Dogs are opportunistic scavengers and are able to exist on a wide variety of food. Some dogs can thrive on a diet of dried kibble whereas highly processed diets result in allergy, immunity or digestion issues for other dogs. Current research in human diets and immunity has established the benefits of maintaining a balanced intestinal microbiome (gut). Using probiotics and prebiotics extends these benefits to nearly every part of the body in humans, canines and felines.
It all boils down to balance and immunity. As much as 80% of your dog’s immune system is based in the gut. Viruses and bacteria enter the body through the mouth and probiotics are present starting in the mouth and populate throughout your dog’s gastrointestinal tract and exit as waste. Maintaining the good bacteria keeps pathogens in check, reduces inflammation to boosts your dog’s immune system. Inflammation can affect everything from gum disease and teeth to heart health and skin resiliency.
There are literally trillions of different kinds of bacteria and keeping the balance of good bacteria to bad bacteria can be managed by making sure you offset any bad bacteria with lots of good bacteria. One of the most beneficial bacteria’s that most of us are familiar with is lactobacillus acidophilus (lactobacilli) or lactic acid bacteria. A great source of that bacteria (and many others) for dogs can be found in raw green tripe.
Keeping It Green
Green tripe is not called green because of its color but because of its contents. Tripe is a type of organ meat made from the edible stomach lining of ruminant animals who eat grass such as cows, lambs or goats. Green tripe often includes not just the meat, but the partially digested stomach contents of the vegetation that they eat as well as much of the beneficial enzymes used to digest it.
Be warned. Fresh green trip smells very bad. Despite its awful smell, green tripe is exceptionally healthy for dogs and they love it. Think of wolves who kill a deer or antelope in the wild. The first thing they eat is the stomach and its contents. Feeding larger or chunked pieces of green tripe can actually help clean your dogs teeth with the abrasive texture and the enzymes fight oral bacteria.
Like any fermented product, the less processed the tripe is, the better. This is not the bleached, processed item we see in grocery store meat aisles that is used for Menudo. That processed meat has no beneficial bacteria. Green tripe is not legal to sell for human consumption but is available in many different forms in boutique pet food stores.
Heating, freezing or canning can kill some but not all of the bacteria. So raw, unprocessed is best, with frozen or freeze dried being a close second and the least potent is canned. Green tripe is showing up in treats and food recipes as well. There are some canned brands that are processed at very low temperature to keep the bacteria alive and healthy. The freeze-dried form does not have the unpleasant smell that is usually associated with tripe.
Getting a Great Gut
Green tripe can be very helpful for dogs with diarrhea, constipation or gastrointestinal problems. It can help with skin or allergy issues to help balance the animal’s immune system. Probiotics and fermented food take a little getting used to. The important point to remember is that all dogs are different and to start small. Introduce the smallest amount and check to see how your pooch is tolerating it before increasing the daily quantity.
Some dogs may experience diarrhea at first until their system has become accustomed to it. Some dogs may never tolerate it well and you should try a different source of probiotics for them, such as raw goats milk or fermented fish stock. If your dog has a beef allergy, make sure you get tripe from bison, lamb or goat.
It is perfectly okay to feed a small amount of green tripe daily but unless it is added to other food, it is possibly not a complete meal for daily use. There are several dog food manufacturers who are adding green tripe to kibble or canned formulas, although the effectiveness of the enzymes may be highly reduced from the processing.
Even though the gross out factor or the smell might not be your favorite experience, you will see that most dogs find this the most appealing part of this healthy food ingredient. However, remember to exercise strict hygiene when handling and feeding your pet green tripe as it is a raw meat that is loaded with bacteria. Wash all utensils, containers and food bowls daily and wash your hands carefully or wear gloves if you have to touch it directly. Keep children away from your dog while eating, which is a good practice under any circumstance.
With proper handling and a good source of probiotics, whether it's green tripe, raw goats milk, fermented fish stock or packaged supplements, both you and your dog can stay healthy and happy!