Hanukkah and Pets

Dec 5, 2015

Using an electric Menorah is safer for your pet than one with real burning candles!
Credit Lawrence Simon [Flickr]

Hanukkah, which begins December 6th this year, brings excitement, food, gifts and of course, the beautiful Menorah.  As you enjoy the traditions of this Festival of Lights, keep your pet's safety and well being in mind.


While many of us are looking forward to Christmas, others are getting ready for another celebration that occurs this time of year. The Jewish observance of Hanukkah begins tomorrow at sunset. For thousands of years, this Festival of Lights has been celebrated with eight nights of tradition, gift-giving and special foods. It’s a happy time with family and friends, so you may want to include your pet in the fun. As with other celebrations, it’s important to keep your pet’s health and safety in mind.

The Menorah with nine candles is a classic symbol of Hanukkah. The celebration begins as blessings are recited and the candles are lit. But burning candles can be a hazard if a curious pet or a wagging tail gets too close. Make sure your furry friend does not have access to the Menorah while the candles are lit.

Hanukkah gelt is a gift of money or, frequently, foil-wrapped chocolate coins. The kids love the chocolate, which we all know is harmful to pets. But the shiny foil wrapper can also cause digestive problems if eaten, so take care to dispose of them where your four-footed family member won’t be tempted.

Classic Hanukkah food includes latkes and small sugared donuts. Latkes are pancakes made with shredded potatoes and onions, and fried nice and crispy. Like the donuts, they’re yummy - and high in fat, which can cause gastrointestinal problems for your pet. But the greatest danger comes from the onions in the latkes. Onions contain thiosulphate which is toxic to dogs and cats. Even cooked, a small amount of onion could poison your best friend. 

Sharing traditions and celebrations like Hanukkah with all family members, including the four-footed ones, can make them even more special. Find some healthy treats to give your pet while you enjoy the Hanukkah donuts, latkes and chocolate Gelt. That will help to ensure that you both will be able to share in the blessings and enjoy all the holidays and celebrations throughout the year, when you’re speaking of pets.