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What is giardia and how can my dog get it?

As the infective cyst stage of giardia is found anywhere there has been contaminated faces, giardia can easily be picked up from the environment. Giardia likes water, and muddy puddles or other contaminated water sources are a common source of infection. As giardia can be found almost anywhere, it is impossible to stop your dog from being exposed to giardia completely.

What are the signs of giardia?

Signs of giardia can be short or long-term, and sometimes intermittent, with dogs experiencing flare-ups of signs.

Signs of a giardia infection include:

  • Diarrhoea may be strong smelling, and can contain blood and mucus

  • Bloated tummy from gas

  • Poor weight gain in young puppies

However, signs are not diagnostic, and can range in severity. Some dogs can be infected and show no signs at all. If your dog is experiencing any of these signs then make an appointment with your vet.

You can’t stop your dog being exposed to giardia, but there are some top tips to reduce the risk of infection:

  • Don't allow your dog to drink from muddy puddles.

  • Always pick up your dog's faeces quickly although this will not stop your own dog becoming infected, if everyone followed this simple advice, contamination in the environment in general would be greatly reduced.

  • Use boarding kennels that you trust and are cleaned regularly densely populated areas are much more likely to harbour giardia.