Finding the ideal pet-friendly hardwood floors

According to a 2011-2012 national survey, there are approximately 78.2 million pet dogs in the United States, surpassed only by the estimated 86.4 million pet cats, according to The Humane Society. While those numbers are staggering (for comparison, the U.S. population is just over 314 million people), equally surprising are the dollars in damage these pets can incur in a home over the course of a year.

While no pet owners would trade their furry feline and canine friends for anything, the average home takes a heavy hit in annual upkeep due to our pets, and it's almost entirely in the flooring. While your dog may have no aesthetic preference between hardwood or laminate, he surely does take a lot out of it with his nails. If you're looking to make your home more pet-friendly, and your pets more home-friendly, consider a few of these tips.

1. Go with engineered hardwood. More than traditional, solid hardwood floors, engineered wood flooring is especially resistant to scratching, scuffing and general wear and tear. It's a durable and elegant option that's sure to please both you and your pet. Furthermore, it retain one of the most useful qualities of wood flooring, it's easy to clean - and with your dogs or outdoor cats tracking in dust, pollen, dirt and not to mention their own dander, you'll want to be able to sweep without trouble.

2. Alongside that, consider new heating. Now that you've done your home a favor, do your pets one as well. Consider having radiant floor heating installed under your new engineered hardwood. Radiant heat is a great eco-friendly choice, but will also be better for both you and your pets, as it improves air quality considerably over central heat.

3. Keep your pets nails well groomed. This is an easy one to forget for some dog owners, but the thicker your pet's nails to more scratching you're going to see. Keep these clipped and your floors will be happier for it.

4. Give your pet somewhere to sit. One of the few troubles pets may have with hardwood flooring can be sliding around. Solve this problem with the right coat of laminate that will give your dog or cat purchase on the ground. Also be sure to liberally lay down area rugs where they can comfortably sit and relax.