Shedding, dander, drool, claws, accidents, wear and tear—there are a lot of things a pet can do to your pristine carpets. There are 85 million households in the U.S. that have at least one pet, making pets part of the decision when you change your flooring. You don’t have to give up beautiful, cozy carpets for Fido’s sake, though. Pets like to lie down and enjoy the softness of a carpet as much as anybody else, and curling up on carpet is much more comfortable for them than hardwood or vinyl flooring.
The best carpets for pets offer stain resistance and durability, help absorb sound, and look good, too. The last thing you want to worry about when you’re playing with your pets is the damage they can do to your flooring. Wall-to-wall carpeting gives your furry friends a nonslip surface where they can play, lie down, and roll over; pets tend to slide around on tile and hardwood. This guide can help narrow the search for a pet-friendly carpet to install in your home that works for your needs and your pet’s needs, too.
- BEST OVERALL: STAINMASTER PetProtect Textured Carpet
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Lifeproof Playful Moments II Textured Carpet
- BEST UPGRADE: Mohawk SmartStrand Ultra
- BEST NYLON: Shaw Floors Subtle Aura
- BEST WOOL: J Mish Natural Velvet Wool Carpet
- BEST OLEFIN: TrafficMaster Tidewater Carpet
Types of Carpets for Pets
With so many types of carpets to choose from, the first thing to do is narrow down your search to carpets that best withstand the wear and tear of pets. Nylon, wool, and olefin are three common types of carpets that are more suitable for pets.
Nylon is the most popular carpeting material for a reason. It’s the most durable, easy to clean, and maintains its texture retention over time. Higher-end brands can keep a nice appearance for up to 15 years. These carpet fibers are abrasion resistant, saving it from the wear and tear that comes from a four-legged friend. The strong, durable fibers withstand frequent use and are a fitting choice for high-traffic areas. Nylon naturally resists pet odors, soil, and mildew, which helps keep it clean no matter what your furry companion tracks in.
Nylon is a type of material meant to imitate the appearance of wool, but it’s slightly more durable and has built-in stain resistance. It’s standard practice for nylon carpet manufacturers to use protective chemical treatments to help the fabric resist fading or discoloration in case your pet has an accident. In the manufacturing process, solution-dyed nylon has color built right into the fiber, making it permanent and fade resistant. This process hinders stains by making spills less likely to attach themselves to the carpet fiber.
Wool is the standard to which other fibers are compared. This tightly woven natural carpet fiber looks and feels luxurious for you and your pet. Known for feeling good to the touch and taking dye beautifully, wool is available in a variety of colors and styles. Made of natural, renewable fiber, wool carpet is biodegradable and, if cared for properly, is long lasting. Since it is a bit more extravagant, it does come with a higher price tag than other carpet types. For durability, this type of carpet is better for light to medium foot traffic, rather than high-traffic areas for your pet. However, it has excellent resilience, so it recovers nicely if crushed to keep it looking good over time.
Because it has some natural stain resistance, wool doesn’t get as dirty as synthetic carpets. However, it can’t be treated with a stain-resistant coating like other materials, so any spills or accidents need to be treated and cleaned right away. These natural fibers have a low resistance to chemicals, which may make cleaning a bit more involved.
Previously considered an outdoor type of carpet, olefin (also referred to as polypropylene) has advanced to give its fibers the look and feel of wool. This type is generally restricted to low-pile carpets, which use shorter and denser fibers making them ideal for high-traffic areas. This second most popular type of carpeting is made from plastic fibers and is affordable, easy to clean, and doesn’t fade.
Olefin carpet resists stains, static, soil, pilling, and water damage like mildew, making it durable enough for big, messy, and active pets. Olefin also resists abrasion and repels moisture. Many olefin carpets are constructed with loop fabrics; however, they’re low and dense to minimize the snags that often come with longer carpets. Still, you may want your pet’s nails trimmed to avoid any catching. Olefin has a rougher feel than other types of carpets, but it can handle a busy household.
Features to Look for in the Best Carpets for Pets
The best carpet for pets can stand up to a lot of playtime, slobbery faces, and the occasional accident. A pet-friendly carpet is tough, stain resistant, and gives warmth and comfort to a room that’s enjoyed by both the pet and its owner. Here are some considerations when you’re shopping for your next wall-to-wall carpet.
Each material takes damage differently, varies in softness, and ranges in price. There are five primary types of carpet material: nylon, triexta, polyester, wool, and olefin.
- Nylon fibers are the most popular carpet material. The synthetic material is durable, stain resistant, and affordable, which are all handy features for a carpet when you have pets in the home.
