Home Tips Picking the Perfect Pet-Friendly Rug

Picking the Perfect Pet-Friendly Rug

We adore our pets—we really do. But we’re sometimes less than thrilled when we have to forgo a fabulous decorating find because Fido or Fluffy might turn it into a scrap heap faster than you can say “Hands off the home décor.” When it comes to rugs, we’ve learned the hard way what works for households with cats or dogs, so we’ve put together this handy, no-disappointment tips guide for picking the perfect pet-friendly rug:

Dash and Albert chevron green rug


First, let’s start with what to avoid. Claws—even trimmed ones—can get stuck on and snag hooked and looped rug constructions. And viscose-blend rugs, while supersoft and sumptuous, require professional cleaning. We recommend confining these rugs to rooms that are off-limits to pets.

Woven wool, tufted wool, and jute rugs are durable (though not entirely scratch-proof; keep this in mind if you have a dog who loves to dig or an overzealous feline), easy to vacuum, and typically easy to clean with enzymatic stain removers like Nature’s Miracle. However, old, set-in stains and repeat urine marking require professional attention.

Dash and Albert striped jute rug

Cotton chenille rugs are soft and cozy underfoot, and pets love lounging and playing on them. But their naturally fuzzy feel makes them fur magnets, so they require more frequent vacuuming. They can also be a bit more delicate than woven cotton rugs, meaning they might not hold up as well to frequent washing.

Woven cotton rugs are lightweight and easy to move around—and take outside for a good shake. They’re also durable, and the smaller sizes can often be hand washed (and hung to dry). They’re not chew- or scratch-proof, so keep an eye on young puppies or horizontal scratchers around these rugs.

Dash and Albert multicolor stripe cotton rug EDIT

Indoor/outdoor rugs are the prince of pet-loving households. They’re virtually chew- and scratch-proof; can take a beating from foot traffic, rough play, and tracked-in dirt; and wash up with a little detergent and some water and still look new. Think we’re kidding? Check out this video or this tutorial for cleaning an indoor/outdoor rug in a small space, like an apartment.


If you go with a washable rug, such as indoor/outdoor or woven cotton, pretty much any color will work. Saturated colors and patterns can work wonders at hiding an “oops,” especially in jute, woven wool, and tufted wool rugs.


Size and Placement

We’re crazy about a supersize rug and the dimension it adds to a space. That said, these rugs aren’t easy to move, and they’re best cleaned by professionals—important considerations if your pet is accident-prone and the rug needs frequent washing. For this reason, consider using two smaller rugs in a large space; you’ll get the same wow factor, but you won’t need to call the neighbors every time you need to move a rug. And your cleaning bill will be a lot smaller, too.

Dash and Albert striped indoor outdoor rug

When our pets show a particular . . . affinity for a rug, we make sure to keep it in an easily accessible place. So while we might put two legs of the sofa and a lightweight coffee table or ottoman on top, we avoid piling all of our furniture and accessories on the rug. This way, when we need to take it out of the room for cleaning, it’s a simple matter of lifting a few items, rather than rearranging an entire room.

Got a favorite type of pet-friendly rug or a tip to share? Post it in the comments!



Was this article helpful?


Nan April 26, 2014 at 4:28 pm

Excellent post–great advice!

Fresh American May 1, 2014 at 12:57 pm

Thanks, Nan! What would we do without our pets, right? 😉

Kim R. June 5, 2017 at 2:54 pm

How do you suggest using two in a living space – we had a 10×13 in our living area, but it was too cumbersome (maybe just the wrong type) of rug for cleaning properly – not to mention that the beautiful colors muted with the cat hair that liked to settle in the fibers.


Leave a Comment