Often, people ask me if there is any particular food I recommend most for species-appropriate raw diets. While I always advocate variety—various protein sources, such as chicken, beef, pork, turkey, sheep, and so on—I do also highly recommend feeding green tripe to carnivore pets regularly.
What is green tripe?
What is green tripe, you ask? Tripe is another name for the stomach of ruminating animals, such as cattle, sheep, and goats. You may have seen bleached, processed tripe at the grocery store, but when you are feeding tripe to your carnivore pets, use green tripe, which is the raw, unbleached tripe. Once the tripe is processed and bleached, it has almost no nutritional value whatsoever, but green tripe has a myriad of benefits. Interestingly, green tripe is more brown than green, but it often has a greenish tint from the hay or grass that the animal was digesting. And, because this vegetation has already been broken down and digested by the herbivore, it does not stress the carnivore’s body to consume it.
Sounds kinda gross…so why should I feed it?
When we look at the nutritional analysis of green tripe, we see that the ratio of calcium to phosphorous is about 1:1, which is exactly what our dogs need. And, the calcium and phosphorous are also bioavailable to your dog, which means that they can use all of the calcium and phosphorous supplied by the green tripe. Additionally, green tripe’s overall pH is 6.84, which is slightly acidic and good for digestion. Green tripe contains iron, potassium, zinc, and selenium, along with several other important nutrients. It also contains a large amount of Lactobacillus Acidophilus (probiotic). Green tripe contains the right proportions of Linoleic and Linolenic, which are essential fatty acids (meaning that your dog can’t make their own, but must get them from their food). Green tripe also contains digestive enzymes and amino acids, both of which are vital to supporting the health and vitality of our carnivore pets. It is important, when you feed green tripe, to choose tripe that comes from an animal that wasn’t given antibiotics or hormones, was pasture-fed, and preferably was raised organically. Otherwise, the nutrients can be greatly lessened. Feeding tripe from these types of animals will also ensure your pet gets the most nutrient-rich tripe available, and that they don’t take in anything that will cause their immune system problems.
I’ve heard tripe is worthless and a waste of time to feed…
While some people don’t feel that tripe is beneficial for our carnivore pets, I will say that, based on my own observations of my dogs and my clients’ dogs, it makes a big difference. I’ve done research, and I’ve done a lot of observations, and everything I’ve found supports the nutritional value of tripe (pasture-fed, organic, antibiotic and hormone-free tripe). I think, if you come across something that suggests you shouldn’t feed green tripe, it’s a good idea to take a step back and look at it for yourself. It’s all about being an advocate for your dogs, and doing what YOU think is best, once you’ve done your research and also observed your own dogs.
Here are the sort of questions that go through my own mind when I run into two diametrically opposed points of view, and I’m trying to figure out which is the “right” one (taking tripe as an example): When I look at the information available and nutrient analysis of green tripe, is there anything that would make me think that it’s useless and a fad to feed it? Is my hesitation about feeding it just because of the cost and the fact that someone else is telling me it’s worthless? What sort of research has that person done? Is there any evidence they can offer that would make me think their dogs are the pinnacle of health because they’ve avoided green tripe? And so on. I think it comes down to being as discerning about this as you would anything else. After all, there are lots of people that think a species-appropriate raw food diet is too expensive and is a fad, and don’t have anything to back that up. I tend to think that opinions such as saying green tripe is useless–and make no mistake–opinions like that are, in effect, dismissing whole, real, fresh food…dismissing food that wild animals and our domestic dogs eat when fed in a natural way–are in the same category as opinions that dismiss raw as a fad and no better than kibble at best and dangerous at worst. That’s my opinion, but really, like I said, I think it boils down to you being the advocate for your dogs and using discernment to decide what’s best (not just about tripe–it goes for everything that you come across with raw feeding, because there are so many differing perspectives out there).
Tripe has a fairly strong smell, so you may want to store and thaw it outside, or in an airtight container if you have to put it in your refrigerator.
Where can I get it?
While there are lots of places that sell green tripe, the one I most frequently use is greentripe.com. They are based in California, and they have excellent (and convenient) products, at reasonable prices.
How does it fit into my dog’s prey model diet?
Add green tripe into the rotation of meats you feed your carnivore pet; its nutritional value is excellent, and the probiotics, digestive enzymes, essential fatty acids, and other nutrients it contains will greatly benefit your pet. If you follow the 80/10/10 rule, you can consider tripe to be part of 80% muscle meat.