Have you wondered if tripe would do any good for your dog? A popular ethnic food in many parts of the UK and Asia, tripe is not new at all, but it’s quickly becoming a popular natural health choice for pets. Learn about what tripe is, the types of tripe, and how tripe is beneficial for dogs and cats.
What is Tripe?
Tripe refers to “a type of edible offal from the stomachs of various farm animals” (Wikipedia). Tripe can come from any ruminating (grass-fed) animal with a stomach, but most commonly cattle, pigs, sheep or lamb, and goats.
Consumed by people living in various countries (France, Indonesia, China, Ecuador, India, and Greece to name a few) and in a variety of dishes, tripe is a popular food for many different people all over the world. But the type of tripe that is healthy for your pets is a little different than the kind that people eat.
Types of Tripe
Tripe that has been treated for human consumption is bleached and boiled, offering little nutritional benefit to your pet.
Green tripe is the untreated contents of a grazing animal’s stomach or intestines. It may sound disgusting, but this food is highly nutritious, containing plenty of enzymes, good bacteria, and nutrients that are excellent for your pet’s health. It’s also a very natural part of both dogs and cats’ ancestral diets. Since both dogs and cats were hunters before being domesticated, they would often consume their prey’s stomach and other entrails. For carnivores, this can be one of the sole sources of many essential vitamins and nutrients.
Green tripe is called green not because of its colour, but because it is untouched, unbleached, and untreated, though it is usually lightly rinsed. While green tripe can be tinted green due to grass or hay eaten by the host animal, it’s predominantly brown.
Forms of Green Tripe
Like many products, green tripe comes in many different qualities. For your pet’s best health and nutrition, make sure the green tripe you feed is:
- From “grass-fed” or “free-range”, not feedlot animals.
- Minimally processed. Fresh is always best, followed by frozen and freeze-dried varieties. These can be referred to as raw tripe. Low-heat canned tripe can still contain plenty of nutrients, but the digestive enzymes and probiotics that are sensitive to heat will be lost.
- Locally sourced. Choosing locally-sourced Canadian animals when available ensures high standards in production and safety.
Green Tripe Nutrition Information
Green Tripe is high in protein. 70% of this protein has 7 amino acids, which perform essential functions in your pet’s body, including building muscle and enhancing all system functioning from immune response to tissue repair to urinary tract health.
Raw Green Tripe contains high amounts of lactobacillus acidophilus, a healthy probiotic. The beneficial bacteria in your pet’s body, probiotics compete with harmful bacteria – like e-coli, listeria, and salmonella – for the same resources. Probiotics keep bad bacteria from overtaking your pet’s digestive system and making your pet sick. Acidophilus is naturally found in animal intestines, including your own and your dog or cat’s. By including acidophilus in your pet’s diet, you increase the amount of good bacteria that lives within your pet’s digestive system, promoting healthy digestion and optimal nutrient absorption.
Raw Green Tripe contains digestive enzymes. Why does this matter? Natural enzymes aid the digestive process by facilitating the breakdown of food into nutrients. The more digestive enzymes available, the more vitamins, minerals, and usable energy your pet will be able to receive from food.
Natural Vitamins and Minerals
Green Tripe also contains partially-digested greens, which unlock nutrients that may have been unavailable if your dog or cat simply ate the grass that the cow (or other grazing animal) did. Herbivores such as cows and sheep have different digestive enzymes in their bodies for digesting the things that they normally eat – grasses, for instance. Your pet, primarily a carnivore, has different digestive enzymes for digesting raw meat, such as they would in the wild. By including partially digested roughage in your pet’s diet, you give them more usable nutrients for their system. These vitamins and minerals would be hard for them to get in any other way.
But what about added vitamins and minerals? True, processed foods do include vitamins and minerals, even naturally-derived ones, but studies still show that consuming natural food sources for these are more beneficial than eating them isolated in the form of added vitamins. Your pet’s body seems to absorb these naturally-occurring vitamins better. http://www.healthresearch.com/vitamins.htm
Calcium and Phosphorus
Green Tripe has a nearly perfect calcium to phosphorus ratio, as well as an optimal ratio of Omega 3 to Omega 6 fatty acids, making it nutritionally balanced. Green tripe is also acidic in pH, making it easier for your pet to digest – perfect for sensitive stomachs (though the smell might turn yours).
