Unraveling the Mystery of Green Tripe

With so much marketing hype around pet products these days, its often hard to discern just what is a passing fad and what delivers the goods.  The purpose of this article is to give you the facts about green tripe so that you can make a sound value judgement.    


Cows, sheep, goats, buffalo, deer, elk, giraffes, and camels are ruminants.  Ruminants are herbivorous mammals that are able to derive the nutrients from plant-based foods by fermenting it with digestive juices, enzymes, and amino acids in a specialized stomach prior to digestion.  These animals have a distinctly different stomach with four components:  the rumen, the omasum, the abomasum, and the reticulum.


The rumen is the largest component and is filled with billions of microorganisms.  These microorganisms break down grasses.  The cow does not fully chew the grass that it eats.  Instead, the partially chewed grasses moves down the trachea into the large rumen where it becomes balls of “cud”.  When the animal has had enough to eat, she will cough up unchewed pieces of food (“cud”) and chew it completely.  The cud is then swallowed again, and it passes into the next three compartments:  the reticulum, the omasum and, finally, the true stomach, the abomasum.  Some of this digested food will move to the bloodstream and travel to the udders to be made into milk.  The remainder is used for the cow’s nourishment. 

Here is what the individual stomachs look like: 

Humans have eaten tripe for centuries and there is, in fact, a World Tripe Day (October 24).  The tripe that you see in the grocery store has been bleached and all of the wonderful nutritional benefits have been lost.

The Key to Good Health – Maintaining the Gut

If, as Hippocrates said, “all disease begins in the gut”, then making a healthy gut is the ultimate value proposition.  The more scientists learn about the gut (gastrointestinal tract) and its’ beneficial microbiome, the more we recognize the importance of making the gut a primary focus for maintaining good health.  It is said that as much as 70% of the dog’s total immune capability is located in the gut associated lymphoid tissue (GALT)[1]

What is the key to a healthy gut?  The bottom line is that an important starting point in maintaining good pet health is ensuring that there is a balance of the good (probiotics) keeping control over the bad bacteria in the gut.  Prebiotics are the substances that feed the probiotics. Leaky gut syndrome and all of the ramifications from it likely start from an imbalance in the bacterial composition of the gut.

So Why Green Tripe?

First, to clear up a misconception, green tripe is not typically green.  It is brown (although it can have some green in it from the grasses eaten by the animal).  The green refers to the fact that it has not been processed and distinguishes it from the tripe found in the grocery store. Tripe refers to the muscle walls of the animal’s stomachs.  Green tripe is the raw, unprocessed organ including all of the valuable enzymes and microorganisms.

Second, it is true that carnivores in the wild will consume their prey starting with the intestines in order to get the benefit of the nutrients (enzymes, amino acids) and partially digested plant-based matter.  [2]

These same gastric juices and enzymes that maintain good health in the cow or sheep, aid the dog in digesting her food.  The amino acids are a critical element in muscular development.  Finally, the rough chunks of green tripe with partially digested grasses exercise the dog’s jaw muscles and act as a natural dental floss helping the dog to maintain good dental health.  Note that gingivitis can often originate in an unhealthy gut.

Here is the result of a nutritional analysis of a sample of green tripe by a Woodson-Tenant Lab in Atlanta, Georgia: 

The calcium-phosphorus ratio at 1:1 is optimal for dogs and there is an almost 1:1 protein-fat ratio.  Green tripe also includes a number of very valuable micronutrients in their natural state such as manganese, selenium, and zinc that are difficult to get in adequate quantity in a typical diet. Note the PH of 6.84 (slightly acidic) which creates an unfriendly atmosphere for “bad” bacteria. Finally, note that the sample includes 2.9m Lactic Acid Bacteria (the “good” probiotics critical for a healthy gut. 

The Bottom Line

An article by Dana Scott, Dogs Naturally Magazine, from October 23, 2019 touted Green Tripe as the #1 “superfood that your dog shouldn’t be without”. [3]  The article goes further to say:

“Tripe is loaded with naturally occurring digestive enzymes and probiotics. Think how much money you can spend on supplements when those same wonderful, natural substances are in abundance in green tripe.”

“Tripe is also loaded with B vitamins and has the perfect ratio of calcium to phosphorus – 1:1. It also contains the essential fatty acids Linoleic and Linolenic, in their recommended proportions.”

“If you can’t find green tripe from your raw supplier, there are canned products available.”

“Tripe stinks but you won’t regret feeding it: no guts, no glory!”

Sirius Natural Pet Foods is a supplier of frozen, green tripe from Green Tripe, Gilroy, CA.  The tripe is acquired solely from grass-fed, organic beef cows free from antibiotics and hormones and approved by the FDA for human consumption. 

~September 27, 2020


[1] Randy Kidd, DVM.  “No Guts, No Glory”. Dogs Naturally Magazine. May 5, 2020. www.dogsnaturallymagazine.com

[2] Kirk Janowiak. “Do Carnivores Eat the Digestive System?” August 28, 2016. www.quora.com

[3] Dana Scott.  “Five Foods You Should Feed Your Dog”.  Dogs Naturally Magazine.  October 23, 2019. www.dogsnaturallymagazine.com.