Dog Owners: Open House Prep

While your pup is a valued member of your family—and the funniest, most beloved companion ever—not all house hunters feel the same way. If you’re prepping your house for the market and you have a dog, there are several things to keep in mind to avoid scaring away and turning off prospective buyers, and prospective buyers may have allergies. Here are some tips that can help you prep for an open house.

First step preps

Don’t forget to tell your agent that you have a dog. Decide, with the agent, how much lead-time you need to make arrangements to take the dog off-property before a showing or open house.

Make your home as attractive as possible to a wide range of buyers. When you’re doing the initial deep cleaning and decluttering, remember to also identify and fix any damage caused by your dog. Eliminate dog odors by using (non-floral) air fresheners—vanilla and spice work well—and cleaning all air ducts, too.

Give your yard plenty of TLC to make that good first impression with curb appeal. Fix holes your dog excavated and treat any lawn burn, which is caused by the nitrogen in dog urine. Preventative measures are the best but can treat a lawn that’s turned yellow and brown as the result of dog toileting.

Vacuum and mop daily to keep on top of fur and dander. Brush your dog (outside) to help manage her coat and keep inside shedding to a minimum. Trim your pup’s nails so they’re not scratching floors, carpet, or furniture, too.

On open house days, remove your dog’s bed, water, and food dishes, toys, and any other dog accessories. Police the yard for “deposits,” and then, take your dog off your property. It’s best to arrange a dog sitter, keep him with a friend or family member, or board him at the kennel, depending on your needs.

Dog sitting services

One great option for ensuring that your dog is taken care of while you’re preparing to sell your home is to use dog boarding services. You can review and evaluate profiles of different dog sitters and dog walkers. Be sure to contact two to three people who look like a good fit. When you chat or email, you can share information about your needs, your dog’s personality, and other expectations. Then, you can arrange a meeting to introduce yourself and your dog. If you’re planning on leaving your pup with a sitter during the summer, you may want to invest in a cooling mat, especially if he’s prone to overheating. When purchasing a cooling mat, consider size, durability, and how easy it is to clean.

Take your dog on an adventure

If pet sitting isn’t an option or you’ve received short notice about a showing, why not take your four-legged family member to a local dog-friendly establishment or park. Grab a bite to eat with your pooch at a dog-friendly eatery. Or, if you want to get a little exercise, take Fido out to a local park. is a great resource to find restaurants, parks, hotels, events, and activities perfect for you and your pooch. Enter your city and see what pops up.

When you’re touring homes

No one will argue that a dog is man’s (and woman’s) best friend, but it’s best to leave canine friends at home, in favor of human friends, when you’re looking at potential new homes. Current homeowners may have allergies or a home’s current family may be afraid of dogs. After you have the keys to your new house, introduce your dog to his new home so he can sniff around and familiarize himself with all the wonderful new scents.

Real estate transactions are a tricky business. Pets, while wonderful companions, can complicate the process, but proper home preparation and planning ahead to find a place for your pup to hang during open houses and showings should be part of your home-selling strategy.

Photo Credit:

This post was generously created by Monica Smith of

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