Do Home Remedies for Giardia in Dogs Work?

Preliminary studies show promise for a number of home remedies for giardia in dogs. When combined with appropriate measures to keep shed giardia cysts from contaminating the dog’s environment, options like coconut oil and grapefruit seed extract had similar results as metronidazole.

It’s important to keep in mind that giardia is hard to get rid of whether you use conventional or natural remedies.

Not only is it hard to get rid of, but many times it’s hard to detect. Many dogs suffer symptoms for a long time before the giardia finally shows up in a test at the vet.

Last week, as I was reading about a rescue dog that was struggling with giardia, I started to wonder: Are there natural remedies for giardia in dogs?

Sit back, grab a cup of coffee, and let’s find out!

What is Giardia?

picture of giardia parasites under microscope that can cause giardia in dogs

Giardia is a microscopic parasite (not a worm, though) that can infect the guts of fish, birds, or mammals. Dogs and puppies tend to contract the organism by drinking from contaminated water or by direct contact with feces from infected animals.

Giardia is most common in puppies and dogs less than a year old. Their immune systems aren’t mature yet so have a harder time fighting it off.

If an adult dog has giardia, many times it’s because they have a weak immune system or are very stressed.

If not detected, untreated giardia can affect intestinal absorption of nutrients and cause malnutrition.

Giardia has two life stages:

1. Trophozoite

cartoon picture of a giardia trophozoite

As a trophozoite, giardia attaches itself to the lining of the small intestine with a sucker. It feeds and reproduces there.

New trophozoites either attach to the intestinal wall or move into the large intestine. The different pH environment in the large intestine causes the trophozoites to “encyst” (become encapsulated in a protective capsule).

2. Cyst

cartoon picture of a giardia cyst

These encapsulated cysts pass out of the body in the feces. The feces can infect new hosts through direct contact with the host or by infecting bodies of water through direct contact or rain washing them into the body of water. Cysts can survive for several months outside of the body.

Once ingested by drinking water or contact with infected feces, the cyst’s protective walls are broken down by stomach acid and the trophozoite emerges, starting the cycle in the new host.

How do Dogs Get Giardia?

Dogs Drinking From Pond Needing Home Remedies for Giardia in Dogs

The most common way dogs acquire giardia is by drinking from contaminated water sources (puddles, lakes, rivers, swamps – anywhere another infected animal may have been). Eating infected feces is another way they can contract giardia. It’s even possible (but less common) for a dog to get giardia by licking or sniffing infected feces or sniffing soil that is contaminated with cysts.

Symptoms of Giardia in Dogs

Although some dogs do not show symptoms, most dogs infected with giardia will show gastrointestinal symptoms such as:

  • Diarrhea (may be chronic or might come and go)
  • Stools may be mucousy and foul smelling or greasy looking
  • Weight loss
  • Refusal to eat
  • Grazing excessively on grass (trying to relieve stomach upset and cramping)
  • Dehydration
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Blood in stool is uncommon but does happen in some cases

Some dogs will have acute diarrhea that causes dehydration. In others, the diarrhea will come and go, making it harder to diagnose. Vomiting may only be occasional as well.

How to Test for Giardia

Giardia is very difficult to detect because it is only noticeable in the stool at certain times in its cycle.

A lot of websites state you should just bring in a stool sample to your vet – but I can tell you from experience that this method misses a LOT of giardia cases.

Here are the different methods I read about and their effectiveness (or lack thereof):

Fecal smear

In-clinic test, looks primarily for trophozoites, less effective at finding cysts.

Float test

In-clinic test used to find worms. Might find giardia cysts if at the correct time in the cycle, best bet is if it is performed by technicians specifically trained to find giardia this way.


Done at a lab. Generally more reliable than a fecal smear, but can give false negatives or positives.

ELISA test (enzyme-linked immunosorben-t assay)

This test is considered the most reliable test. It is sent out to a lab and analyzed for the presence of giardia antigens. It is approximately 90% accurate.
While slightly more expensive than the fecal smear and float tests, it only needs to be done once so is less expensive overall.
Note: Your vet may not call it an ELISA test. An ELISA test is one that uses the ELISA technique to look for the presence of antigens. So, for example, the IDEXX Fecal Dx w/giardia is a test that your vet sends out to a lab which uses ELISA assay testing to look for the presence of giardia antigens.

One website recommended repeating in-house tests up to three times to be sure your dog is negative for giardia, or (preferably) using an assay test (ELISA) that is more reliable. I mention this to illustrate the cost savings and better accuracy of using an ELISA test in the first place.

