Susan Baghdasarian | Uxbridge Real Estate, Douglas Real Estate, Whitinsville Real Estate

If you're anything like me, your household pet is like a member of the family. Most of us have a soft spot for our pets. When they're hurt we feel their pain. When they're sick we get worried sick about what might be wrong. A difficult part of owning a pet is that since we can't verbally communicate (aside from some commands and accolades) we aren't able to always read how they're feeling. Fortunately, much work has been done when it comes to understanding the nonverbal languages that our animal companions speak. Reading body language and understand your dog's bark and cat's meow can help you be a better pet owner and a better companion to your dog or cat. In this article, we'll let you in on some little known facts about what the body language of your pet means.

Do you speak dog?

Our canine companions tend to let us know how they're feeling. When they're scared they lower their tail and cower. When they're happy they attach us while licks. However, there are many misconceptions about the body language of dogs. Here are some important ones every dog owner should know:
  • Yawning. As humans, we yawn when we're tired. Dogs also share this trait. But if you own one you've probably noticed them yawning much more frequently than we do. This is because they also yawn when they're unsure of a situation, if they're around someone new, and if they're trying to diffuse tension.
  • Whale eye. This is phenomenon occurs when your dog tilts her head and stares out of the corner of her eye, exposing the whites of her eyes. This can be mistaken for a "cute puppy" look, but it normally means they are afraid.
  • Face-licking. As humans we tend to see face-licking as a sign of affection. In dogs, however, it is more likely a friendly sign of appeasement. It is usually seen in puppies and if it carries on into adulthood it can be problematic if your dog frequently licks other dogs' faces who might not appreciate the gesture.
  • Tail position. Horizontal can mean the dog is alert. Facing upwards can mean dominance and aggression. Tail down can mean the dog isn't feeling well or is sad. Tail tucked can mean fear and aggression.

What's your cat thinking?

Cats tend to be a bit more subtle in their communication than dogs (with the exception of when they're hungry and meowing incessantly). However, if you pay attention you can still get a glimpse into how your cat is feeling. There are three main indicators you should notice when trying to read your cat: the tail, eyes, and ears.
  • Tail. A cat's tail will tell you a lot about their mood. A tail standing up and wagging means a cat is happy. However, a straight up, rigid tail can mean a cat who is aggressive. Similarly, a cat who is thumping their tail or waiving it with force can also be trying to show dominance and aggression.
  • Eyes. Cat's eyes are very intense and expressive. Dilated pupils and a focused look can mean the cat is surprised or scared, but can also mean it is hunting something. Relaxed pupils, blinking eyes, or closed eyes, however all mean that the cat feels comfortable and not threatened.
  • Ears. Ears pointing up are somewhat ambiguous; it can mean playfulness or attentiveness. Ears pointing back, however, are a sign of fear and aggression.

While you may really love your pet, not everyone is an animal lover. If you’re planning on selling your home soon, and you have a pet, make sure that Fido doesn’t chase away potential buyers. From the damage that pets can do to potential allergies that buyers may have, a pet can be a detriment to selling your home. Heed these tips below before selling a home with pets:

Before You List Your Home, Move Your Pets

You don’t need to give up your pets in order to sell your home, but it’s a good idea to find them another place to stay while your home is on the market. This will make it easier for the open house and if other agents want to show the home to potential buyers. Dogs barking and cats creeping around may drive potential buyers away. Even the idea of pet food and a water bowl may make a potential buyer suspicious as to whether the pet has caused any sort of damage around the home. If you find a place for your pets to stay, you can eliminate a lot of these problems.

If You Can’t Send The Pets Away, Keep Them Out Of Sight

Before a home showing, be sure to clean up any pet items that are around the house including toys, food, and pet bowls. The pet can go with you while you’re out of the house for a showing. It’s not that you’re being secretive about having a pet, yet, you shouldn’t call attention to the fact that pets have been present in the home. 

Clean Your House

When you decide to sell your home, give it a deep clean. Vacuum the house up and get pet hair off of the furniture. You may even want to run an air filtration system to get dust and pet dander out of the air. This will prevent potential allergic buyers from sneezing their way through a home showing. 

Don’t forget to clean up the yard as well in this process of getting the home ready for a home showing. Any “gifts” that have been left behind by your pets should be cleaned up in the yard. You don’t want potential homebuyers ruining their shoes and their home showing experience. 

Giving your home a deep clean will also help to eliminate any pet odors that may be in the home. It’s hard for owners to pick up on these smells, as your noses become accustomed to it. Buyers can smell pets right away! Change the litter box and use some anti-odor prays to help get any of the stench from animals out of the home. Opening the windows in your home can also work wonders to change the air and the smell in the space.

Even though it might be a bit hard for your pet through the process of selling your home, with the extra revenue that you’ll make, you can get your pet their very own luxury space!

Everybody who sells their house won't tell you that they once owned one or more pets,indoor animals that spent hours climbing across furniture, sleeping on the floor and shedding hair. Move into one of these houses and you might start sneezing or coughing less than four hours after you move in.

Protect yourself from annoying pet allergies

If you don't spot pet hairs, you might visit the doctor, thinking that you are coming down with a virus or another illness. That's a reasonable reaction, especially considering how thoroughly some previous homeowners clean their houses before they sell them.

Yet, just because a house looks clean doesn't mean that it really is. Pet allergies are just one reason why you should clean a house before you unpack. Treat the house as if pets once lived at the property. This will ensure a top to bottom cleaning.

In addition to giving the house a general cleaning, you can do is to check the house for signs that pets once lived at the residence. Places to check for signs that pets once lived where you're just moving in are:

  • Air vents
  • Filters, including washer and dryer filters
  • Floorboards
  • Ceiling edges
  • Carpets and other flooring
  • Drains

Move into a house that already has appliances in it and you'll need to check those appliances for pet dander too. The same goes for furniture. Put the attic and basement on your cleaning list as well. Wash the garage if it's attached to the house.

Cleaning your house to reduce pet allergies

After you give the house a first cleaning, wait a day. Then, return and clean the house again. Check rags, sponges and water buckets to see if the second cleaning picked up far less pet dander. It should.

Treat flooring, especially carpet, with shampoo that rids carpet fibers of pet hairs.Also, pay attention to how you react to being in the house for several days. Even if it takes you two weeks to clean and treat the house for pet dander, it's worth it.

You  may live at the house for several years. These early cleanings may seem like a lot of work now, but, when you compare them against how much time you could spend living at the house, this cleaning time is a drop in a bucket.

Take the time to clean and treat whether you have pet allergies or your children, spouse or friends do. Pet allergies don't take much dander to trigger. It takes less than a few hours for allergies to gain strength, causing you to sneeze, cough,develop swollen glands and start to water at the eyes. Stay around pet dander long enough and you might develop a rash and start to feel fatigued.

As inconvenient as it is, checking a new house for pet hair pays off. The sooner you learn that the house you just bought was the former home of a pet, the more time you get to treat the house, reducing the chances that you'll trigger a nasty pet allergy.