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Holiday Safety Tips: Hanukkah

Hanukkah is a special eight-day holiday, a time for friends and family to gather to celebrate and with it, enjoy many traditional foods, as well as assorted toys and gifts.  However, it is also important to take into consideration your pet’s health and safety during the festivities.

 

Check out the following helpful hints, as outlined by your Richmond Hill veterinarian, for making your Hanukkah both an enjoyable and safe experience for your pets:

 

  • The Menorah:  The Hanukkah menorah is a candelabrum, the candles of which are lit over a course of eight consecutive days to celebrate the Festival of Lights, to symbolize the miracle of one day’s worth of lamp oil lasting for eight days.  However, using real candles, as is the tradition, can pose a risk for the entire household.  If using real candles, make sure to confine any pets from gaining access to the area, where they might knock over the candles.  Knocked over candles can cause serious burns, and a potential fire hazard.  Another option is to follow the observance by using battery operated glow candles, which cannot catch fire, if knocked over.

 

  • Latkes:  This popular Hanukkah food is very similar to the potato pancake, and while delicious, are composed of ingredients that may be toxic for your pet to consume.  Potatoes, eggs and onion are most commonly combined in fried oil, often topped with sour cream or applesauce.  The onions in the food can cause toxicity that is often linked with anaemia, abdominal pain, vomiting, and/or diarrhea.  Besides onion toxicity, latkes are high in fat and carbohydrates, consumption of which can upset your pet’s digestive system, especially if they are more sensitive.  Please refrain from sharing this food with your pet.

 

  • Doughnuts: Doughnuts, also known as sufganiyot, are made of fried dough filled with jelly and sprinkled with powder sugar.  This is a scrumptious pastry, however, one that can be very problematic for pets given its fat, sugar and calorie content.  Gastrointestinal problems, including, but not limited to, vomiting, diarrhea, and pancreatitis (inflammation of pancreas) may result.  With an upset stomach, your pet may also experience lethargy and a decreased appetite, none of which are ideal.

 

  • Chocolate Gold Coins: These delectable chocolates wrapped in gold or silver foil can be problematic if your pet gets access to them.  The chocolate contained within contains theobromine and caffeine, both of which can be toxic for your pet if ingested.  Signs of trouble include, but are not limited to, vomiting, diarrhea, excessive drooling, pupil dilation, irregular, rapid heartbeat, hyperactivity, muscle tremors, seizure, and/or coma.  Furthermore, the metallic foil wrapper itself can be dangerous if swallowed, causing upset stomach, and possibly even a dangerous blockage.

 

  • Draidel:  The toy can be a lot of fun, whirling and twirling about.  However, our pets may find it equally interesting!  Ensure to keep the toy out of reach of your pet, during play or when not it use.  Swallowing these tops can lead to a foreign body obstruction, which can be life-threatening!

 

With a little forethought, awareness and common sense, Hanukkah can be a fun time for everyone, including our beloved pets!

 

Happy Hanukkah!

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