How to Fix Leather Scratches from Your Dog: Soften Scratches From Spot!

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Kate Brunotts

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how to fix leather scratches

You love your canine companion with your whole heart, but unfortunately, your furry friend may inadvertently scratch up your leather couch or furniture from time to time. This can be incredibly frustrating, but it’s just another part of #doglife. 

Thankfully, there are some ways you can help scuff out scratches and prevent your pooch from damaging your furniture in the future. We’ll explain how to fix leather scratches and share a few additional tips for protecting your furniture from your pup’s nails below! 

How to Fix Leather Scratches from Your Dog

dog scratch leather couch

Are you ready to smooth out some scratches? Below, we’ll share several different methods for fixing leather furniture, broken down by the severity of the scratch. 

Light Scratches

Light or minor scratches are usually surface level, affecting only the color coating of the piece of furniture rather than the leather itself. These are the easiest types of scratches to repair, and they can usually be fixed with the help of some basic supplies from home. 

For the best results, start by cleaning your leather using a leather cleaner or white vinegar and a soft cloth. Try to test your cleaner and following products on a less visible section of the leather first, just to make sure there isn’t any discoloration.

After cleaning the surface, you can use the following strategies to lift light scratches: 

1. Leather Conditioner

A leather conditioner can instantly revitalize a piece of leather, and even if it doesn’t totally eliminate the scratch, it should help some. Follow the product’s direction, but you’re basically going to need to rub the leather conditioner onto the affected area in a circular motion.

Then, you’ll need to allow the conditioner to dry completely.

2. Vaseline 

vaseline to fix dog leather scratches

Pure Vaseline or petroleum jelly can also act as a makeshift leather conditioner. Rub Vaseline onto the affected area and let sit for about 10 minutes, and then rub off the excess. 

3. Moisturizer

In a pinch, a traditional hand or body moisturizer might also help condition your furniture and reduce the appearance of small scratches. You’ll definitely want to test this method ahead of time on a less visible section of the furniture, though. 

Rub in a small amount of an unscented, dye-free moisturizer onto the scratched area. Let it sit for a couple of minutes, and then gently wipe away any excess. 

4. Leather Marker 

Sometimes, conditioning isn’t enough on its own to reduce the appearance of mild scratches on your leather furniture. Luckily, a leather marker or pen can help you fill in the gaps. Test out your marker of choice ahead of time to make sure the color matches evenly with the rest of your furniture. 

After you’ve conditioned your leather, you can use your leather marker to gently fill in any noticeable points of discoloration. 

Deep Scratches 

Deep scratches are a bit trickier to rectify, as you’ll sometimes find excess fibers hanging out or off of the damaged patch of leather. These deep scratches usually come with discoloration as well, so they may need to be repaired by a professional in some cases. 

Before targeting deep scratches, clean the affected area. You can use leather cleaner or white vinegar as you would with lighter scratches, but make sure you test your cleaner first for discoloration. 

1. Trim and Sand Excess Fibers 

Before attempting to recolor your leather, make sure you trim any loose fibers. You can do this by carefully using scissors to trim off any loose threads. Gently sand the affected area with a fine-grit sandpaper to smooth down the surface of the leather as much as possible. 

2. Colorless Shoe Polish 

shoe polish to fix dog leather scratches

The wax in shoe polish can help fill up the gaps left behind by deep furniture scratches. After cleaning the surface of the leather, apply a small amount of colorless shoe polish with a dry cloth. 

Allow the polish to dry for several hours. Test the area by rubbing a cloth along the polish site and checking for any polish residue. Once fully dried, the furniture is ready for use. 

3. Leather Oil Paint

After you’ve tried leveling, conditioning, and polishing your leather, you can paint it using a leather repair kit which typically contains some dyed leather balm or oil paint designed to recolor scratches. Make sure you test out these paints on a non-visible section of the furniture ahead of time and apply the paint according to the manufacturer’s instructions. 

4. Hire a Professional

If your furniture has sentimental value or the repair seems beyond your capabilities, there’s no harm in hiring a professional! Look for furniture repair businesses in your area and seek out a couple of quotes to find the best leather repair job for your buck. 

There Isn’t Always One Right Answer

Note that you might have to combine several of these methods to successfully eliminate leather scratches. You’ll also want to keep up with the basic upkeep mentioned below to help your furniture last as long as possible. 

Scratches on Suede and Nubuck

Suede and Nubuck are particularly delicate types of leather that have earned their own classification. With this type of leather, you need to avoid moisture at all costs, so you won’t be able to clean these leathers in the same manner. 

Unfortunately, since this leather type is much more fragile, it’s challenging to remove deep leather scratches, though you may be able to reduce light scratches with the following techniques: 

1. Pencil Eraser 

eraser to fix dog leather scratches

Using a regular pencil or art easer can help you remove excess dirt or debris from suede or nubuck without requiring water. This is a great way to clean your specialty leather or prime it for a more thorough cleaning. 

2. Soft Wire Brush

You can gently use a soft wire brush or toothbrush to help buff out minor scratches in suede or nubuck leather. This won’t always remove scratches, but it can definitely help reduce the intensity of scratches. 