- Triexta is similar in appearance to nylon, but it’s softer. These carpets repel stains and moisture damage because they are naturally hydrophobic.
- Polyester, a synthetic fiber that’s cheaper than nylon, is a little less durable but feels soft. It’s moderately priced and tends to be used for dense, deep-pile carpets in low- traffic areas. Polyester carpets may not be the best choice if you have pets at home.
- Wool is a natural fiber that’s the softest and most luxurious. Materials such as wool, padded wool, or felt are considered by many to be healthier carpets for the family (fur babies included).
- Olefin is a synthetic fiber made of polypropylene. It’s tougher and more affordable than other synthetics.
Volatile Organic Compounds
Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are gases that emit from certain liquids or solids and come from a variety of chemicals. Exposure to VOCs may cause health issues such as eye, nose, and throat irritation; neurological effects; and allergic skin reactions. VOCs may be found in carpet and many other materials at home, including cleaners, cosmetic products, and furnishings. It’s important to avoid VOCs or find a low-VOC option for your health as well as your pet’s.
Newer carpets are manufactured to contain lower levels of VOCs, and wool carpets tend to avoid VOCs altogether. To minimize the VOCs in your home, look for the Carpet and Rug Institute’s (CRI) Green Label which certifies low-VOC products or items that are Greenguard certified. Avoid these gases during carpet installation, too, by using low-VOC adhesives that don’t contain harmful solvents.
Pets will test the stain resistance of your carpets multiple times throughout your carpet’s life. Carpets that are made for pets are designed to prevent stains from soaking through the carpet’s padding, a place where moisture can grow bacteria and mold. Stain-resistant carpets are treated with a chemical coating to protect and give the material moisture-wicking properties. Often, you can clean spills and accidents with a soap and water solution, making for easy cleanups, but for best results, spills should be tended to right away. This chemical coating does wear out over time or may wear away early if the wrong cleaning products are used.
Stain-resistant materials keep your carpet looking nicer long-term so it doesn’t need to be replaced as often. Treated synthetic materials come at a more affordable price point compared to other fibers, such as wool. Stain-resistant carpets advertise this shielding feature. If you purchase a carpet that doesn’t claim to be stain resistant, then likely it isn’t.
Pet owners know that durability is a key factor in choosing a carpet that agrees with their four-legged friend. Dogs and cats both like to run, play, and scratch, which adds to the wear and tear of a carpet. The face weight of a carpet measures how much yarn makes up a carpet pile. This is comparable to the thread count on sheets, wherein the higher the number, the more dense and long lasting the material. Durability depends on the style of the carpet as well as the material of it. Nylon, olefin, and wool resist wear and tear better than other types of fibers, like polyester, making them more durable options.
For carpet style, look for something tightly woven to enhance durability. Traditionally, berber or loop pile carpets are the most durable because they don’t have open ends. This decreases the chances of the carpet pulling or shedding, but longer carpets in this style can snag on pet claws. A durable carpet that’s pet friendly should be a cut pile style, which simply means that there aren’t any loops to trap your pet’s nails. The saxony carpet pile is tightly woven and typically cut at an angle, helping to conceal any marks and stains. Similarly, the frieze carpet pile is also tightly woven, but more wiry looking, which also helps hide wear and stains.
Our Top Picks
The best carpet for you and your pet depends on the type of pet you have, its playfulness, and the wear your pet brings to a carpet. Based on the criteria above, here are some worthy considerations for your next wall-to-wall carpet.
This STAINMASTER PetProtect Textured Carpet is a fresh, modern style made of nylon fibers that protect against mess and enhance the look of your home. It’s a stain-, soil-, and static-resistant carpet that is highly durable and designed to look and feel good. When used with STAINMASTER carpet cushion, this product reduces pet odors, too. Designed with furry friends in mind, the carpet fibers easily release pet hair during vacuuming, saving you the time and trouble of going over the same spot to suck up embedded hair.
Available in multiple fade-resistant colors to suit your home, this material is tufted and textured to retain its consistency over time. This FHA-approved and CRI Green Label-certified carpet is built to last and should hold up well over time.
The Lifeproof Playful Moments II Textured Carpet is an affordable, durable, and comfortable option for those with pets. The denier yarn and heavier weight face create a plush, high-density texture for you and your pet. A triexta-blend fiber makes the carpet soft and helps it resist soil, stains, and odor without adding harsh chemical treatments. Built for resilience, the permanent built-in stain and soil protection doesn’t wear off. The carpet fiber doesn’t absorb moisture, but instead keeps it on the surface so after cleaning you can’t even tell it was soiled.
