None of us like it when our canine friends get sick. Yet, it's inevitable that at some point in your pet's life, they will catch something and get sick. And of all the things your dog can catch, intestinal parasites are one of the most common and easily spread infections. Giardia is a common one, especially in puppies.
But don't freak out if your dog has a parasite. Often times, it comes with the territory of owning a pet, especially if your dog visits the park or other places where they can come into contact with infected dogs.
Giardia, or rather Giardiasis, is a parasitic infection caused by Giardia Lamblia. These little critters often contaminate water and can be spread that way, or through the soil, other animals, and even direct human contact. The parasite has a hard shell, which allows them to survive for long periods of time in water, soil, and yes, even in your dog's intestine. Because of how tough these little guys are, it's important to treat any dog suspected of having the infection.
Giardia treatment in dogs is usually done under the supervision of a vet, and if you suspect your dog is sick with anything at all, please don't hesitate to visit your veterinarian. Giardia can often be mistaken for other types of parasites and infections if you're just basing it on the symptoms you can see with your own two eyes. Usually, your vet will have to run tests to figure out the culprit before prescribing treatment. If left untreated, Giardia can cause severe diarrhea, weight loss, and even death, so it's not something you will want to mess around with.
That being said, there may be a way to prevent a Giardia infection in your dog. Of course, the first step would be the make sure your dog doesn't come into contact with feces and that they have access to clean drinking water. Prevention is key. But you can also up your dog's defenses to the nasty bug with some simple items you may already have in your cupboard.
Savvy owners in the know are raving about using coconut oil on dogs these days. And yes, coconut oil has a lot of nifty uses, including moisturizing their skin and coat. But did you know that coconut oil contains Caprylic Acid, which is a short chain fatty acid that stops the growth of bacteria and parasites? Well now you do! Coconut oil also contains lauric acid which the parasites consume, and it literally causes them to explode and die. Bye-bye parasites!
So in addition to using coconut oil for your dog's skin, now you can consider it a handy tool in preventing – and maybe even treating – Giardia and other parasites as well. Of course, if your dog is heavily infected already, it may take too long for the effects to help, and you may still need to consider conventional medicine. In severe cases of Giardia, as we mentioned above, severe weight loss and malnutrition can cause serious problems and would need to be treated as soon as possible. Additional medicine may also be needed to stop the diarrhea so your dog feels better while fighting off their parasitic hitchhikers.