3. Suede Leather Conditioner 

Suede leather conditioner can help rehydrate suede and nubuck fabrics and potentially eliminate minor scratches. Just make sure you’re using a conditioner specifically for suede or nubuck, since these fabrics behave differently than a more general type of leather. 

Preventing Leather Scratches for Dog Owners: 9 Strategies 

prevent dog leather scratches

One of these best ways to avoid leather scratches from your pooch is to practice preventative couch care. Here are a couple of strategies that will help you avoid unnecessary doggo damage to  your furniture. 

1. Train your dog to stay off the furniture item in question.

You can certainly teach your pooch to avoid sitting on your couch or piece of furniture. Start by teaching your dog the “Off” command. When you catch your dog on an undesired piece of furniture, toss a training treat on the ground while saying the word “off”. Repeat this process until your dog starts to understand the command. 

From there, you can encourage your dog to sit somewhere else and continue to gently dissuade him whenever you notice your canine companion attempting to sit in a dog-free zone. 

2. Give your dog somewhere better to relax. 

the best beds for boxers

If you’re kicking your pooch off the couch, make sure he has some sweet digs of his own! You can use our dog bed guide to find a great option for your specific doggo. 

Just make sure you choose a bed that fits in well with your living room so that your dog can still hang out with you without lounging on the leather. 

3. Opt for thicker grades of leather. 

This won’t be helpful for your existing furniture, but it’s worth looking for higher grades of leather when picking out any new dog-proof furniture for your home. You may have to pay a bit more upfront for higher-quality materials, but it’s a worthy investment as a pup parent. 

Your dog’s claws still run the risk of scratching leather, but these minor scuffs are easier to repair than gigantic “wounds.” 

4. Use puppy gates to block access.

DIY Dog Gates

Indoor dog gates can be excellent training tools to keep your pooch off the couch while he’s learning (or re-learning) his boundaries. You can use other items around the house in a pinch, but dog gates are some of the safest solutions and most still allow your dog to see what’s happening on the other side, which may be comforting to your canine. 

5. Be mindful of mutt moisture. 

Don’t forget that taking care of scratches isn’t the only part of leather upkeep. Moisture of any kind (including your dog’s drool) can wear down leather furniture if not cleaned up properly. Make sure you’re taking generally good care of your furniture to avoid premature wear. 

6. Fit your dog with booties or claw protectors.

dog booties

You can always break out a pair of dog booties to prevent leather scratches! This will help prevent leather scratches and keep Fido’s paws warm and also give him better traction when walking on smooth floors.  

Just note that some dogs really aren’t interested in wearing booties. In these cases, you may want to investigate claw protectors – little plastic caps that fit on your dog’s nails. These may be a better option for bootie-averse pups. 

7. Use a couch cover. 

One of the best ways to reliably protect your leather furniture or couch is to pick up a furniture cover. You can find plenty of dog-friendly couch covers along with dog car seat covers to keep your car seats looking their best. 

8. Grind your dog’s nails.

Instead of using a traditional nail clipper, consider grinding your dog’s nails instead! This will give you the chance to smooth and shape your dog’s nails, thereby minimizing the risk of scratching. Some dogs may find this process more comfortable than using a traditional clipper, too. 

9. Apply a leather protectant. 

You can coat your furniture in a leather protectant to help increase its durability against your pooch, among other things. Make sure your dog doesn’t touch or try to ingest the protectant while it’s drying. 

Leather Scratches FAQ

leather dog scratch

Are you struggling to get out the last of those pesky scratches? Check out these commonly asked questions and answers that will hopefully help you restore your leather furniture to its former glory. 

Will dogs ruin a leather couch?

Genuine leather is actually one of the strongest materials around, so it’s unlikely a dog’s claws will pierce through the material. However, leather couches can become scratched by claws. Some owners actually like the “distressed” look, but there are ways to buff out scratches and prevent them, if you’re not a fan. 

Can you get scratches out of leather furniture?

You can get most minor, small scratches out of leather furniture with the help of a leather repair kit, though they may not always look perfect afterward. Larger, deeper scratches may require the assistance of  a trained professional. 

How do you cover up scratches on leather?

The way you cover up scratches on leather depends on the severity of the scratch. Some scratches can be repaired with some cleaning, buffing, and a bit of leather paint, while others need more elaborate repairs. 

Can you use leather conditioner to repair dog scratches?

A leather conditioner may help buff out minor dog scratches, but it’s unlikely to help with very deep scratches. You might also need to use a leather pen or leather paint in conjunction with the conditioner to get the best results.


Leather scratches are an unfortunate part of being a pet parent. Hopefully, these tips and tricks will make it easy for you to remove Spot’s scratches and prevent your pooch from ruffing up the furniture moving forward. 

Do you have leather furniture? How do you maintain it with a mutt? Let us know in the comments below! 

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Written by

Kate Brunotts

Kate is a dog-loving content specialist with over a decade of canine-care experience. She is currently a professional dog walker and pet sitter, with previous experience working at the Heart of Chelsea Animal Hospital in Manhattan. When not spending time with four-footers, she can usually be found crafting top-notch dog-care articles that pet parents can trust. Kate loves dogs of all shapes and sizes, but Bernese Mountain Dogs hold a special place in her heart.

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