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How to dog-proof your hardwood floors

Maintaining clean hardwood floors with a pup in the house can be a challenge. From installing laminate flooring to minimizing water damage, check out our expert tips for dog-proofing your floors.

How to dog-proof your hardwood floors

©iStockphoto.com/Charles Mann Photography

Your pup may be your best friend, but it’s potentially your hardwood floors’ mortal enemy. Dan Hardick, a sales consultant at London’s Flooring Canada, in London, Ont., shares his tips and tricks for keeping your hardwood floors beautiful when there’s a dog living under your roof.

??1. Consider laminate flooring?
You may have your heart set on hardwood floors but synthetic materials like laminate flooring may be a better option for dog owners. “If you have a dog in excess of 100 pounds, you should really think about laminate,” says Hardick, whose beech floors were once destroyed by his roommate’s chocolate lab.

The sales consultant says that his girlfriend opted for laminate flooring. “She has an active 120-pound dog, and it looks like her flooring was done yesterday!” says Hardick. ??Laminate flooring has a scratch-resistant coat on it called aluminium oxide, so it’s highly durable.

And while 10 years ago it got a bad rap for looking cheap, advances in high-definition photography and computerized textures have allowed the product to come a long way aesthetically. “If there’s a pit or a knot or a distress mark in the surface print, and you touch it, you’ll discover it actually has texture to it,” says Hardick. ??

2. Make hard choices
If you really don’t like laminate flooring and are dead set on having natural hardwood flooring, opt for the hardest woods on the market; they’re better at handling wear and tear. While Hardick maintains that dogs over 100 pounds and hardwood floors should never mix, owners of little dogs like Chihuahuas and pugs have several good options.

“Trees coming out of South America are harder and denser,” says Hardick. “Brazilian cherry is very popular, as is Brazilian walnut,” he says. And of the North American species, the hardest tree is hickory. Maple, ash, beech and red oak are all good choices too. Softer, native woods to avoid include yellow birch, black walnut and black cherry. ??

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