Homes with pets may want to steer clear of laminate flooring

Although laminate flooring looks good, cleans up well, and is easy to maintain, it can be a dangerous option for homes with senior pets, especially dogs.

Laminate flooring is extremely popular with homeowners for a variety of reasons, including price point, easy installation and superior durability, not to mention ease of cleaning, especially with kids and pets. And laminate flooring is better designed than it used to be, so it might be the answer for a busy hub of a home.

These days, laminate is so chic that one may mistakenly assume it is really hardwood. Given the quality of most laminates nowadays, the two materials are almost identical twins when seen side-by-side. However, that natural hardwood look that laminate boasts is really only a paper layer sealed under a hard-as-nails protective film. Under the paper and protective coating is a backing board with the product glued and pressed into place. The coating makes laminate flooring so popular, easy to clean and durable.

Laminates today are so dense, thanks to the backing board, that they are resistant to punctures, cuts and scraping. The coating repels stains and blocks liquids from seeping under the boards, provided correct installation. Move furniture, drop stuff off the counters, wear spike heels or let the family dog pack run loose and the laminate still looks great.

However, if the family pet is older, laminate flooring can be dangerous, as older dogs are often unsteady on their feet due to arthritis. If they come inside with wet paws, laminate floor offers no grip and the canine in question can frequently end up doing four-footed splits and face plants. For a dog with arthritis or other hip and joint issues, this is excruciatingly painful and may also result in further injuries, such as pulled and torn ligaments, or strains and sprains.

If upgrade plans include laminate flooring in a residence with older dogs, consider using rug runners or other kinds of rugs that provide them with safer footing. Although older dogs can handle walking on dry laminate, it is still an exercise in caution for them, as older canines do not always have the same sense of balance that they had when younger. For them, walking on laminate becomes like skating on ice. Wet laminate is also very dangerous for older humans who may find themselves flat on the floor if they hit an errant wet or greasy spot.

Deciding what kind of flooring is best for a home upgrade needs to include all members of a family, even the pets.