How to prevent a dog's toenails from scratching a wood floor?
August 4, 2006 8:24 PM   Subscribe

How can I prevent my 75-pound dog from scratching my wood floors? I keep his nails trimmed and discourage lots of running in the house, but the floors are getting scratched. Short of putting rugs anywhere, or making the dog wear booties, is there any way to minimize the scratching? Or is there an easy way to remove scratches that doesn't involve refinishing the whole floor?
posted by chippie to Home & Garden (7 answers total)
Response by poster: Sorry, meant to say "Short of putting rugs EVERYwhere..." I am a reasonable person, and I do have some rugs down.
posted by chippie at 8:33 PM on August 4, 2006

Maybe try Softpaws for Dogs. I use the feline version for my cats to stop them from destroying our furniture, and they work great. Basically they cover the claw with a soft rubber cover that lasts about 6-8 weeks and doesn't damage surfaces.
posted by tastybrains at 8:35 PM on August 4, 2006

How deep are the scratches? If they are just superficial, I would say get the wax stain colored crayons from Home Depot and cover it up.
posted by pieoverdone at 8:37 PM on August 4, 2006

Some dogs grow a lot of fur between the pads of their paws; they slip easily on wood floors when this grows out, and tend to try to dig in with their claws to compensate. Are you trimming the fur between the pads as short as you can?

Dogs also become habituated to slipping and clawing on wood floors. Don't do play or command behaviors that encourage the dog to slip on the wooden floors, even though you may think it is cute to watch him slide around.

It's a fair amount of work, and depends on the finish of your flooring as to whether it is suitable to do this, but getting a couple of coats of top quality floor wax down can make a big difference. Floor wax can both protect the finish of the floor, and improve the traction a dog gets on it, reducing his need to claw. That seems counter-intuitive, as we tend to think of wax as something that makes a floor slicker, but in fact, floor wax is softer than the urethane and acrylic finishes of most modern hardwood floors, and provides a far better walking surface. Bruce Hardwood Floors makes an excellent line of floor care products.
posted by paulsc at 12:48 AM on August 5, 2006

Get a dremel and get your dog used to it.
Nail trimmers make the nails shorter, but leave a nasty edge on them. If you can get your dog comfortable with a dremel, you can trim them, and give them a nice rounded end that win't dig up your floor.
Getting the dog to not freak out around the dremel is the tricky part, however.
posted by gally99 at 4:17 AM on August 5, 2006 [1 favorite]

Instead of the dremel you could just take it for long walks on a hard surface, like pavement, it will also wear down the toenails to get a similar effect.
posted by BobbyDigital at 10:05 AM on August 5, 2006

If you want to Dremel the nails, here is a great site with step by step instructions on how to train your dog to accept it. Even short and properly filed nails can still scratch the floor if the dog is running and turning.

Concrete won't necessarily wear the nails down effectively, since unless the dog is running, turning or pulling (which it shouldn't be), the nails won't actually contact the concrete enough.

I second trying SoftPaws, but otherwise, I'd settle for a fix for the floors (rugs or something else) rather than anything to do with the dog (mind you, increasing the dog's exercise is a win-win situation, the dog's less likely to need to run in the house and will be generally better off anyway).
posted by biscotti at 10:41 AM on August 5, 2006

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