My Dog Has Giardia: Now What?

What to do when your dog has Giardia

We went in for Walter’s wellness Saturday and of course dropped of a fecal sample. Then days later I find out he has giardia! The last time he go it – it was 2013. So we’re not strangers to the treatment course but Walter didn’t have symptoms this time around.

Where were we last week? How did he get it? As a CVT, I took a course in parasitology so I know that giradia can live in dirt and grass areas for months. It’s basically everywhere. Did Walter eat poop last week on a walk or at the creek I took him too (yikes)? Was he drinking water a lot? (Probably… it was hot).

What is Giardia? 

Giardia is a protozoan parasite that can infect the gastrointestinal tract of dogs and is capable of causing diarrhea, vomiting, weight loss and lethargy — although many infected animals show no signs at all. … Most dogs become infected by drinking water contaminated with feces – as the damp environment is preferred by these nasty parasites.

Zoonotic? YES! Giardia that affects humans is not usually the same one that affects dogs and cats, but I’m including a link to the CDC site in case you want to go down that rabbit hole.

Walter is taking a five day course of Panacur (dewormer) which is a powder that I put on deli turkey –  separate from his food. He doesn’t seem to mind the taste but it’s a lot of powder so sometimes I break it up in two bowls. Panacur (fenbendazole) helps treat hookworms, roundworms, tapeworms, and whipworms in dogs. In the past when he has had symptoms he needed both metronidazole and Panacur together to cure the symptoms.


Like Walter, many pets with giardia have no symptoms.

Diarrhea is the most common symptom and it can be acute or chronic. You don’t want to leave it untreated as you can cause a big GI infection. So if your dog ever has diarrhea and it lasts for days you should see your Vet. Better to be safe than sorry.


In order to rule out certain parasites, your vet will send the fecal sample to a lab and then again after the treatment course to make sure the parasite is completely cleared from your dog’s body.

Walter is a-ok. But in the past he’s been fairly ill so you should always check with your vet when you’re seeing acute or chronic diarrhea. As you can see he enjoyed the flower farm immensely! (1)

Further Reading: 

Facts you need to know – AKC

Giardia Infection – read on 


There are 8 Comments

  1. Lindsay says:

    At least you’ve got first hand experience from previous and you’re educated in the subject matter. I hope this passes quickly for him.

    A friend of mine brought home her puppy husky last year and he had the worst case of it…. anyways after five treatments, she turned to a holistic method and finally it cleared up. It definitely messed up his belly because he’s super sensitive to most foods now, and he’s definitely on the thinner side for a husky.
    Give Walter kisses for us.

    • Thank you for commenting! Ugh first hand experience for sure — Walter had giardia at least 2-3X as a puppy so we got used to the Panacur treatment. Thank you for your kind words -we have one day left on the treatment so I hope it clears. AFTER five treatments! — I’d love to know the holistic method they used and I bet it totally messed with her dog’s GI — that is terrible! UGH I feel so badly for her.

  2. Denise says:

    I had no idea dogs could get Giardia, I know you said it was different than humans but my sister had it when she was young and it was horrible. It sounds like some of the symptoms are the same, do dogs get pain? I’m glad Walter isn’t having symptoms and you were able to catch it early!

    • Ugh that’s horrible that your sister got it and it’s super zoonotic so I was concerned maybe I would get it this time – I think the signs are mainly GI and that’s what happened to Walter the previous two times he had it years ago — not pleasant…. so awful and yes I think painful for sure.

  3. Emma says:

    Never had this and didn’t know anything about it. Madison has some kind of parasite we just found out at her exam with the fecal test. She too has no symptoms but thankfully the cure is pills which are easy to pop down. That powder would not be fun. Our vet said she probably got it because she is young and she has her nose to the ground all the time and probably just got something into her system. She doesn’t eat stuff on the road and rarely drinks water except from one of our bowls. All this kind of stuff really stinks! Hope Walter is rid of it soon!

    • The powder is not fun and there is so much of it per dose -I’m so sorry sweet Madison had something as well. What would we have done if we hadn’t been in for exams!! UGH Walter too all he does is stick his nose in well everything…. all holes and all mud, etc. I’m not stunned he had this. Thank you so much – I drop off fecal this week so hoping he clears it and I ope Madison clears hers too! Walter is super naught and will drink out of every puddle so you’re lucky!