April 15, 2024
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How to Feed Your Pet for Pesach

Teaneck—When purchasing chometz-free food for Pesach, remember to buy for your pet as well. “We are not allowed to derive benefit from chometz so we can’t own it or feed it to animals,” said Rabbi Menachem Genack, CEO of kashrus for the Orthodox Union (OU). “We are not allowed to feed it to animals, even to birds in the field.”

Dr. Jennifer Suss, a veterinarian and owner of Bergen Veterinary Hospital in Teaneck, recommends checking with kosher supervision services or googling the net for kosher pet food suppliers. Star-K has a very informative site.

While we are happy, or at least resigned, to begin eating Pesach food at the first Seder, Dr. Suss cautions that our pets need to start earlier. “Pets can get an upset stomach when you change their food. Do it slowly, over a period of about two weeks.” Dr. Suss suggests that every few days, pet owners should take out some of the current food and add in the new one. “With pocket pets, monitor your pets closely; they can get very sick if they stop eating,” she adds.

Dr. Suss prefers dry food for dogs and wet food for cats. For dogs who don’t like dry food, she suggests putting some wet over the dry. Wet food, particularly the loaf type, is better for cats due to its high protein content. “Cats are more prone to diabetes. You can prevent it with a low carb diet.”

Bugs Bunny needs more than the ubiquitous carrots he eats. “Adult rabbits have the most stringent diet of the small mammals,” Dr. Suss says. They need fiber for gastrointestinal health but no fruit. They can have unlimited grass hay, carrot tops, parsley and leafy greens.

Guinea pigs need vitamin C daily and benefit from a wide variety of fruits and vegetables plus unlimited grass hay, according to Dr. Suss. Small rodents should eat kibble or a block form of feed plus mixed veggies including peas, lentils and beans. Oxbow, www.oxbowanimalhealth.com, makes food for these animals but you should check the ingredients.

A native of Bergenfield, Dr. Suss is a graduate of Yavneh Academy, Frisch High School, Stern College and Michigan State University College of Veterinary Medicine. Dr. Suss began her practice over a year ago and enjoys helping people keep their pets healthy.

By Bracha Schwartz

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