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Hardwood Floors & Dogs: Yes You Can Have Both!

My home is a 1914 American Foursquare, with it’s original hardwood floors intact.

We also happen to have three dogs. Yes, THREE.

Anyone else see anything potentially wrong with this picture?

What, me destroy your hardwood? Phhhbbbtt!

It’s a common knee-jerk reaction, and one I’ve heard more times than I can count: You can’t have hardwood floors and dogs! They’re going to scratch all your hardwood floors to bits!

But I’m here to tell you that hardwood floors — even relatively ancient ones like ours — CAN live in harmony with our furry canine friends. Sure, having dogs and hardwood flooring is a challenge, but if you take the proper steps to protect your floors they will remain strong, durable, and relatively scratch-free for years to come. Here are a few tips, learned from experience:

1. Put large mats just inside the doorway(s) where your dogs enter and exit the home as your first line of defense. We went to Home Depot and purchased a few large indoor/outdoor door mats with rubber backing and positioned these just inside the door. When the dogs come in from outside we wipe their paws clean, and the door mat catches any potentially hardwood-floor-damaging water they might track in with them.

The synthetic fabric weave of this rug also catches a TON of tracked-in dirt and other debris. Bonus!

2. Relatedly, be extra careful about cleaning up any dog-related accidents on your wood floors. Moisture is hardwood flooring’s kryptonite, and so anything wet needs to be attended to immediately.

3. Use area rugs and runners to protect high-traffic areas. Hardwood flooring is extremely durable, but people and dogs alike tend to travel the same paths throughout the house, and these areas can get overly-worn if not protected. Be sure to use a non-skid pad underneath so no one — canine or human — slips and hurts themselves.

4. Trim your dog’s nails, and trim them often. I’ve always been skittish about doing this myself because of the delicate nature of dogs’ nail structure and the risk of bleeding, so we have our dog’s nails trimmed professionally. But if you’re of the mind to, a quick nip of the tip of your dog’s nails will help keep them dull, and less likely to scratch.

What problems have you encountered with pets and your floors? And how have you dealt with them?

A big thanks to The Home Depot for sponsoring this campaign. Click here to see more of the discussion.

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