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Do Big Dogs Ruin Hardwood Floors

Do big dogs ruin hardwood floors? The short answer is yes, they can destroy a hardwood floor, but they don’t have to. You can have a big dog or even multiple big dogs and still have hardwood floors that maintain their beauty over time.

The main causes of damage to hardwood floors from big dogs are potty accidents, dog vomit, bored dogs, sharp nails, and spilled food and water.

Potty accidents and dog vomit are highly acidic and can damage the finish on hardwood floors, sharp nails can scratch and mar the floorboards, and if you leave spilled food and water for too long it can stain and cause water damage to your floors. Bored dogs can do a lot of damage very quickly to your floors and other areas of your house.

Keeping Your Large Breed Dog from Ruining Your Hardwood Floor

The good news is that even though big dogs can cause damage to hardwood floors, there are steps you can take to help keep your beautiful hard flooring in excellent condition even when you have a large breed dog.

Choosing the Right Flooring

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If you are already in a home with hardwood flooring then this is not an option and you can skip to the next step. But if you are getting new flooring or if you are buying a new house and choosing flooring options then you should carefully consider the materials you use if you have large breed dogs.

You can go with hardwood, engineered hardwood, or luxury vinyl plank and get the look of hardwood. Of these options, good quality luxury vinyl plank holds up the best to dog nails and accidents, because it is usually pretty close to waterproof and finished with a tough protective surface.

However, many people prefer the look of real hardwood and the good news is that all three options can stand up to the demands of big dogs.

If you’re going for hardwood or engineered hardwood, what you want to avoid are softer woods like pine or silver maple. Instead, choose a wood that is toward the top of the Janka hardness scale in hardness. Harder woods will stand up better than softer woods to dog’s claws.

Dealing with Potty Accidents and Vomit

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After you’ve chosen the right material for your hardwood floor, you need a plan to deal with potty accidents and vomit.

There are a couple of strategies that work well. The first is to make sure that as soon as you see a potty accident or vomit you clean it up. The longer these acidic substances spend on your floor, the worse the damage to your floor will be.

If your dog is a puppy and not fully potty trained, has accidents frequently, or is an older dog that can no longer hold its urine then you want to make sure they have a safe place to go.

It’s a good idea to put down puppy pads where your dog normally goes and encourage them to use the puppy pad. Most dogs take to this quite easily as they would rather go on a soft, absorbent surface than a hard splashy one.

You can buy disposable puppy pads, or you can get washable ones. Just make sure they have non-leak backing so that you don’t end up with urine touching the floor.

Otherwise, you will want to make sure that your dog is well potty trained and is let out frequently enough that they don’t have accidents in the house regularly. For most dogs, this means going out about 3 to 5 times a day.

Some breeds are easier to potty train than others and if you are having trouble getting your dog potty trained then a professional will often be able to help.

Dealing with Dog Nails

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If you have large dogs and hardwood floors, one of the most important things you can do to protect your floors from damage is to make sure you keep your dog’s nails tightly trimmed.

You don’t want to get into the nail quick, where your dog is bleeding from their nail, but you do need to keep their nails short.

If you can hear your dog’s nails clicking on the floor, then they are too long.

You can either learn to clip your dog’s nails yourself or you can take your dog to a vet or a groomer to get their nails clipped. Dog nails need to be clipped every 3 to 4 weeks.

For added protection for your floors, you can also get plastic caps for your dog’s nails. Some people love these, and they come in nearly every color you can think of. However, if you clip your dog’s nails every 3 to 4 weeks, then it probably won’t be necessary.

Dealing with a Bored Dog

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Bored dogs can sometimes be destructive and that can include intentionally peeing on or otherwise destroying your furniture and hardwood floors.

It’s important to make sure that your large dog is getting enough exercise and stimulation. Some breeds like Border Collies need a ton of exercise and stimulation, while other large breeds like Newfoundlands need less.

If your dog is being intentionally destructive with your floors then you might want to get them out for regular walks, take them to a doggy daycare, or plan enrichment and exercise activities for them.

Dealing with Food and Water Spills

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The easiest way to prevent damage from food or water spills is to put a mat under your dog’s food and water bowl that will absorb any spills and keep the spills from contacting the floor.

This isn’t a perfect system, but it will help prevent damage the great majority of the time.

If you have a dog that likes to tip its bowl then getting a heavy, no-slip bowl can also help.

Of course, if your dog does spill food and/or water clean it up as soon as you see it so it doesn’t have a chance to cause water damage to your floor.

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