Do you love the appearance of hardwood flooring, but cringe when you think of your pets? Maintaining attractive hardwood flooring while still having animal companions isn't impossible, it's just a challenge. There are a few things that you can do to make it easier on both you and your floors.

The Danger of Pets and Hardwood Floors

Anything that increases the wear of your flooring can potentially damage it. Not only may pets dig their claws into hardwood flooring, but they may also scratch and dent it while playing with their toys. Pets also have accidents -- and, over time, these accidents can cause the wood to warp and buckle. This is especially true of softer and more porous woods. This can lead homeowners to believe that they pets and hardwood simply can't co-exist. 

Minimizing Damage to Your Hardwood Floor

  • Keep your pet's nails trimmed and filed. With dogs, the ideal nail trim means that their claws shouldn't regularly touch the ground; if you hear a "tap tap tap" as they roam throughout the house, their nails are too long. With cats, claw caps can keep them from being too rough with either the floor or the furnishings. |

  • Restrict your pets to a specific area when left unattended. Not only is this safer for your floor, but it's also safer for your pet. Pet gates can be used to keep your pets in tiled areas where there's nothing dangerous that they can get into and where they won't have an accident on your floors.

  • Clean and wax your floor regularly. Waxing your floor provides a protective coating against damage, but this coating will wear away more quickly in a home that has a lot of high traffic. Set aside time to thoroughly clean and wax your floor to protect from incidental spills and accidents.

  • Put down rugs. When in doubt, put down an area rug. Most pets don't like the feel of hardwood, and they will restrict their movement to rugs and runners when they can.

  • Address problems immediately. If you start to see part of your flooring warping, it's time to call a professional. They can replace the floor in question before it begins damaging the surrounding planks. 

With the appropriate care, hardwood flooring is actually a fantastic option for pet owners -- even if it becomes scratched or scuffed, it can be resurfaced and look like new. The most important thing to do is choose the right hardwood for your needs; the hardier the wood is, the more likely it will be to look fantastic for years to come.