Living in a country of pet owners like us, the question: ‘Is there such a thing as a pet-proof carpet?’ is one we’re quite often asked. To the disappointment of the more desperate homeowner, our honest answer generally begins, ‘No, not really, I’m afraid…’.
The thing is, none of us can really control and protect against the natural behaviour of our four-legged friends. They will scratch, shed fur and have accidents and all we can do is to choose carpets that help us to limit the problem. And here we’re always happy to provide some sound advice.
In making your choice of carpet then, durability and stain-resistance are obvious selection criteria, as is the ease of cleaning. There’s also perhaps the aspect of allergy control to consider. At the same time of course there remains the level of comfort it delivers and of course how well it matches your décor and lifestyle.
The way a carpet is constructed can be an important first determinant of whether it suits your pet or not. If your cat or dog has got long claws and is prone to scratching the carpet, then a loop pile, berber pile or a mixed cut-and-loop pile carpet might not be a good idea.
Your pets’ claws can unfortunately snag in the loops and the loops can become pulled and unraveled. That said, certain loop piles can be more pet-proof when it comes to stains and fur shedding.
Being harder to snag, a cut pile carpet type, like a twist pile for example might prove a better option for you instead. Be aware though that shorter piles may wear more quickly in particularly high traffic areas, while longer piles can trap pet fur and hide fleas deep within its fibres.
Frieze carpeting, composed of more random twisted tufts that curl at the pile surface may resist and hide the effects of scratching better than longer shag pile type carpeting.
Natural wool or wool mix carpets may generally a good choice for pet-owners, offering good durability and stain-resistance, combined with the luxury look and feel homeowners like. It is though more expensive than some synthetic fibre alternatives and can be more absorbent.
Carpet made from nylon fibres can be slightly more durable and hard-wearing than wool, is also very stain resistant and doesn’t absorb moisture to the same degree as wool. Similarly priced to wool, a good-quality nylon can offer good durability with greater economy to its wool equivalent.
Cheaper again are polyester and polypropylene (olefin) fibre based carpets, however they really aren’t as durable as either wool or nylon, though do offer reasonable stain resistance.
There is also SmartStrand carpet. The ‘rolls Royce’ of manmade fibre, made from corn glucose, it is both very durable and stain resistant and expressly marketed with pet-owners in mind due owing to its performance and clean-ability. Compared to the other carpet types, the choice of textures, colours and patterns is greatly reduced.
Colour and pattern
Another factor to consider is the colour and pattern of the carpet. Can you choose one perhaps that helps disguise the pet hair that’s being shed i.e. if you have a pet with dark fur, would a darker carpet make more sense, for lighter-coloured fur a lighter carpet maybe.
And a quick word about allergy control too. It is often said that carpets contribute to asthma and allergy suffering by their collecting of pet dander and dust. However many authorities will tell you that by holding on to such allergens until they can be vacuumed up, carpet is actually helping sufferers. This is not the case with hard flooring, where the allergens resting on the surface are easily disturbed by movement and released into the air.
And with respect to hard flooring as an alternative to carpeting for pet owners, it’s important to consider the comfort of your pets. As a non-slip surface, carpets can be a lot safer for pets, whose footpads can slide on hard flooring. Plus of course, given a choice, pets will always prefer to be able to lounge around the house on a nice warm carpeted floor.
It’s also a myth that pets can’t damage a hardwood floor. The softer woods like pine, larch and fir for example will dent and scratch, and even harder woods like oak, maple and mahogany can still be easily stained without careful attention to cleaning up mess and spills.
So in choosing a carpet that suits both you and your pets there’s a lot of factors to consider, and the Avonvale Carpets team will be glad to help you decide. The choice will certainly need to suit your own décor, lifestyle and budget, but a wise purchase decision will also reflect the type, size, weight and claw length of your furry friends. They’re a big part of the family after all.
Image shows SmartStrand range ‘Beauty’ ft. Nala the cat.