Classified as hooved, cud-chewing animals with four-chambered stomachs, ruminating animals are the only mammals with a tripe, or a stomach lining specialized to digest plant material. When ruminating animals eat hay, grass and other plants, much of what they consume remains unchewed. The unchewed portions pass into two stomach chambers (the reticulum and rumen) where it is regurgitated, mixed with saliva and re-chewed. Once this mixture is swallowed, it passes through the other two stomach chambers where digestive enzymes, amino acids and various gastric juices further break down the material.
To most of us, the idea of eating tripe is unappetizing, to say the least. However, tripe is relished in many cultures as a nutritious and delicious food. For example, bak kut teh is a Chinese soup made with pork ribs and tripe, chakna is a spicy Indian stew containing goat trip and dulet is an Ethiopian stir-fry tripe dish seasoned with parsley and garlic.
Did you also know that dogs love tripe? Not the tripe cooked for human consumption but a specific kind of tripe called green tripe? Green tripe is not pre-boiled or bleached and provides your dog with all the vitamins and minerals he needs to boost immune system functioning, keep his skin and coat healthy and improve metabolism. In addition to all these great benefits, dogs love tripe.
Facts about Green Tripe for Dogs
When you purchase raw green tripe for dogs, you’ll notice it is an unappealing grayish-brown in color and may have a greenish tint that can be attributed to any undigested plant material. Green tripe doesn’t smell too good, either, so prepare yourself before opening the package. But your dog will think it smells great and that’s all that matters. Additionally, the rubbery toughness of tripe helps remove plaque from your dog’s teeth and allows him to exercise his jaw muscles.
Tripe’s rich chlorophyll content is not only advantageous to reducing the occurrence of canine gastrointestinal problems but also contributes to red blood cell and hemoglobin formation while detoxifying your dog’s blood and lymph systems. The canine lymphatic system is closely associated with the cardiovascular system because it helps maintain proper fluid balance between soft tissues and blood vessels. In addition, when the lymphatic system is free of toxins, dogs enjoy stronger immune responses to invading pathogens and increased energy due to lymph fluid promoting absorption of digested fats in the intestines.
Raw green tripe is considered by veterinarians and canine experts to be most nutritional food available for dogs. Containing the essential fatty acids omega-3 and omega-6 (linolenic and linoleic acids), proteins, fats and an ideal phosphorous to calcium ratio necessary to facilitating absorption of either nutrient, green tripe also presents a slightly acidic pH level conducive to canine digestion. Green tripe also provides your dog with probiotic called lactobacillus acidophilus (lactobacilli) or lactic acid bacteria.
Frequently depleted by stress, illness or use of antibiotic medications, lactobacilli in dogs helps prevent recurring diarrhea and urinary tract infections, enhances overall digestive health and improves coat condition. Maintaining adequate amounts of lactobacilli in older dogs by feeding them green tripe may also reduce joint pain caused by arthritis.
L. acidophilus is one of the most important “good” bacteria populating your dog’s gut. Essential for helping keep “bad” bacteria populations in check, lactobacilli work with other beneficial gut bacteria to stop disease-causing bacteria such as listeria, salmonella and E-coli from making your dog very ill. Since the canine intestines provide just enough food to maintain specific bacteria populations, adding raw green tripe to your dog’s daily diet will support the ability of “good” bacteria to outnumber and overwhelm “bad” bacteria populations.
Never cook raw green tripe. Heating tripe will destroy the beneficial digestive enzymes found in tripe. Dogs that eat commercial or cooked diets often suffer undiagnosed enzyme deficiencies responsible for nervousness, lack of energy, chronic, viral/bacterial infections and chronic diarrhea. If you dog suffers from one or more of these health problems, try giving him raw green tripe once or twice a day to restore lost digestive enzymes and other nutrients he lacks from eating commercial dog food.
How to Buy Raw Green Tripe
Different forms of raw green tripe are available online and in supermarkets. However, be aware that grocery store tripe has been bleached and cleaned for human consumption. This kind of tripe offers zero nutritional value for dogs.
The best green tripe comes from grass-fed cows or other animals instead of ruminants sustained in feedlots. Some companies selling tripe for canines offer uncut pieces of green tripe that are abrasive and tougher than smaller cuts. Don’t be afraid to give your dog this kind of tripe, since it works better for cleaning canine teeth and providing necessary chewing time. You will want to feed your dog big, tough pieces of raw green tripe outdoors since it can be extremely smelly and will last a long time.
Feeding your dog shelf-stable freeze dried tripe is acceptable because freeze drying does not eliminate any of the beneficial enzymes or nutrients found in raw green tripe. Usually available in mini-patties or nuggets, freeze dried tripe make great treats and may help encourage picky eaters if you place a few nuggets on top of their food.
You can also find canned green tripe that has been packaged at low temperatures to keep some, but not all, of the nutritional benefits found in raw green tripe. Canned tripe also exudes the same aroma as raw tripe so if your dog is used to eating uncanned, raw tripe, he’ll probably still love canned tripe.
All-Around Goodness for Your Dog
It may not smell the most appetizing and may be a bit challenging to handle but your dog will thank you. The benefits of raw green tripe are numerous. But the improvement in your dog’s overall health will be noticeable.
Disclaimer: the advice and information in this article is not intended to be used as a replacement for professional medical advice from a veterinarian.