Getting your home prepped and ready for the spooky season is always a struggle when you have pets that like to ruin your décor, but pet owners don’t have to miss out on the Halloween fun this year! Content manager for Chewy, Caitlin Ultimo, gives us her best hacks to help animal lovers get into the Halloween spirit with some top pet-friendly decorating tips to keep your home both scary and safe.
- Is it safe to keep pumpkins in the house when you have pets?
Yes, pumpkins are safe to have in the house, but like most decorations, it is best to keep them off the floor and out of reach—just in case your pup has tough enough teeth and a big enough appetite to eat her way through a whole pumpkin. And, it’s especially important to keep pumpkins away from pets if they have been painted or bedazzled, as this can pose a toxicity risk or choking hazard. While raw or cooked pumpkin is completely safe for pets to eat, too much of anything can end up in an upset stomach. That being said, the right amount of pumpkin can be a super beneficial addition to your pet’s diet. Pumpkins are packed with soluble and insoluble fiber aiding in digestion and organ health. The beta-carotene that gives pumpkin its orange color can help support eye health and nutrients, like vitamin A and zinc, contribute to supple skin and a lustrous coat. There are pumpkin supplements and treats made just for pets, like Weruva Pumpkin Patch Up! Dog & Cat Food Supplement Pouches and Fruitables Easy Pour Pumpkin Digestive Dog & Cat Supplement.
- What’s your best advice for lighting the house?
Keep your lights outside (this is, of course, not as useful if you have outdoor cats, in this case I would suggest forgoing lights and instead looking for sturdy lawn signs or non-motion activated lawn figurines) and go with battery operated decorations in place of electrical when you can. Pets can get themselves pretty tangled and this can pose multiple threats, like strangulation or burns from light bulbs, and even a possible fire hazard to your whole household. If you can’t imagine not including lights in your décor, be sure to keep an eye on your pet and keep the lights in an area where your pet doesn’t usually go. To help keep her out of the indoor lighted area, you can use a product like PetSafe ScatMat Electronic Pet Training Mat, once turned on, the mat emits a harmless 3-second pulse to deter her from crossing.
- Considering food is almost always out around the holidays, what are some tips for keeping animals away from it?
Before any holiday gatherings, have a plan for your pet so she’s not left unattended by tables or counter tops. Purchase some pet gates or a pen to help keep your pet out of the kitchen while you cook. This way she won’t scrounge up any dropped slices of onions or garlic. You may also want to keep her out of the dining area while you eat. Even if you don’t feed your pet table scraps, make sure your guests also know that they should not give into those puppy-dog eyes—as many holiday food favorites are hazardous to pets and can end up in an emergency vet visit. Additionally, if you set up a cocktail, appetizer, or dessert table, make sure it is out of reach of your pet, and that the trays have covers to make it even more difficult for pets to get their paws on off-limit food and drinks. And to better keep your pet away from temptation, set her up with some treats of her own. Stock up on tasty treats like American Journey Lamb Recipe Grain-Free Oven Baked Dog Treats or Tylee’s Chicken Jerky Human-Grade Dog Treats and Greenies Feline Oven Roasted Dental Treats for cats. Put the treats in an interactive toy to keep her busy and entertained while you cook or eat. You can also whip up a treat especially made for your pet, consider these tasty, pet-safe recipes: DIY Cat Treats for the At-Home Baker and Pumpkin Pupcake DIY Dog Treat Recipe.
- What decorations are the most pet-friendly, and where’s the best place to put them?
Decorations that aren’t electrical or animated are better options for pets. Dancing witches and ghosts programmed with scary sounds can frighten and disturb pets who don’t always understand that these things aren’t real. Anything that abruptly changes your pet’s day-to-day atmosphere can set her off. For the most pet-friendly decorations, look to decorative-themed pillows and throws and plush items as well as signs and pictures that you can securely hang on walls and doors. Introduce some Halloween-themed toys to her usual mix, so her assortment is festive, too. Put any table top decorations in the center of tables and off edges that can tempt cats to push them onto the floor. And to keep her calm and relieve anxiety from the holiday fanfare around the neighborhood and the dressed-up goblins at your door, consider looking to comforting pheromone products like calming collars for cats and dogs, diffusers for cats and dogs, supplements or ThunderShirts.
- How can you keep your house smelling like pumpkins and autumn leaves without creating a pet-induced fire hazard?
There are some pet-safe candles, like Pet House Pumpkin Spice Natural Soy Candle that will fill your home with the pumpkin scent we all love, but just be sure to keep it out of reach of pets. You can also use the Pet Odor Exterminator Apple Pumpkin Air Freshener, an enzyme-formulated spray, that attacks and removes pet odors from your home.