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Dogs and Hardwood Floors

Dear WOOF:

I live in a house with hardwood floors and I am dying to get a dog. In fact, I am dying to get a big dog. My parents, who own the house, are afraid that the dog will scratch up the floors. I had a dog here for a couple days and he did kinda scratch up the floor. What can I do?

Please help,


Dear Dogless:

Unfortunately there is not a whole lot that you can do, especially if you want a big dog. You can keep nails clipped short, so contact with the floors is minimal, with weekly trimmings and filings. Also, some of our clients have reported using industrial strength finishes on their wood floors, and they say that really helps protect the floors.

Of course you can always throw down rugs or runners in the high traffic areas, or train him to stay out of the areas with hardwood (you don't mention how much of the house has hardwood).

You may want to contact a hard wood floor company to see if they can suggest any products that would help protect the floors.

Devene Godau, CPDT-KA

We received some great advice from our readers for Dogless:

Chris shared these thoughts:

"I have never had any problems except when they want to dig in and do puppy spins. Cut and file the nails so they have a dull edge. Plenty of walks on the cement and throw rugs. The shinier the floor the more
slippery it is. I notice that my dogs jump from rug to rug because they wipe out on the floors. Also, hardwood floors are more sanitary because you can use Murphy's Oil Soap on them."

And this great tip came from Jennifer, one of our list members:

"She could try using a pair of dog booties inside the house to prevent the dog's nails from scratching the floors. When we got our dog, we purchased an inexpensive set of fleece booties from the pet section of a local department store to help protect the leather seats in our van from getting scratched up. Our dog got used to them really quickly and they have a no-slip bottom to prevent accidents."

One of our students also recommended putting baby or toddler sized socks on your dog.

Great ideas everyone!

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