Did you know that six out of 10 U.S. households have pets? That means that those without critter companions are in the minority, but if you are a pet owner selling your home, you shouldn’t ignore the perceptions of those families who don’t include cats or dogs.

Odors are the biggest issue This isn’t to say that your housekeeping is remiss, but remember that some buyers who visit your home may experience allergies or be particularly sensitive to pet dander or odors. Just vacuum the floors and upholstered furniture frequently and use an air sanitizer or scented candles.

If you haven’t had your carpets cleaned recently, now may be a perfect time to do it. Start fresh — and while your home is for sale, you can be more selective where you let Sparky sleep!

During the early stages of your listing, you’re likely to experience more frequent showings and visits by buyers. This is a particularly good time to make arrangements to board your pet, or seek out a good “doggie day care” center for quick visits during showings. This may be safer and less stressful for your pet than a constant parade of strangers in your home — and it will definitely put buyers more at ease.

In any case, be sure to do the usual pickup of toys, bowls and bedding in advance of a showing, just as you would tidy up the children’s things and other rooms throughout the house before buyers visit.

And if you do have an outside dog, be sure to take the time to do the “land-mine” sweep of the yard before you leave the house for the showing. One wrong step by a buyer can spoil the whole experience!

Even though having a pet-friendly house and yard is a positive selling feature, it’s always best to reduce or eliminate any unnecessary or negative distractions that affect buyers when they look at your house.

If you can take the pet out of the house, both literally and figuratively, it’ll make everyone happy — even Sparky!

Paul Suding, a real estate agent with Cool Santa Barbara Homes and Village Properties, is president of the Santa Barbara Association of Realtors. He can be contacted at paul@villagesite.com or 805.455.8055.