How to Naturally Cure Giardia in a Dog?- As a responsible dog parent, you may try your best to keep diseases at bay by providing the best food quality and raising your dog in clean and safe conditions.
However, it is not possible to fully prevent the occurrence of any disease. Bacterial and protozoal infestations are extremely common amongst dogs and have worrying symptoms.
The occurrence of Giardiasis is a common concern amongst dog parents who often question how to naturally cure Giardia in a dog.
To cure the problem, some dog parents turn to foods with anti-bacterial and protozoal functions, such as clove oils, garlic, etc. These remedies should be used with caution as they are not scientifically proven effective and may further complicate the condition.
Getting a pet means taking responsibility for all of its needs and ensuring that it is in the pink of health.
Even with the strictest checks, preventing bacterial and protozoal infestations in any animal is an impossible task.
Giardia is a common infestation in the intestines that affects several species of animals. Diarrhea-causing disease does not have any natural remedy as of yet.
That’s why this article comes to your rescue to give you some idea on how to cure the same.
What is Giardia?
Giardia is a unicellular microscopic parasite that lives in the intestines of its host. It is known to affect many species like humans, dogs, cats, etc., and can further lead to issues in the gastrointestinal system.
It is a problem that affects about 15% of the worldwide dog population (Mehta). Also known as Giardiasis, the parasite may take about 5 to 12 days to affect dogs once ingested.
What Causes Giardiasis in Dogs?
The parasite spreads extremely rapidly due to its life cycle. The life cycle of Giardia can be broken into two parts; cysts and mature parasites, known as trophozoites. The cysts of the parasite are the source of the disease.
A cyst is a parasite in an ineffective stage where it exists in the soil, water, or any surface. When you ingest water or come in contact with soil contaminated by cysts and lick its body afterward, the Giardia cysts are ingested.
On reaching the intestines, the cysts mature into trophozoites and multiply. The newly produced cysts can survive harsh environmental conditions for months and exit the body along with feces. When other dogs come in contact with these cysts, the process restarts, affecting a new victim.
Simply put, your dog may have caught the infestation because of contact with:
- Cyst infected water
- Soil contaminated with feces containing the cysts.
It is very easy for dogs to contract the parasite since dogs are curious animals that enjoy sniffing and licking everything around them. Grass, soil, other dogs’ bodies, etc., are all carriers of the parasite. Keeping your dog under control and preventing it from running off to explore is a difficult task that makes the spread of Giardia easier.
Symptoms of Giardia
Your dog can be a host to the parasite without showing any symptoms. Meanwhile, it acts as a carrier, increasing the risk to other dogs. Although it cannot spread between different species, having a live parasite in your dog’s intestines is a cause for concern.
This is the biggest giveaway of Giardia. You may observe a difference in the smell of its feces. Foul-smelling, green, yellow, or brown colored diarrhea along with blood or mucous may be a sign of Giardiasis.
If you notice your dog with several other medical issues or of an old age suffering from diarrhea, it is important to take immediate action and show it to the vet. If left untreated, Giardia in such dogs could be fatal.
Malabsorption of Nutrients
The matured trophozoites stick to the thin walls of your dog’s intestines. These walls help in the absorption of nutrients.
The parasite acts as a barrier, preventing absorption and feeding on the nutrients itself. This leads to significantly fewer nutrients available for your dog’s body to sustain itself.
Loss of Weight
Due to the lack of nutrients, your dog will lose weight without changing its eating habits and physical exertion. Although losing weight is not a symptom solely associated with Giardiasis, it is a clear indication of an issue in the gastrointestinal system.
Due to improper absorption of food, there could be gas formation in your pet’s gastrointestinal cavity.
Although this may also occur due to indigestion, you can help relieve your dog by massaging the gas out.
If it occurs frequently, it may be a sign of digestive issues or the existence of Giardia in the intestines, amongst various other issues, which your vet should check out.
