Tripe for dogs? What even is tripe? This common ethnic food comes in many forms and boasts many health benefits for your dog!
What is Tripe?
If you are wondering what is tripe for dogs, you’re not alone! When I first saw it, it was on a food label in the pet store. Tripe is a type of edible part of the stomach from various grass-fed farm animals, classified as meat or an organ. This could be cattle, lamb, goats, sheep, or others – some of which we will discuss next.
Types of Tripe For Dogs
Green tripe is a popular type among pet foods. It comes from any animal’s 4th stomach which is important because that stomach chamber is responsible for releasing enzymes and bacteria to break down tough food.
It is called green because it is not treated, bleached, or touched in any way – basically left in its raw form. Because of this, it has a very chewy and string-like texture that is awesome for your pet’s dental hygiene. This can be found at your local butcher, but should only be given when very fresh.
Lamb tripe is probably the most common type of tripe found in the store and in pet food. Lamb tripe typically refers to the lining of a lamb’s stomach. It is relatively easy to get and a cheaper option than green tripe but still offers some of the nutritional benefits of green tripe.
However, because tripe refers to a grazing animal’s stomach, lamb tripe can also be green tripe, just be sure to read the labels. Lamb tripe can also be found at the local butcher but caution should be used to ensure it is fresh.
This canned tripe is typically how tripe is sold in the store. It can be any type of tripe (beef, lamb, pig, etc) and is shelf stable making it the most accessible option for pet parents.
However, because it is canned it is also cooked and therefore loses some nutritional value during that cooking process. It has a strong smell and flavor so it is ideal for getting picky eaters to eat their meals!
This is by far my preferred way to serve tripe. Tripe can either be freeze-dried to produce crumbly bits or dried into more of a jerky-like texture. Because drying does not rely on heating the tripe, it retains much of the nutrients without the mess of serving green tripe.
Freeze-dried tripe can also be mixed with a little water to rehydrate it. Air-dried or what I like to call tripe jerky is great to have on hand as treats or meal toppers. It is smelly but easy to serve, making it great for training. One of Rhubarb’s favorites is ZiwiPeak Air-Dried Tripe & Lamb Dog Food. It is listed as a food, but I like to use it for training (until I forget I had them in my sweater pocket for a week…).
Benefits of Tripe For Dogs
Is tripe good for dogs? Tripe boasts tons of nutritional benefits for dogs! It is high in protein, healthy fats, natural vitamins and minerals, and probiotics. All tripe will have some level of these benefits, but the level of processing will determine how much.
Protein: While tripe has a lower protein content than say, steak, it is a high-quality protein that contains amino acids. These amino acids help to build muscles and enhance the immune system.
Healthy Fats: Green tripe in particular is incredibly high in unsaturated fats (similar to green lipped mussels!), with nearly 50% of the total fat being unsaturated. These healthy fats provide long-term energy and help moderate cholesterol. Other tripe also has unsaturated fats, but amounts will vary.
Vitamins and Minerals: Because tripe comes from grazing animals, it contains special digestive enzymes and vitamins that only grazing animals have. Since our pets are primarily carnivores, they lack some of these enzymes. Adding these enzymes and vitamins like B12, calcium, and manganese helps your pet to better digest and absorb its own diet.
Probiotics: Along with the digestive enzymes, tripe contains high amounts of good gut bacteria. This good bacteria, also known as a probiotic, fights bad bacteria like E. coli and salmonella. Pets naturally have their own good bacteria in their gut, but adding more only adds more good guys to their gut to fight the bad guys. Again, green tripe has the highest amount, but other tripe will also have good bacteria in smaller amounts.
Dried Lamb Green Tripe
These freeze-dried dog treats have tripe and green lipped mussels – such a healthy training treat that we use all the time!
Where To Buy Tripe For Dogs
Tripe can be purchased at your local pet store in the canned and dried form. Some pet stores sell green tripe or lamb tripe in their refrigerator section. It can also be found at your local butcher or deli section but may require pre-ordering to ensure it is fresh and is the kind that can be served to dogs.
How to serve tripe to your dog
Fresh: Serving fresh or green tripe to your pet is definitely the most nutrient-dense way to serve it. However, it is super important that the tripe is certified for pet consumption. As mentioned above, you may be able to get this at a local butcher, but is probably safer to procure from a pet store. I love stuffing pieces of fresh tripe into a KONG for them to work at for a while, or add them to a barkuterie board for special occasions!
As a topper: Canned or dried can be served as a food topper for picky eaters or just because you love your pet and want their health to be the best it can be. I usually use canned as a food topper at home and will take the dried form on the road with us to use as a topper.
As a treat: Because of how tasty and smelly tripe is, it makes an excellent treat or training incentive for dogs. Dried is best for this since it is the least messy. It is still very nutrient dense though so if I am training a lot with tripe, I will typically decrease my dog’s dinner slightly so as to not overdue it with food (dogs’ caloric diet should not be more than 10% of treats and “extras”).