Now that I know about the ELISA testing technique, I will hands down insist on a test that uses it if I ever take my dog or foster in to be checked for giardia.

dogs drinking from pond that may have giardia in it

Do You Always Need to Treat Giardia?

If a dog has no clinical signs of giardia, you don’t automatically need to treat it – they may recover by themselves if they are healthy and have a strong immune system.

In some cases you will still treat an asymptomatic dog, such as if another dog or family member is immune compromised or ill.

Many dogs will show symptoms, however, and need help getting rid of giardia.

The most common form of treatment is conventional medication. Other people prefer to use home remedies aimed at killing the giardia and restoring intestinal balance using natural products.

Regardless of the method you choose, make sure you:

  • Pick up the dog’s poop the minute they go to the bathroom to keep the cysts out of your yard. If you don’t, it could infect your other pets or reinfect the same dog down the road. Continue this until you know for sure that your dog doesn’t have giardia anymore.
  • Periodically shampoo the hair around the dog’s rear end to remove any cysts that are present.
  • Bathe the dog on the last day of conventional treatment.

Conventional Treatments for Giardia in Dogs

Important Disclaimer: I am not a vet, I’m just sharing my own personal experience and information I have read. If you think you want to try something you read about here, talk to your vet! But first read this and many more articles to empower yourself for a good discussion in which you can ask your vet great questions about what you want to try.

Knowledge is power – never forget that!

Here is a quick description of the most common conventional medications used to treat giardia in dogs:

Metronidazole (Flagyl)

Metronidazole has been the main drug for treating giardia for many years. The Merck Veterinary Manual states that Metronidazole is ~65% effective in eliminating Giardia from infected dogs but may be associated with “acute development of anorexia and vomiting, which may occasionally progress to pronounced generalized ataxia and vertical positional nystagmus.”

Its long list of possible side effects include lethargy, neurologic disorders, liver damage, blood in urine, effect on blood cells, and anorexia. It is not considered safe for pregnant females.

Fenbendazole (Panacur, SafeGuard)

Fenbendazole is used to get rid of giardia, as well as a dewormer. One vet commented that he believes it is more effective against giardia than metronidazole. The only possible side effect listed was vomiting and it is said to be safe for pregnant and lactating dogs.

One article said that its use for giardia is newer and that not all vets use it for that purpose yet.

There are other drugs listed that are not as common as the above two. One of them, albendazole, causes bone marrow suppression. So be careful and research the drug your vet recommends if you choose to use conventional medication.

The Giardia Cycle

It’s common to need to repeat treatment for giardia because of the negative cycle created by the nature of this organism. In dog rescue, this is the cycle I’ve seen:

graphic showing the giardia cycle in dogs

In a nutshell:

  • Dog gets treated with a conventional medication for giardia
  • Stools become firm, dog acts like it feels better
  • Medicine finished, dog seems “cured”
  • Weeks later, diarrhea starts up again, giardia is back
  • Another round of treatment
  • Start the cycle again

The reinfection cycle may occur because there is giardia in the environment that isn’t getting cleaned up (not picking up poop, dog licking rear end, re-exposure to pond that giardia came from, etc).

You may also have another dog carrying giardia that isn’t showing symptoms, so pick up all dog poop in the household until you’re sure it’s gone.

Finally, giardia in dogs can reoccur because the medication didn’t completely clear the giardia organism (none are 100%).

 6 Home Remedies For Giardia In Dogs

Some dog owners prefer to try home remedies for giardia, and only resort to conventional treatment if the natural remedies don’t work.

The efficacy of a home remedy may be influenced by:

  1. How long the dog has had giardia
  2. The overall and immune system health of the infected dog

One thing to remember is that many studies on natural substances are carried out in a petri dish – not on dogs. The funding just isn’t there to study them on the dogs themselves.

So, like most natural products, anecdotal evidence needs to be combined with petri-dish evidence and checking with your holistic vet to decide if it is something you want to try.

Although home remedies won’t always be effective, keep in mind: giardia isn’t always cleared by the first round of conventional mediation either. It’s tough to get rid of whether you use conventional meds or home remedies.

Coconut Oil

The articles I found discussing the use of coconut oil as a natural treatment for giardia in dogs were fascinating. Here is the gist of how it works:

Coconut oil contains lauric acid (technical name is dodecanoic acid). In a study about the effects of saturated fatty acids on Giardia, the dodecanoic acid killed trophozoites by accumulating within the trophozoites and rupturing their cell membrane.

In plain English—it explodes the giardia trophozoites. If all the trophozoites die, no more cysts!

The study also found that lauric acid possesses an anti-giardial property at a reasonably low concentration.

Unfortunately, there is not much out there about how much coconut oil to give a dog for this. Studies gave lauric acid, not coconut oil.

