Halloween Hazards Part 2

Posted by Pia

Last week I offered Part 1 of tips for handling Halloween Hazards- all tips begin with an "I" for "I'll keep you safe." This week's "I" tips are equally important and are specific to the eve of Halloween itself!

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Why not be your beloved furry family member this Halloween!
This is a great idea for kids- they get to dress up and act like their favorite fur friend!

1 Why not be your beloved furry family member this Halloween! This is a great idea for kids- they get to dress up and act like their favorite fur friend!

This year, Francesca and Sharkey had their pick of Martha's new PetSmart costumes. Here, Sharkey tries on a vampire outfit.

2 This year, Francesca and Sharkey had their pick of Martha's new PetSmart costumes. Here, Sharkey tries on a vampire outfit.

Francesca trying out a spider web costume this year

3 Francesca trying out a spider web costume this year

Sharkey checks out the ghost costume.

4 Sharkey checks out the ghost costume. "The shroud makes me look particularly eerie... I'm actually a little scared of myself!"

In the end, Francesca decided to go as -- what else? -- a fiendishly clever devil.

5 In the end, Francesca decided to go as -- what else? -- a fiendishly clever devil.

And Sharkey chose this glow-in-the-dark skeleton costume.

6 And Sharkey chose this glow-in-the-dark skeleton costume.

Martha wore a fabulous cat costume to the black-cat-themed Halloween show in Season 2 of

7 Martha wore a fabulous cat costume to the black-cat-themed Halloween show in Season 2 of "The Martha Stewart Show" in 2006. She sported a (faux) furry outfit and a collar. The set transformed into a giant house of cats with audience members -- and even Martha's dogs dressed as black cats!

Ghostly Equestrienne: With reddened eyes, a ghostly pallor, and her midnight steed Rutger by her side, Martha was instantly transformed into a haunted horsewoman for the cover of the 2009 Halloween issue.

8 Ghostly Equestrienne: With reddened eyes, a ghostly pallor, and her midnight steed Rutger by her side, Martha was instantly transformed into a haunted horsewoman for the cover of the 2009 Halloween issue.

Black Widow: Dressed as a Black Widow for the cover of the 2000 Halloween issue, Martha shows Halloween makeup at its most glamorous and spine-tingling. Her look, achieved with makeup techniques and prosthetic features, was topped off with a swarm of spiders and a set of menacing black nails.

9 Black Widow: Dressed as a Black Widow for the cover of the 2000 Halloween issue, Martha shows Halloween makeup at its most glamorous and spine-tingling. Her look, achieved with makeup techniques and prosthetic features, was topped off with a swarm of spiders and a set of menacing black nails.

Like mother, Like daughter....Last year, Francesca was a dramatic black widow spider like mom Martha had been years before!.

10 Like mother, Like daughter....Last year, Francesca was a dramatic black widow spider like mom Martha had been years before!.

Jane of the Jungle: For the very first Halloween special on

11 Jane of the Jungle: For the very first Halloween special on "The Martha Stewart Show" in 2005, Martha dressed up as Jane of the Jungle. Accompanied by a stuffed chimpanzee, she made a grand entrance by swinging on a vine to start the show. Martha has long been a fan of author Edgar Rice Burroughs's Tarzan series.

Francesca went as a rather grumpy mouse one year.

12 Francesca went as a rather grumpy mouse one year.

while Sharkey went as a wolf... or something being eaten by a wolf?

13 while Sharkey went as a wolf... or something being eaten by a wolf?

Here Francesca models a crafty illuminated porcupine costume for Martha's show.

14 Here Francesca models a crafty illuminated porcupine costume for Martha's show.

And Sharkey was a glittering gray moth.

15 And Sharkey was a glittering gray moth.

I is for Indoors once again!
All companion animals should be kept securely indoors on Halloween. It is important to get animals inside while it is still light and to keep them in for the full night. Cats should definitely be secured indoors a few nights before Halloween.

With doorbells ringing, front doors and gates being opened by sticky little hands and strangers everywhere, it is essential that even the most obediant animals be secured in an area of the house that does not allow them to escape. It is far too tempting and the temptaion alone can cause stress. All of the monster faces can also shake a companion animal's sense of security and illicit territorial reactions that are otherwise uncommon for that animal to exhibit. Our furry friends are naturally protective of their homes and they need not be subjected to the added stress of having to protect it or you.

