Will Labradoodles Scratch Hardwood Floors?

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If you are thinking about buying a Labradoodle and have hardwood floors, you might be wondering if your new dog will damage the floors. Or, if you have a Doodle and are thinking about getting hardwood floors, you could be hesitant and wonder if carpet would not be a better option. In either case, the question is the same.

Will Labradoodles scratch hardwood floors? Yes, they can. Most dogs with long nails can scratch hardwood floors. Proper nail trimming can help prevent scratching. Other steps to take include using carpets and adding protection to the floor. If you are installing hardwood floors, you want a hardwood with a minimum Janka rating of 1500.

The rest of this article will explain exactly how much damage a Labradoodle can do to your floors, what kind of flooring to look for, and a few easy ways to prevent damage.

In this article

What Kind of Toes do Labradoodles Have?

Labradoodles have paws that are typical for both Labradors and Poodles, which means they tend to have larger, webbed feet. 

This makes sense when considering their lineage. Labradors are most likely related to Newfoundland, dogs known for their swimming ability. And poodles were originally hunting dogs, so they also have webbed feet. Your Labradoodle will probably have large, webbed feet with toes that need regular trimming.

What About Their Nails?

When you hear the click of a dog walking on a floor, that sound is not caused by the pad of the feet but by the nails. So let's talk nails for a minute.

A dog's nail has two parts:

  • The quick. The quick is closest to the paw, and it holds nerves and provides blood to the claws. It runs down into the claws.
  • The shell. This is another name for the actual claws, or nails. Like our nails, a dog's nails consist of a material called keratin.

A dog's nails need to be trimmed and not just to keep your hardwood floor from being scratched. Nails that are too long can cause long-term damage to your dog's paw. That can include:

  • Curved nails that press into the paw itself. This makes walking painful.
  • Infections caused by the bleeding that occurs when you let nails grow too long. Regular trimming of the nails causes the quick to remain closer to the paw.
  • Splayed feet, where the foot flattens, and the toes spread out. If your Labradoodle's feet become splayed, they cannot support its weight properly.

If you see your dog with its real legs tucked forward, it might be time to clip the nails. Some people take their dogs to a groomer, and others learn how to do it themselves via YouTube videos. The American Kennel Club has good advice on how to get started on their page about Nail Trimming.

Here's the takeaway: you will need to keep your Labradoodle's nails trimmed, most importantly for health reasons. And you don't want long nails leading to scratched floors. I recommend using these nail clippers (Amazon link) which you can find on Amazon.

dog nail clippers

How to Prevent Damage to a Wooden Floor

The first step, as you know, is to keep their toes trimmed. But there are other steps you can take as well. Here are a few of them.

Choose the Correct Flooring

When you begin to research wood durability and the ability to handle damage, you will hear about the Janka Hardness Test. This test, named after Gabriel Janka, is used to measure how hardwood is. It is based on how much force it takes to drive a just under half-inch steel ball into the wood. 

Obviously, the more force required to sink that steel ball halfway into the wood, the more durable the wood.

When purchasing wood flooring, the Janka rating is important. 

Ideally, the lowest you want is a wood flooring rated 1500. Hard Maple comes in right under that. Live Oak is 2680, and Brazilian Walnut is 3900. A lighter wood with darker grains is also better able to hide scratch marks. Maple is often used for gym floors because it is hard enough to withstand damage and can hide it.

Bamboo flooring comes in with a Janka rating of 3800. That's strong, especially for something that is not wood, but grass. The resins used to hold the bamboo together give it its strength. Another advantage of Bamboo flooring is a significantly lower price.  

Avoid softwoods if possible. Pine is great for construction, but its Janka rating is under 1,000. Walnut, Cherry, and Red Maple are also all under 1,000. Engineered wood is also something to stay away from once the thin layer of wood on top is scratched, it is difficult to repair.  

Protect Your Floor

Perhaps it’s too late, and you already have a wood floor. Unless you plan to replace it, you will need to protect it. Here are several recommendations.

Trim the Nails

We have already said it once, but we cannot emphasize enough that the first step is one you should take anyway keep your dog's nails trimmed. It's common sense and necessary for your doodle's health.

Use Floor Coverings

Yes, your wooden floors are beautiful, and you do not want to cover them up. However, you don't want them scratched up either. A compromise is to use rugs and runners in high traffic areas. Entryways should be protected anyway. Use skid pads under the rugs.  

We are partial to the Mohawk Dual Surface Felt Non-Slip Rug Pad. Its felt side does an excellent job of grabbing the rug while the pattern embossed in the latex grips the floor. 

Allow Less Running

Telling an active dog such as a Labradoodle not to run is like telling a fish not to swim. However, there is a difference between an occasional, excited dash and constant romping through the house. Since you will want to train your Labradoodle anyway, so add a command that stops your dog from running.

Your doodle will run less in the house if it has time to tire itself out playing and exercising outside. Hopefully, you have a space big enough to let your pet wear itself out. Your dog can't scratch the floor while lying on its side napping.

Paw Covers

Perhaps you do not have a big yard, or maybe your Labradoodle is by nature rambunctious. In that case, you should look into paw coverings. Here are two options:

Dog Booties

Yes some pet owners use socks or dog booties. And yes your dog will probably resist, at least at first. However, dog booties can also provide some cushion for your doodle's paws. Booties also help dogs walk on slippery wood floors.  

If you choose to try this route, look for dog boots that have a sole that is both flexible and has a good grip. Also, you want boots that slip on easily, so Velcro straps are a must. The AKC recommends these QUMY Dog Boots, and so do we. If you want something more fashionable, check out these WINSOON Dog Australia Boots.

Nail Caps

You can also get nail grips or caps that will go over your dog's toenails. These are ideal for dogs who have problems walking on slippery surfaces and a wood floor is a slippery surface. They will need to be replaced every one to three months.  

Also, they need to be applied properly, so be sure to follow whatever directions come with the product you purchase. If you think this is something you want to explore, check out the Taktikal Dog Treads.

Wax or Refinish the Floor

If toe grips or dog booties are not your thing, another option is to protect the floor itself. You can do this in one of two ways the easy way or the hard way.

The easy way is to apply a coat of wax onto your floor. This will require that you clear the floor, clean it, and then apply the wax. The other, harder method is to varnish your floor. If you have not done this before, it is as tricky as it sounds, and is not a first-time DIY project.

Bottom Line

If you think you will have a pristine hardwood floor with a Labradoodle or most any dog, then you should reconsider getting a dog or having wood floors. However, there are many ways to minimize the damage, from buying a hardwood that can handle the wear and tear and will not show damage as easily, to using rugs and training your dog to not run as much.

We cannot repeat enough though that the most important thing you can do is keep your doodle's nails trimmed. After all, you want to take care of both your floor and your pet, right?