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Dear Daisy Dog

Is our 8-month-old Labrador retriever, Rachel, old enough to share our Hanukkah meals?

Daisy Responds

Age isn’t the issue, but I’m sorry to say that the food is.

Hanukkah is celebrated with foods cooked in oil, because the holiday commemorates victory in a fight for religious freedom followed by a miracle: A one-day supply of sacramental oil illuminated the rededicated temple’s eternal light for eight days.

I love the potato pancakes and doughnuts people feast on as much as the next dog, but when Mom’s having them, she gives me only a morsel.

That’s because in dogs, foods rich in oil and other fats can cause vomiting, diarrhea and a painful inflammation of the pancreas called pancreatitis.

Worse, recurrent bouts of pancreatitis can damage insulin-producing cells in the pancreas, triggering diabetes later in life.

So it’s best that we dogs minimize our intake of oil and other fats.

Hanukkah feasts also include cheese and other dairy products, which we dogs love. But most cheeses are relatively high in fat, so moderation applies here, too.

Generally, treats should comprise no more than five percent of a dog’s diet. You should offer high-fat treats, like Hanukkah food, even more sparingly.

If there’s some left, let me know and I’ll be glad to help Rachel clean up.

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