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The Best Carpet for Pets: Brands and Advice

This post may contain references or links to products from one or more partners of our parent company and/or subsidiaries of our parent company. For more information, visit this page.

February 25, 2022

If you’re looking for the best carpet for pets, you’ve found the right place! 

In this article, we’ll cover all there is to know about pet-friendly carpet. Specifically, we’ll explain:

  • Whether carpet is a good choice for pets in the first place.
  • What features make a carpet the best carpet for dogs and cats.
  • Most importantly, the best carpet brands for pets and the specific products they sell!

And of course, we’ll go over some FAQs, other aspects to consider when you’re buying carpet for pets (plus a lot more). Let’s begin!

Or, feel free to skip to the best brands section!

Table of Contents

First, Is Carpet Good for Pets?

Carpet is arguably the best flooring for dogs and other pets. It’s comfy, warm, and easy on joints (all reasons it’s great for bedroom flooring, too). The real problem is whether pets are good for carpet

Claws, pet stains, shedding, and general rowdiness wreak havoc on nearly all types of flooring, let alone your average carpet. Even the most obedient pup or kitten (hah) is liable to have an accident or two, and your average pet is going to cause a lot more damage.

The good news: while we certainly wouldn’t say all carpet works, the best carpet for pets can stand up to these problems!

What Does Pet-Friendly Carpet Mean?

The best flooring for dogs or cats is often labeled as “pet-friendly,” which sounds great until you realize that “pet-friendly” can have 2 very different meanings!

It Can Refer to Carpet That’s Safe for Pets…

On the one hand, pet-friendly can describe a flooring product that won’t harm your pets. 

If you’re wondering how flooring could harm anything, it all comes down to the chemicals that are found in some types of floors (usually as a side effect from the manufacturing process). Collectively known as volatile organic compounds (VOCs), these chemicals are proven to cause health issues, especially for sensitive groups—and pets often fall into this category.

Fortunately, the flooring industry has become aware of the issue, and zero- or low-VOC floors are quickly becoming the norm. And naturally, the best carpet for pets is going to be one of these safer choices!

…And/Or It Can Refer to Carpet That’s Safe From Pets

On the other hand, pet-friendly carpet can also mean the flooring is safe from your pets.

For example, superior stain resistance may prevent pet urine from penetrating deep into a floor’s structure, potentially ruining it.

The best carpet for dogs and other pets does both: it can take a beating and it won’t impact your pets’ health (or yours, for that matter)!

How to Choose the Best Carpet for Pets

Okay, so you’re down for putting carpet in your home—but how do you choose the best carpet for pets? Aren’t there many different types of carpet

Yes! But don’t worry—we’re making it easy for you. First, we’re going to explain the 2 main routes you can take, and then we’ll go over the specific brands and products we’d recommend. 

There Are 2 Routes: Cheap & Replaceable vs. Durable & Stain-Resistant

When it comes to pricing, carpet is weird. You can just as easily find rolls of carpet for less than a dollar per square foot as ones that cost well over $20/square foot!

When it comes to finding the best carpet for pets, though: you have 2 overall options. You can go with:

  1. A cheap, replaceable carpet (the less-than-$1-per-square-foot-kind). Sure, this may sound like an I-give-up choice. But it’s actually a legitimate, if not particularly eco-friendly flooring option—as long as you don’t mind buying and installing new carpet every 5–10 years. Or,
  2. You can buy a durable, stain-resistant carpet that lasts 2–3 decades. The upfront investment will be higher, but you won’t have to worry about installation costs every few years—and these options typically have more to offer (beyond their benefits for pets).

The Best Carpet for Pets May Depend on Whether You Have Big Animals or Small Animals

An X-factor in this debate is the size of your pets. 

If you have small dogs or cats (that won’t mess up your carpet), inexpensive carpets may survive beyond their 5–10-year anticipated lifespan. You’ll still have to worry about pet stains and other factors, though.

Big animals weigh more and have bigger claws (no shocker here, right?) so a more durable carpet is almost required. Low-end carpets won’t stand up to the extra weight and you’ll likely see frazzled carpet fibers, matting, and other issues. As such, big animals pretty much always require more durable flooring.

