Keeping Family and Pets Safe from Giardia

Giardia is a microscopic parasite that can infect people and pets. It is passed through contact with infected waste or contaminated water. Symptoms of infection include diarrhea, cramps, gas, and nausea and usually show up one to three weeks after ingesting the parasite.1

People most at risk for getting infected are those who drink or swim in contaminated water, diaper-aged children, and those who come in contact with contaminated surfaces or an infected person.1 However, contact with reclaimed water does not pose a threat of Giardia infection.2

Though it’s unlikely that you will pick up Giardia from an infected pet, it’s still important to take proper precautions when your pet is sick. Follow these guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control for cleaning your home when your pet has Giardia. If you think your pet may have Giardia, take your pet to your local veterinarian for tests and treatment.3

And, since this parasite can be spread through pet waste, find out how to manage your pet’s waste with this Solutions for Your Life video:

  1. “General Information,” Centers for Disease Control, July 21, 2015,
  2. Gurpal S. Toor and Mary Lusk, Reclaimed Water Use in the Landscape: What’s in Reclaimed Water and Where Does It Go? SL337, Gainesville: University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, 2014,
  3. Giardia and Pets,” Centers for Disease Control, July 21, 2015,

Photo credit: Marisol Amador, UF/IFAS

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Web Writer at IFAS Communications

Sam is originally from California and has her BA in linguistics and MFA in poetry. She loves art, animals, culture, and learning about science.

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