By Jeff Mcfarlane
Aardvark Pets, Winnipeg Manitoba
Probably the stinkiest thing you will ever dream of feeding a pet, it can be one of the best as well.
Tripe. Not the white honeycomb tripe you find at the Asian Market, or the steamed, spiced and sauced delicacy you get at Dim Sum, but Green Tripe, fresh from the animal. Tripe that has been processed for human consumption has had all the good stuff boiled/bleached out of it. Which is why it is white.
Green tripe is cow stomach, cold washed to remove most of the digestive juices/food, and then frozen whole or ground and then frozen. In this state, it retains all of its goodness (unfortunately the “Oh my goodness” aroma as well). Things like probiotics, green tripe is loaded with Lactobacillus Acidophilus, which is great for keeping the dog’s gut populated with the good bacteria, which helps prevent the bad bacteria from growing. There are canned versions available, but the cooking/canning process kills most of the best part of the tripe, these lovely bacteria and enzymes.
Digestive enzymes also survive the freezing process, but not the cooking/canning process. Many dogs on processed diets are lacking in these enzymes, which occur naturally in this wonderfood. These enzymes also do more than just aid in digestion, they can help purify and cleanse the blood. They can help remove toxins, parasites and fungus. Improved metabolism, hormonal function and boost the immune system are also things that are linked directly to these enzymes. So, while cooked/canned tripe can be just as tasty/stinky, it is missing some of the best health benefits green tripe can offer.
Green tripe can usually be purchased ground or chunked from a pet store, or if you are lucky enough to have connection to a farm that processes their own meats or a small abattoir, you can get fresh tripe (they are Big and tough to cut). The ground is easy to add into regular meals, it is considered a meat, not an organ, when portion a prey model diet. The chunk or whole tripe can have the added benefit of being a great dental chew. When breaking down a whole piece of fresh green tripe, a hazmat suit is usually needed, or at least clothes you don’t like, rubber gloves and a long shower after. It is very much worth it though, taking something that would normally be thrown away and turning it into something wonderful for your pet.
Being a fresh, raw product, it can harbour bad bacteria if it isn’t handled or stored properly. Not a problem for most healthy dogs, but it can be for us. Like any raw meat product, standard sanitation protocols apply. It does require some attention to ensure safety, but it isn’t the “dangerous as nuclear waste” product that some people would have you believe. Except maybe the stink, but we all know how much our four legged pals love stink.