What You Should Look For When Shopping for a Pet-Friendly Rug — Plus 5 of Our Top Picks

updated Apr 5, 2024
Apartment Therapy received compensation for this post, which was written and edited independently by our editorial team.
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Credit: Anna Spaller

If you’re torn between your love for your pets and your love of decorative rugs, we’ve got some good news: You can have both! You may think you have to sacrifice style for functionality, but it turns out that’s not the case. We’re here to help you navigate finding the right pet-friendly rug for your home, but before we start, there are three things you should keep in mind.

How to Pick the Perfect Rug for Pets

  • First, you’ll want to find a rug that’s durable and easily cleaned, so it’ll look new even after Fido gets his muddy paws on it.
  • It should have a low profile so your playful pets won’t do too much damage with their claws and teeth.
  • Finally, ideally it shouldn’t break the bank, since anything can happen when pets are in the house.

Types of Rugs to Avoid With Pets

  • Shag Rugs: Although we love them, shag rugs — those thick, fluffy rugs that almost look like fur — should be passed over when there are pets in the household. Lots of stuff can get stuck in such a plush, stringy material, and they’re easier for pets to chew on or claw at.
  • High-Pile Rugs: While they’re some of the most comfortable rugs around, rugs with a high pile (meaning they have tall fibers, resulting in a thick rug) get hair and dirt easily lodged into the crevices and can be tough to clean.
  • Fringed Rugs: Any rug with tassels or fringe is best avoided. Sure, they look nice, but those frilly exteriors are prime play toys for your pets.
  • Vintage Rugs: While extremely tempting for any design maven, it’s probably better to pass on vintage finds. They’re typically more delicate and can require special cleaning — not something you’ll want to be doing bi-weekly. 

    Now that we know what to look for (and what to steer clear of), let’s find you and your pet the perfect rug. Below, we rounded up the five best types of rugs you should look for to check off all of these boxes. We’ve also included stylish recommendations for each type, so you can get one step closer to finding a rug that your whole family can agree on. (For more of our favorite places to buy rugs, check out our guide, too!)

    Note: Rug prices are listed for size 5′ x 8′ or similar.

Washable Rugs

These finds are a no-brainer. Whether your pet likes to get dirty outside or is prone to accidents, a washable rug is bound to be your new best friend. Every couple of weeks (or as needed), just throw it into the washing machine, and voila — your rug is as good as new. Ruggable is a brand we’ve tested and love for its ingenious design. The company sends both a thick rug pad and a thinner decorative cover that attach — the pad stays on the ground while you throw the cover in the wash. In particular, we recommend this minimal-patterned rug. So simple and so stylish.

Jute Rugs

A natural dried plant fiber often used in burlap, jute makes for a beautiful, organic rug that fits any decor style. These types of rugs are highly durable and fairly easy to clean. Running a soft vacuum over them quickly gets dust and hair out of their crevices, so they’re a good idea for a fur-filled home. This hand-spun jute rug from West Elm is made of 100 percent jute and has a soft texture that makes it comfortable for (human and pet) feet. 

Synthetic Rugs

Nylon, polypropylene, and other synthetic materials are known for their durability and ease of cleaning — two rug musts when there’s a pet in the house. These fabrics are pretty non-absorbent, which means they don’t stain easily, and they typically have a low pile, so they won’t be easily chewed or clawed at by your curious four-legged friend. Bonus: Synthetics tend to be less expensive than other materials, as proven by this oriental polypropylene rug from Joss & Main. Go ahead and get two, just in case. 

Wool Rugs

Wool isn’t just a great winter sock material, it’s also surprisingly pet-friendly when it’s used to make rugs. Wool fibers are highly flexible and won’t lose their shape when they get wet, making wool rugs extremely durable. Like synthetic materials, they’re not fluffy or stringy, so your pet won’t be tempted to tear at them. Even better? The material naturally resists stains and moisture, and if dirt gets onto a wool rug, a vacuum can easily pull it out. That means you can even go for one that’s white, like this intricate mid-century-inspired rug, without fear that it’ll get completely discolored. 

Outdoor Rugs

Rugs made for both indoor/outdoor use are a smart move for anyone looking for a design that can take a beating. Their sole purpose is to weather the elements — and to look good while doing so, of course. They’re meant to resist whatever the great outdoors has in store, including water and stains, and they typically require no more than a quick shake to clean. Many options, like this gray Moroccan-inspired rug made of polypropylene, are pretty enough to work in any indoor space.