Don't miss out on beautiful hardwood floors because you fear your pets will scratch them smithereens! The two can coexist happily together, with a few tips and tricks along the way!

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Worried about how pets will affect your brand new hardwood floors?

While it’s true that mixing pets and hardwood can lead to unforeseen challenges, there’s no reason why stunning wood floors and your beloved cat or dog cannot coexist. As long as you accept that your floors might look more lived-in than your typical showroom specimens, almost every problem can be rectified. By choosing the right floor type, and sticking to some easy rules of maintenance, you might not even notice the difference!

Read on to find out how to keep your hardwood floors spick and span, even with the hustle and bustle brought by pets.

Clipping Claws

One of the most common concerns for pet owners who are looking to upgrade to hardwood floors is potential scratches. Both cats and dogs have sharp, strong nails that can leave unsightly marks on beautiful wood flooring - if the claws make a sound against the floor as they walk, then either trim the nails yourself or visit a professional dog groomer. The good thing is that these scuffs and scratches are incredibly unlikely to lead to permanent damage.

To prevent the marks in the first place, however, keeping pets' nails trimmed can help to alleviate the issue. Cats will cause less of a problem than dogs, as they are much lighter - the heavier your pup, the more weight is pressed down into the wood (sharp nails have been compared to stiletto heels). If your dog is particularly fluffy, the fur around their paws may be causing them to have difficulty walking, resulting in scratch-inducing skids and slips.

Hardwood floors shouldn't be a cause of panic for those of us with pets. Choosing the right floor type can lead to a happy, pet-friendly home. Laminate and vinyl floors, not made of solid wood, often feature an ultra-tough protective coating that prevents lighter scratches. While incredibly hard-wearing, solid and engineered wood floors will suffer wear and tear over the years, but this only adds charm and character to this long-lasting floor. You can also protect your floors with a non-toxic, pet-friendly finish for some added peace of mind.

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Mopping Up Spills

The key word here is speed - as long as all accidents are dealt with immediately, your hardwood floors should stay stunning. It's when the stain gets a chance to set in that this becomes a problem.

Cats, dogs, rabbits and rodents are all prone to leaving pee-related puddles, which can be disastrous for your floors. Not only is the moisture a problem but urine contains acid that will begin to decompose the upper layer of the floorboard, leaving behind a dark stain if it is allowed to sit for too long. Clean up the spill as soon as possible with a mixture of vinegar and warm water, avoiding ammonia. If the accident occurs on a rug or piece of floor furniture, remove this until the item has been washed and is completely dry.

If you've adopted a new pet into your home, house-training is a priority with hardwood floors. Place training pads in areas of the house where they are more likely to have accidents (make sure that these have a plastic backing!) and be extra watchful for spillages.

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Remember that all moisture remains detrimental to your beautiful new floors. Put food and water bowls in rooms with tiled surfaces, or lay down an absorbent mat in the feeding area. This is a good idea for litter boxes too.

Otherwise, enjoy your durable, classic wood flooring: wear and tear is part of the package of having loveable pets in your home.

Rugs & Runners

Give your floors an extra helping hand with rugs and runners to protect traffic-worn areas and to give your pet somewhere comfortable to perch. Some smaller animals like rabbits have trouble navigating wood floors during colder climates, so a cosy rug is a great way to make them feel at home. Why not warm up the whole room with luxury underfloor heating, easily installed underneath engineered wood or vinyl plank flooring!

If you've noticed that your pup scampers down the same paths whenever the doorbell rings or food is ready, consider a runner to protect scuffs and marks forming from that excitement. Areas such as corridors and doorways can become easily worn when they are traveled on countless times a day as you and your pooch move throughout the house. The protective runner can also help to prevent your dog from skidding along the floor and potentially injuring itself.

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A good mat placed at all entrances is ideal for pets and people, as this will soak up mud and moisture before it spoils your fabulous wood flooring. Make sure that these have rubber backing to prevent the formation of dark stains.

Preventative Measures

There are three things to consider when deciding on new floors to suit your pet-friendly lifestyle: type, species and finish. Keep reading for our tips on how to find the perfect wood floor for your home.

Luxury vinyl plank flooring is an excellent choice when it comes to homes with pets. Incredibly robust, this floor type holds up against scuffs and spills, and is easy to clean and maintain. Made for DIY, this is also a cost-effective option. However, while vinyl floors can last up to two decades, they do not have the durability and longevity that hardwood offers.

If you're after the look and feel of real hardwood, then nothing else will do. Solid hardwood floors, which holds potential risks from moisture and scuff marks, can be sanded down and refinished to near-new status. Engineered wood flooring is made up of layers of authentic wood with a hard-wearing wood-like foundation, making it suitable for moisture-heavy environments like basements and for use with underfloor heating, but with a shorter life guarantee. This may make it more suitable during house-training your pet, but solid hardwood may make more sense in the long run.

Worried about scuffs and scratches? Go for harder wood species, rather than softer styles that will dent more easily, pets or no pets. Consider lighter-toned woods, which will disguise scratches to better effect, as will wood with strong graining. If you like the style, distressed hardwood is the perfect choice to hide daily wear and tear.

Always use a tough, durable finish on your wood floors - this is especially important in busy households with pets. Multiple coats of a strong finish will prevent scratches from penetrating the hardwood itself on solid and engineered wood floors, so that these can be easily topped up.

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Don’t let the thought of pets and hardwood floors scare you - millions of homes harbour both peacefully and without issue. Making the right choice when it comes to wood types and styles, quickly cleaning up accidents and keeping an eye on nails, and preparing your home for your adorable companion with cosy rugs and waterproof mats are all musts.

Your hardwood floors won’t look brand new forever, but they will bring bundles of character and feel like an integral part of your home, even with a cheeky scratch or two!