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Holiday Kashrut for Critters

When cleaning for Passover, don’t forget the needs of sweet Fido. Or Garfield. Or Tweety. Or whatever your canine/feline/avian family member is named.

While the Talmud instructs that pet owners are allowed to feed non-kosher food to their furry or fine-feathered friends most of the year, on Passover, while pets are permitted to continue to consume treyf fare, their human owners are allowed no chametz in their homes.

A conundrum? Not at all, thanks to a proliferation over the past two years of companies catering to the Passover pet. In yet the latest instance of rabbinical Judaism meeting the virtual age, many products can be purchased online.

Started last year in south Florida by a pet owner, www.kosherpets.com was the first to go into business. The Chicago Rabbinical Council approved its food as kosher for Passover for pets — it includes no chametz, but the meat is non-kosher. This year brings us www.kosherpetz.com — from Rabbi Joshua Wohl in Flatbush, Brooklyn — which sells Oma’s Pride pet food products. Rabbi Wohl has himself deemed the products appropriate for Passover. His business is seasonal.

Arlene Mathes-Scharf, the food scientist and kosher food specialist behind www.kashrut.com, lists on her Web site mainstream pet foods that don’t include any grains or other foods that may be considered chametz. Indeed, she said, pets take prominence during the Passover season: Without fail, the “first question” she gets as the holiday approaches is about what to do with a family’s animal members.

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