The Four Worst Fabric Choices for Families with Pets

Picture of Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever laying on a living room chair

If you’re a pet owner, you know that designing the ultimate pet-friendly house can be a challenge. You don’t want to have to sacrifice style for function. But Fido’s nails can wreak havoc on certain types of flooring, and there are definitely fabrics that just seem to attract—then to retain—dog hair. Thankfully, today, there are some excellent choices for flooring and furniture that have been designed to stand up to the worst abuse any pet could offer. But the tried and true favorites are still out there, and savvy pet owners need to do their due diligence to ensure that the fabrics they choose for their home are up to the task of a house with pets.

Fabric Considerations

When making decisions regarding furniture and flooring you hope will be a part of your home for a long time to come, it’s important for you consider precisely what you need from the item in terms of performance. Each pet is different, and the issues that one owner may face with their beloved dog could be something that isn’t problematic in your home. With this in mind, wise owners take stock of the challenges they’ve faced in the past with home décor fabrics and determine to avoid those same problems by making more informed decisions going forward.

As a general rule, it is always a good idea to choose a fabric that contains a pattern or that is darker in hue as these types of materials are far better able to hide a little day to day pet wear and tear. Another important consideration is the color of your dog. If you have a white dog, a black microsuede couch might not be a great idea unless you’re going to learn to love the mohair look.

It is also advisable to decide ahead of time just how much time you want to put into cleaning your new home décor acquisition. No fabric is truly off limits simply because you own pets; however, some fabrics are going to consume much more of your time to keep them looking presentable.

Four Fabrics to Avoid

Many articles have been written which focus on the best fabrics for homes with pets. But sometimes it can be beneficial to have a short list of what to avoid. Here is a list of the four worst fabrics for families with pets:


Since cotton is a tightly woven fabric, dog hair is most likely to slide off it, leaving the surface relatively hair free. Cotton also earns high marks for performing well under the focused attention of dog and cat claws. Unfortunately, cotton is exceptionally porous, meaning any spills on it are quickly assimilated into the fabric leaving unsightly stains. A material which is prone to wrinkling, cotton easily shows wear. Cotton is also less durable than other types of fabric, making it susceptible to damage.


On the surface, tweed would seem like the ideal fabric for a home with pets. Tweed’s weave and color does keep pet hair well hidden, leading many to believe it is a very forgiving fabric. However, pet hair easily becomes embedded in tweed. Even cleaning with a high quality vacuum is not sufficient to remove all of the hair which takes up residence in tweed’s multi-layered fibers. Tweed responds well to shampooing; however, because of the nature of the fabric is prone to snagging from errant dog and cat nails. Once snagged, the material is very difficult to repair.


Chenille is a fabric with a luxurious feel. It is known for being soft to the touch. Unfortunately, the construction of the fabric makes it more prone to snagging. Chenille is not a fabric that is resistant to digging or clawing by determined pets. As is the case with cotton, chenille stains easily. Stains are difficult to remove, and unfortunately, any snags or tears in the fabric are permanent.


Velvet has long been a upholstery choice due to its rich elegance. Darker shades are a friend to families with pets as they hide any dirt and debris exceptionally well. Unfortunately, lighter shades of velvet stain permanently and show signs of wear easily. Velvet is also a fabric which is easily crushed, leaving imprint marks throughout the material which are quite unsightly. Perhaps worst of all, velvet attracts pet hair. The hair clings to it stubbornly, making it exceptionally difficult to remove.

Shopping for new furniture is exciting! Just because you are a family with pets doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice comfort or style to find a fabric that will stand the test of time. Though there are some fabrics that are best avoided, there are many that are ideal for families that like to invite Fido and Fifi up for a cuddle on the sofa now and again. Head to your nearest high quality furniture manufacturer today to learn more about what fabrics are the perfect fit for your fur-loving family!



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