This study used lauric acid to eliminate giardia from hamsters, and when I did the math to convert the amount they gave the hamsters to dog dose, it seemed like the typical coconut oil dose for dogs had even more lauric acid per body weight than the hamster doses in the study.

So what’s the typical coconut oil dose for dogs? The dose I saw in numerous articles was 1 teaspoon per 10 pounds . . .BUT:

If you give your dog coconut oil you need to work up the dosage gradually to the desired amount to avoid possible diarrhea. Read more about how to give your dog coconut oil in the benefits of coconut oil for dogs.

Some argue that coconut oil is not healthy for dogs, saying it can cause intestinal inflammation and leaky gut. So, as always, talk to your holistic vet about it to get some guidance.

Grapefruit Seed Extract…research your brand first!!

WARNING: (Do not confuse grapefruit seed extract with GRAPE seed extract, which is derived from whole grape seeds and is toxic to dogs.)

When I started this section, I knew that grapefruit seed extract was one of the top recommended home remedies for giardia in dogs.

I even found studies that demonstrated how effective it was in destroying bacteria and fungi.

But . . . then I found studies that found chemical contamination in some of the grapefruit seed extract brands tested.

It turns out that much like any supplement, you will find varying levels of quality control and testing between brands.

This article by John H. Cardellina of the American Botanical Council lists multiple studies which found that grapefruit seed extracts were contaminated with synthetic antimicrobial and disinfectant compounds.

But — none of the studies listed the exact brands tested.

On the flip side, there were a lot of articles out there where people had used grapefruit seed extract successfully to get rid of giardia—so I knew it had some merit.

Reader comment sheds light on disheartening issue:

One of my readers commented on this article (see comment section below) and shared his story: Tomas used to work for the pharmaceutical industry and became very dishearted by what he witnessed while working there.

He believes that some of the negative grapefruit seed extract studies may be an attempt to discredit a more natural remedy such as grapefruit seed extract to drive people to Big Pharma products. He spent quite a bit of time researching this, including directly contacting one grapefruit seed extract manufacturer (Nutribiotic). and said that after talking to them about their testing processes he has no hesitation to use it—but will only use that specific brand.

Tomas shared a very interesting (and a bit disheartening) quote with me:

“It is simply no longer possible to believe much of the clinical research that is published, or to rely on the judgment of trusted physicians or authoritative medical guidelines. I take no pleasure in this conclusion, which I reached slowly and reluctantly over my two decades as an editor of The New England Journal of Medicine.”

(Dr. Marcia Angell, NY Review of Books, January 15, 2009, “Drug Companies & Doctors: A Story of Corruption)

After reading his insightful comments, I no longer would recommend steering free of grapefruit seed extract, but I would definitely do your homework and contact manufacturers and ask for product testing policies and results before selecting the brand.

Here is the brand Tomas uses:

This Animal Wellness Magazine article by Dr. Suzi Beber recommends using one drop per ten pounds body weight, or one capsule for every ten pounds body weight, three times per day with food. As always, work with your holistic vet to find the exact dosage.


Garlic bulbs for use on giardia in dogs
Photo by Adriano Gadini

Garlic has performed well in giardia studies. In one study, garlic proved to be an effective anti-giardial by altering the internal and external parts of the trophozoite. I could not find a study that gave the percentage efficacy

Warning: It’s important to note that too much garlic is toxic for dogs. Find a holistic veterinarian in your area to consult about using this for giardia.

Don’t give your dog garlic if they are taking blood thinners or cyclosporine.

If you’re going to use garlic, use fresh garlic cloves; garlic powder won’t have the same properties. Chop or press the appropriate amount and let it sit for 10-15 minutes for the beneficial allicin to be released.

Dr. Richard Pitcairn, author of The Complete Guide to Natural Health for Dogs and Cats, recommends the following daily amounts of fresh garlic for dogs:

10 to 15 pounds – half a clove

20 to 40 pounds – 1 clove

45 to 70 pounds – 2 cloves

75 to 90 pounds – 2 1/2 cloves

100 pounds and over – 3 cloves

Clove Oil

Warning: Clove oil can be dangerous for dogs if you give them too much. The oil itself can burn their skin.

Clove oil contains a component called eugenol which has been studied for its anti-giardial properties. One study looked at eugenol’s effect on the trophozoites and their ability to adhere to the intestinal wall. It found that eugenol inhibited the trophozoites adherence within 1 hour and “was able to kill almost 50% of the parasites population in a time-dependent manner.”

Given its low (50%) efficacy and risk level, I would avoid clove oil and choose one of the safer methods.

