Is your hardwood floor covered in dog scratches? One of the challenges of owning a dog is that they can ruin a hardwood floor and leave it scratched up.

To fix small scratches in hardwood floors from a dog, you can use a DIY solution of apple cider and olive oil. For both small and medium scratches, you can use a wood filler, a wood marker, a wood stain, or a wax stick. If your floor is severely ruined, you can refinish it partly or entirely.

This article will explain in depth how you can fix hardwood floor scratches caused by your dog.

Find Out What Kind of Floor Finish You Have

The first step you need to take is to find out what kind of hardwood finish you have. You may have a wax finish, varnish, or oil or water-based polyurethane finish. Knowing what type of finish you have is important as it allows you to match it when choosing a new finish or when using other materials to fix scratches.

Examine the Scratches Caused by Your Dogs

The next step is figuring out how much of a fix your floor needs. First, take a look at the scratches themselves. Are they small scratches? Often, scratches caused by dogs are not very big. They may be so small that you only notice them when you look at your floor closely. These types of scratches are easier to fix, and it is also cheaper to fix them. On the other hand, scratches that are wider or longer will require more effort to fix.

In addition, you also have to see how much of your floor is affected. If there are only a few scratches in a few areas, you won’t need to refinish your entire floor, even if the scratches are wide. However, if your entire floor is covered in scratches, even if they are small and thin and not that noticeable, you may be better off refinishing your entire floor so you can remove all the scratches and start from new.

Clean Your Floor

Before you attempt to fix any scratches, it is important to clean your floor thoroughly. This will help you remove any dirt and dust in the scratches so that they do not get stuck there. At the same time, it may help you discover new scratches, as if your floor is covered in dirt and dust, you may miss some scratches. It is important to clean your floor gently without using harsh chemicals or cleaning tools as they can make the scratches on your floor even worse.

10 Simple Ways to Repair Hardwood Floor Scratches

1. Use Apple Cider and Olive Oil

If you only have a few small scratches, you can create a DIY mixture of apple cider and olive oil to clear up your scratches. Simply mix the two ingredients together and, once you have created the mixture, apply it to the scratches. Use a cloth to buff it up and then let it dry and clean it up. This is something that you can do in a few minutes, which can greatly improve your floor’s appearance.

2. Use a Wood Stain

If you only have a few small scratches, you can also use a wood stain to cover them. Simply choose an oil or water-based stain, depending on the type of finish your floor has. You can also use a combination stain.

The advantage of using a water-based stain is that it is not as messy, it is quicker to dry, and it is easier to clean up if you spill it all over your floor. However, although oil-based stains are a bit more difficult to clean, they also make your floor look better.

Fill up the scratch with the stain and then let it dry while using a soft cloth to remove excess stain.

3. Use Natural Oils

If you are looking for a more natural solution, you can use natural oils that can help repair your floor. Walnuts are great for this, as they have natural brown dies that can conceal scratches. You can gently rub the walnuts themselves on the scratches. Coconut oil is another option.

4. Sand and Stain the Scratches

If you want to make your floor look even better, use sandpaper to sand and smooth your floor before applying the stain.

A quick note on wood stains: We mentioned that you could use both oil-based and water-based stains. Water-based stains are generally better for newer floors. For older floors that are worn out, oil-based stains can help improve its appearance.

However, this doesn’t take into account the current color and finish your floor has. One way to find out which stain would be better is to apply the stain on the floor under your bed, where nobody will see it, to test it out.

5. Use Steel Wool and Wax

You can use steel wool and wax to make your scratches less noticeable. First, rub the scratch with the grain of the wool to help even it out so that it becomes less noticeable. Then, use wax to fill up the scratch. Once you have applied the wax, you should buff it out. You should use a wax stick, but if you want your floors to look a little better, you can also use a wax paste after you finish applying and buffing the wax stick.

6. Use a Floor Restorer

There are several great floor rejuvenator and restorer products you can use to help clear scratches and make your floor shine again. For example, this Rejuvenate All Floors Restorer from Amazon will fill your scratches and make your floor look great without requiring any special equipment. No sanding is required either.

7. Use a Wood Marker

Another option is using a wood marker to cover up the scratches on your floor. Again, this is best for small scratches that are not very noticeable. These markers come in all different colors, so make sure to get a color that matches your floor so that nobody will be able to tell that you used a marker.

This Katzco Furniture Repair Kit Wood Markers Set comes with wood markers in six different colors: Maple, Oak, Cherry, Walnut, Mahogany, and Black. In addition, it comes with wax sticks and a wax stick sharpener. You can use wax in conjunction with the wood marker to fill your scratches and then paint them over. Again, if you are not sure which color is best for your floor, test out each marker on a portion of your floor that is unseen, such as under your bed.

8. Use a Wood Filler

Yet another option is using a wood filler to fill up the scratches. These wood fillers are cheap and can be bought on Amazon for $10-15. This Wood Furniture Scratch Repair Kit comes in 12 different colors: White, Ivory, Wood White, Grey, Oak, Original Wood Color, Amber Yellow, Yellow Sandalwood, Red Sandalwood, Teak, Black, and Black Walnut.

You don’t need to use glue, sandpaper, or anything else; just fill the scratches with the color that best matches your floor. You can also combine two colors. Then, smooth it with a tail scraper.

These wood fillers can be used for scratches of all sizes. However, if you have wide scratches, using a wood filler is much better than using natural oils, a mix of olive oil and apple cider, or a marker. 

This video will show you exactly how to use wood filler to fill scratches:

9. Sand and Refinish a Portion of Your Floor

If you have a lot of scratches on one part of your floor, such as near your dog’s sleeping spot, you don’t have to sand and refinish your entire floor. Instead, you can sand and refinish a portion of your floor. You can even spot refinish — just sand and refinish little spots here and there.

This is where knowing what kind of finish your floor has will come in handy. Always make sure to use the same type of finish your floor already has so that the newly refinished spots match the rest of your floor.

10. Redo Your Entire Floor

Finally, if your floor is scratched up beyond repair, you can always redo your entire floor. The first step is removing your existing finish (or paint, if your floor is painted). You can do this by using the Ultimate Floor Finish & Wax Stripper Remover, which you can buy on Amazon. If you get another floor finish stripper, make sure to get one that is non-corrosive.

Once you have removed all of the layers of wax and finish, you can start all over again by sanding your entire floor and applying a new finish. If you don’t know how to do this yourself or are afraid of messing up, you can always get a professional to help you.


Dogs are lovely little creatures, but they can also ruin the look of your floors. Fortunately, you can do a few simple tricks to remove small scratches and restore your floor to new again. Of course, it is best to protect your hardwood floors in advance or to train your dog not to scratch them.

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