Do Dog Nails Scratch Wood Floors? [The Ultimate Floor Protection Guide From Dogs]

As pets, dogs are reliable, friendly, and really approachable. With a little training, you can teach them lots of helpful and valuable tricks and techniques. Some dogs even have a habit of ruining different appliances by scratching and biting them. Usually, it’s the sofa covers and cushions, sometimes the undersides of the chairs too. But do dog nails scratch wood floors?

Yes, some dogs have a tendency to scratch wood floors with their nails. Sometimes it’s because they feel threatened but most times, it’s simply playfulness. Level of aggression, sharpness of nails, and quality of wood – the culmination of these three aspects will determine whether the dogs have the capability to ruin the beautiful wood floors.

It’s pretty expensive and time-consuming to replace wood floors, especially well-treated hardwood floors. Hence, it’s only fair for anyone to prevent unwanted damage to these regal and deluxe floor systems. 

Let’s go over the instances where dog nails can indeed scratch wood floors and figure out the reasonings so we can come up with possible preventative measures for such actions in today’s article.

Do Dog Nails Scratch Your Hardwood Floors?

Here’s the thing. Dogs don’t usually use their nails in a super aggressive manner. As in, if you find them scratching the wood floors, it’s probably because they’re playing and digging around. Or at least trying to dig around thinking the floor is soil.

But wood floors are quite fragile and prone to scuff marks. So, even the slightest scratching can sometimes leave streaks on the floor. Here are a few ways how dog nails can scratch wood floors and even cause mild to severe damage at times –

Aggressive Scratching

Particularly angry and in some cases, hungry dogs will scratch wood floors and other things around the house to indicate their frustration. The aggression can stem from several reasons, starting from starvation to physical sickness.

Aggressive scratching is harmful to the dogs as well. Sometimes the adrenaline rush will keep them from feeling the pain as it happens. But after settling down, the dogs might experience broken nails and even suffer from major bleeding.

Sharp Scratching

Some dog owners regularly trim the nails of their dogs while some prefer to let them stay naturally sharp and pointy. Again, some use nail caps as well to prevent sharp scratches.

The dogs with sharp nails will leave moderate scratches on the wood floors easily. Similarly, dogs with trimmed nails will have a much harder time damaging the hardwood floors.

Inadequate Flooring

Wood floors will require special attention if you want to preserve the luster and radiance of the surface.

Dog nails will effortlessly scratch low-quality unsealed wood floors. On the other hand, if you use high-end wood and professionally set up the protective layers on top of the floors, not even the sharpest nails will damage them easily. 

Why Do Dog Nails Scratch Wood Floors?

Dogs can scratch wood floors for a number of reasons. 

For instance:


If your pet puppies are dissatisfied with something, they can try to grab your attention by scratching the floors.

Such as – not taking them out to the park to play, refusing to interact with them due to busy activities, etc.


Some dogs have a habit of digging holes in the ground. Hence, if the dogs don’t have a lawn-like place to dig outside, they can try to scratch the floors indoors.

Lack Of Playthings

cute dog wanting to play

Your dog should have enough toys so they can play by themselves when you’re busy. Without proper playthings, dogs will start to play with everything around the house, including the floor, sofa, cupboard, chairs, etc.


If the dogs haven’t been fed in some time, they can express their frustration by growling and scratching the floors.

How To Keep Dog Nails From Scratching Wood Floors?

To keep dog nails from scratching wood floors, you should –

  • keep the nails trimmed regularly
  • keep a partition between the outdoor & indoor surfaces
  • train the dogs to never come inside the house dirty
  • keep the dogs well-fed at all times
  • use treats to encourage them to stop scratching
  • establish a hardcore potty-training procedure
  • use nail caps if the vets approve of it

How To Prevent Scratches On Hardwood Floors From Dogs?

