Keeping a kosher kitchen means paying attention to the foods you buy as well as what dishes you use with different types of food, following the Jewish tradition. Although the Torah doesn't require pets to eat in the same kosher style as people, a few requirements exist that limits that dog foods you can use if you want your pet to stick to kosher rules.
Kosher Dog Food
It's acceptable for animals to eat some foods not kosher for humans, according to Star-K Online -- but not every combination works in your kosher kitchen. Look for dog foods with meat as a main ingredients, including beef, fish, chicken, goat or pork -- even though you aren't permitted to eat all those meats yourself, it's still OK for your dog. Milk and grain products are acceptable in most cases, and vegetables always are considered kosher as long as they've been inspected for bugs -- which aren't kosher.
Look at dog food labels carefully to ensure you're buying the right product for you and your pet. Just the word "meat" in the ingredients isn't enough to make an informed decision. Some meats, such as chicken and pork, work when combined with dairy products in kosher dog food. Others, such as beef, sheep or goat meant, do not. The labels should clearly state what type of meat the can or bag contains. Also note that casein and whey are milk products and can't be combined with meats such as beef. People who keep the kosher way of life aren't permitted to combine meat and dairy products, even keeping separate plates for the two food types. This rule translates over to dog food because the Torah states that you may not benefit from combining certain meats and dairy -- feeding your pet, a member of your family, is considered a benefit.
An important Jewish holiday, Passover rules dictate that there be no grains in the house during those days. Most dog foods contain grains, which presents a problem for kosher households. Several versions of grain-free dog food exists, although you might need to plan ahead and order them online if they aren't available in your area. You might also decide to cook food for your pet during Passover; it's just for a few days, and it ensures no grain enters your home. He'll enjoy a variety of cooked meats mixed with vegetables without spices; stay away from onions and garlic specifically, as these can be toxic to dogs.
Dog dishes present another challenge in a kosher kitchen. Kosher rules restrict the use of certain dishes together, and this includes washing them. Plates you use for meat can't interact with plates used for dairy products, for example. Since your dog's food isn't the same as what you eat, his dishes should always be washed separately from your personal dishes -- so don't throw them in the dishwasher with your regular load. Dog foods suitable for kosher kitchens often contain the disclaimer that the food is acceptable for your dog to eat in that it doesn't contain mixtures forbidden in kosher kitchens, but it's not permissible for people to eat.
Some Kosher Brands
Some dog food brands specialize in kosher food for your pet. Evanger's offers an entire line of kosher dog food, including several grain-free options. Based in Illinois, only stores in a small geographical area sell Evanger's, but the company ships nationwide. Other dog food brands that offer kosher options, including some grain-free options for Passover, include Blue Wilderness, Canidae, Earthborn Holistic, Instinct, Merrick and Taste of the Wild.
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