Clinic Stories

Dogs at Passover

Passover, which begins this year on Friday night, April 3rd, is an eight day holiday commemorating Moses leading the Jewish people out of Egypt. During Passover the home must be cleared of grain products that can be eaten and are subject to rising. Dogs play both a historical and a modern role in Passover.

On the night the Jews left Egypt, the Bible records that the dogs did not bark, pretty amazing considering that two million people left at the same time. As a result, dogs are rewarded to this day with eating the meat from animals that die without kosher slaughtering.

Even now, dogs are the standard to determine what is fit to be called food for Passover. Anything a dog will not eat is not considered food and need not be removed from the house. Those who have dogs will realize that they will eat nearly anything so it happens to be a very strict standard.

In preparing for Passover, pet foods must be considered. Here is some information on pet foods for Passover.

Pet Foods

One of the many challenges of Pesach is finding permitted pet food. There are two separate kashrut issues for one to be aware of – one related specifically to Pesach, the other related to the rest of the year as well. The year-round problem concerns meat and milk. Commonly, dog and cat foods that contain meat (not chicken) and milk together is rendered forbidden to Jewish pet owners all year round. However, there is even more for a Jewish pet owner to be concerned about during Pesach. Due to the prohibition of deriving any pleasure or benefit from chametz, one is not permitted to use or own pet food containing any type of chametz on Pesach. It is, therefore, important to be aware of the prevalent use of the five grains (wheat, rye, barley, oats, spelt) in dog and cat foods today. Almost every dry pet food lists wheat or oats as their first ingredient. This is true for fish food and bird food as well.

Benefit from "kitniyot" (legumes) is permitted on Pesach, even for an Ashkenazic Jew. Therefore, rice does NOT pose a problem in pet foods.

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