90% of chronic diseases are caused from an unhealthy intestinal system, primarily the colon." --The Royal Society of Medicine of Great Britain
These chronic diseases can be anything from allergies, yeast, arthritis, gastrointestinal conditions, and much more.
In a healthy colon, there are about 100-1,000 billion beneficial bacteria per milliliter. Crazy, huh? One of the main functions of the microbiome is immune regulation, and 70-80% of the body's immune cells can be found in the intestinal mucosa. In today's world many of our pets are eating foods they aren't actually designed to eat, rather, foods that are more convenient for us; and antibiotics get handed out on a regular basis in veterinary offices. These two things alone wreak havoc on the normal gut micro-biome of our pets.
Probiotic literally translates into "pro-life." To understand how The Royal Society of Great Britain can make such a claim regarding chronic disease and micro-biome health, here are some of the functions of probiotics:
•Regulates immune system function
•Helps with nutrient absorption
•Manufactures B vitamins
•Regulates blood cholesterol
•Produces natural antibiotics
•Improves intolerance and sensitivities
•Stimulates anti-oxidant activity
•Inhibits the growth of certain yeast strains
•Removes toxins as waste products
•Helps with energy levels
•Helps regulate hormone levels
I'm sure after reading the above list, which is certainly not all inclusive of the functions of probiotics, you can now understand why an imbalance in the gut micro-biome or a depleted micro-biome from a processed diet, antibiotics, and prescription drugs can lead to chronic health issues.
Supplementation through live bacteria in food can have a much greater and quicker impact on re-balancing the gut micro-biome. That is where raw green tripe comes in. Raw green tripe is one of the stinkiest foods you can feed, but the benefits greatly outweigh the smell. Dogs LOVE it! The stinkier, the better.... RIGHT?!
Getting past the smell, raw green tripe has an abundance of probiotics as well as digestive enzymes that can help improve your dog or cat's gut micro-biome which helps improve overall health. If your pet is already on a prey model raw diet, ask your supplier if they have tripe. You can also check local pet shops (not the big chains) as many, at least in my area, have started carrying tripe.
I typically feed a meal or two of raw green tripe to my dogs each week. I have clients that will add 1/2-2 tablespoons of ground tripe, depending on their dog or cat's size to each meal, which works too. Some clients have a hard time with the smell. Tripe does have that barnyard-on-a-hot-day smell. If this bothers you, try to get past it for your pet's sake. However, a way to decrease the smell is to freeze small portions of ground tripe in ice cube trays. Just be sure the tray is ONLY used for tripe (or any frozen raw summer goodies you make) and that any house guests know where your actual ice cubes are. For additional dental benefits, some suppliers offer tripe in a "chunk" or "strip" form for dogs to gnaw. Some will also do a mix of tripe within a ground prey model raw product. There's many options! The more ways you try, the more you'll figure out which way your pet likes best. You'll know if your pet is getting too much tripe if their stools become a little loose. If this happens, decrease the amount. Sometimes when first given tripe, the body will utilize those nutrients to purge toxins from the body, this could cause some loose stool when first introducing this food as well.
Grocery store tripe is typically bleached for human consumption so it does not contain any of the benefits as raw green tripe.
Tripe is arguably one of the best sources of probiotics and digestive enzymes for our pets and a great addition to their species-appropriate diets. If you have difficulties accessing tripe, another favorite probiotic source of mine are Pet Flora soil based probiotics (note: link says for cats, but it is for cats AND dogs). If you've ever seen your pet nibbling on select pieces of grass, there is a reason for it. They are attempting to get soil-based organisms (SBOs) out of the earth to help balance their micro-biome. However, they usually don't get very much as our soils are depleted of nutrient content they once had. The link above is a probiotic supplement that is cultivated in soil.
If you would like a more cost-friendly, but still high-quality supplement option, many of my patients also take Wholistic Digest All+, which contains live bacteria and is not derived from and does not contain soy, dairy, wheat, or corn.
(As a side note, I often hear people reaching for yogurt or kefir to supplement probiotics. While yogurt and kefir DO contain live bacteria, remember that they both are a dairy source. This greatly outweighs the potential benefits of the probiotics and could actually be contributing to allergies, yeast overgrowth, skin conditions, and ear infections.)
I hope this article was beneficial to you and that you'll consider adding tripe or soil based probiotics to your dog or cat's diet. Do you add tripe already? How does your pet like it and have you seen any benefits?