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By Michael Tedder
September 25, 2019
dageldog—Getty Images

Dogs are supposed to be man’s best friend, but that’s not always the case if man is trying to sell his house.

A piece in The Wall Street Journal calculated the cost of pet ownership for homeowners, noting that damage from rambunctious dogs can make a home appraiser dock the resale value of a property by 2% to 5%. There are extreme cases too: One dog lover estimated she has spent between “$25,000 and $30,000” on pet-related home repairs over the years.

Common complaints among dog owners are that overly aggressive pups damage furniture and rugs, scratch up wood paneling, and leave food stains all over the place. There is also the matter of smells and other messes owing to digestive problems. Furthermore, most homeowner insurance plans don’t cover damages caused by pets. In some instances, insurance companies will charge a higher premium for owners of aggressive breeds like pit bulls, or require the homeowner to sign a waiver.

A house with carpet stains and scratched-up couches can send the wrong message when you’re trying to show off your home to potential buyers. Writing for The Balance, one realtor pointed out that some people get nervous around pets, assuming even docile house cats are ready to bite. To eliminate concerns about freaking out potential buyers, it could be worthwhile to relocate your pets while your house is on the market, be it sending them to live with a friend or putting them in a kennel during open houses.

The upside is that if you have a dog and a house you’re looking to sell, not all is lost. Here are some tips from the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and The Balance for making your pet behave and getting your place presentable when the time comes to put your house on the market:

• Keep any litter boxes or pads out of sight.

• Hire professionals to clean carpet and floor stains. Even one stain can make an otherwise impeccable house seem dirty.

• Use cleaners like Simple Solution or Nature’s Miracle to get rid of urine smells, or call a professional to deal with it. Ask a neighbor over to see if the house smells fine, as you might become inured to smells over time. And don’t use air fresheners, as some people have allergic reactions to them.

• Because some people have strongly negative feelings about pets, you might want to consider hiding photos of your pets and removing them from your social media, as well as doggie doors, bowls and pet toys.

• Vacuum, vacuum, vacuum!

• In order to keep your dogs reasonably docile and not geared up to wreck havoc on a house you’re trying to sell, give them plenty of toys to chew on, and rotate in new ones constantly so they don’t get bored. This is a good way to help them burn off energy.

• Apply chewing deterrent spray to the things you don’t want your dog chomping on.

• Make sure to walk your dog and give them enough attention so it doesn’t feel the need to act out.

• You can leave your dog in confinement areas with toys and food for up to six hours.

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The purpose of this disclosure is to explain how we make money without charging you for our content.

Our mission is to help people at any stage of life make smart financial decisions through research, reporting, reviews, recommendations, and tools.

Earning your trust is essential to our success, and we believe transparency is critical to creating that trust. To that end, you should know that many or all of the companies featured here are partners who advertise with us.

Our content is free because our partners pay us a referral fee if you click on links or call any of the phone numbers on our site. If you choose to interact with the content on our site, we will likely receive compensation. If you don't, we will not be compensated. Ultimately the choice is yours.

Opinions are our own and our editors and staff writers are instructed to maintain editorial integrity, but compensation along with in-depth research will determine where, how, and in what order they appear on the page.

To find out more about our editorial process and how we make money, click here.

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