Your dog brings you daily comfort and happiness — most of the time. You probably don't feel very happy when you start to notice damage to your wood floors because of daily dog activities. Fortunately, you can enjoy both your dog and your wood floors, and neither party has to be any worse for wear.
Follow this guide to help you keep your wood floors safe from pet damage. You can keep your floors looking beautiful for decades to come with a few simple provisions.
Use Rugs and Runners
In high traffic areas, you should fully protect your floors with rugs and runners. If your wood floor goes down a long hallway, place a runner in the hallway to keep the floor from showing wear from dogs (and people) running or pacing up and down the hallway. Living and family rooms can also benefit from having a large area rug, especially if you spend a lot of time indoors with your pet.
Secure the runners and rugs with an non-slip underlay so the rug itself doesn't wear the hardwood finish from slipping back and forth.
Don't forget about absorbent rugs for entryways and mudrooms. Some rugs absorb mud and dirt easily, which is helpful so your dog doesn't track in any debris or moisture from the outside. These rugs are more costly than a basic welcome mat, but your floors will thank you when they are not constantly dirty and wet from your dog coming in and out from the backyard.
Trim and Cap Your Dog's Nails
Nails scratch a typical hardwood finish. Over just a few months, your wood floor will begin to look dull and worn just because of all the scratches on the finish from dog nails. Unlike cats, dogs do not fully retract their nails, so they are always clicking on the floor when they walk.
You can reduce the damage by keeping your dog's nails nicely trimmed. The longer they get, the more potential for scratches. But even trimmed nails will still cause a scratch here and there.
Look into capping your dog's nails. Nail caps are easy to apply, they are humane to use, and your dog will hardly even notice they are there. Nail caps blunt the nail to prevent it from scratching the floor, the glass patio door, or even people should you dog have a hard time controlling the urge to jump up on people occasionally.
Potty Train Your Dog
The single biggest danger to your floors is not your pets nails; it's their urine. The scratches for fur and dirt can be sanded and buffed away, but stains from potty accidents can be permanent and cause permanent damage not only to the finish on your wood, but also to the wood itself. The odor is almost impossible to remove and your wood will never look the same.
Dedicate yourself to being consistent with potty training your dog. When training, keep your dog in an area where the floor will not be damaged, such as in a kitchen with a tile floor. If your whole home is wood, cover the floor with plastic or with a disposable carpet until your pet is consistent with proper behavior.
If your dog does have an accident, clean it up immediately. When urine is left on the floor, it begins to eat away at the finish. After it penetrates the finish, it soaks into the wood and the ammonia content becomes more and more corrosive with time, eventually causing deep brown or even black staining that cannot be removed, even with refinishing.
Not only is prompt cleaning and removal the only way to prevent permanent staining, but it's also the only way to fully remove the odor associated with the stain.
If you do have staining and the stains are recent, there is some hope. Contact a professional wood cleaning and refinishing company to deal with urine stains before they become too dark or too difficult to remove.
For more information on cleaning and protecting a floor when you have a pet dog, contact us at Wood Floors Unlimited, Inc.