5 tips against giardia in dogs

If your dog suffers from constant diarrhea, vomiting and abdominal cramps, it could be a Giardiasis act. In this article, we will show you how to proceed and which tips really help. In addition, for this article we have Advice from veterinarian Mag.med.vet. Emin Jasarevic obtained.

giardia dog
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Giardia colonize the small intestine of many creatures and cause a lot of damage from there. But with the help of some medications, thorough hygiene and a lot of patience, you can help your pet.

What are giardia?

Giardia is the presence of unicellular parasites, which live in the small intestine of dogs and feed on the nutrients they ingest. 

A large proportion of puppies are infested with giardia, but very few of them show symptoms. Thus, they are among the most common endogenous parasites in our dogs.

There are about 40 species of giardia. The small pests are only a few micrometers in size. They move around with the help of flagella. To prevent them from being washed away with the food and excreted, they attach themselves to the intestinal wall with suction cups. Once they are in the digestive tract of a living organism, they multiply rapidly. 

About cysts and zoonosis

Some bacteria are excreted again in the feces. They are then encased so that they can survive for several months without a host. At this stage of life they are also Cysts called.

These cysts can quickly infect other living creatures such as cats or even humans. The transmission of diseases from animals to humans and vice versa is called zoonosis. 

Many dogs are infested with Giardia without showing symptoms. Only if symptoms also occur at the same time, one speaks of the outbreak of giardiasis. 

Puppies are particularly at risk because their immune system is not yet fully developed. But older or weakened furry noses can also develop symptoms.

Immunity is possible after an infection has been overcome. Particularly immune strong dogs have sufficient antibodies not to get sick again.

Causes of giardiasis

The parasites can be transmitted by many routes, such as infected water, feces, or food. 

If your pet drinks from a puddle or licks objects where an infected dog has been before, it can pick up the parasites. Flies can also transmit giardia.

If the mother of a puppy is infected, she probably shows no symptoms and the disease goes unnoticed. However, the parasites can be transmitted through close contact. With a weak immune system, the outbreak of giardiasis is then much more likely to occur.

Stress or a change in diet can also weaken the defense system and thus contribute to the disease. If several dogs or cats are kept together, this also increases the risk of infection.

Giardia are to blame for these symptoms


Only rarely does a giardia infestation cause symptoms. In most cases, the pathogens can be controlled before an outbreak of giardiasis occurs. 

In puppies or weakened dogs it is different: the immune system is not one hundred percent functional and with time many symptoms appear.

The most noticeable complaints are severe diarrhea and vomiting. The diarrhea is uncontrolled and occurs several times a day. Sometimes there is also blood in it. This happens when the giardia have damaged the intestinal wall.

In case of infection, your protégé probably has Abdominal pain, Cramps and a bloated belly. You can tell by the cramped muscles in your abdomen. 

The feces are probably lighter in color than usual and have a foul odor.

Interesting facts about the parasites

Since the parasites intercept the important nutrients in the intestine, your darling loses weight, although he eats just as much as before. This also worsens his general condition and he is weakened. Now he is more susceptible to other diseases, especially those in the gastrointestinal tract.

When your Puppy is still growing during the infection, a severe infection may even lead to Growth disorders come. After all, your darling is now missing important nutrients.

The symptoms do not occur continuously, but alternate with symptom-free phases.

Even though giardiasis is stressing your four-legged friend and you're probably worried, remember that it's not life-threatening and you can help quickly with the right treatment.

Here you will find a summary of the most important symptoms:

  • Diarrhea (bloody, mucous)
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal pain and cramps
  • Flatulence
  • light feces, rotten smell
  • cramped muscles in the abdominal area
  • Weight loss
  • Weakness

Giardia diagnosis

If your pet has any of these symptoms, it is important to see a veterinarian. This is especially important if you discover blood in the diarrhea or if your pet loses weight. 

A definite diagnosis can only be made by a Lab test possible. The feces are examined under the microscope. Therefore, you should bring fecal samples from at least 3 days in case of suspicion. Because cysts are not excreted in every sample.

In a pinch, the bacteria can also be removed at the vet's by a Colonoscopy or by the Intestinal fluid analysis be determined.

However, these tests only make sense if the suspicion of giardiasis is to be confirmed. After treatment, they are no longer conclusive enough. This is because even with a negative test, there may still be a few giardia in the body. 

These may be enough to trigger a new infection. In addition, the parasites can also hide in the bile duct. There they are then no longer detectable.

A lengthy treatment

The therapy against the annoying bacteria usually proves to be very difficult. Giardia are very stubborn and their cysts can be spread all over the apartment. That is why drugs alone do not help. Besides, a strong hygiene must be maintained.

The veterinarian can recommend you different remedies against parasites. Possible agents can be metronidazole, fenbendazole, febantel or albendazole be 

These antibiotics or anthelmintics are administered 3 - 5 days in a row, depending on which agent is used. If the number of pathogens is high, a control examination may be required and repeat treatment may be necessary.  

Unfortunately, the drugs can have side effects that further weaken your protégé. Antibiotics, for example, weaken the stomach and intestinal flora. And these drugs do not always help. They can not kill all pathogens, but only a part. The rest must be taken over by your dog's immune system.

5 important hygiene measures

Only if hygiene is performed regularly and consistently, giardia can be completely eliminated. Even if it seems troublesome at first, it's still better than a setback in treatment. 

1. hot wash bowls & toys

The cysts can also live for months without a host. Therefore, all objects your dog has come into contact with may be contaminated.

