Meat and Milk Pet Food
Q. May one feed their dog pet food that contains milk and meat?
A. The Torah writes in three separate places that one may not cook a goat in its mother’s milk. Chazal interpreted the repetition of the verse to teach us that there are three prohibitions: not to cook milk and meat together, and not to eat or derive benefit from milk and meat that were cooked together.
Since feeding one’s dog is a form of benefit, it would seem clear that one may not feed one’s dog pet food that contains milk and meat. However, the Rambam (Perush Hamishnayos, Kerisos 3:4) holds that the prohibition to not derive benefit from milk and meat cooked together does not apply to meat that was not slaughtered properly. The Rambam reasons as follows: There is a principle in halacha that ain issur chal al issur which means that once an item is forbidden, it cannot subsequently be forbidden for another reason. Since it is forbidden to eat unslaughtered meat because of the prohibition of nevaila (a carcass of a dead animal), cooking a neveila in milk does not add a second prohibition of basar b’chalav because ain issur chal al issur. Furthermore, the Rambam maintains that the prohibitions of eating and deriving benefit from milk and meat are linked to each other. Where there is no restriction to eat basor b’cholov (as is the case with a nevaila), there is also no restriction to derive benefit. The Rambam enthusiastically presents this psak as a nekuda nifla’ah, an amazing point. The Pri Megadim and others show that Tosfos disagree, as cited in Pischei Teshuva 87:6. The Dagul Merevava (YD 87:3) writes that in situations of financial loss, one may rely on the lenient opinion of the Rambam. In most cases, restricting the use of milk and meat dog food does not present a financial loss since other dog food is readily available, and, therefore, both the Pri Megadim and Dagul Merevava agree that milk and meat dog food should not be used.
The Gerald & Karin Feldhamer OU Kosher Halacha Yomis is dedicated to the memory of Rav Yisroel Belsky, zt"l, who served as halachic consultant for OU Kosher for more than 28 years; many of the responses in Halacha Yomis are based on the rulings of Rabbi Belsky. Subscribe to the Halacha Yomis daily email here.