Raw Green Tripe, Whole & Ground. Image from Bold Raw – Available at Pet Outfitters
Of all the raw food diet ingredients I can suggest for dogs, few things compare to raw green tripe. Tripe is so beneficial, and for so many different conditions, that I usually refer to it simply as “stinky magic”.
Tripe is the stomach of any ruminant animal – sheep, cattle, bison, deer, camels, alpacas, llamas, etcetera. Tripe for human consumption has been washed, cleaned, trimmed, boiled and bleached. It is devoid of the nutritional benefits contained by green tripe, but safe for human consumption. For dogs, we’re looking for “green” tripe – that is, tripe that has not been boiled or bleached, although it usually has received a rudimentary hosing down. It generally retains at least some of the stomach contents, which in grass fed animals will naturally be green, hence the term “green tripe”.
Tripe from corn finished beef is sometimes substituted, especially when used in commercially prepared tripe products. The stomach’s digestive actions will generally have broken down the corn’s amino acids to the point that they will not cause issues for most dogs, but for dogs with confirmed corn or gluten sensitivity owners would do better to stay with tripe taken exclusively from grass fed animals. Doing so is increasingly difficult, however, since more farmers are finishing even lamb on grain mixtures. It’s best to inquire if the raw green tripe you are purchasing comes from exclusively grass fed animals.
Laboratory analysis of green tripe shows that it has an almost perfect ratio of calcium to phosphorus, at 1:1. Balancing calcium and phosphorus levels at an approximate ratio of 1.5:1 is essential for a balanced raw dog food diet (although tripe alone does not provide sufficient quantities of calcium or phosphorus for complete canine nutrition). Tripe also contains linoleic and linolenic acids, the essential fatty acids beneficial to skin, coat and cellular function and regeneration. Sufficient quantities of EFAs have been shown aid in blocking tumor formation in animals, and to regenerate damaged tissue. For dogs with leaky gut syndrome, tissue regeneration is crucial.
Since tripe essentially the stomach of animal that digest fibrous matter, it makes complete sense that tripe is loaded with beneficial digestive enzymes and lactic acid bacteria. Lactobacillus Acidophilus, as it is also known, is the beneficial bacteria found in most probiotics. Tripe is also slightly acidic, which is beneficial for animals who have digestive difficulties.
Raw green tripe from grass fed animals comes with an added bonus – some of the partially digested stomach contents from its last meal. It’s not uncommon to see bits of grassy matter in your raw tripe, and it this grass is what gives us the “Green” in raw green tripe. The semi digested stomach contents are a source of natural prebiotics, defined as:
“a selectively fermented ingredient that allows specific changes, both in the composition and/or activity in the gastrointestinal microflora that confers benefits upon host well-being and health”
Grazing animals such as sheep routinely tear plants up by the roots, digesting the rich plant based inulin essential to prebiotic function. The grassy stomach contents in raw green tripe are then partially fermented by the actions of the stomach, and bathed in a rich gastric soup of digestive enzymes and Lactobacillus Acidophilus. Few commercial probiotics can emulate the effectiveness of a serving of fresh, grass fed raw green tripe.
Raw green tripe is beneficial to dogs suffering from digestive problems, sensitive stomachs, food intolerance and even leaky gut syndrome. In non clinical trials, a regimen of six days of using raw green tripe as 25% of a raw fed dog’s diet have shown marked decreases in acid reflux and irritable bowel symptoms.
Another raw green tripe convert has been feeding her Great Dane a 25% raw green tripe diet for six months. Her dog, initially diagnosed with leaky gut syndrome, has shown an improvement in food tolerance, a decrease in vomiting and regurgitation, and a cessation of flare ups of periodic diarrhea. Additionally, she reports her dog no longer eats grass – or poop!
Lessened poop eating is one of the most interesting anecdotally reported benefits of feeding raw green tripe. Raw green tripe, when fed on a regular basis, seems to lessen the insatiable craving for poop eating (or coprophagia) that even the most ardent pet lovers find difficult to forgive . Groundbreaking research suggests that dogs who eat their own feces do so because their bodies lack the necessary amounts of digestive enzymes required to fully digest their food. Raw green tripe, with its abundance of natural digestive enzymes and lactic acid bacteria, allows dogs to utilize all of the food they eat, taking away their biological imperative to eat feces.
The rich taste and even richer smell of raw green tripe makes it a potent topper for picky dogs who turn down most foods, and it’s a concentrated source of nutrition for pregnant and nursing dogs, and dogs recovering from illness. Some cats enjoy the taste of green tripe, and tripe rich in stomach contents can satisfy the craving of both dogs and cats to eat grass.
These nutritious stomach contents are also the cause of one of green tripe’s most noticeable features – its smell. It’s an odor that can only be compared to the reek of an overflowing sewer on a hot summer day (only perhaps not quite as pleasant). Feeding raw green tripe is what separates the hardcore raw feeder from the dilettante, giving you added ‘street cred’ on any discussion groups you belong to. It’s one thing to say, “Oh, last night I ground up some turkey necks”, and another altogether to say, “Last night I hauled home six buckets of sheep stomachs, and chopped them up by hand in the driveway using a block and tackle and a sushi knife”.
Luckily for most of us, there are commercial sources of ground raw green tripe available in many areas. Stinky and slimy it may be, but raw green tripe can pay off with added health and vitality for your dogs.