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What is Green Tripe & Why Should You Feed It?



Green tripe. If you have had a conversation with one of us here at the store, there is a good chance we have brought it up in one way or another. Kibble feeder? Feed tripe. Picky eater? Feed tripe. Having GI issues (diarrhea or constipation)? Feed tripe. Kidney disease? Feed tripe. We are even starting to learn about how beneficial it is to growing animals in the prevention of the dreaded ruptured ACL.


How can this one ingredient be so beneficial in so many different situations? We will get into that below, but first lets make sure we are all clear on what green tripe is.


Green tripe comes from ruminating animals; these are animals that graze, such as cows, sheep, bison and venison. These animals have more than one stomach, to aid in digestion. Green tripe is the stomach and the contents of the stomach from those animals. The most common one you will find in both pet specialty stores and in grocery stores is beef tripe. However, they are very different from one another. Tripe for human consumption has been washed, bleached and scalded; all of the benefits have been destroyed. “Green” tripe does not typically refer to the color, as it is usually brownish but instead to the state we feed it; untouched, uncleaned, raw and as fresh as possible. It still has all of the roughage (grasses & feed) that the cow had ingested before being sent to slaughter. All of the digestive enzymes and stomach juices that were present to aid the cow in its own digestion are still present.


When it comes to green tripe, you want to feed it as fresh as possible, to retain all of the nutritional benefits. In store for example, we have a variety of frozen green tripe options, some ground up finely, some left whole but cubed into convenient feeding portions. We also have freeze-dried tripe, which can be sprinkled on top of food dry as a meal topper, or rehydrated. There is canned tripe, and some of the kibble options we carry even have tripe in the ingredients. Adding tripe to your pet’s meal is great, but not all tripe is equal. All forms of tripe make your pets food more palatable. All forms of tripe can be used as a source of fiber. But that is where the similarities end. Tripe that has been cooked, dehydrated or freeze-dried is lacking many of the important nutrients we want to feed, the digestive enzymes, not to mention the moisture.


The benefits :


Green tripe contributes beneficial prebiotics to your animal's gut, which helps to establish a healthy microbiome. The probiotics that should be present in your pet’s gut require constant nourishment to stay healthy and thriving, which is what we want. The higher an animal's probiotic count in their gut is the less likely that harmful bacteria, such as e. Coli and Salmonella are to move in and cause damage.


It is literally dripping with digestive enzymes; our animals, for one of many reasons, may require the addition of digestive enzymes to aid in their gut health. These enzymes are proteins that help an animal to properly break down food in their stomach, so that all of the nutrients from that meal can be extracted and used by your pet's body. Our pet’s can become enzyme deficient over time, due to their diet being cooked or processed. Their bodies use up their store of these enzymes and then they are not replenished with enzyme rich food sources, so less and less are available to aid your pet in digestion. If your pet is dealing with chronic pancreatitis, or EPI or another similar digestive disease, they would benefit from the addition of green tripe to their diet.


It can aid in preventing environmental allergies. As ruminating animals are often fed a variety of different grasses, these allergens are being introduced in a semi-digested manner to our pet’s. This behaves similarly to us getting an allergy shot; little by little, over an extended period of time we are introduced to allergens, until we stop reacting to them. Feeding tripe on a regular basis will introduce very small amounts of pollen to your pet’s system, which in time will help their body to regulate its response when it comes into contact with pollen in the environment.


Fiber; you know it, I know it, the doctor has probably brought it up to many of us at least once before. Our pet’s (mostly dogs, as cats are obligate carnivores, though they benefit from fiber in their senior years) require fiber for the same reason we do: to keep everything moving nicely down there. When we are introduced to an animal with food intolerances, we almost always recommend they go on a raw elimination diet that consists exclusively of meat, bone and organ from one protein source. This means that the pet parent needs to add in their own fiber. You can do that by adding pureed pumpkin (but not if your animal has had yeast issues in the past), steamed green vegetables or our favorite, green tripe. You will find all of the pre-digested fiber your pet needs in green tripe. It is a great source of fiber if you are trying to avoid starchy fruits and vegetables, like carrots, apples and pears. It is considered to be a white meat, as it has a lower concentration of myoglobin. That makes it more tolerable to pets with red meat sensitivities.


It is high in a variety of vitamins and minerals, one of which is manganese. This mineral and the lack of natural sources in our animals diet is one of the main contributing factors to ACL injuries. Manganese is crucial in the development and maintenance of collagen, which in turn supports soft tissue, which supports joints. Manganese has many other functions, which we will touch on in later posts.


It can be fed to pets in renal (kidney) failure; as our animal's kidneys begin to decline, we have to be cautious about what they are eating as the kidneys struggle to keep up their job of filtering, and certain minerals, such as phosphorus, are extra hard to process. This leads to inflammation and pain. Many of us know, an animal in pain is an animal that is not interested in eating. Green tripe has a perfect 1:1 ratio of calcium to phosphorus, and this low content of phosphorus is extra gentle on an animal's digestive tract. Plus, it can trigger the appetite of almost any animal, whether they are feeling well or not.


Raw green tripe that hasn’t been ground is one of nature's best sources of dental floss; give your pet a chunk of tripe and you have given them mental stimulation combined with all that stringy matter to gnaw on, that will help increase blood flow to the gums and remove leftover food from between the teeth.


The cons:


You should start slow when introducing green tripe to your pet. Too much at once could lead to diarrhea. It is recommended to start with anything from a teaspoon to a tablespoon per meal, depending on the size of your pet. Once you know that a certain amount agrees with their digestion, you can then increase that amount. A pet parent can feed tripe daily, a couple times a week or as a treat a few times a month. The only note to make is that it is not a fully balanced diet. Never feed your pet exclusively green tripe, as they will likely become deficient in other ways over time.


It’s stinky. There is no way to beat around the bush with this one. It smells pretty foul to us humans. However, once pet parents start feeding green tripe to their animals and they get to see first hand all the benefits, most are willing to put up with the smell. After all, don’t we owe it to them to do whatever we can to keep our pets happy and healthy?