The Best Hardwood Floor for Dogs

Your pooch may not know the difference, but some floors are better than others.
i dog image by Gina Smith from

One of the most common problems with hardwood flooring is that dogs who constantly walk around can scratch the surface. A few types of flooring are better than others, and all have pros and cons you'll have to consider.

Natural Planks

Natural hardwood flooring consists of solid planks of a certain species of hardwood. When shopping for hardwood flooring, you'll come across several types, prices and features. A few pros of hardwood flooring is that you can refinish it several times to adjust to your tastes, it's fairly durable and it has managed to remain a favorite choice in the modern home market.

Hardwood Species

Not all natural hardwood flooring options are the same. Some wood species are much softer than others; the softer the wood, the more easily it scratches and dents. Some species to avoid when choosing a natural floor include pines, American cherry and American walnut. Harder, more durable and scratch-resistant species include Brazilian cherry, Brazilian walnut and hickories. Red and white oaks are also pretty durable, although not quite as hard as the others. The more durable woods are not cheap, but if you have dogs they may be well worth the upfront expense.


High-quality strand bamboo flooring is among the best choices for homes with dogs because it's much harder than even the hardest woods, and scratch-resistant. Bamboo is also a "green," environmentally friendly choice, as it is highly renewable because it grows so quickly. Stay away from cheaper bamboo floors and caramelized bamboos; caramelized bamboo flooring is heated to a point that diminishes its strength and durability.

Laminate and Engineered Flooring Choices

Engineered wood has hardwood and soft-ply layers topped with a hardwood veneer layer. Laminate has a soft core covered with an extremely hard surface that is among the most scratch-resistant of the "wood" flooring choices. That being said, it is not always the best choice for dogs for the following two reasons: it's extremely slippery and therefore potentially dangerous; and any moisture—like urine accidents or spills—can cause the seams to swell or the individual planks to warp. Engineered flooring is often much more durable than typical, natural hardwood floors and available in a wide variety of species. It's more solidly built than typical laminates as well.

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