Poor absorption of nutrients, loss of appetite, and gas production are all elements that, when put together, can cause great abdominal discomfort to your pet.
Do not brush away the issue if you continuously see your pet roll around. It may be an urgent sign to call for medical assistance.
Diarrhea can cause a massive reduction in the water stores in your dog’s body and lead to dehydration.
Due to a lack of energy, you may notice that your dog’s water intake has also dropped significantly.
This may cause your dog to feel more sluggish than usual and can prove to be fatal for dogs with immune system disorders.
Dehydration also brings along with it nausea which can further cause vomiting. However, not a common symptom, vomiting, and diarrhea are an immediate cause for worry.
How to Naturally Cure Giardia in a Dog?
There are no natural remedies that have been medically proven to help treat Giardia.
However, using the results of ongoing studies that are not yet medically approved, several dog owners claim that there are home remedies that can help cure Giardiasis.
Some tested remedies are Coconut Oil, Grapefruit Seed Extract, Garlic, Cloves Oil, Goldenseed, etc. Some pet parents claim that using them in combinations provides the best results.
From an objective point of view, these remedies seem extremely risky as neither the effectiveness nor dosage are approved by medical professionals.
Moreover, research prevents the usage of these alternative suggested treatments for dogs undergoing pregnancy, suffering problems like liver disease, or those dogs taking medication to treat other issues.
Conclusively, we do not suggest that you try any of these suggested cures on your beloved dog and instead approach a Professional Vet.
Medically Proven Ways to Treat Giardia
Taking your dog to the vet immediately after noticing any symptoms is the best course of action.
After running some tests on your dog’s stools, your vet will be able to assess your dog and provide the best possible solution to eliminate Giardia from its intestines.
Usually, Metronidazole or Fenbendazole are prescribed to help get rid of the problem. There is no medically approved over-the-counter drug that can treat Giardia yet.
How Long Does it Take to Get Rid of Giardia in Dogs?
Depending on the severity of the case, most Giardia cases are resolved within 3 to 10 days of prescribing medication.
Can Infestation of Giardia be Prevented?
There is no way to fully prevent your dog from coming in contact with Giardia. However, by following the below-mentioned steps, the risk of Giardia infestation can be minimized.
Use a Water Filter
If it is a known fact that the local water supply is contaminated with Giardia, investing in a water filter would be in the best interests of both- your pet and your health. Purifying the water at the source can help prevent the spread.
Access to Fresh Water
Giardia cysts tend to survive for months in cold and damp conditions. Natural sources of fresh water such as lakes and rivers, which several animals frequent, help speed up the spread of the parasite.
Keep your dog away from such places and provide clean water for it in its separate bowl that is kept at a level higher than the ground to prevent any contamination from the soil.
Dispose of Poop Right Away
Your dog may be an asymptomatic carrier of Giardia. To minimize any possible risk to you or other animals in your household and the dog itself, clean up after the dog and immediately dispose of the poop while keeping minimum contact.
Monitor Your Dog Outdoors
It is difficult to keep track of your dog outdoors when it is let loose to run wild. However, to prevent coming in contact with Giardia, it is essential that you keep track of where your dog is at all times. Keep your dog away from places where the feces of other animals are present.
Clean and Disinfect Surfaces Regularly
An asymptomatic Giardia carrier is just as big a concern as a symptomatic one. Ensure that the surfaces in your house are disinfected regularly, especially after your dog runs across right after coming indoors.
This can help minimize the risk of infection to itself as well as to you. Keep your dog’s living space extremely clean and regularly wash its bed.
Make sure that you bathe your dog immediately after coming indoors. This will help eliminate any cysts that may have clung onto its skin, which your dog can ingest by licking its skin and paws.
Although there is no medically approved solution to how to naturally cure Giardia in a dog, by practicing healthy habits and keeping your dog clean, the risk of an infestation can be reduced.