What's the Best Carpet for Pets?

By: Carol White  | 
A cat stretched out on a carpet
Pets enjoy the softness of carpet as much as you do, and pet-friendly carpets make keeping your home clean easier than ever. See more pet pictures.

Pet owners looking for the best carpet for pets have two main priorities: stain resistance and durability. After all, pet accidents and wear and tear from four-legged traffic can really take a toll on your carpet and shorten its life span, though this seems like a fair trade for the health benefits pets bring to their owners.

Many 21st-century consumers have added health and environmental effects to their list of flooring priorities, and finding a carpet that meets these concerns is getting easier. But first, let's take a look at why most pets tend to prefer carpet.


Why Pets Love Carpet

What makes carpet a good choice for floor covering if you have pets? Wall-to-wall carpeting is more comfortable for pets; after all, many pets spend lots of time lying around on the floor, inspiring spasms of envy in their owners.

Carpet is also a nonslip surface that can be safer for animals, whose footpads tend to slide on tile and hardwood flooring. Lastly, carpet absorbs sound and can make your home a more peaceful place to live [source: Carpet and Rug Institute]. That is, unless you belong to the minority of people who enjoy the ceaseless sound of pet claws on hardwood.


A common concern with carpeting is that it may contribute to asthma and allergies by collecting dust and pet dander. After all, we often associate both medium pile carpet and deep pile carpet with dust, dirt, and crumbs. Worry not! The Carpet and Rug Institute claims that wall-to-wall carpeting actually traps allergens until they can be vacuumed up.

As it turns out, deep pile carpets are the best choice for allergy sufferers as long as you vacuum and deep clean your carpet regularly. Most allergy experts, however, still recommend hardwood or tile flooring [source: Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America].


Key Carpet Factors to Consider

If you have your heart set on carpet, you'll want to take the following factors into consideration when making your selection.


Carpeting is usually made from wool, a natural fiber, or from synthetic fibers like nylon, olefin and polyester. Wool carpet is the softest and most luxurious, is naturally flame-retardant and breaks down more quickly in landfills, but it's more expensive than synthetic carpet and lacks stain resistance.


Those made from polyester or nylon carpet fibers are the most popular because they're a naturally stain-resistant, durable, and affordable carpet. Nylon and polyester carpets are also among the most suitable for households with kids and pets. Olefin and polyester are cheaper than nylon but less durable [source: Bernick; Tremblay and Williams].

Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)

Carpet and other common materials found in homes may contain VOCs. These chemicals can cause eye, nose and throat irritation and have neurological effects [source: Environmental Protection Agency].

Newer carpets contain lower levels of VOCs, and carpets that carry The Carpet and Rug Institute's Green Label are certified to be low-VOC. Manufacturing of newer carpets may also require less water and energy, and they're often made from recycled materials [source: The Carpet and Rug Institute: Sustainability Report 2008].


Carpets Made Just For Pets

Some carpets have been specifically designed to prevent pet stains from soaking through to your carpet padding, where the moisture can foster bacteria and mold growth.

You might also consider carpet tiles, which make replacing damaged sections of the carpet easier. Some colors or patterns hide pet hair better than others, so consider this when choosing new carpet, too.


Maintenance is Key

Once you've installed your beautiful, new, pet-friendly carpet, be sure to clean it often and well. Keeping carpet clean and dry prevents mold from growing [source: Berry].

To best care for your carpet, choose a vacuum approved by The Carpet and Rug Institute's Green Label program, which can reduce airborne dust by 94 percent [source: Asbury].


For lots more information about choosing pet-friendly carpet, explore the links on the next page.

Pet Carpet FAQ

What is the best carpet for pets?
Nylon is the best carpet material for those who have pets because it’s easier to clean. A great area rug brand if you have furry pets is Ruggable, which sells high-quality home machine-washable modern rugs.
Is there a pet-proof carpet?
If you’re looking to install carpet in your home, Stainmaster PetProtect is the best pet proof carpet. The design includes a breathable moisture barrier that prevents accidents from penetrating the material. It also resists pet hair and is highly durable.
Is there a carpet that cats won't claw?
Cats tend to claw at almost anything, but investing in a nylon fiber carpet and at least one scratching post can help deter them from ruining your rug.

Lots More Information

Related Articles

  • Asbury, G. "Cleaning and Foot Traffic Emissions Analysis." The Carpet and Rug Institute. May 2002. (Oct. 12, 2010) http://www.carpet-rug.org/carpet-and-rug-industry/research-and-resources/scientific-research/cleaning-foot-traffic-analysis.cfm
  • Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. "Building and Remodeling When You Have Asthma and Allergies: Paint, Flooring, and Insulation." 2023. (Dec. 6, 2023) https://community.aafa.org/blog/building-and-remodeling-when-you-have-asthma-and-allergies-paint-flooring-and-insulation
  • BBC News. "Dog-owners 'lead healthier lives'." Jan. 21, 2007. (Oct. 20, 2010) http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/6279701.stm
  • Bernick, Elisa. "The lowdown on buying carpet." The Family Handyman. April 2010.
  • Bernick, Elisa. "Make your carpet last: 3 strategies that double the life of your carpet and save thousands." The Family Handyman. April 2009.
  • Berry, Michael A. "Final Report of the Hydrolab Project 2001: Flooring, Humidity and Mold Growth." The Carpet and Rug Institute. Feb. 20, 2002. (Oct. 12, 2010) https://carpet-rug.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/Final-Report-of-The-Hydrolab-Project-2001-Flooring-Humidity-and-Mold-Growth.pdf
  • The Carpet and Rug Institute. "Green Label Plus." 2010. (Oct. 20, 2010) https://carpet-rug.org/testing/green-label-plus/
  • Tremblay, K.R. Jr., and K. Williams. "Selecting Carpet for Your Home." Colorado State University Extension. December 2007.
  • United States Environmental Protection Agency. "An Introduction to Indoor Air Quality (IAQ): Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)." (Oct. 13, 2010) http://www.epa.gov/iaq/voc.html