This carpet is both FHA approved and CRI Green Label Plus approved, guaranteeing low VOC. The backing of the carpet is made of polypropylene, which adds to the carpet’s durability, even with the most active pets. With 27 deeply saturated and fade-resistant colors to choose from, there are options available to match a variety of decor. To keep this carpet looking good and lasting long-term, annual hot water extraction cleaning is recommended.
The Mohawk SmartStrand Ultra carpet elevates the qualities of pet-friendly carpet for durability, stain resistance, and softness. The textured carpet uses twisted yarns for a comfortable feel for you and your furry companion but has excellent durability for all levels of traffic, including pets that play rambunctiously. Available in 16 fade-resistant color choices, this carpet suits many homes beautifully while staying tough against stains, pets, and abrasive wear. Spring-like fiber molecules preserve the carpet’s aesthetic and help it retain its texture over time. A low-VOC carpet rating is indicated by a CRI Green Label Plus certification.
Mohawk made this type of carpet with their Nanoloc spill and soil shield, making cleanup quick and simple for a variety of pets and their accidents. With the shield, liquids can’t absorb into the fiber, unlike many other options. This lifetime stain protection doesn’t wash or wear off, increasing the lifespan of the carpet and making it arguably the easiest carpet to clean. With zero percent moisture absorption, the carpet reduces stains as well as pet odors in the fiber.
The Shaw Floors Subtle Aura carpet is made of 100 percent Anso Nylon with primarily polypropylene backing, giving it comfortable and durable features that work well for pets and people. It has a soft texture and is available in 12 colors. This tufted carpet is another option for owners of messy pets or those prone to accidents. The nylon fibers give natural insulation to a room, helping absorb sound and giving a comfortable walking or napping surface for a pet.
Shaw Floors uses a patented R2X stain- and soil-resistance treatment to shield the carpet below the surface. Where other products may just treat the top of the carpet, R2X protects the entire fiber from the base to the tip. Total fiber protection repels stains, giving you time to clean up accidents without the worry of a stain setting in.
J Mish’s Natural Velvet Wool Carpet is a suitable option for less-rambunctious pets who seek a comfortable floor for napping. Wool makes a plush carpet that offers natural soil and stain resistance in tandem with elevated style. This extra-dense carpet is made from thick, 100 percent New Zealand wool and offers more wool per square inch than other carpets, giving it better sound and warmth insulation than other wool options. Made of an eco-friendly renewable resource, the wool from this carpet is biodegradable and does not have hazardous ingredients in the backing or on the carpet’s surface.
This heathered cut pile carpet is made in 10 natural color options and can last upwards of 30 years if cared for properly—lasting about three times longer than many synthetic carpets. A natural cleaner is recommended for spot cleaning, and spills or pet accidents need to be treated immediately to avoid stains getting past the carpet’s natural stain barriers. With pets, this carpet benefits from being deep cleaned every couple of months to keep it in top condition.
The TrafficMaster Tidewater Carpet holds up against heavy use in high-traffic areas, resisting stains, soiling, and wear and tear with Scotchgard protector advanced repel technology. Priced for value but built to be strong, the carpet is well constructed with machine-made olefin and polypropylene backing. With a tufted construction made from continuous fibers to reduce carpet shedding, this carpet uses a berber style weave that works for pets who have regularly clipped nails.
Olefin is easy to maintain with a professional cleaning, recommended once a year. Both FHA approved and CRI Green Label Plus certified, this carpet has low VOCs inside the home. This carpet can be installed with or without a carpet pad, depending on your preference.
FAQs About Carpets for Pets
There are many factors that go into the decision-making process for purchasing carpet when you have pets in the home. Each pet and each owner are different and have different needs, so there are some questions that may come up. Here are some frequently asked questions and answers about carpets for pets.
Q. What color carpet is best for pets?
Pets can be messy and track dirt and debris onto the carpet, so it’s best to choose a color that can hide imperfections that may appear. Darker colors or carpets with patterns hide pet messes better than others.
Q. What type of carpet is best for dog hair?
A carpet that’s tightly woven will help prevent dog hair from getting embedded in the fabric. Nylon, olefin, and some wool carpets can be good choices for dogs who shed a lot.
Q. How long do carpets for pets last?
Well-constructed carpets can last 10 years or more with normal use and care. Regular cleaning may help increase the longevity of carpet. Dogs, in particular, can be tough on floors. You may want to check out the best flooring for dogs to know your other options.