Guide to Celebrating Hanukkah Safely With Your Pets

Hanukkah is a time to spend with the ones you love, and that most certainly includes the pets you adore.

Whether you’re exchanging presents or gathering around the table with friends and family for a meal, your cat or dog can get in on the joyous celebrations.

The holiday season is full of potential hazards for our pets. During Hanukkah, dogs and cats can be safe by following a few pet safety tips. Here’s our list of pet safety tips for a seamless and memorable Hanukkah celebration.

Keep the Menorah out of Reach


The menorah is one of the most important traditions of Hanukkah. It’s traditional for families to put the menorah in the middle of the table and leave the room while the candles burn down. However, flame-lit candles can be dangerous for both humans and their pets. For eager wagging tails and little dogs who like to jump on tables, this can be a fire lying in wait.  


As an alternative, we suggest battery-operated candles. They can come in many shapes, colors and sizes, thus offering an easy and authentic alternative. If you prefer flame-lit candles for your celebration, it is important to place the menorah at unreachable heights or in a room that is pet-free.


Keeping the Kitchen Off-Limits


There are many foods that families serve during the eight nights of Hanukkah, ranging from latkes to sufganiyots (jelly doughnuts). These traditional Hanukkah foods may be tasty treats for humans, but don’t share them with your dogs and cats. Not only are they fried in oil, which can be problematic for your pets, but they also have onions or sugar which can poison your best friend. 


When celebrating Hanukkah, keep dogs and cats away from these treats, as they can be quite dangerous to their health. We suggest keeping all human food and leftovers out of pets’ reach, and cover trash bins securely.

No Gelt for the Dogs

These gold-covered chocolate “coins” are fun to sprinkle around the table and share with humans but not so fun if your dog or cat gets their paws on them. As you may know, chocolate can be toxic to pets. It has an ingredient in it – theobromine –that pets can’t digest, and even the smallest sliver of chocolate can cause diarrhea. Plus, the wrapping on gelt can’t be digested and can cause a dangerous blockage in their GI tract.


It’s best to keep these out of reach of both pets and unsupervised small children – in case the latter share with the four-legged ones.


 Dreidel, Dreidel, Dreidel, Spin away from Me

Hanukkah would not be the same without the spinning of the dreidel. However, dreidels pose a threat to cats and dogs. Like any small object, they can become a pet safety hazard. This four-sided spinning top could cause many issues for a dog who likes to chew anything or everything. The dreidel itself isn’t very large, and could become a choking hazard or blockage. 


Watch where the dreidel goes after the game is over. Keep it out of the mouths of your dogs and avoid a lot of worry. Try a dreidel dog toy as a safer alternative for your four-legged friends. This is a great way to include your pet in your Hanukkah traditions while keeping pet safety in mind.


The Gifts

Gifts play an important role in the Hanukkah tradition. Ribbons, bows, and gift wrap may seem like toys to your pets, but they can become choking hazards. Cats are especially attracted to ribbon and string, so ensure that these items are safely out of reach to prevent a foreign body obstruction. Keep a bag or can nearby to dispose of trash immediately, and warn guests to keep dog-tempting packages safe from harm.

During Hanukkah, our furry friends want to be able to join in on the fun, and taking a few extra steps can allow you to safely include them!

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written by

Samantha Thompson

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