Overall: The “Durable” Path Will Still Save You Money

If it hasn’t become obvious yet, the best carpet for pets mostly takes the durable route. The one exception might be for a commercial location like a veterinarian or dog groomer’s office that:

  1. Has the budget for frequent carpet installations.
  2. Sees tons of animals come through on a daily basis (too many for even the most durable carpet options to survive for more than a few years).

Don’t let this bum you out though! Many of the best carpet brands still make durable products that are quite affordable!

Features to Look for in the Best Carpets for Pets

The best carpet for dogs and other pets has a lot of things going for it beyond supporting your favorite furry pal! Here’s what to look for.

Pet Accidents Happen; The Best Carpet for Dogs & Pets Needs Great Stain Resistance

Whether your new puppy confuses your carpet for the grass outside or your (secretly evil) cat decides a glass of water is better off decorating your now-soaked floor, you’re going to face some sort of carpet adversity with pets. It’s inevitable

So, the best carpet for dogs and other pets needs to be stain-resistant. We’ll talk about this more further down, but this is the reason synthetic-fiber carpets are a better choice for pets than natural-fiber carpets. Nylon and other artificial carpets repel liquids so they’re highly resistant to stains.

Again, Durability Is a No-Brainer

It’s not a coincidence that the best carpet for pets is also the best carpet for stairs: it needs to handle a heck of a beating on a daily basis. 

Like we said before, pets have claws and like to run around. Your carpet needs to be strong enough to bear the extra weight and resist scratching.

Pet-Friendly Carpet Pile Is a Must

There are 2 primary types of carpet piles: cut pile and loop pile. 

The difference is pretty straightforward: each fiber of a cut pile carpet is literally cut at a certain height, whereas the fibers of a loop pile carpet are looped into the backing. You can check out our crash course on cut pile vs. loop pile carpet, but here’s the gist:

Normally, loop carpets are considered more durable, but they have a critical weakness when it comes to animals. Claws can get snagged in the fiber loops, ripping up the carpet and/or harming your pets’ paws.

So, cut pile carpets are the better choice carpets for pets. In particular, frieze or Saxony carpets are ideal because the way they’re threaded makes them more resistant to wear and tear. That said, low-pile loop carpets (i.e. carpets with tiny, tiny loops) minimize the risk of snagged claws so they’re not a bad option, per se.

Carpet Fiber Material Matters Too

We could go on and on about the different types of carpet fiber, but we’ll only talk about the products that make a case for being the best carpet for dogs or other pets (from best to good):

  1. Type 6,6 nylon
  2. Triexta and solution-dyed polyester
  3. Type 6,0 nylon
  4. Ordinary polyester

Type 6,6 nylon carpets like those sold by Proximity Mills are considered the best all-around carpets because they’re extremely durable and stain-resistant. They’re also supremely versatile when it comes to style options. 

Type 6,0 nylon products like Tigressa carpet aren’t that far behind and they’re more widely available—but they don’t score quite as high in terms of overall strength, lifespan, or fade resistance. 

Solution-dyed polyester is extremely fade resistant, but it’s also only available from a handful of the best carpet brands (like Newton). Ordinary polyester is more of a budget product nowadays, but it can still offer relatively good value.

Finally, triexta is made by DuPont and licensed out to companies like Mohawk and Karastan (usually under the name, SmartStrand). Triexta’s ultra-dense carpet pile is super strong and its use of natural ingredients lessens the carpet’s eco impact, but it can also be difficult to clean and has a tendency to trap fur. Otherwise, triexta is a great option.

Wool options aren’t the best carpets for pets because, while they are durable and somewhat stain-resistant, they don’t hold up well against the constant barrage that pets bring to the table. That and the fact that wool carpets tend to be more pricey make them a poor choice for pets.

Make Sure You Choose Low-VOC Carpet for Pets

Remember: pets are more sensitive to VOCs, so buying zero- or low-VOC carpeting is a must!

All the carpet fiber options we mentioned in the previous section offer zero- or low-VOC options.

Pet-Resistant Backing and Padding Are Required

Pet accidents are a certainty, so you need to make sure you buy a carpet that comes with a pet-resistant backing (basically the carpet’s foundation). 

Dog and cat urine are filled with nitrates, which penetrate deep into normal carpet backings and create persistent odors. Even professional carpet cleaners have a hard time removing these odors (assuming they can), so having a water-resistant or waterproof backing is very important.

