Pet-Friendly Holiday Décor


~ By Gail Mayhugh

The holidays are here and as you’re starting to think about decorating, why not also consider including your pets in the festivities.  Even though they don’t know the difference between a blanket with snowmen or one with bones, it’s fun for us and a change for them.  If you’ve added a new furry family member this year, remember they have not had a chance to be introduced to your holiday décor so you might need to make some changes.  Just because Fido didn’t touch the tree, doesn’t mean Fifi won’t.  Just as form follows function when decorating, when you have pets, décor follows safety.  Here are a few things to bring in the cheer and keep it safe this holiday season.


# 1 – Change their bedding to a holiday theme.  Make a simple knotted fleece pet bed cover.  Buy a couple yards of fun fleece, cut strips and knot.  If you don’t want to store it, throw it in the wash and donate it to a shelter.  Believe me the dogs and cats won’t care if their new soft cozy beds have snowmen on them.

# 2 – My pups love pillows; you could call them Pillow Princesses; so I switch out the plain pillow cases with holiday themed ones.

# 3 – Change their everyday food and water bowls to ones with some holiday cheer.

# 4 – Don’t want to fuss with changing their bowls?  How about a fun mat?  I use plastic placemats from the Dollar Store.  They’re easy to clean, store and inexpensive.  This is actually fun to do for the different holidays throughout the year.

# 5 – Along with her pillows, my Matilda loves beach blankets.  She is constantly balling them up until they are just right.  Then when she’s done with hers off to her sister’s bed for a re-making.  A quick and easy switch out.

All these things don’t have to be holiday specific if you want to leave them out longer.  Just look for designs with pine cones, winter scenes, or snowflakes. 

Pets can find the smells and textures of holiday decorations very interesting which can make for a dangerous time. You can still make your home beautiful for the holidays; just remember to decorate with your furry friends in mind.

# 1 – I love glass ornaments but they can be a real safety hazards.  Make pet-friendly ornaments out of twigs or paper decorations dyed with food coloring.  There are also many shatter proof plastic and metal ornaments to use.  Don’t like the colors, simple non-toxic spray paint will change the color to match your tree’s color scheme.

# 2- Tinsel, makes a tree sparkle but is often fatal when ingested.  Instead make a paper garland. I had a client that spray painted different small plastic ornaments that she then strung together.  Cleaver idea and very cute.

# 3 – Use battery operated lights instead of electric.

# 4 – Consider moving some of your decorations up and out of the reach of tails and teeth.  I know if you have cats this can be a bit more challenging. Have you ever decorated above your kitchen cabinets? My girlfriend does it every year and it looks wonderful.

# 5 – Decorate behind glass doors. Consider adding some holiday cheer to your china cabinet, entertainment unit, or glass kitchen cabinets. I put out a few of my Holiday Barbie’s in my entertainment unit each year. I’m a bit of a collector so it takes a couple years before I see the same ones again.

# 6 – Give pets their own sets of holiday toys. Then anytime Fido goes for something hanging from the tree, quickly hand him one of his own special toys to show him that’s what he should be playing with.

Have a Happy, Safe and Pet-Friendly Holiday Season!

Gail Mayhugh, the owner of GMJ Interior Design has been designing in Las Vegas for over 20 years. She also supports animal rescues and shelters through her non-profit,