What’s that smell?!?

If you’re familiar with raw feeding and have ever fed tripe to your dog, you know what I’m talking about. If you’re not familiar with it, strap on your seatbelt because things are going to get weird.

Tripe is the stomach contents of a grass-grazing animal. Think cows, buffalo, deer, goats, and sheep. Their stomachs have four chambers which break down the grasses they eat with loads of digestive enzymes, gastric juices, and amino acids. The resulting chunky, smelly goodness is then harvested and can end up in your pet’s bowl or even on your plate. Yes, you read that correctly – there are many cultures where tripe is a popular human dish. Sound gross? Then you might want to avoid France, Indonesia, China, Ecuador, India, and Greece.

Tripe doesn’t look bad (see the accompanying photo — it’s the stuff on the left side of the bowl), and on paper, it sounds like something that definitely should be included in your pet’s diet. It’s a great source of calcium, has the perfect ratio of Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids, and is loaded with digestive enzymes. But the smell. Oy, the smell! I really just try to focus on how much good this stuff will do for Beezy’s body and power through it.

I originally decided to add this superfood to Beezy’s diet because we were having terrible skin issues, which I later determined were due to an overgrowth of yeast. Yeast in a dog is terrible for a number of reasons. It can cause your pet to stink (mine smelled like Fritos), lick their paws, or chew themselves until they develop hot spots. Beezy developed frequent ear infections and rashes, all of which were treated by the vet with medicated shampoos and rounds of antibiotics. Those treated the symptoms but didn’t treat the underlying cause. I think it’s because the only way to get rid of yeast is by killing its food source – sugar – and most vets aren’t on board with the easiest way to do that. Yes, I mean by feeding a raw diet. Kibble is one giant nugget of carbs, and carbs are sugar. They’re the perfect food for yeast. But here’s the thing, if you take away the carbs and sugar, the yeast has no way to survive so it goes away. Bam!

If you’ve ever taken an antibiotic you know the way it works is by destroying the bacteria in your body. But modern science tells us that we need healthy gut bacteria to fight off diseases, viruses, and other ailments. Repeated courses of antibiotics were healing Beezy’s external symptoms but she couldn’t produce enough healthy gut bacteria to fight off the yeast. Once I made the decision to pull her off of her kibble diet, I made it a goal to get her gut healthy. Enter kefir and tripe. She gets both every day and (knock on wood) hasn’t had another issue with yeast since. Her coat is shiny and her teeth are white.

Since she’s allergic to so many proteins, it’s tough to find a tripe source that will work for her. Her goat meat comes mixed with goat tripe, but on days when I’m feeding a different protein, I have to rely on Tripett Green Bison Tripe. She doesn’t care what form it comes in, as long as it’s in her bowl.

If you think you might want to add tripe to your pet’s diet, make sure you get green tripe. This doesn’t refer to the color of the tripe itself (it’s actually gray or brown with a slight green tinge), but rather to the fact that it’s not processed. The stuff you see in the grocery store has been bleached for human consumption and really is of no use to your pet.

So, thoughts? Are you going to do some research on adding tripe to your pet’s diet? Are you going to jump right in and start feeding it? Let me know!

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