Q. Do you keep a mitzva when you buy a can of dog food that contains meat of neveilos and treifos, and you feed it to your dog? Is just feeding your pet a mitzva, especially when you give it the food before you eat?
A. Mechilta (Mishpotim) maintains that it is a mitzva to feed the treifa animals to the dogs. Minchas Chinuch (Mitzva 72) wonders why if it is a mitzva, it is not counted as such by the counters of the mitzvos.
Darkei Teshuva (Y.D. 29: 2) quotes some opinions that maintain it is an obligatory chiuv, while others rule it is only a reshus or a permitted act.
Horav Shlomo Miller’s Shlit’a opinion is that following the accepted opinion, it is not a chiuv or a mitzva, just a voluntary reshus.
However, feeding the animals and pets, that depend on the owner for their food and feeding them before the owner eats, is indeed an obligatory mitzva.
Rabbi A. Bartfeld as revised by Horav Shlomo Miller Shlit’a