Giardia In Dogs: Everything You Need To Know

Giardia is a type of parasite that affects the digestive system and can be passed to humans through contact with infected dog feces. Giardia parasites are transmitted from animal waste to people, usually by touching contaminated surfaces or objects and then placing hands in the mouth. Giardia has been known to cause gastrointestinal problems such as diarrhea, cramps, nausea, and vomiting. Giardia symptoms in dogs also include loss of appetite, weight loss, and excessive thirst.

What is Giardia and what does it do to dogs

Giardiasis is a parasitic disease caused by Giardia that affects both humans and dogs. The Giardia parasite can be found in water, soil, plants, food, or surfaces where the feces of infected animals have come into contact. Once Giardia infects an animal it will go to their small intestine and cause diarrhea, cramps, nausea, and vomiting. Giardia symptoms in dogs also include loss of appetite, weight loss, and excessive thirst.

Dogs become giardia after ingesting Giardia cysts from contaminated waters or other sources. It takes roughly one week for the infection of the parasite to take over your dog’s body system once he/she ingests them.

You may notice hair loss, sudden weight loss despite eating habits not changing drastically (or at all), thin, loose stool that has a strong odor, and vomiting. Giardia can actually share many similar symptoms as parvo for dogs which can make it difficult to diagnose without testing.

Giardiasis is not contagious to other dogs or humans as it can only be spread through contaminated water or food sources. Giardia cysts are passed in the feces of infected animals which you will find on grasses/plants, soil, and surface areas where their feces come into contact. If your dog interacts with these area’s they may become infected themselves if ingesting Giardia contamination found there (such as licking paws after walking on said contaminant).

How can I prevent my dog from getting Giardia?

Giardia is a parasite that causes Giardiasis which leads to diarrhea and dehydration in dogs. Giardia’s cysts can survive for months outside of the body, so it is easy for your dog to get Giardia from contaminated water sources such as streams or puddles. If you suspect your dog has Giardia he should see his veterinarian immediately. When you speak with your vet you should make sure that you let them know about any medication your dog is currently taking as medications such as trazodone or metronidazole can impact the severity of illnesses for your dog.

There are several ways to prevent Giardia: keeping your pet away from areas where there might be contaminated water; make sure to treat any other pets in the household who have been exposed to medicine; use bottled drinking water rather than tap water if possible, change out dishes daily and scrub them down after each mealtime; add some diluted bleach (one-quarter cup per gallon of water) to your dog’s drinking bowl and scrub it out afterward; make sure you give your pet his Giardia medication as directed by the veterinarian.

Symptoms of Giardia in Dogs

Giardia is a type of parasitic disease that affects both humans and animals. Giardiasis can cause diarrhea in dogs, but it does not always lead to this symptom. If you notice your dog exhibiting any of the following symptoms, there may be an issue with Giardia:

  • Diarrhea that is watery or has blood in it
  • Watery, foul-smelling stool that looks greasy and frothy
  • Loss of appetite
  • Fatigue/listlessness/decreased activity level due to illness. Giardiasis can be worsened by the dog’s inability to absorb nutrients from food during an infection.  If your dog does not eat for three days while suffering Giardia, take him to a veterinarian immediately because the continued lack of food intake will lead to malnutrition.  

Although many other diseases are also associated with diarrhea, Giardia may cause severe dehydration within two weeks if untreated – this makes Giardiasis particularly dangerous in puppies under six months old because they cannot retain liquid in their bodies, as well as adult dogs, do.

Treatment for Giardia in Dogs

Giardiasis is a common intestinal parasitic disease in dogs. Giardia is a tiny one-cell parasite that can cause serious diarrhea and weight loss, especially among puppies. Giardia may be transmitted through the feces of an infected animal or person and often lives in moist soil or pond water. Treatment for Giardia in Dogs:

There are several medications available to treat Giardiasis including metronidazole, quinacrine hydrochloride, mebendazole, fenbendazole, pyrantel & febantel. The veterinarian will prescribe antibiotics depending on your dog’s medical history so it would be best to contact them first before taking any medication yourself. Giardia can be prevented by keeping your dog away from contaminated drinking water, cleaning up after them in the yard, and bringing them to their veterinarian regularly.

Treatment for Giardiasis is usually divided into two phases: an initial intensive phase that lasts about five days followed by a less intense maintenance therapy lasting several weeks or months. Treatment for Giardiasis varies depending on the severity of the infection so it would be best to visit with your local veterinarian first before starting any treatment plan.

What Pet Owners Need To Know About Giardia

Giardia is a protozoan parasite that can affect both humans and animals. Giardiasis, the infection of Giardia in humans, causes diarrhea as well as fatigue, nausea, headaches, and cramps. Giardiasis affects people from all walks of life but those who have compromised immune systems are at an increased risk for developing severe symptoms or complications due to prolonged exposure to Giardia cysts which then leads to higher rates of reinfection if not properly treated. However, pet owners need to know that even healthy pets can carry Giardia without showing any signs of illness so you’re just as likely -or more- likely to get giardiasis from your dog than vice versa! In most cases, these parasites go unnoticed in your pet but Giardia is still spread through contact with feces, infected soil, or water.

Giardiasis is diagnosed by examination of stool samples so if you are concerned about Giardia being present it’s best to have a vet take a look at things for you! Treatment varies depending on the severity of symptoms and whether they’re caused by pets or people but generally speaking there are two kinds of treatments: Flagyl which kills off Giardia cysts ingested from contaminated food sources as well as metronidazole that treats both giardiases in humans and animals without killing the parasites themselves.

Frequently Asked Questions About Giardia In Dogs

Below are the most commonly asked questions about Giardia:

How Long Does It Take For Giardia To Go Away In Dogs?

If your dog has the proper medication and treatment it will typically take anywhere from 1 week to 2 weeks to eliminate giardia. The process can take shorter or longer depending on the severity of the condition as well as the treatment plan that you veterinarian recommends. Your vet will be able to provide you with the best course of action to treat Giardia.

How Do I Know If My Dog Has Giardia?

If you notice that your dog has an extremely upset stomach, diarrhea, excess gas, or is vomiting then this could be a sign that your dog has Giardia. The germs will typically be contained within the gut biome and poop samples of your dog which can be tested to confirm if your dog has Giardia or not.

Can I Walk My Dog If He Has Giardia?

Yes, you can walk your dog if they have Giardia but you should be extra careful to make sure that they aren’t doing too much. Your dog will most likely be tired and have less energy so the walks should be short. Your dog should always be hydrated and receive as much water as possible.

Should Dogs With Giardia Be Quarantined?

It is a good idea to quarantine your dog if they have Giardia until treatment has started and your dog is thoroughly tested. Giardia can easily spread to other dogs so it is the best course of action to quarantine them until you test your dogs and to always clean your home to limit the spread.

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Dr. Jacob Hawthorne, DVM

Dr. Jacob Hawthorne, DVM is a certified veterinarian who graduated from the University of California - Davis Veterinary School in 2012. He specializes in nutrition and veterinary medicine for companion animals such as dogs, cats, rabbits, and more. He has been featured in websites such as PetMD, Yahoo News, Hills Pet, Daily Paws, and more. Learn more about Dr. Jacob Hawthorne, DVM.

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