You can prevent scratches on hardwood floors from dogs by responding accordingly :

Invest In Rugs/Carpets

cute dog on the carpet

The best way to prevent scratches is by putting a stop to the hands-on floor-nail interaction altogether. 

Use heavy carpets or rugs on top of the wood floors. 

You can carpet the floor entirely or place them on just the heavy traffic areas. Either way, make sure to use non-slip & non-skid pads underneath to prevent friction damage.

Seal The Wood Floors

By sealing the wood floors with protective coatings of polyurethane, linseed oil, etc. you can keep the surface safe from not only dog nails, but also dirt, stains, and wetness.

How To Keep Dogs From Scratching Hardwood Floors?

You should look into behavioral causes to keep dogs from scratching hardwood floors. Such as:

  • receiving less attention than usual
  • changes in food and bathroom habits
  • increased growling and barking
  • lack of proper toys and treats
  • dissatisfaction with wearing nail caps

Frequently Asked Questions

Will dog’s nails scratch hardwood floors to establish dominance?

Dogs don’t usually scratch something to establish dominance. They might, however, attempt to pee along the corners of the floors to establish some sort of territorial dominance.

Pet dogs can frequently resort to such bothersome activities upon moving to a new house with new unknown floors. Owners should promptly discourage such behavior by properly potty-training the dogs as soon as possible. 

How to prevent other dogs from scratching my floors?

You should ask the other owners in advance whether their dogs have a habit of scratching floors, sofas, etc. You can also keep extra nail caps, treats, chew toys, outdoor playing arrangements, etc. to prepare for different outcomes.

Plus, you can just always use floor-wide carpets or rugs so the pets can’t get a hold of the wood floors at all.

What happens when dogs drool on hardwood floors?

Dog drools won’t ruin the quality of the sealants over the hardwood floors. You should, however, clean the spot immediately since dampness isn’t good for hardwood floors. Furthermore, drools can leave a nasty smell around the room.

Will special dietary supplements make my dogs stop scratching the expensive hardwood floors?

There are no magic dietary supplements to make your dogs stop scratching the hardwood floors.

That being said, dogs can’t express themselves directly like human beings. Hence, sometimes they can lash out and start to scratch or bite things if the food is making them feel sick. In such special cases, you should check the stool for noticeable changes and change the nutrient supplements accordingly upon consulting the designated vet.

What sort of toys can I get my dogs to keep them from scratching fully treated hardwood floors?

You can buy specific chew toys for dogs to keep them busy. It’s best to not buy random toys since many dolls and toys can have toxic and harmful materials for dogs.

You can also get the playful treat machines so the dogs will focus their time and energy on getting the treats instead. Make sure the treats don’t contain actual chocolate or similar ingredients since chocolate is deadly for a dog

Should I keep my dogs around raw hardwood floors?

If your dogs don’t have a habit of scratching things for no reason, then you shouldn’t have a problem.

But if they do, it might be in your best interest to keep them someplace else entirely until you’ve sealed the wood floors. Because raw wood is heavily fragile and prone to scratches, chipped segments, and even large cracks.

Hence, it’s generally not a great idea to let dogs with sharp nails hover around raw wood floors and decks

Final Verdict

So, do dog nails scratch wood floors? The short answer is yes, dog nails can scratch fragile and untreated floors.

In some cases, even with proper sealants and protective layers, hardwood floors will take significant damage if the dogs keep scratching in a hyper-aggressive way.

Most often than not, the lashing out can be attributed to behavioral and cognitive dissonance in the dogs. Dog owners should stay alert to notice the subtle but important behavioral changes in their pets.

Plus, the dogs should get proper attention and affection alongside good food and nutrients. 

Take your dogs out to play and keep them engaged in healthy activities so that they won’t have to resort to scratching to get a hold of your attention. Additionally, maintain the quality of the wood floors by using high-caliber sealants and polishes. Otherwise, even the slightest scratches from the nails can leave marks all over the floors.

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