- Question: [Tuesday, 10th Nissan, 5781]
Must pet food be Kosher for Pesach?
Yes. One must be careful to purchase pet food that is rabbinically authorized or certified for Pesach use, having been cleared of any Chametz ingredients. One should not simply rely on the ingredients stated on the can or package to verify that it does not contain Chametz. If such pet food is not available in one’s area then one should look for other non-Chametz and non-processed alternatives to feed one’s pet throughout Pesach.
Regarding Kitniyus: There is no issue whatsoever to feed Kitniyus products to your pet throughout Pesach, and thus seeds, legumes and beans of any kind may be fed to your various pets, and Kosher for Pesach use authorization and certification may be given to pet foods that contain such ingredients if they are free of any Chametz.
The following websites lists a number of grain free pet foods:
Explanation: It is Biblically forbidden to benefit from [any amount of] Chametz during Pesach. It is thus forbidden to feed Chametz to even a wild, disowned, animal. It goes without saying that is forbidden to feed Chametz to animals that he owns. Furthermore, it is forbidden to give one’s animal to a gentile caretaker during Pesach, if one knows for certain that the caretaker will feed Chametz to the animal.
Explanation of why one cannot rely in the ingredient list: In today’s modern food production industry, there are thousands of ingredients and trace ingredients added to the most basic and simple food products, and many of these ingredients derive from Chametz or Kitniyos. Their names, even when listed, are misleading and the Chametz or Kitniyos may be an inconspicuously hiding in the seemingly innocent food ingredients. Now, while one can argue that a trace ingredient of Chametz should not pose any problem in pet food so long as the main ingredient is not Chametz and the trace ingredient is inseparable from the main food, nonetheless practically one should not rely on this as many pet foods are actually perfectly edible for humans and are simply served in a can with a fancy label catering them to animals. Vetzaruch Iyun!
Sources: See regarding the benefiting prohibition against feeding animals Admur 431:2 and 450:18; Taz 443:3; https://www.star-k.org/articles/articles/seasonal/375/feeding-your-pet-barking-up-the-right-tree/ ; https://www.kashrut.com/Passover/pdf/crc_passover_2021_pets.pdf see regarding owning and benefiting from foods which contain Chametz that are inedible for humans: Admur 442:22