How to Protect Your Wooden Floors From Your Pet’s Urine

By Joe McGuinty
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Any dog owner knows the joys that come with having a furry companion in your family. While you do need to train your little furry friends, they’ll keep you fit and healthy and reduce stress and anxiety. With one of these bundles of joy in your home, you’ll never feel alone.

Even the most well-trained dog, however, can have an ‘accident’ at any time, and this accident is all the more costly to deal with if your home has hardwood flooring. Pet owners that have hardwood floors installed in their homes may have a hard time cleaning up the messes their pets create, and pet urine can be severely damaging to your wooden floors.

But don’t fret, this is where we come in! 

Keep reading this article and by the end of it, you’ll know all the ways you can protect wood floors from your pet’s unfortunate mishaps.

How do I Dog-Proof my Hardwood Floors?

I’ll be covering all the tips recommended for dog-proofing your hardwood floors within this article, ranging from using a floor finish to pet-friendly flooring options.

Allow me to elaborate:

1. Use Sealants

Wood floors are very durable and sturdy, but due to their porous nature, any liquid can seep down to the lowest layers and weaken and damage the flooring significantly.

Think of it this way: if you water a plant in your backyard, the water will seep through the tiny gaps in the soil and eventually reach the roots of the plant—which is how the plant will get the water necessary to grow.

In our case, however, any liquid that goes down to the lowest layer of the wood will only soften and weaken the wood, lowering its integrity and even causing it to rot. As a pet owner, it’s also very likely that the floorings will have scratches due to your pets’ nails, which will only create more openings for urine to get through to the wood.

This is why it’s common practice to use a hardwood floor sealant on your wooden floors to prevent them from getting damaged and becoming weaker. Before considering sealant for protection, make sure your wood floor is sanded down first. Sealants will create a protective layer on top of the wood that will prevent any liquid from trying to get into the bottom layer of the wood. Usually, several layers of protective floor finishes are applied instead of only one to increase the protection you’re giving to the floor.

2. Snip Your Dog’s Nails 

Additionally, you should look into snipping your dog’s nails to prevent scratches on your wooden floors. Believe me, they can cause more damage than you think to your wood floors. If you let their nails grow, the scratches in your floor from their nails create more openings for urine to seep into which is very difficult to remove and creates a stench that’s unbearable.

In my eyes, it’s best to remain proactive and not let your guard down even after clipping the nails and having a sealant applied to your floor. The dog’s urine can soak into your wood if it’s just left there for a long period of time, so make sure you thoroughly clean your hardwood floors after an incident occurs.

In case you don’t know what cleaner to use, you’re in luck! We’ve already created a guide to choosing the best hardwood floor cleaner for your home.

3. Apply Penetrating Oil

Another technique I prefer to use when protecting hardwood floors is to apply penetrating oil onto them. The reason for my preference is that this type of oil doesn’t give a plastic-like look on the wood that sealants do, and doesn’t need a repeated application as sealants would.

Penetrating oil gives wood floors a more natural, polished look and goes straight into the deepest layer, becoming a part of the structure itself which increases the strength and integrity of the wood.

This will allow it to prevent the spoiling caused by your pet and allow easier removal of the urine without long-lasting effects on your wooden floors.

If you have to deal with your pet’s urine on your hardwood floor, make sure you use one of our recommended cleaners to remove the urine stain the right way.

4. Utilize Pet-Friendly Flooring

I’ve always believed that it’s better to err on the side of caution, which is why I’d highly recommend using pet-friendly flooring materials even after you’ve used sealants or penetrating oils. Dog-proofing your hardwood floors is the best preventive action you can take.

Try to observe where your pet spends the most time and try to figure out where your pet goes when it needs to urinate. Place some pet-friendly flooring in those areas. I prefer using an area rug in these places, but you can use a pet-friendly mat instead if you want. The benefit of these materials is that they can be easily hosed down with water to clean them and easily prevent any urine from making direct contact with your wooden floors.

You can even go one step further and get a waterproof rug pad for your home. By placing this rug pad under your area rugs or pet-friendly mats you can stop any seepage and offer even more protection from odor and stains.

5. Keep a Watchful Eye on Your Pet

This may seem like a no-brainer and you may be wondering, “Well if I could do that all the time, I wouldn’t need to protect my floors, would I?” And yes, you’d absolutely be correct.

I agree that it’s rather difficult to supervise your pet all the time, which is why it should be a group effort. If you live with others, ask them to supervise your dog whenever they can so that your dog doesn’t end up creating a mess inside your home. Whenever you yourself can monitor them, it’s important that you watch for the telltale signs of a dog needing to go do its business. 

They may lift their hind legs or walk around hurriedly and gravitate towards the plants in your home (if there are any) in which case you should let them out quickly. Taking your dog out for long walks can also reduce the odds of them urinating on your floor (you may need to look into hiring a dog walker if you can’t find the time to do it yourself). Try to build a schedule so your dog knows that it’s time to go when it’s on a walk, this way they won’t feel the need to go to your home.

If your home only has a certain portion or section covered with hardwood floors, stopping your dog from entering that area while no one’s around is also a viable solution. Simply install a dog gate to stop your dog from accessing that place until you can supervise them while they’re there.

If all else fails and your dog does end up having an ‘accident’ on your hardwood floor, you’ll need to clean it as soon as you can. If you’re unsure of what to do in this situation, follow our article on how you can properly clean up the urine and remove the smell and stain caused by it.

6. Check for Stains Regularly

While I’ve covered pretty much every preventative measure you can take to protect your hardwood flooring, there are times when these measures may still not be enough.

This is why you absolutely must check daily for any urine stains on your floors regularly. 

Any stains left behind can completely tarnish your floor, leaving behind unsightly black marks caused by the urine seeping into the layers of the wood. If left unchecked, they’ll cause your wood to rot and weaken significantly. 

I believe it’s always better to remain proactive in this regard by consistently examining and ensuring that there are no stains discoloring your wood floor or damaging its finish. 

There’s no need to despair if you see these marks on your hardwood floors, however. Just follow our guide to remove black marks and get your wood back in tip-top shape.

Protect your Wood Floors from Dog Urine

Follow the steps listed above to extend the life of your hardwood floors and protect them from dog urine damage, stains, and odors.

If you enjoyed this article and learned something worthwhile, please share it with your friends. If you have any thoughts about this article or cleaning tips to remove dog urine, make sure to comment in the section provided down below! I’d love to read them!

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AUTHOR

Joe McGuinty
I’ve been working with floors for over 12 years. I started as a flooring contractor, primarily in materials selection. Then, I switched careers into accounting, so my wife and I began buying, renovating, and re-selling homes on the side. You’d be surprised how much value you can add to a home simply by adding new floors.

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