Pumpkin Seeds

Pumpkin seeds showed promise in a study which tested three different species of pumpkins’ effectiveness in eliminating Giardia lambelia. Seeds from the pumpkin species Cucurbita maxima D killed 100% in 48 hours, pumpkin seeds of the variety Lagenaria siceraria killed 100% in 72 hours and seeds from Cucurbita pepo L killed 85% in 96 hours. They compared these with Metronidazole (conventional drug) which killed 100% in 96 hours.

Results showed that pumpkin seeds were 85% and 100% effective at eliminating giardia depending on the species of pumpkins used.

One website recommended buying whole pumpkin seeds (unsalted) and grinding them immediately before feeding them to your dog.

The tricky part is buying the correct variety of pumpkin seeds. The study above studied Cucurbita maxima D, Cucurbita pepo L, and Lagenaria siceraria. When I started searching I was able to find 2 “grocery” products that were Cucurbita pepo seeds, but none that were Cucurbita maxima (the most effective).

What I did find was an organic seed company that sold organic, non-GMO certified seeds for planting. If I was going the pumpkin seed route I would probably call True Leaf Market (formerly The Sustainable Seed Company) and ask them if there was any reason not to feed my dog these seeds.

I also found a bulk pack of cucurbita maxima seeds on Amazon. They are non-GMO, but I would strongly encourage that you verify with the seller before buying that the seeds aren’t treated with anything and are safe for human consumption. If the seller won’t tell you, don’t buy them!

cucurbita maxima seeds for giardia in dogs

That said, I would probably be trying coconut oil first as it’s a cheaper option.

Apple Cider Vinegar

Will apple cider vinegar kill giardia? Studies for its anti-giardia effects are focused on its effect on the cysts. The best results came from undiluted vinegar (100% cyst death), but I’m assuming once a dog ingests apple cider vinegar with a meal it becomes diluted. Diluted vinegar was about 50% effective killing Giardia cysts.

The question I couldn’t find an answer to was, if the vinegar kills the cysts, do the trophozoites attached to the intestinal wall keep living?

That question, in addition to the possible 50% success rate, for me, puts apple cider vinegar in the same category as clove oil.

Giving it along with more effective natural remedies for giardia would be worth consideration since there are numerous health benefits of apple cider vinegar for dogs. My article about apple cider vinegar also contains information about the correct dosage of apple cider vinegar for your dog.

Can I Use Multiple Home Remedies for Giardia at the Same Time?

Numerous articles talked about combining home remedies for giardia, each article posting their own mix of natural remedies. Some, like coconut oil and pumpkin seeds, are relatively safe.

Others, such as garlic, need to be discussed with your holistic vet to be sure you give the correct amounts since too much can be harmful.

I do like the idea of putting together a preventative and giardiacidal mixture to increase the chances that your natural remedy will be effective.

Support Your Dog’s GI Tract

Giardia wreaks havoc on your dog’s intestinal tract. If you use conventional medication it kills all the good bacteria along with the giardia.

This means that regardless of if you use conventional or holistic methods, you need to support and heal your dog’s GI tract.

During and after giardia treatment, you will want to give your dog natural supplements to help recolonize the good bacteria and aid in proper digestion and absorption of nutrients.


Probiotics will restore the microflora balance (good bacteria) in the dog’s intestine.


L-Glutamine helps restore the GI tract after gastrointestinal damage. Note: It should not be used in dogs with kidney or liver failure or dogs with seizure disorders.

Dogs Naturally Magazine recommends the following dosage: Small dogs: 500 mg twice daily, medium dogs: 1000 mg twice daily, large dogs: 1500 mg twice daily, giant breeds: 2000 mg twice daily.

Digestive Enzymes

Digestive enzymes help your dog properly digest and absorb nutrients from food.

Remember to Support Your Dog’s Immune System

If your dog gets giardia, many times it is a sign that their immune system is weak and unhealthy.

As part of any giardia treatment program, you will want to work on strengthening your dog’s immune system.

Even after you get rid of the giardia, continue to build and support the immune system. Building intestinal health is a very slow process but is integral to the overall health of your dog.

Read about how to boost a dog’s immune system naturally; you will be amazed at some of the simple things you can do that will boost your dog’s immune health.

Don’t Forget to Re-Check!!

Regardless of if you use conventional or home remedies, it’s imperative that you recheck your dog a few weeks after treatment is complete. Use an ELISA antigen test so you don’t have to worry about the test missing the presence of giardia cysts.

As I said above, I’ve seen numerous foster dogs arrive in rescue with giardia, go through treatment, and have symptoms return a few weeks after treatment is complete.