This also goes for carpet padding, which is installed beneath your carpet for support and extra cushion (it’s similar to vinyl flooring underlayment). A pet-resistant carpet pad can act as low-cost insurance if your carpet is completely ruined: while you’ll still need new flooring, the carpet pad will prevent pet urine from penetrating your subflooring, which could cost considerably more to fix.

The Best Carpet for Pets Should Be Easy to Clean

On that note, the best carpet for pets is easy to clean. With pets, you’ll often have to contend with pet urine, mud and dirt.

Deep pile carpets offer the best in comfort, but their long carpet fibers can trap dirt and pet hair. As such, medium pile carpets are generally the best way to go as they offer a good balance of comfort and ease of cleaning.

Consider the Carpet’s Warranty and Any Pet Guarantees

The best carpet brands and manufacturers will back up their pet-friendly products with strong warranties. Before you buy any flooring product, make sure the warranty covers everything you need it to. 

Pet-oriented guarantees such as “this carpet will not be ruined by pet urine for the life of the product” are worth looking for. But it’s a good idea to check through carpet reviews to make sure the company honors these guarantees.

Also, be wary of products (like Lees carpet) that throw in a lot of exclusions in their warranty policies. Some are understandable—like “make sure this carpet is installed according to the directions”—but other exclusions may disqualify pet stains.

Determine Your Carpet Budget (Price Matters)

Setting a budget is a good flooring tip in general, but the point stands. The best carpet for pets tends to range between $2–$7/sq. ft.

The Best Pet-Proof Carpet Brands

We’ve mentioned the best carpet brands a few times, so who are they exactly?

#1. Proximity Mills

Proximity Mills offers high-performance, zero- or low-VOC flooring at surprisingly reasonable prices. Their 22 collections of carpet cost around $4/sq. ft. but they’re also one of the few brands to exclusively offer type 6,6 nylon, the unquestioned leader in synthetic carpet fibers.

While Proximity Mills doesn’t specifically sell carpets for pets, their superior nylon fabric construction is highly resistant to stains, moisture, and general wear and tear. So, it largely goes without saying that this carpet works very well for pets.

Fun fact, they even offer machine-washable carpet tiles that you can remove, wash, and re-install with ease. No need to replace the entire carpet when there’s an accident (and as all pet owners know, there will be accidents).

Sidenote: Proximity Mills also happens to be one of the best engineered wood flooring brands if you’re less sure that carpet is the right choice for you. 

#2. Newton

Newton flooring could be confused for a budget product because of its low price, but its high-end features say otherwise. All their carpets are CRI-certified as low-VOC and are made of either 6,6 nylon or solution-dyed polyester—both of which, as we mentioned, are contenders for the best carpet for pets (solution-dyed polyester arguably offers the best stain resistance of any carpet fiber).

The only downside: you’ll need a waterproof or water-resistant carpet pad as Newton’s carpet backing isn’t waterproof. But, carpet padding is inexpensive and the total investment will still be less than most other medium or high-end carpets.

#3. Anderson Tuftex PetPerfect

Anderson Tuftex’s PetPerfect carpet is made of nylon “with built-in stain protection and pet hair resistance to make clean-up a cinch.” They don’t go out of their way to explain how carpet can have “hair resistance,” but their carpet reviews are pretty solid so we won’t peel back the curtain too much (but seriously, how?)

Anyway, PetPerfect is more expensive (on average) than Proximity Mills or SmartStrand, but the huge array of colors and patterns will accommodate a similarly wide range of decor styles.

#4. Shaw Bellera

According to Shaw, Bellera is “paws down the best carpet for your pet.”

Questionable puns aside, Bellera does make a case for being the best carpet for pets with its LifeGuard carpet backing, which is “guaranteed” to prevent pet urine from reaching your subfloor—as does its Anso nylon construction (a superior offshoot of type 6,0 nylon).

As with many Shaw products, like Shaw’s vinyl plank flooring, Bellera is on the pricey side. Especially since it doesn’t seem to offer much to set it apart (like Proximity Mills type 6,6 construction or SmartStrand’s triexta). That said, Bellera has great reviews so the price isn’t completely unwarranted either. 

Note: Shaw Bellera’s “no-surprises” warranty page is currently MIA, which is surprising.  