Additionally, even though fireworks are illegal in many places, there is invariably a local 'Dennis the menace' lighting a few off which spooks even the most secure critter to run for cover.

While it may be fun to show a costumed Fido to trick or treaters- it's simply not worth it as he may be spooked to nip or run. It's best to set up a comfy room, or gated area, for the fur kids- even crate them if they are used to this. Play the TV, radio, a white noise machine or better yet, play soothing music- they actually make some that is specifically for relaxing animals. Sometimes adding a scent like lavender in a safe manner (that cannot be ingested) can help calm nerves too.

Make sure cats have access to a clean litter pan and cannot get out of windows. Be sure to safeguard against any fire hazards like candles or electric lights that animals might chew when nervous. Check on them throughout the evening and be sure to leave safe toys or chews that keep them stimulated and distracted. Low light is soothing as well.

I for Ingesting:
This is a biggie. Halloween is full of hidden hazardous temptations. And many of the items an animal might ingest are far more toxic than one might realize.
Helping to avoid a potential ingestion, by not even having these items in the house, is the best bet- and being prepared with information on a local 24-hour emergency veterinarian is key. Time is of the essence if there is an accidental ingestion.

Some Halloween toxins to be aware of:
-Chocolate
-Raisins/Grapes
-Anything with Xylitol, an artificial sweetener in many gums, candies and baked goods, is extremely toxic
-Glow sticks and glow jewelry are very tempting for animals (especially cats) to chew on. They are toxic and unsafe to have around animals.
-Decorations and costumes that have materials like webbing or stockings can be hazardous and cause obstructions if swallowed.
-Candy wrappers are often eaten by companion animals and can cause serious problems.
-Any ingestion of a large amount of sugar can be dangerous to animals.

I know you all love your furry little goblins and want to keep them safe- so stay informed, be prepared and do your best to avoid being caught off guard!
...Boo!

In kinship,
Dr. Pia Salk

Comments (5)

  • Again, wonderful and important info Dr. Pia. I will tweet and FB this one as well. Thank you for taking the time to point out information that people may not think about regarding their pets and Halloween.

  • Hello ladies, Kirby here.
    Good morning Dr. Pia. As usual you have some good ideas of how to keep us safe during Halloween. It’s best that we stay inside; just might want to take a nip at the goblins. Now that wouldn’t be a good thing. Had my walk this morning after all that rain last night. It was kind of hard to sleep with all the storms around. Not much thunder, but lots of rain. It should begin to clear up and be a wonderful day; if you can call 85 degrees in late October a wonderful day.
    Catch you later, Kirby.

  • Hi Dr. Pia: I agree with Sonya and Kirby Bear about Halloween safety for us. This morning I was watching Miss Martha's show and saw all the pups in the audience with their costumes for Halloween. Momma and I also saw Sharkey and Francesca in their colorful wigs. I wanted momma to make me a wig just like theirs. Momma said she would think about it and then she said Hmmmmm... I know that means she is seriously thinking about making one for just me. I know I cannot go out for trick or treating but I would look really cool in the house.

    Today it is raining and it is very warm too. UGH!!!! Momma said what is great about retirement is that she doesn't have to go out if the weather is "ookey." I don't know what that word means but it's probably about rain and stuff. Daddy said that when you come in from walking in the rain and warm weather, you feel like a steamed bun.

    Have a great day everyone! I'm going to take a nap now. Take care. See ya later. Love, Gracyn.

  • Hi Dr. Pia, Oh, how right you are about keeping ALL of our wonderful pets safe during Halloween and any time there are fireworks. Keeping them inside is so important and watching what they chew on or eat is extremely important for their health. Sure hope every animal 'parent' is careful. Thanks for the great photos of Martha's 'kids' and of Martha! Have a great, careful Halloween, everyone! Jan

  • Better late then never, I was gone so did not get to see this before Halloween.

    Great advise about accidental ingestion....lots of pet owners don't know that.

    All of those costumes are darling. I love the photo of Martha and Rutger...awesome!

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