Whether it’s dirty paws, doggie slobber, or housetraining a new puppy, pet messes happen. A pet-friendly rug or carpeting should make clean up easy, and it should stand up to your pet’s ability to both wear and tear.
“Many carpet products have built-in pet protection against stains and moisture, which may make them easier to clean,” says Rob White, director of cleaning systems at Oxi Fresh Carpet Cleaning. “You still should treat pet messes right away though, because the quicker you get to it, the better. If you’re not successful, carpet cleaning professionals have more powerful tools to extract stains.”
The best rug for dogs should be durable—even in high traffic areas—hard to stain, and easy to clean.
Ruggable Linear Striped Multicolor Rug
Machine wash and dry
Wide variety of sizes
Vast selection of colors and styles
Cover is very thin, so it doesn’t feel cushy underfoot (though cushioned rug pads are also available)
Corners may curl off of rug pad
While most rugs suggest using a rug pad (typically sold separately) for grip and to protect your flooring, Ruggable rugs incorporate the rug pad into each purchase, so that you are buying a “2-piece Rug System,” which allows for the outer “rug” layer to be separated from the rug pad beneath and washed in a standard washing machine.
While Ruggables offers a wide selection of machine-washable rugs, our favorite—and the most versatile—is the Ruggables Linear Striped, which is available in a rainbow multicolor version, in addition to a primarily red and primarily navy blue option. The multicolor can add a pop of color to any room.
The rug cover component of the Ruggables system is made from polyester with a water-resistant polyurethane barrier. This will stand up to any pet spill you can throw at it. Anything that can’t be spot cleaned can then be easily washed out in a standard washing machine. The rug pad beneath is latex free and easy to spot clean. The rug cover and pad combined are only a quarter-inch thick, making a Ruggables rug usable with most placements.
While we have had the best experience with the Ruggables selection of runners and area rugs, there are several other machine-washable brands worth your consideration, including Tumble and Rugs USA.
Price at time of publish: $219 (5 x 7 feet)
Materials: Polyester with a polyurethane water-resistant barrier | Sizes: Doormats, runners up to 10 feet long, 3x5, 5x7, 6x9, 8x10, 9x12, and 6- and 8-feet rounds
Loomy Nightfall Rug
Many design options and colors
100 percent recycled materials
Ultra durable fibers, but still soft
Custom sizing available
Only one color available in our favorite pattern
The Loomy Nightfall is hand woven on looms in Panipat, India, but instead of natural fibers it uses 100 percent recycled Polyethylene terephthalate (PET), a durable and soft polymer fiber derived from recycled plastic bottles. It’s super-stain-resistant, washable, scrubbable, fade resistant, and strong enough for indoor or outdoor use. It’s nevertheless soft like a natural fiber.
While Loomy offers a wide range of designs in their pet-friendly PET, our favorite is the Nightfall, which is lightly patterned for a structured and textural look that would look great as an area rug, underneath a dining set, or at the foot of a bed.
Price at time of publish: $1,498 (5 x 8 feet)
Materials: 100% recycled PET | Sizes: Runners: 5x8, 6x9, 8x10, 9x12, 10x14, 12x15, and custom sizes
Best Outdoor Rug
Ikea Lydersholm Rug
Neutral color for outdoor spaces
Available in two sizes
New rug can have slight smell
The Ikea Lydersholm is our ideal outdoor rug, with a durable, natural look matched with a 100 percent polypropylene construction that can hold up to any weather conditions or pet messes. While not machine-washable, the Lydersholm can be scrubbed with a soft brush, vacuumed, and shaken out between uses.
The Lydersholm is available in two sizes. You can check out the Morum for a similar indoor/outdoor flatweave, available in neutral gray and beige.
