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What is Giardiasis in Dogs? How do Dogs get Giardia?

Just like humans Canine world is full of illnesses. Giardia is a single common intestinal parasite that’s usually spread through the poop of the infected animals. Many dogs suffer from Giardia every year. Dogs owner often want to know how do dogs get Giardia?

Giardia is a common and not life threaten disease and does not always cause problems, but when it does, it is highly unpleasant. This article will provide a detail and comprehensive guide about Giardia in dogs. You can use the table of content for smooth navigation.

What is Giardiasis in Dogs?

Giardiasis, also known as Giardia intestinalis (or Giardia lamblia), is a single common intestinal parasite that’s usually spread through the poop of the infected animals to other healthy mammals, pets, amphibians, birds and humans. This parasite can lead humans and animal to an intestinal infection known as Giardiasis. The interesting fact about Giardia is that the parasite has many subspecies but has the same life cycle and spread mode. Differents animals can suffer from different species of Giardia.

Scientists further evaluated the lifecycle of the Giardia and categorized it into two forms.

  1. Hardy cystic Form
  2. Trophozoites Form

Hardy cystic parasite form is referred to the presence of Giardia in the infected dogs small intestine. In the small intestine, the parasite increase there numbers rapidly and develop into cysts. Cysts are the infective stage of the Giardia that shed in the feces of the carriers.

The life span of the cysts is several weeks and can survive in the environment for a long time, particularly in moist and damp environments. When a healthy animal ingests this infected poop, they can also suffer from Giardia, and this stage is known as trophozoites.

How do dogs get Giardia?

The main and leading cause for a dog to get Giardia is ingesting the Fecal matter (cyst stage of the parasite) of an infected dog in any form. Dogs love to put things in their mouths that increase the risk of  Giardiasis. If a pup eats the poop directly or eats or drink water containing the fecal matter of the Giardiasis dog. When this infected fecal matter passes into the healthy dogs intestines, it develops into the trophozoite stage.

The parasite attached itself to the intestinal walls to get food from the puppy body and starts damaging the intestinal walls. The parasite multiplies itself to develop the hardy cystic Form again.

The Trophozoites takes 6 to 14 days to developed after ingesting the fecal matters. Some infected dogs never show signs or will show signs of Giardiasis very late, about months after becoming infected.

Usually, Puppies and dogs with weakened immune systems can develop severe issues in Giardiasis. Once the parasite reaches yours canine intestines, your dog becomes the carriers of the parasite and can spread it, even if he doesn’t show any signs of infection.

Giardiasis mostly occurs in young dogs and dogs confined in groups, such as in kennels or boarding facilities. Timely diagnosing can prevent your other pets from the illness.

For safety precautions, if you have more pets and the illness is diagnosed in the one, make sure tests of the other pets to confirm Giardiasis.

Signs and symptoms of Giardia in Dogs:

  • Vomiting
  • Sudden-onset of foul
  • smelly diarrhea
  • Fatty stool
  • Weight loss
  • Dehydration
  • Dry skin
  • Ugly skin
  • Contains blood (occasionally)

How is Giardiasis Diagnosed in Dogs?

The presence of Giardia parasite can be diagnosed by the test of stool sample by using zinc sulfate flotation solution for the parasite detection. Because in many cases, the routine fecal flotation fails.

Occasionally, the parasites may be seen on a direct smear of the feces.

How is Giardiasis Treated in Dogs?

  • Canine giardiasis requires medical attention by a professional vet. Self-medication can hurt you puppy. The treatment of Giardia requires 5 to 10 days, depending on the severity of the disease.
  • The treatment includes the use of medication such as fenbendazole and metronidazole to kill the parasite inside the pooch body. Your vet may prescribe the combined use of the medication.
  • Diet and other  Supportive treatment with other medications may also be prescribed for your dog. An easily digestible diet and supplemental therapy are required in severe dehydration and diarrhea. 
  • Follow up tests multiple time during and after the completion of the tests should also be the treatment process to confirm the presence of the parasite and or severity of the illness.
  • Feces of the infected dogs should be removed quickly and to be disposed of up to prevent the spread of the parasite.

How do you prevent Giardia in Dogs?

  • You can prevent and reduce the chances of Giardia in dogs by following the below instructions.
  • If you notice any of the Giardia symptoms, particularly diarrhea, contact your vet for timely diagnosing and treatment.
  • Prevent your canine from the irritating behavior of eating poop by giving proper and early training. Always chose the easiest dogs to train.
  • Don’t allow your canine to drink or eat in public places.
  • Make sure to give clean water and food to your pup. Take water in a bottle if you have a plan for a walk along with you puppy.
  • If you think that the water contains the parasite, the boil the water before offering it to your dog, boiling will kill the cysts in the water and then offer it to your canine when cool.
  • Train your dogs to eat from the dog’s food bowls instead of from the grass.
  • Protect your canine from other sick dogs.
  • If you have many dogs and one is diagnosed with Giardia. Separate all and contact your vet for the parasite diagnosing tests of all.
  • Keep your dog leashed if you think your dog will not follow your instructions. 
  • Care for others dogs too. Use dogs earth rated poop bags to prevent the spread of the parasite. And wash your hands after. 

Can Humans get Giardia from Dogs?

Yes and No. According to pet experts and veterinarians, Giardia is considered to be zoonotic, but the spread of the parasite from pets to humans are rare because the species of the parasite that suffer humans are different from that of dog.

