It’s finally October! We’ve made it through the stifling Louisiana summer and we are now greeted with cool weather and spooky good times. You may break out the scary movies, go costume shopping, or visit a haunted house, but the best part of the Halloween season is the candy. Best for humans, anyway. Below is a list of the top 5 most dangerous Halloween treats for your pup.

Read on, if you dare…

Sugar-free candy and other products like chewing gum or energy drinks contain a sweetener called “xylitol” that is very toxic to dogs. As far as Halloween candy goes, sugar-free sounds like the least pleasant way to go. But if it ends up in your candy basket, it could end up in your dog’s mouth. Signs to watch out for: vomiting, weakness, lethargy, seizures.

This may be a no-brainer for most dog-owners but it never hurts to repeat: chocolate is toxic to dogs! There is a compound in chocolate called theobromine which is easily processed in humans but can build up in dogs and cause problems. Small amounts of consumed chocolate can cause vomiting/diarrhea in dogs, while larger amounts can lead to muscle tremors, seizures, hyperactivity, internal bleeding, heart attack or even death. Spooky stuff! My suggested plan of action? Hide the candy bars from the dogs, the kids, and your spouse.

Hard Candy
The candy most likely to be in your grandmother’s purse. Jolly Ranchers, lollipops, jawbreakers and the like are a classic for a reason, just not the best option for a dog treat. These sweets can pose a choking hazard for your furry friends. They could also damage canine teeth and jaws. Hard candy contains a lot of sugar, which can cause high blood pressure in dogs too! Best to just keep the hard candies to yourself this year.

Not all nuts are inherently toxic to dogs, but all nuts are very high in fat. High fat diets in dogs can cause pancreatic issues or obesity. Even peanuts (which are technically legumes, not actual nuts), which are considered safe for canine consumption in small amounts, can cause issues if your pet overindulges. Macadamia nuts and brazil nuts ARE toxic to dogs, though, and should be avoided altogether.

Candy Wrappers
To the evolved human with opposable thumbs, wrapped candy is to be separated into its edible (candy) and inedible (wrapper) components. But to a dog, a treat is a treat! No time to think about it! No reason to take it apart! It is important to remember that any wrapped candy can cause a problem for your pup, even if the candy itself may not. Foil or plastic wrappers that are consumed can cause a bowel obstruction or pretty bad vomiting.

If you need a dog-friendly alternative to these Halloween treats, look no further than your jack-o-lantern. Raw or canned pumpkin is a great source of fiber for your pup and can help with urinary health as well! Fido may not be able to have candy, but pumpkins are just as important to the Spooky Season as ghosts and ghouls.

Always remember: if your pet has gotten into something worrisome, call your veterinarian or the Pet Poison Helpline (855-764-7661) immediately. Stay safe and happy Halloween!