How to repair dog scratches on woodwork for doors

Updated February 21, 2017

Part of owning a dog is house training. Owners train their dogs to ask to go outside and "do their business" rather than in the house. Some dogs learn this lesson well and become too eager to please their owners by scratching vigorously at the door and woodwork surrounding the door, leaving deep scratches. Scratches detract from the beauty of wood. Repairing the scratches restores the aesthetic value to the woodwork and house.

Remove splintered wood pieces from the scratches by hand or with needle-nose pliers.

Sand the scratches with 120-grit sandpaper to smooth the surface and remove loose wood fibres.

Apply wood putty with a flexible plastic putty knife. Push the wood putty deep into the scratches and build it up to lie a little higher than the woodwork surface. Choose wood putty in a matching colour if you have stained woodwork.

Allow the wood putty to dry and set fully, generally one to two hours.

Sand the wood putty with 120-grit sandpaper to make it flush with the existing woodwork. Immediately follow by sanding it with 240-grit sandpaper and then 400-grit sandpaper. Using successively smoother grit sandpaper allows you to finish the wood putty to make it blend seamlessly with the existing woodwork.

Wipe the surface of woodwork with a tack cloth to pick up small bits of sanding dust and wood fragments.

Apply primer and paint to painted woodwork or add a coat of wood wax to blend natural wood tones.


Wear gloves when repairing woodwork to avoid splinters. Consider adding a protective sheet of vinyl coating to prevent further damage to the woodwork.

Things You'll Need

  • Needle-nose pliers
  • 120-grit sandpaper
  • Flexible plastic putty knife
  • Wood putty
  • 240-grit sandpaper
  • 400-grit sandpaper
  • Tack cloth
  • Paint brush
  • Primer
  • Paint
  • Wood wax
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About the Author

Sal Marco began writing professionally in 2009. He has written many online home improvement articles based on his more than 20 years of experience in the home improvement and building industries. He has worked as both part of a team and as a site supervisor. Marco has a Bachelor of Science in management science from Kean University.