|Our sweet little beagle, Abby|
DISCLAIMER AND CREDIT: I am not a halachic authority (nor do I play one on tv). All the lists and guidelines mentioned here came from two excellent halachic sources. I tried to copy verbartim whenever I could, but please doublecheck with these guides before purchasing any Passover-approved pet food:
On Passover/Pesach, according to halacha (Jewish law), a Jewish person may not even "derive benefit" from chametz, which means that while your pets do not need to keep kosher, you may not feed them food containing chametz on Pesach. You many, however feed them food containing kitniyos, such as rice or corn.
Per the Star-K, you don't need to buy a new food bowl for your pet on Pesach, but you must wash out your pet's bowl very thoroughly and remove all traces of old food.
The lists below were taken from the two kashrus sources cited above, the CRC and the Star-K. Even when purchasing a brand name mentioned on this list, make sure to check all labels, and if you see an ingredient that gives you pause, call or email a halachic authority. There should be no chometz listed. A product listing both meat and dairy ingredients may also not be used any time during the year or on Pesach.
FYI, there are very few reasonably-priced dog treats that are kosher for Passover, so here's what we do. (This is for gebrokts-eating homes only): after a meal with chicken soup and matzoh, when we clear the table, we dump all the leftover soup (make sure there are no bones!) into a plastic disposable bowl and then break up all the leftover matzoh into the leftover soup. The matzoh absorbs the soup. Then we give it in little bits to our dogs as treats. They love it. Awesome frugal treat.
Here are a few guidelines mentioned by the CRC and Star-K:
- In addition to checking for the five chametz grains – wheat, barley, rye, oats, and spelt – also look for brewer’s yeast (a common flavoring agent, which is chametz), malt (a barley-based sweetener), pasta, xanthan gum (a thickener which may be fermented from chametz), and other generic terms which may refer to a chametz ingredient (e.g. flour, gluten, cracked, ground, groats, hulled, middlings, starch, et al). Any questionable ingredient should be reviewed by a competent rabbinic authority.
- Many varieties of animal feed contain a multitude of vitamins, minerals, and amino acids, some of which may well be chametz, and there is no realistic way for a consumer to determine which of them are problematic. However, the good news is that vitamins comprise such a small percentage of the animal food that they are batel (nullified). Therefore, it is generally accepted that if the animal food was created before Pesach, it may be used on Pesach.
- Some common ingredients used in pet food which do not pose a Pesach concern are:
- Animal, poultry and fish products.
- Vegetables, such as alfalfa, asparagus, beets, and carrots.
- Assorted kitnios foods, such as buckwheat, corn products, lentils, millet, peas, rice, beans, brewer's rice, grain sorghum or milo, peas, sesame, soy flour, peanuts, sunflower seeds, and various soy products.
- Other items, such as barley grass, BHA, BHT, carrageenan, cellulose, colors, eggs, gums (other than xanthan gum), kelp, lactose, linseed, milk products, molasses, oils, psyllium, and whey.
- Feed available at zoos is often chametz and should not be purchased or fed to the animals on Pesach.
- It is advisable to mix regular and Pesach food together one to two weeks before Pesach before switching completely to Pesach food. The ratio of regular and Pesach food should be changed slowly to get the animal used to the new diet. Check with your veterinarian before changing diet.
- Pet food with gravy often contains chametz. Read the ingredient panel carefully.
- By no means do these pointers cover all of the ingredients used in pet food, and you might want to be in touch with a kashrus professional if you are unsure about any of the other ingredients in a given pet food.
- Mixes sold in stores often contain chometz. It is advisable to mix together regular and Pesach food between one to two weeks prior to Pesach before switching completely to Pesach food. The ratio of regular and Pesach food should be changed slowly to get the animal used to the new diet. Check with your veterinarian before changing diet.
- Make sure you check with your local Va'ad regarding which stores are okay for buying pet food immediately after Pesach (you want to avoid chametz she'avar alav haPesach, just as with people-food)
I purposely left specific Evangers pets foods off the list of approved pet foods, because many (not all, so always CHECK) Evanger's dog and cat foods actually have hashgacha for Pesach (for your pet only!) from the CRC, and I felt they deserved their own mention. You can get Evanger's pet foods on Amazon here. Make sure the description mentions the CRC kosher supervision and double-check for it when the product arrives.
