If you are a new pet parent and you’re celebrating Hanukkah with your pup for the first time, you might be at a loss for how to add your new family member to beloved traditions. While your pup may not understand the miracle of Hanukkah, they will understand that the whole family is doing something fun and they’ll certainly want to join.
We came up with eight ways to get your pup involved safely. You can be ‘traditional’ and choose one way per night or do a few each night if it is not overwhelming for you or your pup. These are in no particular order so feel free to create your own schedule or modify to fit your pup and family’s needs.
1. Whip up some Hanukkah-inspired food
Traditional Hanukkah foods like latkes and Sufganyot are not a great idea for your pup. Fried foods are too fatty and you don’t want your pup to get an upset stomach or worse, pancreatitis.
That said, there are some pup-safe snacks you can rustle up as a subtle nod to the real deal.
We suggest using Ollie’s sweet potato snacks (or similar if you aren’t an Ollie customer yet) in lieu of a fried latke. If you are interested in getting your pup an Ollie subscription for Hanukkah, we can get you set up now and have it shipped out so you get your first box before the end of Hanukkah!
In place of the Sufganyot, try a K9 Granola Factory Winter Wonderland Doughnut. While it won’t be fried or jelly filled, this special treat will help your best friend feel included in the festivities too! Remember to keep treats like this to just 10% of your pup’s diet. This might mean cutting the doughnut in half or quarters depending on your pup’s size and what else you’ve offered.
If you roast a chicken for dinner, offering your dog a piece of white meat is also probably going to be just fine as long as they arent allergic and you don’t give them skin, bones, or spices.
For dessert, if a Jewish Apple Cake is on the menu, you can make your own pupcakes like this apple and pumpkin recipe so they can also have a special cake to end their meal!
2. Light the candles or lights
If you want to invite your pup to join the family when you light the candles and say the blessings, you want to make sure your pup is safe. This means keeping the menorah out of paw, nose, or tail’s reach. You can also have your pup sit on his bed or place. Consider getting a special holiday-themed place in blue and white for the occasion to make it feel special. After you’ve lit the candles, keep a close eye on your pup. Never leave your pup unattended with an open flame like a menorah.
If your pup is into tricks, you can also teach them to light the “candles” using tap lights. Take a piece of posterboard or wood and draw or paint a menorah. Place one tap light where each of the candles should go. Teach your dog to turn on the tap lights with their nose or paw. You can then have your pup light the appropriate “candles” each night!
3. Open gifts
This one is probably the most self-explanatory on the list. If the whole family is opening presents, we’re pretty sure your pup will figure out how much fun wrapping paper is in no time!
If you are looking for a Hanukkah themed gift we recommend:
Grab a trayf pig, some tsimmies, lox, or shpikles and maybe even some mohel scissors if you dare! These plush toys will offer hours of fun as well as a yiddish lesson for the rest of the family.
4. Get Gelt Your Pup Can Enjoy
Since chocolate is a strict no-no and we’re pretty sure giving cash to your dog is irresponsible, you can give them dog toys shaped like gelt! We’re digging thisBark Gelt from Target or the Gift of Gelt Tug Toy from Petco
5. Dress the part
If your pup never met a costume they didn’t like, you can add some Hanukkah wear to their wardrobe. From bowties and bandannas to adorable pajamas, there is something out there for every pup’s personal style.
If dressing up isn’t their thing, try a Hanukkah themed collar and leash for a touch of festive flair!
6. Play dreidel games with your pup
If your family gets super competitive about dreidel, feel free to involve your pup. Instead of playing with gelt or coins, go ahead and use some training treats. We love these https://www.chewy.com/wet-noses-peanut-butter-little-stars/dp/50083 or Bocce’s Bakery training treats but you can use whatever your pup prefers. Keep the treats small and on the lower calorie side. A cut-up cucumber or coins of raw carrot could also work for this game.
Let your pup watch you spin the dreidel and give:
Gimmel - three treats
Hay - one treat
Shin - spin again
Nun - no treat this turn
7. Get a Mesch on a Bench
For some holiday fun, you could grab a Mensch on a Bench and let him talk to your pup! Since this isn’t a toy for dogs, you shouldn’t let your pup play with him. For added fun, pair him with a Furbo or other automatic treat tosser and let your pup think the Mensch is rewarding them for their good behavior. (Okay, fine, this one might be more for the human’s entertainment but it’s all in good fun.)
8. Cozy up for a Hanukkah movie night
Take advantage of the colder winter nights and cozy up for a family movie night with your pup. We recommend grabbing some popcorn and an appropriately themed movie. While there are literally thousands of Christmas movies, there are considerably less for the festival of lights. Our friends at Good Housekeeping rounded up a list of 13 of the best Hanukkah movies so you have more than one choice for each night. We’re looking forward to watching Adam Sandler’s 8 Crazy Nights for literally the thousandth time!
At Ollie, we know what a challenging year it has been for so many of out pet parents. We hope these ideas help you celebrate and create fun, new traditions that bring joy to the whole family.
Wishing you a very happy Hanukkah!
The Ollie blog is devoted to helping pet parents lead healthier lives with their pups. If you want to learn more about our fresh, human-grade food, check out MyOllie.com.