By Dr Linda Simon, MVB
What exactly is tripe?
As the old adage goes, ‘If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’. Dogs have been eating tripe and other offal since they first roamed the Earth and it is a completely natural ingredient with tonnes of beneficial properties. While some may feel that tripe is a somewhat unsavoury foodstuff, it is simply the edible stomach lining of common farm animals such as cattle and sheep. Typically, it is the first three stomachs (rumen, abomasum and reticulum) that are used. In many parts of the world, humans consume tripe and actually consider it a delicacy. In fact, there are well over 50 celebrated dishes worldwide that use tripe as the main ingredient and it is enjoyed from Sicily to Tokyo.
Of course, feeding tripe alone is not vet recommended as this will lead to nutritional deficiencies in both essential macro and micro nutrients such as calcium and iodine. Similarly, presenting your dog with a portion of raw tripe from the butchers is not advised as this can potentially lead to food poisoning in your dog, especially if they are young, old or ill. Offering your dog a pre-prepared meal enriched with green tripe made by a reputable dog food company is one of the best ways to improve their overall health (and is certainly far less smelly and messy!).
Is tripe good for dogs and what are the benefits of feeding tripe regularly?
There is a recent trend for higher quality and premium dog food brands to use green tripe in their recipes, taking advantage of the numerous benefits it can offer your pet pooch. As well as being a great source of protein and a food that is easy to digest, tripe contains:
- Digestive enzymes
A true superfood, tripe is probably one of the most under-rated dog food ingredients out there.
A closer look at what makes tripe so special
Tripe is a rich source of B9 (Folic Acid) and B12 (Cobalamin). These are two vitamins that many of those with chronic digestive issues will be lacking. A quick blood test can check your dog’s levels if you are suspicious they may be lacking.
When Vitamin B9 is low, there may well be a medical issue such as proximal small intestinal disease. Low B9 is particularly dangerous when a female dog is pregnant and can result in birth defects in the puppies, such as cleft lips.
We see low B12 in those with a poorly functioning distal small intestine, small intestinal bacterial overgrowth and pancreatic disease. Vitamin B12 is not only vital for normal brain function, it is also needed for the production of red blood cells. An inability to make healthy red blood cells results in a condition known as ‘anaemia’ which can cause chronic fatigue and pale gums.
The Zinc contained in tripe contributes to a healthy immune system as well as a functioning thyroid gland. Certain breeds, such as Siberian Huskies, are prone to developing Zinc deficiency and they naturally require more Zinc than others. As the dog’s body is not set up to store Zinc, it is important that the dog has a plentiful source each day. Being deficient in Zinc can result in an upset stomach, skin problems and a lacklustre coat.
Tripe is positively brimming with Selenium, a sometimes ‘forgotten’ trace mineral. Selenium protects against oxidative stress and plays a role in preventing serious diseases such as cancer and heart disease.
The provision of digestive enzymes can be useful for those who suffer with digestive issues and health conditions such as Inflammatory Bowel Disease, Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency and Colitis. Of course, every dog is different so be sure to discuss this with your vet first.
Probiotics and Prebiotics
Eating a diet rich in probiotics is a good idea for any pet but especially those with underlying health issues. Recent studies have illustrated the many positive attributes of probiotics and tripe is a proven source of Lactobacillus species. These probiotics are known to support digestive health and can even contribute to a more robust immune system. The dry food diets sold by Ziwi Peak also contain inulin, a prebiotic which enables the probiotics to carry out their role.
It’s all about the quality…
The best diet you can feed your dog is one which is complete, containing everything he or she needs; meaning we do not need to worry about supplementing our pooches with vitamins or tinned meat. For those owners interested in the vast and varied health benefits of feeding tripe, we would highly recommend the Ziwi Peak Tripe and Lamb Recipe, which contains over 35% tripe and provides a balanced meal for dogs of all ages and lifestyles.
