Atlas Custom Hardwood Flooring | Blog
Protecting Hardwood Floors from Pet's Claws
Pets and hardwood flooring, a seemingly impossible combination, right?
Well, maybe not.
Its no secret that a major destroyer of the finish on hardwood flooring comes in the form of fur and fury on four paws. The struggle between homeowners, renters, and families has gone on for years, but now we know that it is possible to both protect your hardwoof flooring and have a healthy environment for beloved family pets.
Some of the main problems pet owners run into are due to excessively long claws, or in many instances, behvaiors such as slipping and sliding that cause animals to try to gain traction by digging in their claws. There are many ways you can protect your hardwood floors from pets, and thus protect your wallet and your sanity.
What you can do
1. Finish your wood flooring
Wood flooring that is not finished is a difficult comodety to protect, but with the addition of scampering paws and the occasional accident, it is nearly impossible. The problem is that unfinished wood floors are a trap for liquids, stains and odors. There is nothing to protect the wood from outside damage, so as a recommendation- regardless of having pets or not, to prolong the life of your hardwood floor it is highly recommended that you have it treated by a professional.
2. Regularly Apply a Protective Wax Coating
Having hardwood flooring requires maintenance regardless of pet ownership, however, pet owners should be especially diligent about such needs. Applying a top quality wax coating will not only repel stains and fluids, but will also grant your pet better traction on the floors which will reduce their instinct to dig claws into the floor to gain traction. It may seem counter-intuitive... but you must keep in mind that floor waxes actually provide a much better walking surface than the urethane and acrylic finishes of most modern hardwood floors.
3. Keep Pet's Nails Trimmed Regularly
Although doing this alone will not prevent your pet's instinct to claw for traction, it will grately reduce the daily wear and tear that pets can cause on hardwood flooring. Some pets just don't like having their nails trimmed, but unfortunately when it comes to protecting hardwood floors from scratches, it is a necessary step. If your pet just won't allow nails to be trimmed, there is another option:
So what, exactly, are soft paws? They're a humane alternative to declawing and are specifically designed to protect wood floors from pets. They are a little silicone cap applied to the nails every 6-8 weeks, and they are very highly vet recommended and very easy to use.
5. Long Walks on Coarse Surfaces
Pets claws are naturally filed and kept short by the natural action of walking on coarse surfaces. This is a lengthy process and will require regular walks with your pet, but as a dog owner, walking with your pet should be a regular activity.
6. Behavior Changes
Beyond nail maintenance, there are other ways you can help reduce damage from our four legged friends, and it involves a little human training. Often times dogs and other pets dig into surfaces to gain traction- so as cute as it may be to see your dog or cat sliding around your hardwood floors, resist the urge to command or encourage activities which cause your pet to run or slide on your wood floors.
7. Carpet or Rugs in High Traffic Areas
For an immediate solution- try putting down runners or carpet in places of high traffic for your pet. Rugs can add style and decoration to your home, and will prevent damage in the most traffic areas by keeping claws off the floor.
8. Clean, clean, clean
It is not only claws that cause damage to hardwood floors- the dirt and grit tracked in by pets, coarse fur, dander and food crumbs all contribute. It is important to clean hardwood floors regularly to prevent damage anyway, but it is particularly important when keeping a pet in the home. You can keep your hardwood floors shining longer, and reduce the need to have the floors refinished as frequently
9. Attend to spills or messes immediately
Especially on unfinished wood floors, it is important to make sure that any mess caused by yourself or your pet is immediately cleaned up before it has a chance to seep into the wood. We recommend a white vinegar/water solution (1 part vinegar to 3 parts water) to clean up messes and prevent odors and staining.
10. Keep Pets out of areas with hardwood floors
If your home has only a few rooms with hardwood flooring, then perhaps keeping your pet out of those areas is the easiest way to protect your hardwood floors. Baby gates, doors, pet pheramones- these are all good options for keeping your pet out of rooms in which they may cause damage to the hardwood flooring.
It is possible-
Don't think that you can't enjoy the luxury of hardwood flooring because you have a four legged family member! It is possible to have both and keep both safe and protected. Consult with your vet for other tips and ideas!