain tiles in our kitchen but our dogs were already housebroken so it was less of an issue.
Sheet vinyl or planks are the best flooring for dogs. If you want something else, bamboo or laminate are probably the runner-ups followed by porcelain tile. I’d rank porcelain higher but it can be noisy and it’s defintiely cold to the touch. It comes down to what you prioritize the most, just remember you won’t be the only one using the floor!