Beware of Dog

Rid your home of pet odors before you sell

Fresh and clean are not the words I would use to describe a home with a pet. Don’t get me wrong – I love dogs. I have one, and he is the light of my life. But let’s be honest. Dogs know how to make a mess, and each one results in its own special odor. Especially puppies. Yes, they’re adorable. But they are also rascals.

Dogs seem to have some kind of canine radar that leads them to the cleanest spot in the house so they can destroy it. Whether they use your lambskin rug as a bathroom, knock over the garbage can and smear your Thai leftovers on the kitchen floor, or bring you a special “gift” from the backyard, anyone with a dog knows how much stink they can bring into your home.

If you’re a pet owner, you probably just think of this as part of the…uh, joy, of having pets. The problem is, when you live in the same environment for an extended period of time, you tend to become desensitized to the odors around you. You may be used to the smells brought on by your beloved pet, but chances are other people smell Fido the second they walk through your front door. This is a big problem – especially if you’re trying to sell your house.

According to the American Pet Products Association, 68% of U.S. households own a pet. Of these 82.5 million homes, 56.7 million of them have a dog. That’s a lot of slobber, hair, muddy paw prints, and questionable smells. Not exactly what I would call appealing to the folks who are potentially interested in buying your home.

Luckily, there are a few steps you can take towards eliminating those offensive pet odors. With your biggest asset on the line, you’ll want to make your house as appealing as you can.

The first step is the least practical – at least in my mind. If you can, temporarily relocate your pet while your home is on the market. Your dog can’t make a mess if he isn’t there. Plain and simple.
 If the weather permits, throw the windows open to get fresh air circulating in your house. If you live in a chilly climate, consider adding a scented air filter to your furnace. You can find these at pretty much any hardware store.
 The next step is to deep clean your home from top to bottom. Pet odors have a way of making their way into the trickiest places. Take down your fabric curtains and wash them along with your throw pillows. Rent a carpet cleaner and take any delicate pieces to get dry-cleaned.
 If, after all of this, your houseguests still get a whiff of Fido when they walk through your front door, you might have a bigger problem. Very pungent odors can seep into the walls and subflooring. In this case, you’ll want to consult pet odor removal specialists.


 Now that you’ve done the work of removing pet odors from your home, it’s time to maintain that fresh, clean scent. Make use of air fresheners or mildly scented candles while your home is on the market to give potential buyers one more reason to keep your home at the top of their lists.

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Kate Kasbee
Kate Kasbee is a blogger and freelance copywriter living in Los Angeles. She has a background in real estate marketing and has also written about a variety of subjects including pet care, how to adopt a vegan diet, and technology. Prior to living in sunny California, Kate spent eight years in Chicago where she lived in nine different apartments in five different neighborhoods. Though she’s not quite done exploring, Kate dreams of planting her roots and owning a home with creaky floors and plenty of land for starting an organic farm.
10 of 18 in Selling

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