Giardia: What It Is, What It Does, And How To Keep Your Pets Safe

With warm spring and soon summer weather finally starting to roll through the Pacific Northwest, it’s a good time to make sure you know what you need to know about Giardia.

In case you’ve never had a Pet contract Giardia and use the bathroom all over your house, it’s a tiny paradise found in fecal-contaminated water, soil, or food that causes a diarrheal disease. That brings with it nausea, vomiting, gas, and more, in addition to diarrhea. Quick tip: You *really* don’t want your Pet to get this.

Your cat or dog might get infected with Giardia from being in contact with another dog or cat’s infected poop — sorry for all the complicated medical jargon — or from rolling in, playing in, licking its body after contact with, or drinking water from a contaminated area. Puppies and kittens are at the highest risk.

A bit of good news, here, is that the chances of you getting sick from your contaminated Pet is pretty small.

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: you can help prevent the spread of disease by washing your hands with soap and water. Cleaning and disinfecting your household surfaces and any areas or toys your Pet plays with or eats and drinks from often can literally be a lifesaver. And if you’re out gardening in the nice weather, make sure you’re wearing gloves. You never know what neighborhood animals have decided to over-fertilize your hard work.

a person holding a dog

If you think your furry family member may have contracted Giardia, your first step is to get off of this pet hospital blog and call the actual pet hospital. Veterinary care through Hannah is your best friend. You won’t be able to stop into a pet store or a big box retailer and pick up an over-the-counter remedy, as none exist.

Despite our reliance on “Dr. Google,” only a licensed vet can (or should) give a diagnosis and recommend Pet-specific treatment. We may need a stool sample brought in. We may need a few of them, over several weeks. We weren’t kidding when we recommended the preventive care and hand-washing!

For more information on Giardia, the CDC has a great write-up which you can access here. We hope to not hear from you, but if we must, we want it to be as quickly and early as possible. Keep an eye on your buddy when they’re in the backyard or walking through the park, and make sure they steer clear of any errant poop you might come across. A courtesy sniff isn’t worth weeks of diarrhea.