For our friends celebrating the Festival of Lights, otherwise known as Hanukkah, we wanted to share a few tips to ensure your pet stays happy and healthy during the eight-day celebration.
Candles and pets can be a particularly dangerous combination, especially around this time of year. It is common for cats and dogs to be curious, often meaning they can get burnt or knock the Menorah over during their exploration, causing sometimes sever damage to not only themselves but property as well. If possible, do not leave the Menorah or other types of candles unattended with your pets around. It may be best practice to not allow pets entry into the room where the Menorah is, so you can enjoy the celebration and they can remain safe.
Hanukkah sometimes brings game pieces like dreidels and coins in plentiful supply. These games can be lots of fun for humans, but if ingested, can cause lots of problems for pets. The spinning nature of the dreidel can be especially appealing to cats, so ensure these pieces stay out of reach when not in use.
Aside from the dreidel the chocolate coins used in many Hanukkah games can be a major hazard if your pet gets ahold of them. Chocolate contains caffeine and theobromine, both which can be toxic to pets, especially if ingested in large quantities. If you suspect your pet has ingested any of these items, it’s always best to have them checked by the vet as soon as possible.
Special Hanukkah foods are a wonderful (and delicious) part of the celebration. While your pets are probably close by, hoping for a morsel to drop on the floor, it’s best to not actively share any of the foods you are consuming with your pet. Some of the more common Hanukkah treats like donuts, latkes, brisket and other common dishes filled with cheese and dairy can all be toxic for pets.
While it likely won’t severely harm your pet if they do happen to find a few dropped bites of these foods, any abrupt changes in diet can lead to gastrointestinal issues. These issues can be unpleasant for the pet and the pet owner, and can also lead to more serious conditions.
More specifically, the gift wrapping. One of the most exciting parts of Hanukkah is the sharing of gifts. Many gifts are beautifully wrapped with paper, ribbons and bows. While these items make the gifts extra nice, they can be just the opposite for pets. Again, pets are curious by nature and bright shiny objects are calling to be investigated. These items can be choking hazards and some of the substances, like glitter, metallic materials or glue could be harmful to pets if swallowed.
Hanukkah is a special time of the year and celebrating with your pets can help make this time even better. As you enjoy the holiday, remember these tips to ensure your celebration won’t have to be interrupted with a trip to the veterinarian.