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How to Celebrate Hanukkah With Your Dog

Written by aslmad.yaz

Hanukkah is the Jewish festival of lights observed over eight days during winter. During the celebration, there is a nightly menorah lighting, special prayers, and the enjoyment of delicious foods. This festive period is ideal for gathering with friends and family, including your four-legged companions, who can readily participate in various traditions. As such, here are some fun and safe ways to celebrate Hanukkah with your dog.

Hanukkah food

Indulging in Hanukkah foods is one of the most beloved ways to celebrate the festival. It goes without saying, but there will likely be eager noses sniffing at the table. While offering your pup a few table scraps can seem like an act of love, it’s important to make thoughtful swaps to ensure your dog can enjoy the festivities without feeling sick.

Instead of giving your dog a latke, which often contains onions, a food incredibly toxic to dogs, try setting aside some potatoes for your pup. However, you will want to bake or boil the potatoes, as fried food is unhealthy for dogs.

Similarly, rather than sharing applesauce, which often contains a significant amount of added sugar, keep some apple slices nearby to give fido. While sugar may seem harmless, it can cause gastrointestinal upset as granulated sugar and other sweeteners are not natural to dogs. Moreover, definitely be aware of any treats containing sugar substitutes, especially xylitol. That said, fruit is typically acceptable in moderation.

Chocolate gelt, or gold chocolate coins, are often a part of the festivities. Keep close eyes on these treats! As many dog owners know, our pups can be sneakier than we’d like to admit. Chocolate can quickly cause serious complications, especially when consumed in large quantities. The gold foil can also cause intestinal blockages, which could require surgery.

Hanukkah gifts

Shetland Sheepdog wearing yamulka holding fluffy dreidel, a festive way to celebrate Hanukkah with your dog.
(Photo Credit: GK Hart/Vikki Hart | Getty Images)

The gift-giving tradition during Hanukkah adds joy to this festive celebration. Whether you want to spoil your pet with eight presents — including treats, leashes, or toys — or have them give back by delivering eight gifts to others, there are multiple ways to involve your furry friend in this heartwarming activity. While one or two presents can be just as meaningful, including your pet in the Hanukkah gift-giving tradition adds a special touch to the festivities.

Need some inspiration? Consider perusing our guide on the top dog toys. You also can pour a little extra love into homemade dog treats, beautifully decorated for the holiday.

Hanukkah games

Spin the dreidel is the most popular game during Hanukkah. You can easily get your pup involved by adding dog-friendly toys to the pot and spinning on their behalf. You might also get a laugh from watching your dog chase a spinning dreidel and deciding when it stops. Of course, ensure the dreidel is large enough to not pose a choking hazard.

There are also several other games you could adapt to include your pup, like a Hanukkah-themed scavenger hunt, including hidden treats for your pup. Perhaps you can even consider hosting a limbo contest — a favorite game from bar and bat mitzvahs past.

If you’ve got a hound or another vocal breed (we’re looking at you, Siberian Huskies), gather your friends and family and divide them into teams for a fun-filled Hanukkah sing-off. Dust off those vocal cords and prepare to belt out your best renditions of classic Hanukkah songs. From the timeless “Light One Candle” to the playful “I Have a Little Dreidel” to the joyous “Oh Chanukah,” there’s a song for everyone. And, let’s not forget the modern classic: Adam Sandler’s “The Chanukah Song.” Whether you love or hate it, there’s no denying its catchy tune and hilarious lyrics. We have a feeling your pup will love it, too!

Hanukkah outfits

If you’re celebrating Hanukkah with your dog, you can truly get in the holiday spirit with festive outfits and accessories for your pup. There are a number of Hanukkah-themed pet products, ranging from elaborate costumes to adorable accessories. If you want to go all out, elevate your dog’s Hanukkah style with a full outfit, like a yarmulke and tallis. Alternatively, you can keep it more simple with a charming menorah hat. If these outfits aren’t your dog’s preference or you’d like to keep it somewhat subtle, you could explore options like a festive collar or bandana. Whether your pup prefers a head-to-tail costume, a transitional holiday-chic look, or cozy cold-weather attire to carry them through the rest of the winter, you’re bound to discover something that suits their taste.

How to safely celebrate Hanukkah with your dog

Menorah candlestick and Jewish Star, two symbols of Hanukkah. Here are some ways to celebrate Hanukkah with your dog.
(Photo Credit: jessicanelson | Getty Images)

Ensure your dog’s safety during Hanukkah festivities by taking a few precautions. With the number of open flames continuing to grow over the eight nights, keeping the menorah out of your dog’s reach and away from flammable materials is wise. Consider securing it to a surface or wall to prevent accidental knocks. Purchasing an electric menorah might also be a good idea if you have pets.

When wrapping Hanukkah gifts, be cautious with wrapping paper, as it can pose a danger to animals. Chewing on paper and ribbon may seem enticing to dogs, but it can cause serious harm if ingested. Clean up thoroughly and store any remaining materials away from your pup.

If you’re filling your home with decorative lights, exercise caution if you have a pet with a penchant for chewing, particularly around electrical cords. Gnawing on them can result in serious injuries, including electrical shock, tongue lacerations, and even death. Routinely examine your holiday lights for any signs of wear or chewing, and opt for a grounded three-prong extension cord for added safety.

As previously mentioned, be mindful of toxic Hanukkah treats like latkes seasoned with onions and garlic or rich brisket that may upset your pet’s stomach. Keep these treats out of reach to ensure the safety of your furry friends.

Always supervise your pets around decorations and food. Contact your veterinarian or the Pet Poison Helpline immediately if you notice any signs of illness or think your pup may have ingested harmful substances. By being aware of these potential holiday hazards for dogs and taking precautions, you can ensure a safe and festive holiday season. Remember, a healthy and happy dog is the best gift of all!

Chag sameach! 

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