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What Is Giardia and What Is Giardiasis?

Think Before They Drink

In neighborhoods with heavy street traffic, shops and restaurants often put out dishes with water for pups passing by. It always seemed like a nice touch to me — and let me know whether or not my little guy would be welcome there. However, as friendly as this gesture may be, please be careful before letting your poochies drink from that water. Many times, the dish has leaves, dust, and other items that fall or blow into it. Not only can the water appear dirty, but there can also be bacteria and germs that are invisible to the human eye.

One risk that can come out of drinking contaminated standing water is giardia. Learn about this bad bug and

.

Giardia is a single-celled parasite that lives in your pets' intestines after they become infected. Animals can be infected when they swallow the giardia that may be present in water or other substances that have been soiled, most often by the close presence of animals' feces. It's not always about water dishes, but puddles, too. Giardiasis can result in vomiting, diarrhea, and weight loss in infected pups. Also, you don't know if the shop owners take the time that you would to clean and sterilize these bowls. If you think your pup will get thirsty, consider bringing his own bottle of water — North can drink out of a sport-cap water fountain midair! — as it's better to be safe than sorry.

Source: Flickr User greenkozi

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