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Pet Food

Q: Are there any restrictions as to which foods I may feed my pet?

A: Pets are not required to keep kosher (even if they feel like a full fledged member of the family!) and therefore they are permitted to eat non-kosher food. However, there are certain non-kosher foods which we are not only forbidden from eating but we are even enjoined to not have any benefit/pleasure from them. Those foods may not be fed to a pet because when one does so they – the owner – is having a forbidden benefit from the non-kosher food. The lists of foods which have this stricter restriction (known as assur b’hana’ah) include:

  • Milk and meat which were cooked together (see below).
  • Chametz on Pesach (and on Erev Pesachafter a given time in the morning).
  • Non-kosher wine or grape juice (according to many opinions, see Shulchan Aruch & Rema YD 123:1, Shach 108:25 & 124:71, Mishnah Berurah 467:33 and Sha’ar HaTziun 467:57).
  • Within the first category (milk and meat cooked together) some of the details are that:

  • It is limited to beef, lamb, or goat meat (even if they are not kosher), and does not apply to poultry or to non-kosher species (e.g. pork) (Shulchan AruchYD 87:1 & 3).
  • It includes most dairy products (e.g. whey, milk powder, casein) but does not apply to lactose (meimei chalav – see Shulchan Aruch YD 87:8, 81:5 and Shach87:12).
  • The milk and meat must be cooked together, but if they are merely blended together without heat the mixture is non-kosher but may be fed to pets.

Accordingly, when choosing a pet food one must be sure that it does not contain any of the aforementioned items. The cRc assists pet owners with this task by reviewing the formulations of a number of pet foods made by Evanger’s (see their kosher certificate at and approving of their use for Pesach and year round. Many other pet foods are also acceptable for use by anyone who is familiar with food ingredients and has the patience to review the ingredient panel.