This is a common question. Since I am not a veterinarian, just something of a healthy pet foods expert and an animal rescuer, I will cite some of my favorite holistic veterinary resources.
First of all, there is a difference between occasional diarrhea and Irritable Bowel Disease (IBD). In fact, Enteritis or Gastroenteritis should be factored in.
IBD actually refers to a group of diseases that are characterized by the invasion of inflammatory cells into your pet’s intestinal wall. There are many possible symptoms and your pet may have one or many, but characteristically there is a very loose, watery diarrhea and a bile-stained mucus vomit with no food in it, just the mucus. There can be dramatic weight loss or none at all. (For a complete list of symptoms, see this article on the BestFriends.org website).
This needs proper diagnosis and treatment and I’ll leave that up to your vet. Whatever you do, don’t attempt to correct this with food alone, your pet has need of veterinary medicines and assistance.
The question is, what to feed these animals so they’ll get better and stay well?
My vet recommends probiotics such as ProViable (available only through a vet). But to be proactive and knowing that this is a factor, I only feed my pets foods that contain high-quality probiotics. I also give them little bowls of good quality yogurt. You want to populate their gut with living organisms that will continue to fight the bad organisms.
Diet is often a factor. Our pets, especially cats, were not made to digest corn and wheat and those are often allergens to them. Get them onto high-quality holistic pet foods. The dry foods have to have some sort of grain to hold the kibble together. Get the kinds with USDA (that’s US grown) brown rice or oats, and make sure the first ingredient is good quality meat. Often, during the beginning of the treatment, the vet will have them eat a bland diet for a few days or a pet food such as Science Diet Z/D. That’s okay, it’s short-term. Gradually introduce them to a healthy, probiotic, holistic pet food.
Dr. Shawn Messonier, a contributor to Animal Wellness Magazine and a very reputable holistic vet, also recommends the amino acid glutamine to help heal the damaged intestinal walls.
This is nothing to mess around with and treat yourself, but fortunately, pets often respond well to supplements, making long-term drug therapy not necessary.