Welpe liegt auf einem Teppich und macht ein trauriges Gesicht

Giardia in dogs - what to do?

Many dog ​​owners regularly deworm their dogs to protect them from worm infestation. Sometimes it happens that despite a wormer, the dog suffers from recurring diarrhea. Many people forget that not only worms, but also protozoa can get into the dog's digestive tract. Such protozoa are, for example, Giardia.

What is Giardia?

Giardia are small intestinal parasites that move by flagella. Giardia occurs all over the world and poses a particular danger to puppies or old, weak dogs. They attach themselves to the dog's intestinal wall with a suction cup-like adhesive disc and feed on the animal's intestinal contents. This can damage the intestinal wall. An infection with Giardia is also called gardiosis.

Giardia development cycle

The dogs ingest Giarids through their permanent form, the cyst. By licking or coming into contact with an infected dog, these enter the dog's body. A few cysts are enough to infect the dog. Once in the body, they continue to migrate until they reach the dog's intestines. There they dock, feed on the intestinal contents and small parts of the intestinal mucosa and multiply. Before the giardia are excreted in the feces, they change shape and form cysts again. As a result, the giardia are surrounded by a shell that protects them from external influences. They can be contagious in the faeces for up to a week, and they thrive in a damp environment. Survival of the Giardia favors kennel keeping, wet lawns, a large number of animals and unhygienic conditions. Under these circumstances, Giardia can survive for up to three months.

How can my dog ​​get infected?

Often, dogs from southern and eastern Europe are infected with Giardia due to the circumstances mentioned above. Transmission often occurs through contaminated water and faeces, e.g. by sniffing each other or licking your own anus. Anyone who wants to get a dog from abroad should therefore have their dog tested for Giardia beforehand in order to rule out Giardiasis and prevent other dogs from being infected. Since Giardia can survive as cysts for a long time, dogs can also become infected again by licking the ground or other infected areas. This is also possible after the dog has been treated accordingly. Hygiene is therefore the top priority. All covers, pillows, blankets and berths must be washed. Floors should be thoroughly cleaned with disinfectant cleaner to prevent reinfection.

Symptoms of giardiasis

Dogs with a good immune system often show no symptoms of Giardia infestation. Dogs with a weakened immune system and damaged intestinal flora, on the other hand, can develop serious symptoms from giardiasis, which can lead to long-term damage.

Typical symptoms of giardiasis are:

Diarrhea (lighter, yellowish color, mucous, bloody)

· The diarrhea may go away for a few days and then return



weight loss


· Dull fur and scales

Identification & treatment of giardiasis

An infestation with Giardia can only be determined by examining the faeces at the veterinarian. It is important that faeces is collected over several days, since Giardia does not have to be in every heap. This collected fecal sample is then examined in the laboratory. It is best to use a collection device for this and then store the droppings in a well-sealed container.

In the event of a positive infestation, treatment with the active ingredient fenbendazole is carried out according to the instructions of the veterinarian. The dog is given a preparation with the active ingredient for three to five days. To be sure that the treatment has worked, it makes sense to repeat the faecal examination after a week. After a new detection of the pathogen, the treatment is repeated. Giardia can hide in the bile duct, making treatment at this point ineffective

It is particularly important, as already written above, that strict hygiene is observed. Not only all berths should be cleaned regularly. All bowls must also be rinsed out daily with boiling water.

Giardia is a zoonosis. This means that the parasites can also be transmitted to humans. But do not panic - transmission is rather rare. Nevertheless, a few rules should be observed. After handling the dog, you should wash your hands and follow all other hygiene measures. Legacies should be removed particularly thoroughly in order to reduce the risk of infection to a minimum. Dog contact should also be avoided for the duration of the treatment, as sorry as a dog owner feels.


As a rule, Giardia is not particularly dangerous for dogs and humans. However, due to their immune system, sick, young and old dogs are particularly at risk of developing giardiasis. If left untreated, this can lead to serious symptoms. Infection can occur in many ways, which is why early detection and treatment is particularly important. A good relationship with the dog is also necessary. This means that, for example, changes in behavior due to illness or the like can be recognized quickly and action can be taken in good time.

Understanding the needs of our furry friends and good communication lead to a happy human-dog relationship. Ines Gersten has written an enlightening guide that we would like to recommend to you. Start your journey together into an inseparable relationship with your four-legged friend.

You can find more information here in her book:

You and your dog - a safe union*

The links marked * are advertisements. This means we get a small commission if you click through and make a purchase.

Back to blog

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.