Price at time of publish: $150 (Large)
Materials: Polypropylene, synthetic latex backing | Dimensions: 5' 3" x 7' 7"; 6' 7" x 9' 10"
L.L. Bean Braided Wool Rug
Horizontal braid or oval design
Available in six different multi-color patterns
Wide range of dimension choices
100 percent braided virgin wool
Wool is not the easiest to clean
Wool rugs have distinct upsides and downsides for pet owners. While wool is naturally stain-resistant, it’s not as effective at repelling wet messes as many synthetic fibers (wine and coffee can stain wool quickly). While regular vacuuming is enough for general maintenance, you’ll likely need to use a steam cleaner to get out any tough stains. Wool is also incredibly durable and is likely to last longer than any other rug in your home. However, it can also feel a little rough and itchy on the skin, so it may not be the best pick if you’re looking for a carpet to roll around on.
Overall, we think wool is worth it, especially for high-traffic areas, where its extra durability will pay off over the years. Our favorite wool rug for the widest range of homes is L.L. Bean’s Braided Wool Rug, which comes in a variety of attractive multicolor braids and a wide variety of sizes. Its oval design, in particular, will lend a classic, homey look to any room. Each L.L. Bean Braided Wool Rug is reversible, so you can double its usefulness over the years.
Price at time of publish: $399 (4 x 6 feet oval)
Rectangular Dimensions: 2 ft. 3 in. x 4 feet; 4 x 6 feet; 5 x 8 feet; 8 x 11 feet | Oval Dimensions: 2 ft. 3 in. x 4 feet; 3 x 5 feet; 4 x 6 feet; 5 x 8 feet; 7 x 9 feet; 8 x 11 feet; 9 x 12 feet | Colors: Chestnut, indigo, mid-blue multi, red/straw multi, rose/moss, sea glass | Materials: 100% virgin wool
Revival Hart in Terracotta
1.5 centimeter flatweave is suitable for under furniture or tables
Available in a wide range of solid colors
Jute is an environmentally friendly natural fiber
Available in custom sizing
Can fade due to sun exposure
Jute can curl in excessively humid environments
Jute is a fantastic natural fiber for pets, because its tough fibers don’t easily stain and will hold up to heavy traffic. You only have to be mindful of liquid messes, which should be cleaned up immediately to prevent staining. Revival’s Hart line of rugs are our favorite jute rugs available because of the wide range of color and size options. You can get a Hart carpet in six different sizes, including a runner version and area rugs up to 9 by 12 feet, or create a custom dimension of your own. The Hart is also more versatile than other jute carpets, which tend to be quite thick. The flatwoven Hart is only 1.5 centimeters thick, making usable under tables or furniture.
While we’re partial to the rich, earthy terracotta Hart, there are a wide variety of solid color options available in Revival’s Hart line.
Price at time of publish: $449 (8 x 10 feet)
Materials: 100% solid-dyed jute | Dimensions: 4 x 6 feet, 5 x 8 feet, 6 x 9 feet, 8 x 10 feet, 9 x 12 feet, 2.5 x 12 feet, and custom dimensions
Stainmaster PetProtect Carpet
Extremely soft underfoot
Somewhat limited color palette, with mostly neutral colors
Some rooms, such as living rooms and bedrooms, just feel cozier with wall-to-wall carpeting. If that is your choice, this brand offers a lifetime stain and soil resistance limited warranty, as well as a 25-year texture-retention limited warranty. The carpet has a soft feel underfoot and is composed mainly of triexta, a type of polyester fiber manufactured by DuPont. It’s considered one of the most resilient fibers on the market.
This brand was recently acquired by a big box retailer, so it’s easy to find and see samples hands-on. That can be helpful, because it’s almost impossible to get a sense of how plush a carpet feels without being able to touch it. The company also produces Stainmaster pet carpet padding, which has a moisture resistant barrier for an additional layer of protection.
Price at time of publish: $2.73 / Sq.Ft
Materials: 75% triexta, 25% polyester blend
Best Carpet Tiles
FLOR Carpet Tiles
Available in solids, stripes, patterns and textures
Old products can be sent to company for free for recycling
Some patterns look more commercial than residential
Can sometimes see lines where tiles connect
If you have an oddly shaped hallway or room, these DIY tiles can be adapted to any size space. The individual tiles are 19.7 inches square and ¼ to ½ inch thick. Non-toxic, one-sided adhesive “dots” are used to stick the tile to the next tile, not the floor. You can create any custom pattern you like, and they can be vacuumed, and some tiles can be cleaned by hot water extraction method when needed. If one tile gets stained or damaged, you can replace just that one.
