I first learned the word “tripe” from that episode of The Simpsons where Lisa becomes vegetarian. People usually quote “you don’t win friends with salad,” but what stuck with me is “you can’t seriously expect us to swallow that tripe?!” and then the kids are served tripe. That joke went over my head back then as I hadn’t yet experienced Vietnamese Pho, and so didn’t recognize tripe as a legitimate ingredient, nor understand what exactly it is. Now I know better.
Tripe is considered “offal,” which is the viscera or trimmings of a butchered animal. Specifically, tripe is the stomach lining from cows and other ruminant or grazing animals. This trait is important because that’s what makes tripe special; stomachs of ruminants have four chambers which systematically break down grasses with digestive enzymes, gastric juices and amino acids, and that’s what’s appealing for our pets.
Green tripe isn’t green in color, rather it’s called green because it is raw and unprocessed, right out of the animal. The tripe you find in Vietnamese soup is bleached and unsuitable for pets; raw is key as cooking tripe at high temperatures destroys the beneficial enzymes, and these digestive enzymes actually purify and cleanse the blood, remove toxins, parasites and fungus.
They also improve metabolism, hormonal function and boost the immune system, so pets who are deficient in nutrients and could be suffering with chronic diarrhea, poor skin and coat, gingivitis, inflammation, viral and bacterial infections and yeast overgrowth will benefit from the addition of tripe to their routine. In fact, tripe is nutritionally similar to muscle meat and can help complete a balanced diet.
The downside to tripe is that, as Lisa Simpson implied, it stinks! Literally. That’s actually a bonus for your pets as they’ll love the smell and will happily chow down, but it’s something to keep in mind if you intend to be hands-on and acquire tripe from your local butcher.
Luckily, you can find tripe in plenty of places besides your local butcher. Canned, frozen and freeze-dried green tripe is available as meal toppers or as treats. Some foods incorporate tripe as an ingredient, saving you the trouble! There’s even tripe-flavored toys out there for the real tripe enthusiast. Here’s a list of all things tripe available at The Big Bad Woof. Now that you’ve got the skinny on green tripe, give it a try. Your fur baby will be so happy you did.
If you have questions you can book some time with our in-house expert Pennye.