Giardia is just plain hard to get rid of.

Can Dogs Spread Giardia to Humans or Other Dogs?


Practice good hygiene, making sure that you wash your hands before you eat or handle food. Pick up the dog’s feces immediately to minimize potential spread to other pets and people. Hose the area down to dilute the number of organisms in any one spot and let it dry well.

Preventing Giardia in Dogs

Reduce your dog’s chances of contracting giardia (and other parasites) by following these tips:

  • Support their immune system with natural immune boosters for dogs.
  • Feed a healthy diet. Read about the pros and cons of homemade dog food to see if this is an option you want to explore.
  • Reduce your dog’s stress by following a daily routine and providing adequate exercise and attention. If you have a busy schedule, consider investing in a dog walker to give your dog some mid-day exercise.
  • When on walks and hikes with your dog, don’t let them drink from lakes and streams. Bring your own water bottle like the ones in this article featuring cool dog hiking gear.
  • Don’t let your dog sniff or eat other dogs’ feces; they could come in contact with giardia cysts.

Be Your Dog’s Advocate

I can’t even count how many articles I read in which dog owners were repeatedly told their dog did not have giardia, even with textbook symptoms.

The vets were looking at fecal samples instead of sending the sample to the lab for an antigen test.

Over and over again I read about owners having to insist on treating for giardia, even in the absence of evidence in the feces.

The takeaway for me was this: If your dog (or foster) has two or more of these symptoms, insist on a giardia test that uses the ELISA antigen technique:

  • Difficulty gaining weight
  • Intermittent diarrhea or loose stools
  • Gas
  • Refusal to eat due to stomach upset

By doing an accurate giardia test before running up bills looking for other problems, you will 1) potentially save money and 2) know more definitively if giardia is the cause.

As you can see, learning how to treat giardia in dogs naturally involves not only being educated about the treatment options, but about the testing options as well.

Can Dogs Recover From Giardia Without Medication?

The answer is yes . . . maybe. If your dog has a healthy immune system it may fight the giardia off by itself.

Success will depend on many factors: the dog’s immune system health, the length of time they have had giardia, and more.

FAQS Summary

Can your vet diagnose giardia in dogs with a poop picture?

The short answer is no, giardia is not visible to the human eye. BUT, you can look for:

  • Soft or watery stool: You may see anything from moderately soft to severe diarrhea
  • Greenish tinge: Stool may look green, or look fatty
  • Blood: You may see blood in the stool
  • Excess mucus: Stool may have excess mucous in it
  • Foul odor: Stool may be extremely smelly

Which giardia in dogs treatment works the fastest?

There is no faster treatment. Speed depends on so many factors – how long the dog has had giardia, the general health of the dog, and more. Focus on supporting your dog’s immune system while treating for better long-term results.

Also, if you don’t clean up your dog’s poop you may be creating an environment where they constantly get reinfected.

What are the most common giardia symptoms in dogs?

  • Diarrhea (may be chronic or might come and go)
  • Stools may be mucousy and foul smelling or greasy looking
  • Weight loss
  • Refusal to eat
  • Grazing excessively on grass (trying to relieve stomach upset and cramping)
  • Dehydration
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Blood in stool is uncommon but does happen in some cases

Is giardia treatment in dogs always effective?

No – many dog owners deal with recurring giardia. Treatment success depends on what treatment you use, if you are reducing chances of reinfection (cleaning up poop, washing dog, etc), and strengthening your dog’s immune system health.

Can I get giardia from my dog?

Yes, so be sure to wash your hands before eating and after picking up poop.

Is giardia contageous to other dogs?

Other dogs can get giardia if an infected dog’s poop is not cleaned up right away, both from sniffing the poop or from giardia cysts that can fall to the ground.

Is giardia in puppies dangerous?

Puppies are much more delicate, and any severe diarrhea from giardia can cause dehydration quickly. You will want to work with a holistic vet right away to treat it.

Did Home Remedies for Giardia Work For You?

If your dog struggled with giardia, tell us what worked and what didn’t so we can learn from your experience. Other readers may see your story and make a more informed decision for their dog.

Until next time-



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Natural Remedies for Giardia in Dogs

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Karen Pedersen Written by:

Karen is a freelance copywriter who loves dogs and everything about them. She has fostered dogs since 2005, choosing dogs with medical or behavioral issues that would benefit from her natural and holistic approach to healing. She has gained experience and anecdotal knowledge with each dog she helped, and started this blog to help others do the same.


