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What are the Halachos of taking care of a dog and a bird on Shabbos?


What are the Halachos of taking care of a dog and a bird on Shabbos?


Here are some of the basic halachos of taking care of a dog or a bird on shabbos.

  1. The same way that we are commanded not to do melacha on shabbos, we have to make sure that our animal does not “work” on shabbos, (i.e. carry something in a public domain). However it is permitted to let our animal eat grass etc. even though it will rip the grass from the ground. The reason for this is because it is doing it for itself.
  2. A person should make sure that his pet doesn’t walk outside carrying things that are not for the protection of the animal; however things that are made to protect the animal are permitted. For example a sweater to keep the animal warm, or a leash to protect it from getting lost.
  3. The animal should not go outside with anything attached to it that might fall off. This is because the owner may pick it up and accidently carry it.
  4. When walking out side with a leash on the dog, one should be careful that the end of the leash does not stick out from his hand more than 4 inches, and that the leash stay raised off the ground more than 4 inches. This is because if it draping too close to the ground it doesn’t look like a protective leash.
  5. Feeding- It is permitted to feed ones dog or bird on shabbos since the owner is meant to feed it. However animals that get their food on their own may not be fed on shabbos as it s considered “tircha yiseira” an unnecessary bother. (A dog that is hungry and can’t find its own food may be fed on Shabbos).
  6. Touching- Essentially all animals are muktza and should not be moved on shabbos, and according to almost all poskim, this includes pets, even though they are meant to be played with. This is because the prohibition not to touch animals is an all inclusive prohibition. The bird cage should not be moved because it is a bosis (a support) to the bird which is muktza.



  1. O:CH 324-13- M:B 33.
  2. O:CH 305-1,4, 15 M:B 1, 12.   Shmiras Shabos Khilchoso 27 ftnt 26.
  3. O:CH 305-6.
  4. O:CH 305-15, M:B 50, 51.
  5. Shabbos 155b, O:CH 324-11, Shmiras Shabbos Khilchoso 27-21,23.
  6. Muktza- pets Tosefos Shabbos 45b D:H Hachi Bmai in the name of R’ Yosef, Mahrach Orh Zoruah 82 in the name of the Rosh, Shulchan Aruch Horav 308-78, M:B 308-146, Kaf Hachaim O:CH 308-35, Divrei Chachomim 126 and Sefer Tltulei Shabbos pg. 119 ftnt. 6 in the name of R’ Moshe Feinstein zt”l, Shmiras Shabbos Khilchoso 20 ftnt 171 and 27-ftnt 101, and 27-31. Be’er Moshe 2-28, Muktza: A Practical Guide pg. 225 ftnt. 1, Chut Shani Shabbos 3 pg. 144, Orchos Shabbos 19-12.

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