Diet is, of course, an important part of treatment of conditions affecting the stomach and intestines. Dietary treatment can vary from temporary withholding of food for acute diarrhea, to construction of a specific home-made diet for an inflammatory bowel disease patient. Like us, animals can suffer from dietary allergies, so it's important to diagnose these (through a simple blood test) and avoid any problematic foods.
Although commercial "kibble" pet foods are nutritionally balanced in terms of vitamins and minerals, specially formulated whole food diets (including both meat and vegetables) are recommended to maximize intake of anti-oxidants, flavenoids and other micronutrients. Some foods, such as refined grains, cornstarch, corn syrup, food preservatives and omega-6 fats, promote inflammation, while others (including leafy vegetables, lean meats such as chicken and omega-3 fats) reduce inflammation. Since chronic inflammation is associated with many serious conditions, including cancer, eating a diet that does not exacerbate inflammation is important for both pets and people.
Foods are also chosen for patients based on their Chinese medical diagnosis and the energetics and other properties of individual foods. For example, the Chinese diagnosis of Damp-Heat with Spleen Qi Deficiency is a common Chinese medical diagnosis for inflammatory bowel disease patients. In these animals, foods that are cooling, Damp-draining and that support Spleen Qi are recommended.