Green Tripe is high in heart-healthy unsaturated fats, nearly 50% of the total fat in tripe is unsaturated. These fats provide quality, long-term energy and increase healthy HDL (high-density lipoprotein) cholesterol. Some green tripe products will trim more fat off to make the tripe a leaner product, so not all varieties will have the same amount of unsaturated fats.
Benefits of Tripe for Dogs
Tripe can do a lot of good for your pet’s health, particularly if it is raw green tripe. However, not everyone is able to go to a local butcher and get fresh raw green tripe (or wants to deal with the mess). Quality, low-heat processed canned varieties should still provide many of the same benefits as raw green tripe, although some heat-sensitive contents, such as probiotics and digestive enzymes, may be lost.
Tripe for Weight Gain or Illness Recovery
Green tripe smells awful – it’s true – but dogs LOVE the smell and taste. That makes it an easy choice for dogs who need to gain weight, whether they are just underweight or if they are recovering from illness. What’s more, the weight gained will be healthy weight, built on calories full of the vitamins, minerals, and nutrition that your dog needs to restore and maintain proper system functioning.
Tripe for Weight Loss and Weight Maintenance
Weight gain AND loss? Many dogs and cats gain weight when fed traditional, carbohydrate-heavy, low-nutrition kibble diets that claim to be complete nutrition. Carbohydrates often provide quick energy, not lasting energy that will keep your pet satisfied, like proteins and healthy fats.
Tripe contains concentrated calories, but the calories are full of nutrients as well that will support your pet’s system functioning. Tripe makes a great supplement to any weight-loss diet for your dog or cat, as it will help them feel full. Your pet also won’t miss out on needed nutrients, as is the danger of restrictive diets. Feed it as a healthy, guilt-free treat by freezing it into cubes or offering freeze-dried morsels.
Tripe for Picky Eaters
Green tripe has a very potent aroma, but if you can stomach it, tripe can interest even picky dogs. Dogs love the strong smell, which is particularly good for seniors who have lost some of their sense of smell. Feed it as a part of your pet’s regular diet, a nutritious treat, or as a topper for your dog or cat’s kibble.
Tripe for Pregnant or Nursing Mothers
Tripe is chock full of vitamins, minerals, protein, and healthy fats, which makes it the perfect addition to your pregnant or nursing bitch's diet. Feeding her quality nutrition at this time in her life gives her the energy that she needs for her puppies, but won’t make her pack on non-essential pounds. The extra calcium it contains should suit your pregnant or nursing pet’s needs, and the nearly perfect ratio of calcium to phosphorus (which is required for calcium uptake) is highly desirable and rare in a whole food.
Tripe for Sensitive Stomachs
Green tripe is very easy to digest. In fact, green tripe is partially digested already, since it comes from a grazing animal’s stomach. Freeze-dried, frozen, or fresh tripe is the best for naturally-occurring probiotics and digestive enzymes. If your dog or cat has “Leaky Gut” syndrome, raw tripe is very digestible and can ease these symptoms.
Tripe for Coprophagia
Can’t get your dog to stop eating poop? The digestive enzymes in green tripe are said to help dogs that eat feces for the digestive enzymes it contains. While there are a number of reasons why dogs eat poop, including anxiety, stress, and boredom (to name a few), this solution takes care of the dietary cause. Green tripe can also rid your dog of a habit of eating grass.
Tripe for Dental Health
If you can find some raw or freeze dried tripe in large chunks or pieces, it has a quite rubbery texture, which is great for dogs to chew on. This makes it a tasty, natural chew that is excellent for oral health. Canned tripe for dogs is still a healthy natural food, but since it is ground, canned tripe does not have the same dental benefits.
In short, if you aren’t feeding your dog or cat green tripe, you should be! Few natural foods offer as much nutrition, especially in a form so attractive to pets. The only downside to green tripe would be its smell. But if you can manage to plug your nose while you feed it, your pet can benefit from a superior nutrition that few other foods can offer.