That's why you should wash toys, blankets and pillows at 90°. It is best to use Disinfectant detergent. Bowls and baskets you should also start with rinse with hot water if possible.

Unfortunately, you will then have to part with things that you can't wash thoroughly enough. Lying surfaces and tiles should also be cleaned with hot water or steam. 

In the end everything must thoroughly dried be. Giardia prefer moisture. In addition, you should thoroughly disinfect everything that had contact with your four-legged friend. There are disinfectants that are specifically against Giardia infestation.

2. prevent diarrhea in the apartment

Your pet cannot control diarrhea in giardiasis. That is why it usually comes unexpectedly. 

If you go outside with him every hour, he makes less often in the apartment. Nevertheless, in your apartment you can Incontinence pads or Lay out newspapers. On the one hand, it is then easier to clean, and on the other hand, it contributes to hygiene. 

When your faithful companion jumps on the sofa, you should do it with Bed covers cover and change daily. The comforter cover must also be washed at least 60 °.

3. remove feces immediately

You should dispose of the feces in the trash as soon as possible. It is best to seal it in a bag beforehand. Otherwise, flies could come and infect. 

You should also Rubber or latex gloves carry. After all, people can also be infected with these bacteria.

In the garden you can not remove the feces as thoroughly as in the apartment. Therefore, you should clean the area afterwards with Sprinkle with lime. This kills a large part of the pathogens.

4. wash dog regularly

Whether your darling likes it or not: Now daily must be the anal region should be thoroughly cleaned. Also more frequent washing of the complete hair coat with a dog shampoo is recommended. It is important that it is completely dried again afterwards.

After he has done his business, you should wipe his anus with a wet wipe.

5. be careful when handling small children

Since children can also quickly become infected with Giardia, they should not play unsupervised with an infected dog. Your four-legged friend must not lick children under any circumstances. Hands must be washed thoroughly after cuddling.

What else you should definitely consider

You must never make your protégé feel marginalized by the disease. 

Puppies in particular need a lot of attention. However, if they are no longer petted for reasons of hygiene or have to stay outside, this can cause disturbances in their development. 

Remember that despite a Giardia infection cuddle with your darling. You just have to wash your hands thoroughly afterwards. Right now your dog needs support. 

In any case, do not scold him for making in the apartment. During giardiasis your puppy can't help it. The diarrhea is unexpected and punishment would only confuse him.

Despite the hygiene measures, try to continue living with your four-legged friend as before. This will help him the most at this moment.

Tip: A miracle cure for dogs

Diet alone can not eliminate giardia. But it can contribute to a faster improvement. Carbohydrates have been shown to worsen the symptoms.

Therefore, you should give your pet low-carbohydrate food and more proteins. In any case, you should avoid food that causes additional flatulence.

A Moro carrot soup can work wonders. Even if it does not replace therapy, this food contributes to recovery.

After surviving an infection, your pet's digestive system is irritated. Gentle diet can help to strengthen the stomach and intestines again. 

If you want to support your dog's recovery with homeopathic remedies, I recommend Calcium carbonicum D200. It helps against stomach problems and can be used for dogs without any problems.

Prevention measures

It is difficult to prevent a Giardia infection. But with a few measures, you can minimize the risk.

Even if your four-legged friend is not infected, you should pay strong attention to hygiene. This is especially true if you have multiple pets. Never let your dog drink from puddles or eat feces. This can prevent infection.

Since a giardiasis in a weakened immune system becomes a problem, your pet should have as little stress as possible. With vitamins and probiotics you can additionally strengthen your dog's defenses.

Frequently Asked Questions

Giardia is the presence of unicellular parasites, which live in the small intestine of dogs and feed on the ingested nutrients. A large proportion of puppies are infested with giardia, but very few of them show symptoms. Thus, they are one of the most common endogenous parasites in our four-legged friends..

Only rarely does a giardia infestation cause symptoms. In most cases, the pathogens can be fought before an outbreak of giardiasis occurs. In puppies or weakened dogs it is different: the immune system is not one hundred percent functional and with time many symptoms appear.

Giardia can also infect humans. Therefore, you should follow strict hygiene rules and keep babies and children away from your dog.

Here you will find the main symptoms of giardiasis:

  • Diarrhea (bloody, mucous)
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal pain and cramps
  • Flatulence
  • light feces, rotten smell
  • cramped muscles in the abdominal area
  • Weight loss
  • Weakness

You should keep strict hygiene, always disinfect everything that had contact with your dog, wash your dog regularly, especially the anus area. Go outside every hour so that your dog does not get diarrhea in the apartment. Most importantly, despite the circumstances, provide your dog with lots of love and affection.

Veterinarian’s Recommendation

A Giardia infection is nerve-wracking: both for your pet and for you as owner. The more you pay attention to hygiene, the faster this state of emergency will be over again.

It is important that your dog does not experience much of the stress. It would only put additional stress on him. Deal with him in the same way as before. He now needs at least as much attention as before, otherwise this can quickly lead to behavioral problems.

Remember: Even if the treatment is costly, there are worse things. The giardiasis will be over soon and then everything will go back to normal.

Picture of Geprüft vom Tierarzt Mag.med.vet. Emin Jasarevic
Veterinarian Mag.med.vet. Emin Jasarevic

I am a veterinarian and writer on animal health topics. Animals are my passion, and it is my personal goal to create medically accurate articles and videos to educate pet owners as much as possible.

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