- Blue Wilderness Grain Free (dry), these varieties ONLY: Adult (Indoor Chicken, Weight Control, Duck, Salmon, Trout, Red Meat, Rabbit), Kitten (Chicken)
- Friskies (canned), these varieties ONLY: Classic Paté Classic Seafood Entrée, Classic Paté Salmon Dinner, Classic Paté Country Style Dinner, Classic Paté Chicken and Tuna Dinner, Classic Paté Mariners Catch
- Merrick Grain Free Limited Ingredient Diet (canned): Real Chicken, Real Duck, Real Salmon, Real Turkey
- Merrick Purrfect Bistro Grain-Free (canned): Salmon Paté, Tuna Paté, Chicken Casserole, Chicken Divan
- Prescription Diet, these varieties ONLY: a/d, d/d except duck, m/d canned only, r/d, s/d, t/d, zd.
- Wellness Core Grain-Free (dry), these varieties ONLY: Original, Kitten, Turkey & Turkey Meal & Duck, Indoor
- Wellness Core Grain-Free (canned), these varieties ONLY: Kitten Formula, Whitefish & Salmon & Herring, Indoor
- Alpo Chop House Originals (canned): Prime Rib Flavor cooked in Savory Juices, T-Bone Steak and Ribeye Flavor cooked in Savory Juices, Roasted Chicken and Top Sirloin Flavors cooked in Savory Juices, Filet Mignon and Bacon Flavor cooked in Savory Juices
- Blue Freedom Grain Free (canned): Chicken Recipe (Small Breed, Puppy), Grillers (Hearty Beef, Hearty Lamb)
- Blue Wilderness Grain Free (dry), these varieties ONLY: Adult Chicken Recipe, Small Breed Adult Chicken Recipe, Adult Lamb Recipe, Adult Duck Recipe, Puppy Chicken Recipe, Senior Chicken Recipe, Healthy Weight Chicken Recipe
- Blue Wilderness Grain Free (canned): Salmon & Chicken Grill, Turkey & Chicken Grill, Duck & Chicken Grill
- Hills Ideal Balance Grain Free (dry): Adult Natural Chicken & Potato, Adult Natural Salmon & Potato
- Mighty Dog: (canned no gravy): Chicken Egg & Bacon Country Platter, Chicken & Smoked Bacon Combo, Hearty Beef Dinner, With Lamb and Rice.
- Prescription Diet, these varieties ONLY: a/d, d/d, h/d, n/d, s/d, u/d.
- Wellness Core Grain Free (canned): Puppy, Turkey & Chicken Liver & Turkey Liver, Whitefish & Salmon & Herring, Beef & Venison & Lamb.
- Wellness Core Grain Free Ninety Five Percent (canned): Beef with Carrots, Chicken with Broccoli, Turkey with Spinach
- Fish food, including pyramid feeders, and vacation blocks often have chametz. Goldfish and tropical fish can be given tubular worms, frozen brine shrimp, and freeze-dried worms (if they do not contain fillers).
- The Star-K has listed Tetra Tropical Slow Release Gel Feeders (Tetra Weekend 5 days, and Tetra Vacation 14 days) and Zoo Med Laboratories Giant Plankton Banquet Block Feeder as being acceptable.
- Millet and sorghum, wild bird food (check for chametz in ingredients) as main diet.
- Peanuts, sunflower seeds, and safflower seeds can be given.
- Larger birds, such as parrots, can eat pure alfalfa pellets (make sure it is pure alfalfa since it is common to add grains) or dry dog food (see above for list).
- Smaller birds can also eat pure alfalfa pellets – crush before feeding.
- Can supplement with sliced grapes, cottage cheese, rice cakes (birds like these), small pieces of lean meat, matzah, berries, eggs, canned baby fruits. All large food should be shredded before serving.
- These items should be given sparingly.
- For minerals, can have oyster shells (calcium) or mineral block such as Kaytee Tropical Fruit Mineral Block Treat.
- The greater the variety, the better.
- Best to feed pure alfalfa pellets. Make sure it is pure alfalfa since it is common to add grains. Dried alfalfa may also be given.
- Can supplement with mixture of cut-up fruits and vegetables - carrots, grapes, broccoli, apples, melon, kale, parsley, oranges, celery, dry corn, sunflower seeds, or cabbage. Can also give some matzah. If not accustomed to these items, give sparingly.
- Guinea pigs will especially benefit from kale, parsley, and oranges.
- Hamsters will especially benefit from apples.
- Guinea pigs need vitamin C added to diet.
- Be aware that mealworms, which as living creatures are not chametz, are commonly sold in a bed of wheat flakes or oatmeal, which is chametz and, therefore, may not be owned or used on Passover.
- Live crickets are permissible.
- Whole insects (live or dead) with no additives or other ingredients are permissible.
For more Pesach deals and money-saving tips, check out your Pesach-Central at PESACH.DAILYCHEAPSKATE.COM or PASSOVER.DAILYCHEAPSKATE.COM.