But still, there are chances that humans can get Giardia from pets via saliva and contaminated water or food.


The common causes of giardiasis include directly ingesting the poop of the infected dogs or drinking water, or eating food with fecal matter contamination. 


Is Giardia contagious from dog to dog?

Giardia is contagious and can be easily spread from dog to dog. Generally, a dog suffering from Giardiasis can spread the parasite via its poop. The Giardia sustains itself for a long time in moist and cool places. When a healthy dog eats this fecal matter in any form, directly or indirectly, he/she may also develop the Giardia parasite in the intestine.

So this is the best idea to treat your canine timely from the illness and prevent other healthy pets from contacting the contamination.

The Trophozoites take 6 to 14 days after ingesting the fecal matters. Some infected dogs never show signs or will show signs of Giardiasis very late, about months after becoming infected.

Is Giardia contagious from dog to dog

Can I get Giardia from my dog licking me?

No, humans do not get Giardia from dogs when they lick them. But you should follow some of the safety precautions. According to pet experts and veterinarians, the chances of getting Giardia from pets are almost nill because the species of the parasite that suffer humans are different from that of pets.

But there are still fewer chances that a human may suffer from canine Giardiasis. So if your canine is suffering from the parasite, make sure to treat you canine properly and prevent him in the period from licking because your canine can bring the parasite in the mouth by licking their rare part.

Can I get Giardia from my dog licking me

How long does dog Giardia Last?

The treatment of Giardia in dogs depends on the severity of the illness. How long does dog Giardia last? Usually, a dog recovers from the illness within two to three weeks. In this period, pet owners need to feed a balanced, easily digestible, and immune booster food to the canine and prevent the pup from further contamination.

Also, bath your canine with vet-recommended dog shampoo to remove all the cysts from the pet body.

Will Giardia go away on its own in dogs?

Yes, in some dogs with a strong immune system, Giardia goes away on its own, but this is not recommended to leave your dogs untreated. Servedogs Team always recommends proper treatment for canine Giardiasis. Because the parasite in the fecal contamination sustains its self in the environment for a long time, and many other animals and pets can get the illness from the contamination.

Some time pet owners believe that the dog will go away on its own from the Giardia, but unfortunately, instead of recovery, the illness leads the canine to severe health issues.

What does giardia poop look like in dogs?

What does giardia poop look like in dogs

One option for the pet owners to diagnose the grades in dogs is canine poop. The poop of the Giardiasis suffers dogs will look fatty, often with greenish ting, smelly poo, and can range from soft to watery. In severe cases, blood and mucus can also be observed in the poop. Other symptoms include severe diarrhea, vomiting, weight loss, dehydration, and a dry, ugly coat.

How often should you bathe a dog with Giardia?

Routine bathing is part of canine Giardiasis treatment. According to pet experts and veterinarians, you should bath your pup twice a week with warm water thoroughly to remove Giardia cysts from the dog body. The bathing schedule will not only eliminate the existing cysts but will also prevent your canine from further contamination and reinfection.

What do you feed a dog with Giardia?

Canine Giardiasis badly damages the intestine and also weekends the gastrointestinal system of the dogs. A properly balanced and soft, easily digestible food is an essential part of the treatment. The Servedogs Team has compiled the best food for dogs with an upset stomach. You can Read it from here. Best Foods for dogs Upset stomach Diarrhea.

How do you get rid of Giardia in dogs Naturally?

Some illness can go away on its own with the help of strong immune system naturally but some needs proper medical attention. According to the veterinarian, treatment of Giardia is a must for every dog because every dog can get the parasite. There is no natural cure for Giardiasis. A vet may prescribe medicine such as Metronidazole or fenbendazole to get a ride from the illness.

Can probiotics help with Giardia in dogs?

Yes, According to veterinarians, probiotics help in dogs with Giardia. Probiotics such as FortiFlora are usually prescribed along with other medications such as metronidazole and Panacur. These probiotics improve the effectiveness of metronidazole and Panacur. If your canine is suffering from the parasite, use the probiotic only with the vet recommendation.

Can Giardia cause long term problems in dogs?

Yes, Giardia sometimes puts your dog in long-term problems. Lack of proper treatment can lead your puppy to many bowls and intestinal diseases such as IBD (Inflammatory bowel diseases). Girardi can also badly affect the dog’s immune system and make your canine more exposed to catch other illnesses easily.

Can Giardia cause respiratory problems in dogs?

No doubt Giardia is a treatable illness. Besides, other health issues Giardia can lead a dog to Respiratory and heart problems. To prevent your canine from severe complications, you need to treat the illness on time and properly.

Can coconut oil kill Giardia in dogs?

Yes, coconut oil can be used as a treatment of Giardia in dogs. Besides other Coconut oil benefits for dogs, The oil works like a charm in many canine parasites include Giardia. Pure and plain coconut oil without including toxic ingredients is recommended in moderation to treat canine Giardia.

How much coconut oil should I give my dog for Giardia?

coconut oil for dogs Giardia

If you want to give coconut oil as a home remedy for dogs Giardia, then the first step you need to follow is moderation. Because overfeeding coconut oil to dogs can lead your canine to other health problems. Start feeding a tiny amount and observe your pup. If he/she tolerates the oil well, then increase to the safe dose.
According to vets and pet nutritionists, the ideal and safe amount of coconut oil for dogs Giardia is 1/4 teaspoon for puppies and small breeds and one teaspoon for large dogs.