Shaw Caress

Shaw Caress is the brand’s premium carpet line. It offers all the features of Bellera but with an enhanced warranty and more elaborate style options. Oh, and it’s way more expensive.

Floorigami (by Shaw)

Floorigami is owned by Shaw and specializes in DIY carpet planks (yes, you read that right) and rolls. These products aren’t the best carpet for dogs or cats but they are super easy to install without professional help. 

#5. LifeProof with PetProof

LifeProof with PetProof (yes, that’s its actual name) is made with both triexta and polyester and exclusively sold by Home Depot. There are 2 categories: 

  • Indoor carpet (exactly what it sounds like).
  • Outdoor carpet (an outdoor flooring option that’s meant for pet owners who need a place for their furry friends to do their business).  

Anyway, LifeProof carpet is surprisingly pricey for a big box store brand product (starting at $4/sq. ft.) but also offers more features than the store’s budget line, TrafficMaster

Like LifeProof’s vinyl flooring, this product scores well enough in most categories but the reviews are wildly inconsistent. 

#6. Stainmaster PetProtect

Stainmaster used to be the best carpet for pets since they were the first (and for a long time, only) company to offer type 6,6 nylon. 

As other brands started to catch up, though, Stainmaster attempted to enter other flooring markets (like the disaster that was Stainmaster luxury vinyl) with little success—apparently placing the company in hot water.

In 2021, Lowes bought Stainmaster and refocused the brand on budget carpets, rather than the high-end products Stainmaster was formerly known for. These newer generation carpets cost between $1–$2/sq. ft. and fall into the you-get-what-you-pay-for category. It’s a sad next chapter for a brand that used to be at the top of the carpet world.

The Best Carpet for Pets: FAQs

Before we finish, let’s answer some questions about the best carpet for pets!

What Type of Flooring Do Pets Prefer?

If you compare carpet vs. hardwood (or carpet vs. laminate or even vinyl plank for that matter), many pets tend to prefer carpet. 

Why? Well, which would you rather lay on: cold, hard wooden planks, or comfy, cozy plush carpet?

What Is the Best Carpet Cleaner Solution for Pet Stains?

We can’t say this enough, go with whatever carpet cleaner the care instructions for your carpet recommends. Otherwise, you may jeopardize your warranty and/or ruin your carpet!

That said, carpet cleaners that neutralize or “trap” nitrates without dyes are a good starting point.

What Is the Best Carpet Pad for Pets?

Waterproof carpet pads are ideal—but otherwise, it comes down to personal preference. Some carpet pads emphasize comfort while others are simply there for structural support (like a good friend). 

What Color Carpet Is the Best for Pets? Does It Matter?

The best carpet for pets tends to be darker or vibrant in color. Essentially: any color that will hide stains.

What Type of Carpet Is Best for Pet Hair?

Low pile carpets are the best, but you can also go with a medium pile carpet if you want to balance comfort with ease of cleaning.

How Long Do Carpets for Pets Last?

This heavily depends on which carpet you buy, but generally, the best carpet for pets will last 20–30 years.

Can You “Pet Proof” an Existing Carpet?

There are 2 ways to (sort of) pet-proof an existing carpet: you can put a rug on your carpet to act as a first line of defense against pets, or you can use a host of different waterproofing chemicals that may or may not work.

So, it’s better to buy the best carpet for pets right off the bat.

Does Pet Urine Ruin Carpet?

Like you wouldn’t believe! 

Pet urine is filled with chemicals called nitrates that A) carry very strong odors, and B) act as a potent dye. If your carpet isn’t stain-resistant, there’s a very good chance your carpet will be ruined by pet urine.

How Do You Get Pet Odors Out of Carpet?

Hiring a professional carpet cleaner is the best way to get pet odors out of your carpet, but even a professional service may have trouble with removing urine odors. Some carpet cleaner solutions may also work, but again, we don’t recommend anything outside of your carpet’s care instructions.

Does Carpet Padding Make A Difference?

Yes! Waterproof carpet pads will protect your subfloor from pet accidents (saving you the expense of having to replace your subfloor) and can also enhance the comfort of your carpet.

Are There Any Carpet Styles To Avoid?

Loop carpets like berber aren’t the best choice for pets because the small loops can snag on pet claws. Deep pile carpets (cut or loop) are in a similar boat. 