  1. Tomas
    May 12, 2021

    Hi, Many thanks for all the pointers. I worked as a Pharma chemist for several decades before turning to natural remedies and holistic systems.. I looked into the GSE issue some years ago and found that the criticisms were not well founded. I believe that it may be an attempt to discredit a more natural remedy such as GSE to drive people to Big Pharma products. I spent quite a bit of time researching this, including directly contacting Nutribiotic (I get only from them). I have no hesitation to use it.

    • May 13, 2021

      Hi Tomas, Thanks for this information, very interesting theory. I looked at the American Botanical Council article again and it referenced studies in Japan, Germany, and more, I’m curious if you think Big Pharma is behind each of the studies? And how does one look into studies to see if they are influenced? I would be interested to learn more about validating studies and how they are influenced in order to decide if the data is trustworthy.

  2. Tomas
    May 14, 2021

    Hello Karen, I could not open the link you provided. My understanding is that there ARE issues with SOME brands of GSE, but not with Nutribiotic. It was years ago that I looked into it. Maybe my information is not up to date? My memory is that there were many manufacturing GSE and some issues were identified with some of them.
    I have a deep distrust of Big Pharma studies
    Remember there was a problem with a bad batch of Tryptophan years ago? Then ALL was banned because ONE manufacturer messed up.
    I just happened to see the following today:
    “It is simply no longer possible to believe much of the clinical research that is published, or to rely on the judgment of trusted physicians or authoritative medical guidelines. I take no pleasure in this conclusion, which I reached slowly and reluctantly over my two decades as an editor of The New England Journal of Medicine.” (Dr. Marcia Angell, NY Review of Books, January 15, 2009, “Drug Companies & Doctors: A Story of Corruption)

  3. Tomas
    May 17, 2021

    Hello Karen,
    Looks like my last post was deleted?
    I mentioned that there appear to be issues with SOME of the GSE made by SOME manufacturers, but not all. The findings were applied to all brands, unfairly. In my experience, and from my communications with Nutribiotic, their formulation is fine, without toxic effects.
    As for Big Pharma studies:
    “It is simply no longer possible to believe much of the clinical research that is published, or to rely on the judgment of trusted physicians or authoritative medical guidelines. I take no pleasure in this conclusion, which I reached slowly and reluctantly over my two decades as an editor of The New England Journal of Medicine.” (Dr. Marcia Angell, NY Review of Books, January 15, 2009, “Drug Companies & Doctors: A Story of Corruption)

    • May 17, 2021

      Tomas, Thanks so much for this information. It’s disheartening that we now must question clinical research and do our own homework. I appreciate your insight and will update the GSE extract section of the article this week.

      • Tomas
        May 17, 2021

        Hi Karen, Yes, I know it’s disheartening. I left Big Pharma due to what I saw (lies, corruption) all the way to the top (CEO). I then began to embrace Naturopathy, TCM, Ayurveda, etc. To me modern Allopathic medicine is not a healthcare system, but a system of “disease maintenance”.
        BTW, my dogs are now pooping solid again after following your suggestions (ACV, garlic, pumpkin seeds, coconut oil plus GSE.
        Many thanks for your suggestions. I will start the Glutamine and continue probiotics. I have stopped them from drinking from streams…

        • May 17, 2021

          Ahhh Tomas that is such good news to hear your dogs are pooping solid again! I know with conventional medication giardia sometimes disappears then comes back again, I hope you don’t experience this with your dogs since you are supporting their GI system instead of stressing it with chemicals.

          Thank you again for sharing your wisdom, that is truly what this blog is all about – and future readers will benefit from it. 🙂

  4. Crystal
    June 11, 2021

    This article was so well written and researched! Being a bit of a researcher myself(parents were in the sciences), I was so impressed that I forwarded your article to everyone on my list, dog owners or no…you encapsulated what I also found, you supplied valuable links AND sage advice from personal experience. Keep up the good work!

    • June 12, 2021

      Thanks for your kind words Crystal, I’m so glad you found the article valuable. 🙂

  5. Nicole
    June 18, 2021

    Super article on how to naturally treat Giardia – so well researched , comprehensive and very useful.
    Our 9 mth old puppy has been on Flagyl three times and Fenbendazole and has Giardia still!!
    We are quitting antibiotics!!
    I bought the curcubita maxima seeds you suggested and we want to introduce these slowly.
    What does are we building up to eventually and how much of this for 32kg dog please?
    Don’t seem to be able to find dosage online.

    • June 18, 2021

      Hi Nicole, I’m so sorry your poor puppy is having such a hard time getting giardia, cheers to you for trying to hard to help him/her.

