Pets can be hard on floors, and floors can be hard on pets. Fortunately, manufacturers of flooring have responded to create a whole range of pet- and family-friendly flooring options. If you’re building or replacing your floors, it’s time to shop for some great new products.
What should you look for in a pet-friendly floor?
This is really important for dogs, especially older dogs. Older dogs can feel unsafe and insecure on slippery floors. If you choose non-slip floors, they’ll be safer for your human family members as well. Carpet is naturally non-slip but has other problems such as lack of cleanability. The following floors are more cleanable and can be purchased in non-slip options:
- Luxury Vinyl Tile (LVT). This is a popular and rapidly evolving product. LVT is vinyl manufactured to look like other finishes. It is often manufactured to look like wood, and it can be very convincing! This product, unlike most laminate flooring, can be non-slip.
- Tile may not be the first product you think of when searching for a non-slip surface, but many tiles work very well. Today’s manufacturing processes allow for tiles that are both non-slip and cleanable. Our favorite tiles are porcelain because they’re durable and much more affordable than they used to be. When choosing a tile floor, choose one with a matte finish, as floors can look slippery to pets and people, which can cause anxiety.
- Softer floors such as non-slip sheet vinyl or rubber flooring can be great for pets. Rubber floors are ideal because they are soft to walk on, are naturally non-slip, and are sound reducing. Vinyl floors must be carefully selected as there are as many low-quality commodity products as there are high-quality products.
Visit a large residential showroom and explain your needs for a pet-friendly non-slip floor, focusing on the above products, and have the salesperson select some that meet these criteria. When evaluating flooring, architects use a measure called “dynamic coefficient of friction” or DCOF. You will want a product that has a DCOF of at least 0.42 as this is the most up-to-date standard for a non-slip surface.
If you have pets, you have messes. All of the products mentioned above are easily cleanable. However, there are some other precautions you can take to make mess clean up easy.
- If you use tile, seal the grout or select a high-performance grout.
- Choose a wall base with a simple shape so it is easy to wipe clean.
- Use products and methods for cleaning that are approved by the manufacturer of the flooring, so you get the best performance out of the flooring.
All of these hard surfaces make for a home that can be a bit stark. It is important to add some comfort elements for your feet and to create places for your pets to lounge. Ruggable is a manufacturer of family- and pet-friendly rugs that go right into the washing machine. They have large vinyl backings to keep messes contained, and they look nice as well. Carpet tiles also work well. They can be disassembled, cleaned, and put back in place, which makes cleanup a breeze.
With careful floor material selections, your home can be pet friendly and easy to take care of. Take time to look at a lot of floor products and select the ones that keep your furry family safe and comfortable. These products will make your whole family happier and more relaxed at home.
This article was reviewed/edited by board-certified veterinary behaviorist Dr. Kenneth Martin and/or veterinary technician specialist in behavior Debbie Martin, LVT.
Heather E. Lewis, AIA, NCARB, is a principal of Animal Arts, an architectural firm that has exclusively designed animal care facilities, including veterinary hospitals and animal shelters, for more than three decades. Heather is a member of the Fear Free℠ Advisory Board and assisted in creating the Fear Free facility standards for veterinary hospitals. Heather is a regular contributor to various veterinary industry magazines. She has spoken on the design of facilities for the care of animals at dozens of national and regional conferences including Fetch Hospital Design Conferences, the UC Davis Low Stress Animal Handling Conference, and the Humane Society of the United States Animal Care Expo.
Published September 2, 2019