Protecting your floors might be the primary reason for getting rugs, but if you are a pet owner, they are doing something else that your dog or cat will thank you for. Rugs do not only provide a better grip for paws when frolicking, they can also help prevent joint and other costly injuries.

Hard Surface Flooring and Pets
You do not have to sacrifice high-quality wood, vinyl, or laminate floors for your pets. Hard surface floors are wonderful solutions for allergy sufferers, are easy to clean, and can withstand more foot traffic than other floor coverings. However, if your pet skids across the floor while playing or jumping, it can lead to hip dysplasia, arthritis, and other ailments, especially as your pet ages.

Slippery floors are a source of concern for puppies as their joints develop and could be an early contributor to joint laxity (looseness), which leads to hip problems. An elderly dog may find it difficult to navigate a slick surface, especially if standing and getting up is already difficult due to joint pain. Take special note of where your dog prefers to nap or rest, as this would be a great spot to add some friction. Be sure to invest in a good runner for the stairwell; if your dog slips and falls down the stairs, the injuries he sustains can be severe. Remember, joint strain from a lack of grip applies to both dogs and cats.

Rugs Prevent Slips and Protect Your Floors from Dirt and Debris
Rugs protect your floors from slipping and sliding and can also protect them from pet nail scratches and dirt tracked in by pets. Use a brushless vacuum on hard surface floors and under your rugs, as the dirt our pets track in can become trapped, causing abrasive scratches.

Rug Backings, Pads, and Floor Types, Oh My!
When shopping for rugs, keep in mind the material of the rug’s backing as well as the type of flooring (hardwood, laminate, vinyl) that you will be placing the rug on. Choosing a high-quality rug pad is critical for avoiding future problems.

Hardwood Floors
Avoid using foam-backed, plastic, or polyvinyl chloride (PVC) mats or rugs because they can trap moisture and possibly discolor your hardwood floors. Some backings and pads can create a chemical reaction with your floor’s finish, causing it to smudge. Instead, look for pads made of felt, natural (not synthetic) rubber, or a combination of the two.

Laminate Floors
Rug pads made of natural rubber or felt are recommended for use on laminate floors. Rough-textured rugs made of fiber, plastic, or other tough materials should be avoided because they can scratch a laminate floor. Also, avoid rugs with dark-colored dyes that do not explicitly state that they are colorfast because they can stain the floors.

Vinyl Floors
Even though vinyl floors are known for their durability, they can be easily scuffed, scratched, and stained by an unanchored rug. Proceeding with caution when purchasing a rug pad may appear excessive, but if you choose the wrong one, you could quickly ruin your brand-new luxury vinyl plank floors. Vinyl flooring is composed of PVC, a material that’s severely harmed by the chemicals that off-gas from synthetic plastics.

When choosing a rug pad for vinyl flooring, look for one with a felt, soybean oil-based polymer blend, or viscoelastic memory foam backing. Synthetic rubbers should be avoided at all costs because they will inevitably ruin your floor.

Stone & Tile Floors
While tile and stone flooring are generally the most durable and easy to maintain, problems can arise if the proper rug pad is not used. Because tile does not absorb water, dust, or pet hair, it becomes slick quickly. Area rugs typically solve this problem, but they introduce a new tripping hazard on tile flooring if the best carpet pad for the job is not used. Most area rugs have a coarse synthetic backing that provides no friction when placed on smooth flooring. It can also leave permanent scratches on stone and tile flooring if not properly protected with rug pads. When shopping for rug pads to go over tile flooring, look for natural materials that provide both cushioning and a firm grip, such as felt and natural rubber.

Taking the time to get the right backing and rug for your flooring is a win-win. You increase the life of your flooring and the quality of life for your pet.

Visit our blog to learn more about caring for and maintaining your home’s flooring!

Elysia O’Brien is the digital & data administrator at Coyle Carpet One.

Photographs provided by Coyle Carpet One.

Coyle Carpet One

250 W. Beltline Highway
Madison, WI 53713