Know Thy Enemy

What is giardiasis in dogs and why can it be tricky to diagnose and even harder to get rid of?

Here's the ugly little adult giardia. It propels with those "legs" and the circles are not eyes but suction so they can attach and feed

Not only have I helped people get rid of giardia in their dogs over the years, I've gone through it with my dog as well and there's few things that can make you feel as helpless as watching your dog become miserable with some of the scariest diarrhea you've ever seen.

I also find it incredibly interesting.  I mean....


  •  How easily dogs get it


  • How it reproduces at a hearty pace


  • How it protects itself from being killed (AMAZING) 

What is Giardiasis?

It’s simply the term your vet uses to say your dog has been infected with Giardia. Doesn’t matter whether you call it giardia lambia or Giardia duodenalis. Same critter.


Anyway, giardia is a one celled protozoa you cannot see because it measures 10 um or 0.0003937 of an inch. Think of learning about amoebas back in school. Just like the amoeba, it reproduces by splitting – so it only takes one to get things rolling.


That means no wait time for laying eggs or hatching or even growing up. One adult makes two; so rather quickly if you’d try to do the math you end up with literally thousands and thousands in a pretty short time.


Giardia does have two stages. Both are adult but some form a ‘shell’ of protection and are passed out of the body to wait and infect someone else later. These are called cysts.


Here's a diagram of giardiasis I found at the CDC. And obviously it's not a dog. People get giardia as well.

The above diagram is from the Center of Disease Control.

The Hearty Giardia Cyst

Since those nasty little cysts are protected, they can live in the water or on the land.(As in dog poop.) They can take the heat and the cold for many months. Even freezing temperatures won’t kill them all.

All a dog need do is take a whiff of infected fecal matter, lick his nose and viola, it's inside. (They can even reinfect themselves this way.)


Once the cysts are ingested and travel to the stomach, the environment allows them to break out of their shell so they get to the intestines and attach themselves there to feed and split and split and split.


If your dog tests positive for giardiasis but has no diarrhea, you’re lucky it was found at its early stage. Time to get cracking and get rid of the little monsters.


If your dog has recurring diarrhea, bloody diarrhea, mucus and perhaps even vomiting and shows fatigue, then the little devils have been doing what they do best.

Damaging the gut which is where most of the immune system is along with digestive tract. Your dog cannot have proper digestion and be able to use food when it's all going straight through in as a soggy wet mess.

And that is why I use natural remedies to heal the gut damage while addressing the giardia.

› Giardiasis

Other pages related the topic of Giardia:

IBD In Dogs with Giardia

Herbs vs Drugs

why a healthy dog heals faster

Important Notice

I sell NSP (Nature's Sunshine) herbs and supplements for your dog. While these are strictly tested and made for human consumption, I am the only one in the United States successfully using them for dogs for over a decade now.

To get proper doses for your dog you must purchase through me. I've spent a great deal of time learning the right combinations and doses per weight for your canine kid.