      Because I’m not a vet I can’t tell you dosages, I can only pass along articles that I’ve seen on the subject. In this Whole Dog Journal article I found a discussion of using pumpkin seeds for tapeworm which said “When necessary to assist a dog with tapeworm removal, Dr. Pitcairn combines homeopathic, herbal, and nutritional remedies. Feeding whole, raw pumpkin seeds, ground into a fine meal and added to each meal (one-quarter to one teaspoon, depending on animal’s size), is thought to irritate the worms, causing them to loosen their hold and pass out of the digestive tract.”

      I think you are right though that it is safest to start really slowly, with puppies they are so small that any negative effect could be magnified, and if the pumpkin seeds work too quickly, the die-off could also be hard on your puppy, I’m not sure. If you have access to a holistic vet it’s so much safer to have them monitor and advise, especially when your puppy is still so small!

      Good luck, please let me know if this works for you, I’m very curious to hear. Thank you!

  6. Cody
    June 23, 2021

    Hi Karen, could you list the curcubita seeds you found available at the grocery store?

    • June 23, 2021

      Hi Cody,

      I was not able to find cucurbita maxima in any grocery stores unfortunately, the only place I found them is from garden seed distributors. I have two links in the article, but I strongly encourage you to contact the seller before buying to be sure it is safe to feed them to your dog (i.e. find out if they are treated or coated with any substance or just harvested and dried). You could also consider one of the other alternatives in the article such as coconut oil or grapefruit seed extract. I hope that helps!

  7. Seannan
    July 7, 2021

    Hi. Thank you for this article. We just had a rescued kitten diagnosed with giardia (no symptoms whatsoever) and with 5 other cats and a dog just diagnosed with lymphoma and a vet that wants each animal tested, the cost is ridiculous, so I’m looking for natural treatments. Anyway, wanted to add that I have used ground pumpkin seeds (not sure what kind) on my feral cats for a few years now and it works perfectly for tapeworm. Also, pomegranate will kill roundworms. I found this out quite by accident but did find some anecdotal information online after my dog ate a pomegranate, rind and all and expelled a horrid amount of worms. Anyway, again, thank you for such an informative article.

    • July 9, 2021

      Thanks for sharing your story, really glad to hear ground pumpkin seeds work well for your cats, I give that to my dogs to prevent tapeworm as well. And very interesting about pomegranate, I will have to read more about it!

  8. Peter Warne
    September 19, 2021

    Hi Karen, thanks for such an informative & helpful article. My puppy & 13 yr old are on their 2nd week of Panacur. The older is fine the Rx is preventative to mimimize chance for the Giardia cycling back & forth between each dog. While my puppy doesn’t have diarrhea her stools are soft and not really improving so based on your info after the Rx is complete I will attempt your more holistic approaches. My main question is related to any info you have about disinfecting my home. and when or if I’ll ever be able to feel safe and that my home won’t be in a chronic state of contamination with cysts. Thanks in advance for your patience & indulging my details that are important for context. I’m normally a glass half full & grounded person. Will I ever be able to get to a point where I don’t have to worry about laundering dog beds, toys, crates, my bed linens every few days. So you don’t think I’m being hyperbolic allow me to give context… I live alone and I’m very high risk if I get Covid so I’ve enacted protocols to keep my home environment at little to zero risk when I’m at home (zero visitors except outside). For my mental health prior to this Giardia diagnosis, my home has been my safe space. If I get Giardia (low probability but not zero) vomiting could trigger atrial fibrillation which puts me in emergency & possibly ICU, the last place I want to be in a pandemic. I deeply want to get back to a state where I don’t fear touching my dogs or having them lick or touch me with fear of cysts transferring to me and me ingesting them. Washing my hands 20-30 times per day any time I touch dog food bowls, leashes or any surface that is exposed potentially to cysts. I have hardwood floors (and carpets elsewhere). So far see that only a bleach/water solution is best on hard surfaces but bleach is toxic to my dogs. Not too mention bleach isn’t recommended on porous hard wood floors. So I feel stuck and like I’ll never find a way to get my home de-contaminated to the point I can relax without fear of getting sick myself. My 13 yr old sleeps on the bed with me and I have multiple layers of protection over my sheets which I launder regularly to save me having to wash my bed sheets & duvet regularly which is exhausting and it would be nice to just allow my senior dog back on the bed and feel risk free. Thanks again for any info and insights you can provide. I’m not sure how I’ll see your response? I’ll keep checking your website… praying for help and relief…🙏

  9. Tori
    November 23, 2021

    I just adopted a dog that has giardia. She’s on meds for it 2X daily for the next 6 days to finish what she had been rx’ed. Following that I’m expected to take her in for another check up.. I have several other dogs that do NOT have giardia and would like to keep it that way. This poor dog is having major diarrhea with blood. Her poor tummy must be a mess! How do I clean this up so the other dogs don’t get infected? They have outdoor kennels/runs. She being kept separate for now at a good distance, but what do I do about the ground/grass area she’s on?

