What is Diatomaceous Earth for Dogs?

Diatomaceous earth, often abbreviated as DE. It is a fine grayish-white powder that comes from the long-dead remains of diatoms, a type of algae. DE is mostly made up of silica, a very hard mineral, and it has a very coarse texture and absorbent properties.

Diatomaceous earth has been used as pest control for thousands of years. These days, you can purchase it for many different purposes. You can even get food-grade DE that is safe for human or pet consumption. Why would you want to eat DE, and what else can you do with it? Read on to find out!

Diatomaceous Earth for Flea Control

If you haven’t had to deal with fleas, consider yourself lucky. These blood-sucking parasites are happy to hop on your dog and hitch a ride into your home. Once they’re inside, they’ll lay thousands of microscopic eggs all over, and we mean all over! Your dog will be itchy, you’ll be itchy, and you’ll have to spend hours of time cleaning your home. Not to mention, you’ll have to bathe your dog, wash their bedding, and constantly monitor them for signs of a new outbreak of fleas. (Can you tell we’ve had to deal with this before?)

A Back-Up for Preventatives

Unfortunately, using a preventative doesn’t always prevent fleas. Across the nation, more fleas are reportedly becoming resistant to preventative treatments. Even if you keep up with the monthly dose, there’s still a chance that your dog or cat could get fleas. Skipping a dose or giving too small of a dose can keep your preventative medicine from working.

A Natural, Drug-Free Flea Treatment

Many people aren’t comfortable with using traditional preventatives (like oral or topical drugs and flea collars). We get it—you want to keep your pet and your family healthy, and the ingredients in these products are controversial. After all, they can kill fleas—can they harm your dog, too? Some pet owners have reported side effects that can be quite alarming. We don’t have the authority to comment on the safety of these medications, but we totally get that many people don’t want to use them.

No matter what camp you’re in—whether you want a backup for your regular flea preventative or you want to skip the flea medicine entirely—DE is here for you!

How to Use DE for Fleas

DE can kill fleas thanks to its microscopically-sharp edges. It won’t hurt you because the sharp edges are so tiny, but for an insect, it’s like crawling over broken glass. It will pierce their outer shell and kill them in a matter of hours or days. There are a few ways to use DE for fleas:

  • Externally after potential flea exposure:

Just sprinkle it on your pet’s coat and thoroughly brush it through all their fur before a walk, hike, or other potential flea exposure. You’ll have to do this every time they go outside in a flea-ridden area and apply the DE before they come inside.

Note: Be careful when applying it around your dog’s nose, eyes, and mouth. Make sure it’s not drying out or irritating your pup’s skin—if your dog already has dry skin, don’t use it externally too often.

  • In your yard/garden:

If you know there are fleas in your yard, sprinkling DE in the soil can kill the fleas and their larvae. Also kills ticks, earwigs, and other bugs! It’s non-toxic to your pets, so you won’t have to worry when they nibble on the grass or roll in the dirt.

  • In your home, in case of an infestation:

Apply it to bedding and carpeting, leave it for at least 3 days, then vacuum it up. It does take 3+ days to work, but it will kill the larvae and adult fleas, breaking the life cycle and making your home flea-free!

Note: several sources recommend using a shop vac to vacuum up the remaining DE, since its sharp edges can be damaging to regular vacuum cleaners over time.

Diatomaceous Earth for Internal Parasites

While there isn’t much hard evidence out there, DE may be able to treat internal parasites. Those who use DE for deworming say that it can help eliminate several types of parasites. It can work for internal parasites in the same way that it kills fleas.

The FDA approves DE as pest control in food products. It’s often added to stored grain, like corn, and is generally recognized as safe. The FDA requires the testing of food-grade DE to make sure it doesn’t contain dangerous elements like lead, arsenic, or fluorine. You can rest assured that DE is a safe additive to your pet’s diet.

To use as a dewormer, simply add a small amount of food-grade DE to your dog’s diet. Approximately 1 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon of DE should be given daily for a month—less for very small dogs and cats, more for very large dogs.

  • Safety First!

If you choose to use DE in your dog or cat’s food, make sure to mix it in with wet food instead of just sprinkling it on top. You don’t want your pet to inhale the powder and irritate their respiratory system.

Also, double-check to make sure it’s food-grade DE. You don’t want to feed your pet DE that is intended for yard and garden use. While it’s the same basic ingredient, it hasn’t been processed in the same way and might contain impurities that are unsafe for your pet to consume.

Diatomaceous Earth for Dogs: The Bottom Line

Are you interested in using DE for your pets?  Check out the Diatomaceous Earth products below that are featured in our health store. Let us know what you think! Contact us at pets@vippets.net or comment on this post. We look forward to hearing from you! 




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