4 Easy Tips to Celebrate Hanukkah with Pets

Written by: Dr. Cherice Roth


The Festival of Lights, Hanukkah, is a time of reflection, crave-worthy food, family gatherings, and heartwarming traditions. As we light the menorah and relish the delightful latkes, we must ensure our Hanukkah celebrations are safe for every family member, mainly our pets. Here are some guidelines to ensure this Hanukkah is joyful and secure for your beloved dogs and cats.

#1 Keep Hanukkah Candles Out of Reach

The menorah is a symbol of Hanukkah, radiating warmth and spirituality. However, its lit candles can be a source of curiosity for pets, especially cats with their penchant for high places. To prevent any accidental nudges or curious sniffs that can lead to burns or potential fires, consider placing the Hanukkah menorah in an inaccessible area to pets or supervise them closely when the candles are lit. If you want to eliminate the risk entirely, opt for electric or battery-operated Hanukkah menorahs that keep the spirit alive without the flame.

Hanukkah Cat

#2 Avoid Feeding Human Foods

Hanukkah feasts are a delightful culinary tradition. But as we indulge in gelt, sufganiyot, and latkes, we must ensure these Hanukkah treats remain exclusively for human consumption. Chocolate, often found in gelt, is toxic to dogs and cats. Watch for “birch sugar, wood sugar, or birch bark extract” - it’s all xylitol in disguise, which is deadly. 

Similarly, oily foods like latkes can upset your pet's stomach and, if given in excess, lead to more severe conditions like pancreatitis. Ingredients like onions and garlic are also harmful. 

Instead of sharing table food, consider serving your pet a delicious Yummers Hanukkah meal or mix-in to include them in the festive munching. If you think there is a chance that your pet has gotten into human foods, contact the pet poison helpline and your vet immediately.

#3 Ensure Safety During Games

Dreidel games are synonymous with Hanukkah fun. But the small spinning top can be a choking hazard, especially for curious pets who might mistake it for a toy. There is also a chance that a Hanukkah dreidel can be swallowed, leading to a stomach or intestinal blockage. Ensure Hanukkah games are played in areas away from pets, and always store dreidels safely after playing. To include your pet in the Hanukkah fun, put their favorite Yummers mix-in in a treat ball so they can burn excess energy while you celebrate. You can also add some water and freeze it for even more entertainment.

#4 Unwrap Gifts Carefully

Gifts are a joyous part of the Hanukkah tradition. As we exchange presents, remember that wrappings like ribbons, strings, and plastic can be enticing but dangerous if ingested, often leading to severe intestinal injury that requires surgery. Once gifts are unwrapped, promptly dispose of or store these materials. 

With family and friends visiting during the festival, your pet might feel overwhelmed or anxious with the influx of people and the break-in routine. Assign a quiet, comfortable space where your pet can relax and retreat if the celebrations become too bustling for them. Include their favorite toys, Yummers food or mix-in, a cozy bed, and anything else that will help put their mind at ease during the festivities.

As the warmth of Hanukkah envelops us, a few mindful precautions can ensure the festival is a source of happiness for everyone, including our dogs and cats. Celebrate with care, serve up craveable food, and bask in the company of loved ones, both two-legged and four.

Dr. Cherice Roth

Dr. Cherice Roth

Dr. Roth is a practicing veterinarian with a background in telemedicine and a passion for equitable access to veterinary care for all pets. She knows how vitally important mealtime is for pets and shares Yummers' devotion to giving them what they want and need.