While there’s no doubt that having pets–and dogs in particular–are good for the mind, body, and soul, it’s equally fair to say that they can be somewhat destructive, particularly when it comes to floors and upholstery. While we can’t help you train your dog to stop licking your couch, we can recommend floors that are more likely to make both your dogs and you happy.
It’s important to remember that both of your needs matter: as a person, you’ll primarily be interested in floors that are easy to clean and that aren’t easily scratched. It’ s also nice if they don’t carry sound very far. Your dog will primarily be interested in traction; this will become particularly important as he or she ages, as older dogs are more likely to have trouble getting up from lying positions. Today we’ll look at which floors are best for dogs and their owners as well as which vacuums will give you the best odds of keeping up with fur, dander, and everything else your dogs leave behind.
Vinyl floors – cheap, durable, and just enough traction
Vinyl floors work well for dogs because they’ll keep them cool in the summer without overheating them in the winter. More importantly, they’ll also give your dogs enough traction to move across floors without slipping and sliding, even when the floors are wet. They’ll work well for you because they’re inexpensive and can easily be installed without professional help. Similarly, because vinyl is just about everywhere, you’ll have good odds of finding it for cheap. And when it comes to durability, vinyl is one of the best options on the market today.
Ceramic and porcelain tiles – easy to clean, waterproof, but potentially slick
Ceramic and porcelain tiles are a mixed bag for dogs. On one hand, they’re going to be cool and comfortable all year long for dogs, but on the other, they’re going to be slippery when wet. Older dogs in particular are more likely to struggle with them if they’re highly polished. If you choose tile, make sure your grout lines are thick; these will give your dogs the traction they need to stay upright throughout their lives.
Tiles will work well for humans because they’re completely waterproof (hence why bathtubs and dishes are made from porcelain and ceramics), because they only take seconds to clean, and because they require next to no maintenance. The cement board underlayment in tile also means they aren’t going to transfer sounds from clicking paws and and claws, making them a particularly quiet floor.
Carpets – super comfortable, lots of traction, but tougher to clean
Dogs love carpets. They’re comfortable for puppies,provide sensory stimulation for active adults, and are comforting to senior dogs while offering a natural scratching surface for play and exploration. Carpets will also provide more traction for dogs of all ages and sizes than any other flooring option on the market, even when wet, and even when your dogs lose muscle strength or coordination in their later years. And from a human perspective, there isn’t a floor more comfortable than carpeting, regardless of which pile or style you choose. Carpets are also by far the best choice for allergy sufferers, as they trap allergens in their fibers with a greater efficiency than any air purifier on the market.
Carpets will also keep a far more even temperature throughout the year than any bare floor while providing a sense of reassurance and coziness that you just won’t get from any other floor covering. Kids play on carpets; it’s where life happens. But carpets will also be the most difficult surface to clean, as the very fibers that make them inviting to humans and pets alike are also the ones that make it hard to remove dog and cat stains in addition to fur. Be sure to choose a good carpet cleaner (we recommend the Bissell Big Green) and vacuum cleaner (we share our recommendations below) if you choose carpeting.
Hardwood and engineered wood – attractive, scratchable, and sometimes sandable
Finally we come to hardwood and engineered wood floors. Dogs will appreciate both because they keep a more even temperature through the year than most bare floors due to being made from organic materials. They’ll also appreciate the increased traction they get from them compared to most synthetic floors, particularly when wet.
You’ll appreciate their beauty, charm, and the increased resale value they offer your home. However, you won’t appreciate how readily they can be scratched by your dogs. And while you can resand solid hardwood several times to buff out scratches, you can only do that once or twice with engineered wood before you’re staring at a plywood floor instead of whatever veener you originally paid for.
Which floor is the best compromise for dog and human needs?
As you can see, it’s not so easy to find a floor that makes both dogs and their human companions happy; dog-friendly floors tend to be less fancy and not nearly as durable as human-preferred floors. Ultimately, we’d recommend either carpeting or vinyl as the best compromises for dog owners. While both floors have their flaws, they offer the best odds of making both humans and their four-legged friends happy.
Which vacuums are best suited for cleaning homes with cats and dogs?
When it comes to cleaning up after cats and dogs, we recommend two specific tools that are hard to find on the same vacuum: a Parquet head for efficient cleaning of bare floors and an electric brush head to effectively power through carpets of all piles and styles. Two of the few vacuums that include both cleaning heads are the Miele Complete C3 Cat & Dog (reviewed here and here) and Miele Compact C2 Electro+ (reviewed here and here). We prefer the Cat & Dog due to its larger cleaning capacity and the inclusion of a mini powered brush for removing pet hair from upholstery, but if you’re on a smaller budget, the Electro+ will clean bare and carpeted floors just as well.
If you find our research on PMC helpful, you can follow our efforts to keep maniacally reviewing home cleaning tools by shopping through our links above. We promise to keep fighting the good fight against every horror children, animals, and grown, yet messy humans can inflict upon a clean home.