There’s a lot to consider when planning an open house, but if you have a dog, extra preparation, as well as proper dog etiquette, is key. While there’s absolutely nothing wrong with owning a pooch, you definitely want to make sure potential buyers are focusing on all of the highlights of your home without any distractions. Since buying a house is a major investment —  the average price tag of a home in Los Angeles is $710,000 — it’s important to make sure your house is ready for the market. Here are the key items that should be top of mind before showcasing your home.

Remove Pet Paraphernalia

One of the easiest tweaks you can make is removing all signs of your pet around your house, including toys, bed, food and water dishes, leash, crate/carrier, and medication. Don’t forget little things like photographs or decor, as they are obvious indicators that you have a dog. 

Get a Professional Deep Clean

Pet odors and stains can be extremely difficult to get rid of, so it’s very important to hire a professional to deep clean your home, including steam cleaning the carpets and upholstery. Pros have special cleaners and solvents that are stronger than over-the-counter products. If you want to be extra sure you’re treating every soiled spot, invest in a black light (most pet stores carry them) so you can detect stains that are hard to see.   

Repair Any Damage

Unsightly damage can be distracting to the potential buyer. If chewed-up door trim is an issue, start by sanding the trim and fill in the gashes with drywall joint compound. Once it’s dry, sand it down so it’s smooth before applying wood primer and paint. It’s not uncommon for dogs to chew furniture, too. Unless you’re getting a pro to clean your upholstery, you’ll want to remove any saliva stains with equal parts of water and vinegar. Next, replace any stuffing that’s missing with either the original or new material. Sew up any small holes and disguise these areas with decorative pillows. If the repairs are too obvious, invest in an attractive slipcover instead. 

Don’t Forget About the Outdoors

With all the attention you’re putting into the inside of your home, don’t forget to take care of the outside, too. Urine damage on the lawn shows up in the form of unsightly patches. To repair such a problem, you have to give yourself enough lead time. Remove the dead grass and apply a layer of extra-fine ground limestone. Water the area and let it sit for a week. Next, cover the patches with ground soil and sprinkle grass seeds. Gently water the area (you don’t want to wash away the seeds) and water daily. The areas should fill in with new grass in a few weeks. If your grass is torn up and not damaged from urine, try to salvage any pieces of sod before filling in any holes with a mixture of compost and sod. You can choose to regrow the grass or replace it with pieces cut from a roll of sod if time is of the essence. 

On the day of the open house, it’s best if you leave your dog with a friend, loved one, or at a boarding facility. Just make sure you send your pooch off with plenty of treats and toys to prevent anxiety. Even if you took all of the necessary measures to ensure your house smells fresh and clean, it doesn’t hurt to light a few candles or make a DIY deodorizer mixture to warm on the stove. Just don’t go too crazy with the scents. Studies indicate that you can’t go wrong with citrus, herbs, vanilla, green tea, pine, and cedar. 

If you plan to have an open house when you own a dog opt it’s to remove any signs of your dog from the home, have a professional deep clean your home, repair any damage your dog may have caused over the years, take a look at your lawn, and most importantly make sure your dog isn’t home during the open house. With these tips in mind you’ll have a successful open house and your home will sell in no time!

Article provided by Tamara Gilmore from


This content is not the product of the National Association of REALTORS®, and may not reflect NAR's viewpoint or position on these topics and NAR does not verify the accuracy of the content.