Own a Pet? Make Sure It Doesn’t Go Hungry This Pesach

Rabbi Chaim Loike

Can your pet eat chametz on Pesach?
No. This means that you cannot feed your pet any of the five grains: wheat, barley, spelt, oats and rye.

What other pet-food ingredients are usually chametz?
Yeast, malt and bran (Guar gum used in frozen foods is not a problem).

Dogs and cats – beware of drastic diet changes
Different pets have different needs. You should consult your animal healthcare provider before drastically changing the diet of dogs or cats because this can make them sick.

Reptiles, fish, and amphibians – no eating for a week?
Many reptiles, fish and amphibians can go a week without being fed. You might want to consider this option if you are not sure how your pet will react to a change in its diet.

Some tips for reptiles, fish, and amphibians:
• Frozen foods with no additives except guar gum are not a problem.
• You can try to feed your amphibians live foods that they can swallow.
• Fishing worms can also work (You might be able to find live fishing worms for sale at your local Walmart or fishing store. Wash them off before feeding).

Rabbits, chickens, and other small mammals and birds – menu planning necessary
Your small mammals and birds need to eat every day. What can you serve them on Pesach? Leafy greens, fruit and kitniyot (Although the Ashkenazic community does not eat kitniyot on Pesach, you may feed kitniyot to your pets). Do not feed them avocados or citrus fruit.

Careful of chametz mixed in
If you purchase seeds and kitniyot, check them carefully before Pesach to make sure that none of the five grains are mixed in.

Don’t give your pet a stomachache!
If your pet is delicate, it is best to start feeding it a mix of seeds and regular food before Pesach to ensure your pet adjusts well. After all, you don’t want to turn your guinea pig into, well, a guinea pig.

Rabbi Chaim Loike

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