    • November 24, 2021

      Hi Tori, First, how wonderful that you adopted this puppy and are helping her get healthy so she can have a wonderful life! From what I’m reading, nothing you do is 100%, but to minimize it the best thing is to pick up her poop as soon as you can after she goes, some articles talked about bleaching the kennel. I did a little searching and found one article that has a good section about what you can do to reduce the risk: I hope that is helpful, update us once she turns the corner and let us know how she does!

  10. December 29, 2021

    Hi Karen,
    I read your excellent article about natural cures for Giardia with great interest.
    My 7 month old Golden Retriever puppy’s vet diagnosed the condition a good while ago and tried two different treatments–both of which didn’t work. And for the past 11 days, I’ve been using the Grapefruit Seed Extract you recommended (in liquid form). My pup’s stools appear to be getting more normal–no more diarrhea and a bit more formed and less soft. Do you know how long I should continue the treatment?

    • December 29, 2021

      Hi Mark, I spent about half an hour looking online tonight and I don’t find any websites that talk about the duration of the treatment. First choice is to check with your holistic vet of course, otherwise be sure that you test your dog’s stool a few weeks after stopping to be sure the parasites are gone. Thanks for sharing this with me and readers, be sure to update this comment thread and let us know if it takes care of your puppy’s giardia!

  11. Skylar
    March 7, 2022

    Thank you for your time writing this article. I found it to be very helpful for a first time dog owner like myself but I do have one question. My dogs food has a pre and probiotic in it, do I need to give her an additional supplement? It seems redundant but maybe the food does not have an adequate amount?

    • March 7, 2022

      Hi Skylar, That is a really good question. What I’ve read always indicates the process of making kibble (the heat) could make the probiotic ineffective, similar to what would happen to human probiotics pills (most of which need to be refrigerated) if you heated them. At a minimum, I would message the company that makes your dog food and ask when they add the probiotic and if heat is applied after it’s added. And, to your point, it’s also hard to tell how much of the probiotic your dog gets as part of their daily meal, and it’s easier to control that (and the quality of the probiotic) if you are adding it yourself. I hope that’s helpful!

  12. Susan
    October 15, 2022

    Hi Karen, I came across your information after searching Guardia. Like everyone I am a bit frustrated. My 6.5 mos old puppy was treated with Flagyll at breeders at 6 weeks then Albon & I was given Albon + Safeguard when I picked him up at 8 weeks. Other than a soft somewhat formed stool he is fine. At 9weeks, antigen was negative but had been treated with Albon 2 weeks prior so repeat giardia was positive but no cystsvvand treated with panacur which vom x1 & watery stool for 3 weeks & was quiet. Now repeat stool is still positive! Stool is normal for 1st time ever & sometimes loose so I was surprised with still positive. Have vet appointment in few days to discuss treatment. We have no other pets, yard cleaned, wipe him after he goes bathroom, wash his bowls SS after every meal, has filtered or bottle water, is on freeze dry raw food since 10 weeks, give him probiotc periodically, doesn’t go to dog parks- only other constant symptom is he seems itchy on his neck area- has scratched since day 1. No fleas. Any advice?

    • October 16, 2022

      Hi Susan, Unfortunately I don’t have any earth-shattering solutions. I can tell you that I’ve heard story after story on how persistant giardia can be. My best advice would be to try and find a holistic vet to consult with (by phone if necessary) to try and get a plan to build your puppy’s immunity from the ground up to help him beat that giardia once and for all. They will have a better understanding of why it keeps resurfacing, and what you need to do to help his body get rid of giardia permanently. Let us know how it goes, your puppy is lucky to have such a caring, persistant owner.

  13. Donna
    March 6, 2023

    My 4 month old pup is starting a third round of panacur and metronidazole for giardia. Can I start coconut oil and GSE at the same time along with the rx meds? She is also on a probiotic with digestive enzymes for her gut. I have been as careful as possible with keeping area clean and picking up poop as soon as she goes then spraying with vinegar water.

    • March 8, 2023

      Hi Donna, I’m so sorry your puppy is struggling with giardia, I hear so many stories of puppies who have such a hard time getting rid of it. I think it’s awesome that you are using a probiotic and enzyme. Unfortunately you would have to ask a holistic vet if mixing the panacur and metronidazole with GSE and coconut oil is OK. 🙁 If you do find someone to ask please let us know what they said, I’m interested to hear if it’s ok. Good luck to you and please keep us posted on how your puppy is doing!

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