Materials: Nylon, polyester, nylon blends | Sizes: Each square is 19.7 inches square with cut tiles available in various sizes such as 1/2 and 1/3 the size of a full-sized tile
Our favorite rug for dog owners is Ruggables Linear Striped Multicolor Rug, which uses a unique cover/rug pad combo that lets you machine wash your rug when the messes get too big for a vacuum or spot treatments. We also love the Loomy Nightfall, which is made from 100 percent recycled PET, for an ultra durable rug with many of the advantages of a natural fiber.
What to Look for in a Rug for Dogs
The best materials for frequent pet cleanups include nylon, polypropylene, and polyester, including triexta.
Fringe may look nice, but it’s a tempting chew toy for puppies and even adult dogs. If you know that your pet is a chewer or you have a puppy, avoid fringe, and save yourself the aggravation and a potential visit to the vet.
Lifetime Stain Warranty
For products with pet protection, many manufacturers offer a lifetime stain warranty.
Are sisal rugs good for dogs?
Sisal is made from the leaves of sisal hemp grass or the aloe plant. The name comes from the town in Mexico where it was first used. It’s extremely durable and often reversible, but it’s also stiff and difficult to clean.
“Natural fibers such as sisal typically can only be vacuumed, so they’re not the best choice for people with dogs, in case of accidents,” Rob White, director of cleaning systems at Oxi Fresh Carpet Cleaning told The Spruce Pets.
Are wool rugs good for dogs?
Wool is derived from animals such as sheep, goats or alpacas. While wool has a soft, appealing texture and is durable and long-lasting, it’s also very absorbent, so it tends to soak up accidents quickly (perhaps before you even discover they’ve occurred). It’s also expensive, so it may not be the best choice if you’re still in the house-training phase, because it doesn’t have as much stain resistance as some other types of fibers, such as synthetics, says White.
What rug materials are easiest to clean?
Nylon, polypropylene (olefin), polyester, and triexta are the most resilient fibers to stains and are the easiest to clean. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t buy other types of fibers, such as wool, but be aware that you may need to clean more frequently.
How do you get a pet stain out of carpet?
As soon as you discover it, get to work. For wet accidents, “absorb as much as possible with an old towel or white paper towel,” says White. “Don’t use paper towels with prints or patterns, because the dyes can transfer to the carpet fibers.” Keep pressing the towels into the area to get up as much moisture as possible. You can even stand on the towel to help soak up more.
You also can use a handheld carpet machine to extract more liquid, but don’t use heat, which can set the stain. As long as you’re still seeing improvement in the stain, keep at it, says White. It can take several iterations to remove. To prevent odors (and, hopefully, prevent a repeat performance in this spot), use an enzymatic pet cleaner that is specially designed to break down uric acid. Follow the label instructions, but it usually must be left to air-dry.
For solids, gently lift the residue off the carpet without spreading it further. (Use a cardboard or stiff plastic utensil, if need be.) Then, follow the same steps as above.
If you’re fairly certain you've got a stain up, only for it to appear again later, you’re not imagining things. “You may get the surface clean, but if the urine has absorbed into the pad, it will keep wicking up from the padding, up into the carpet,” says White. That’s when it’s likely you’ll need a professional carpet-cleaning service.
How often should carpets be cleaned if you have pets?
Obviously, it depends on the overall traffic in your home. However, most wall-to-wall carpeting needs to be cleaned every 12 to 18 months to maintain its appearance as well as to remove pollen or dirt tracked in from everyday living, says White. If you have a dog, you may need professional cleanings every six to nine months, or more often if you have more than one dog or a dog who’s prone to accidents.
Why Trust The Spruce?
We researched the market based on the durability of materials, product reviews, and manufacturer warranties. Arricca SanSone writes about home, garden and lifestyle for many print and digital publications, including House Beautiful and Veranda. She lives with two very active papillons, whose house-training days taught her to be proficient with stain-removal techniques.