how to fix scratches and stains from pets on wood floors
Photo; Illustration: Michael Poehlman/Getty Images; Monica Hellstrom

What You'll Learn

  1. Introduction
  2. Scratches
  3. Accidents
Even if your floors are sealed, dog urine can still penetrate the wood and reach the subfloor, resulting in discoloration and an ammonia-like stench. Dark stains—as in black-Labrador-retriever dark—are bad news. "You'll have to replace those boards because the damage is so deep that you'll never get rid of the smell," says wood-floor repair expert Steve Dubuque, who works for Hunt. For lighter-colored stains, though, there's some hope. Try sanding off the finish, scrubbing the boards with wood bleach (a specialty product available at lumberyards), and refinishing the area. You're in the clear if you've banished both the stains and the odor. But if that unpleasant smell rears its ugly head on a hot summer day, you'll have to replace the boards that were affected. And remember: If the damage done is too much for you to handle, pros like Hunt can help you clean up the mess.

The best ways to prevent damage to your floors:
Clip your dog's nails so that they don't click when he walks, keep the fur between his paw pads trimmed to keep him from slipping, and clean and dry floors immediately after he has an accident.

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