Remember, not every dog food containing tripe is created equal and Ziwi Peak Dry Foods use tripe from free-range, grass-fed animals, ensuring a superior product. The ingredients are guaranteed to be free from any antibiotics and are never GMO (Genetically Modified). The raw tripe is gently cold-washed and cleverly air-dried in order to dehydrate it and lock in the nutrition.
Green Tripe vs White or Bleached Tripe
Many will ask what ‘type’ of tripe is used by Ziwi Peak in their dog food. Owners should be aware of the difference between the green tripe used by superior dog food brands (such as Ziwi Peak) in contrast to ‘washed tripe’ or ‘white tripe’ that is sometimes sold by butchers or in pet stores. This type of offal has been boiled and soaked in chlorine or ‘bleached’ in order to clean it, give it more of an artificial white colour and remove pathogens. However, this process can be detrimental when it comes to the nutritional value of the tripe.
Tripe and Fussy Dogs
If you have a fussy eater on your hands, you can rest assured that Ziwi Peak Tripe & Lamb will be a hit, with owners describing it as ‘Picky dog approved!’. In fact, this is one of the best options out there for fussy eaters. Tripe can have a potent and meaty smell which dogs find irresistible and can mean the difference between a dog walking away from their bowl with their nose in the air and that same dog munching their dinner until there isn’t a scrap left in the bowl. Luckily for us, the process of air-drying means that our less sensitive noses will not be offended and there is no unpleasant odour associated with the kibble.
Which dogs will benefit most from this diet?
The Ziwi Peak Tripe and Lamb Recipe is a winner for many reasons, not just the high tripe content, and is recommended as one of the best foods you can give a dog with digestive issues. It may also be worth considering for those dogs with allergies and/or sensitivities as there is only one protein source. Surprisingly, many dogs are allergic to common meats such as chicken, turkey and beef so you may find that other dog foods on the market will cause chronic digestive trouble. Ziwi Peak steer clear of other potentially allergenic ingredients including grain, tapioca starch and potato.
So, what else is in Ziwi Peak’s Tripe and Lamb Recipe for dogs?
The clever creators at Ziwi Peak are well aware of the saying ‘waste not want not’ and have included lots of nutrient-dense organ meat in their dry food. Lamb heart, liver, lung and kidney ensure a high protein content and are a plentiful source of iron, selenium, zinc and vitamins A, B, D, and E among a host of other important micronutrients. This is a delicious ‘meat feast’ recipe that your meat-loving omnivore is sure to love.
Additional Benefits of Ziwi Peak Tripe & Lamb
An additional benefit of offering your beloved pet Ziwi Peak’s Tripe and Lamb Recipe is that it can help protect joint health; a feature that athletic and senior dogs will certainly benefit from. This food contains a whopping 3% New Zealand Green Mussels which are known for their naturally high content of both Glucosamine and Chondroitin Sulphate. It is estimated that up to 60% of all canines may suffer with osteoarthritis during their lifetime, with older dogs suffering the most. By providing joint protective ingredients, we can help to prevent the loss of cartilage and keep our dogs’ joints in good shape during their golden years.
The Tripe and Lamb Recipe for dogs is high in protein, with a minimum content of 36%. The minimum amount of protein recommended by the AAFCO is 22.5% but Ziwi Peak understands the importance of providing a large quantity of digestible protein. This is especially crucial for growing puppies, who typically need at least 30% protein to ensure optimal bone maturation and skeletal growth. Those who are sporty also benefit from a generous helping of protein, ensuring their muscle has all of the building blocks needed to repair.
While what you feed your dog may not be something you have given much thought to in the past, providing them with a high-quality diet is one of the best things that we as owners can do for our pets. A dog food for those with digestive issues as well as for fussy eaters, Ziwi Peak Tripe & Lamb Recipe is a real winner. Not only does proper nutrition promote good health and longevity, your dog will appreciate the delicious flavour and appealing aroma of this top-rated dog food.
Dr Linda Simon is a practicing vet in West London who qualified from UCD, Dublin in 2013. She has special interests in dermatology and canine nutrition. She is kept on her toes by her mischievous Cavapoo Raffie.