Let’s face it, we LOVE our pets!  In the Panetta household, our two rescue lab mix dogs, Sadie and Addie, are truly family to Jill and me (our “babies”).  I’ll gladly admit that they even sleep in our bed!  I know we’re not alone.  I walk the neighborhood (Three Chimneys Farm) knocking on doors to meet fellow homeowners nearly every month.  I noticed an obvious pattern; most of us have dogs!  Granted, there’s nothing scientific about my finding but I estimate 4 out of every 5 homes in Three Chimneys Farm have dogs.   Here are some tips to help you list your home for sale when a dog is involved.  I’ll cover 3 distinct phases of your home sale:

  1. Pre-listing your home (the getting everything ready stage)
  2. Showing your home
  3. The move

The Pre-Listing Stage of a Dog Lover’s Home

In the pre-listing stage of selling your home it’s important to remove all visible evidence of pets.  Why?  Because of the psychological effect on the subconscious mind called “priming.”  Do you know that by just passing a doggie dish or pet toy your subconscious may make you think you smell pet odor, even when none exists?  Really!  So, you’ll need a strategy that allows Fido to have access to toys, water, bedding and food between showings, but where these items can quickly be concealed.  The easiest thing to do is to box up and store 90% of your dog’s stuff.  Then, find yourself nearby cabinets, closets, storage units, car trunks, etc. to temporarily stow the remaining 10%.  This is critical for both buyers who are dog owners and non-dog owners that come and tour your home.

You’ll also need to have any stains on carpets, rugs or upholstery removed, which are usually the root cause of odors.  Have you seen that TV commercial for Febreeze where the actors have become “nose blind” to the smells around them?  We all become nose blind to odors in our everyday lives.  Here are my 3 favorite ways to effectively remove pet stains and odor using homemade, natural remedies.

Showing Your Home when You Own a Dog

You’ll want a strategy to remove your dog from the home during the times where potential buyers have scheduled showing appointments.  I know this is difficult, especially if you and your spouse work out of the home.  To ease the blow, a good REALTOR® will keep you abreast of showing appointments with text and email alerts, which can give you some advanced notice of your daily showing schedule.  Here are some suggestions of what to do with your babies during showings: 

  1. Doggie day care is a good option if nobody will be at home during the days of heavy showings.
  2. Sometimes a good neighbor will be nice enough to take your dog(s) for the day.
  3. A neighborhood dog walker can plan on taking your dog for a long walk during showings
  4. Home owners sometimes load up the dog(s) in the car and go for a short drive.

You get the idea…you’ll want them out of the home if possible.  If not, crating them in the garage or laundry room (with a note on the door to alert potential home buyers) is a last resort.

Pet Tips During the Move

Moving to a new home is stressful on all of us, including our fury companions.  Most canines will internalize their emotional stress, so you’ll need to be able to recognize the symptoms.  PetMD has a good guide of what to look for and what to do about it.
Selling a home when a dog is present can be uniquely challenging.  With a little education, preparation and care you and your pet will make it through the process just fine. 


By Mark Panetta of Solid Footing Realty, a Keller Williams Realty Community Partners franchise. Contact (678) 266-8062.
Mark is a North Atlanta Listing Specialist, REALTOR®, Accredited Buyer Representative (ABR®), Military Relocation Professional (MRP®) and resident of Three Chimneys Farm in Cumming. He specializes in helping you improve your financial stability in the decade before retirement by “right-sizing” your house at the appropriate time.  He also works to help first time home buyers achieve the respect, freedom and pride of home ownership.