I have been asked to watch a puppy with giardia in their home and will need to go back and forth between homes to let my dog out. I don’t want to put my dog at risk. How likely is it to be contracted?
Giardia is a relatively common disease among dogs. Many dogs you see are carriers without showing any symptoms. However, when a dog is symptomatic and showing signs of diarrhea and/or vomiting (which can be caused by a number of things and we recommend reading our article on the subject here: https://www.vetbabble.com/dogs/health-dogs/diarrhea-in-dogs-when-to-worry/) this can mean that they are shedding a lot more of the organism than most carriers and caution should be taken. This is important, not just for your dog, but for you as well. Giardia is a zoonotic disease which means people can get it as well. Giardia is spread through contact with the fecal material (poop).
However, it is relatively safe to handle a dog with giardia and the risk of transmission between dog and people is relatively small. You can probably get by with just washing your hands after handling the dog and wash the clothes you were wearing if you think the dog has soiled on itself. Be on the lookout for any signs of vomiting or diarrhea in your dog (or yourself) and see a vet if your dog has any symptoms or a human doctor if you are exhibiting any symptoms. For more information on giardia, you can also check out the CDC website on the disease here: https://www.cdc.gov/parasites/giardia/prevention-control-pets.html