The magical mystery meat!
Have you wondered if tripe would do any good for your mutts, pups and nobles? A popular ethnic food in many parts of Africa, the UK and Asia, tripe is not new at all, but it’s quickly becoming a popular natural health choice for fur kids.
What is Tripe?
Tripe refers to “a type of edible offal from the stomachs of various farm animals” (see: Tripe is a type of edible lining from the stomachs of various farm animals (Wikipedia)). Tripe can come from any ruminating (grazing) animal with a stomach, but most commonly cattle, pigs, sheep or lamb, and goats.
Consumed by people living in various countries and continents (Africa, 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
The white tripe that you find in the grocery store has been cleaned, scalded and bleached. It has almost no nutritional value for your fur kids. This tripe is usually found in dishes such as menudo, and not suitable for our fur kids!
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 (see: Cooking Tripe (Article)). 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;
- 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 (see: Raw Green Tripe (IVC Journal)). Probiotics keep bad bacteria from overtaking your pet’s digestive system and making your mutts, pups and nobles 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 mutts, pups & nobles 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 feed 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. (see: Natural Vitamins May Be Superior to Synthetic Ones, Thiel R.J., Natural Vitamins May Be Superior to Synthetic Ones. Medical Hypotheses, 2000; 55(6):461-469 (Article)).
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.
Benefits of Tripe for Mutts, Pups & Nobles?
So how can something so disgusting, be so good? These same gastric juices and enzymes not only aid the animal in digestion, but also aid the dog in digesting and efficiently utilizing his food. The amino acids are necessary for muscular development and, the other gastric juices, we believe, are the best cleaner for their teeth! 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).
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 mutts, pups & nobles 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. Fooding 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 or acid reflux, 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 faeces for the digestive enzymes it contains. While there are a number of reasons why dogs eat poop (see: Why do Dogs Eat Poop: Coprophagia Explained, Krystn Janisse (Article)), including anxiety, stress, and boredom (to name a few), this solution takes care of the dietary cause. Green tripe can also help 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.
In short, if you aren’t fooding 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. NEVER, NEVER EVER thaw tripe in the microwave. Only ever consider if you NEVER want your in-laws to visit again. But if you can manage to plug your nose while you serve it, your mutts, pups and nobles can benefit from a superior nutrition that few other foods can offer.