The evening of December 10, 2020 begins the first day of Hanukkah, the 8-day Jewish “festival of lights” celebrated with nightly lighting of the menorah, special prayers, fun family games, and decadent fried foods. While we will always encourage pet parents to include their dogs in holidays and celebrations, it’s important to be mindful of potential sources of danger present on these special days.
Chag Sameach to our Jewish friends! Have a happy holiday, while being aware of these 7 Hanukkah dangers for dogs.
We all love including our furriest friends in holiday traditions, but the lighting of the menorah is something best kept to the two-legged members of the family. Keep wagging tails and curious noses safely away from the menorah while candles are burning each night. Or, opt for an electric menorah with LED bulbs instead.
The four-sided spinning top traditionally played by children during the Jewish festival of Hanukkah can pose a choking or gastrointestinal obstruction hazard for curious pets that try to join in the fun. Take extra precautions to prevent pets from scarfing down nuts, candies, or coins commonly used as game pieces.
Chocolate coins are a favorite treat during Hanukkah, but the gold foil wrapped candies should be safely stowed out of reach of dogs. Besides the risk of chocolate toxicity, the foil wrappers pose a choking hazard, too.
4. Yeast Dough
If you’re baking challah for the holiday, be extra careful that your dog doesn’t swipe a bite of your dough. Many don’t realize that dough can rise inside a dog’s stomach leading to bloating, severe pain, and possible intestinal blockage. And, yeast dough, in particular, can cause further complications including alcohol toxicity.
Latkes, or traditional potato pancakes, are high in fat and often made with onions, a dangerous combination for dogs. The high fat content can cause pancreatitis and onions, which contain sulfides that are toxic to dogs, can damage red blood cells and lead to anemia. Onions (and members of the onion family, like chives and shallots) should be avoided in all forms, including raw, cooked, or powdered.
The traditional main dish is dangerous to dogs for a number of reasons. Like latkes, the high fat content in brisket can cause pancreatitis in pets. But, the salt-heavy seasoning can also be deadly, causing a spike in sodium or even sodium ion poisoning. And, remember, any cooked bones should be safely discarded out of your dog’s reach. When cooked, bones become brittle and can splinter in the digestive tract. Avoid feeding cooked bones and dispose of them carefully so as not to tempt your curious canine.
The deep fried, jelly-filled donut is another traditional Hanukkah treat that should be kept away from dogs, no matter how much they beg! High in sugar and fat, they can lead to pancreatitis. Bake your pup some dog-safe tasty treats instead!