However, we wouldn’t necessarily say any of these products need to be outright avoided. They can work, but they’re not ideal.

What’s the Best Carpet for Dogs?

The best carpet for dogs should be durable enough to support rough play and claws. Stain and soil resistance is also critical, especially if your dog(s) like to track in mud and dirt.

Oh, and extra points for being comfortable!

What’s the Best Carpet for Cats?

The best carpet for pets such as cats or bunnies needs to be especially resistant to pet urine, scratching, and chewing. 

Cats have a strange desire to wrack their claws against carpet (a scratchboard is definitely a worthwhile investment) and they’re very territorial—which means they like to spray on surfaces that retain odors (e.g. your carpet). So: stain-resistant carpet is non-negotiable. 

What Is the Toughest Carpet in General?

Low pile loop carpets are easily the most durable carpets in general, but be aware that loops might snag pet claws.

What’s the Most Affordable Carpet for Pets?

We’d say that Newton offers the best value carpet but there are plenty of brands that sell carpet for $1/sq. ft. or less. Sadly, most affordable is not a synonym for best.

Do You Need High-Traffic Carpet for Pets?

High traffic carpet is the best carpet for pets that are large and/or heavy. These carpets will resist matting and should survive everyday wear and tear.

What’s the Most Stylish Carpet?

Doma flooring offers an incredible array of super-stylish products. Unfortunately, their carpets are also made of wool—which we’ve already established isn’t ideal for pets.

Proximity Mills, Mohawk SmartStand, and Anderson Tuftex all offer a wide variety of stylish carpets too, though.

Are There Eco-Friendly Carpets for Pets?

Polyester carpets tend to be recyclable and triexta carpets are at least partially sourced from corn. And low-VOC flooring is eco-friendly in the sense that it does emit harmful gasses into the environment.

If you want the most environmentally friendly flooring, though, you’re better off going with something like sustainable hardwood or hemp flooring.

What About DIY-Friendly Carpets?

Carpet isn’t the easiest flooring to install, and DIY flooring options like some peel-and-stick carpet tiles aren’t a good route if you want the best carpet for pets. The seams between tiles, which may be imperceptible to you, allow pet urine to seep through. As you can imagine, that is not good.

What Other Types of Flooring Are Good for Pets?

If you don’t want the best carpet for pets, there are many other types of flooring that work!

The best wood flooring for dogs and cats (which is usually some type of waterproof hardwood floor or wood floor hybrid) can stand up to claw marks and pet accidents. The trouble is that buying a hardwood floor is like buying a boat: it’s expensive.

The best laminate floor brands, on the other hand, are much more affordable and still make beautiful floors. Just make sure that you buy waterproof laminate flooring because ordinary laminate will fall apart if it’s exposed to liquids. 

And of course, all of the best vinyl plank flooring brands also make fake wood products that stack up really well against even the most durable wood floors. Vinyl plank is waterproof and scratch-resistant—plus, it’s not overly expensive and you can find plenty of amazing products for around $4/sq. ft. Pets especially like WPC flooring, which is a softer PVC floor that still offers great durability..

But of course, none of these floors are as comfortable or cozy as the best carpet for dogs or other pets!

Conclusion

For around $3–$5/sq. ft., you can have a carpet that stands up to pet accidents and looks great. 

Type 6,6 nylon products from brands like Proximity Mills offer the most bang for your buck, but high-end polyester or triexta products perform similarly. 

Just Remember: The Best Carpet for Pets Is Sold at Local Flooring Stores

You won’t find the best carpet for dogs and other pets at big box stores like Home Depot or Lowes. Products like LifeProof and Stainmaster are okay (ish), but you can find better products for the same (or better) prices at your local flooring store.

Local stores carry a much wider selection of products, and they hire legitimate flooring experts instead of run-of-the-mill contractors. 

And with that, we hope this guide helps you find the best carpet for pets! Or, if you’re still looking for the perfect flooring idea for you, check out the articles below!

Hardwood Resources

Vinyl Resources

Laminate Resources

Other Resources

About The Author

Christian Southards

Christian is a freelance everything-writer, editor, & SEO guy. When he’s not writing about flooring and remodeling, he’s either writing news for the California American Legion or writing fresh content for his camping & EDC blog (or, you know, actually camping).

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