As a doting pet owner, you know the potential dangers of flea and tick medication. You’ve done your research and agree that the chemicals that exist in the preventatives on the market are nothing you want to be putting on your four-legged companion.
Yet, after a jaunt in the park, Fido is itching… a lot.
You confirm what you wish wasn’t the case — your dog has fleas. So, what are your options?
Let us introduce the latest and greatest natural remedy for controlling pesky pests on and in your dog: Diatomaceous Earth.
What is Diatomaceous Earth?
Diatomaceous earth (or diatomite) is a siliceous sedimentary rock that’s formation occurs from deposits of the cell walls of dead algae. The cell walls are made out of hard silica. Once the rest of the algae decays, the hard silica remains.
The substance is a fine, chalky powder that is produced by crushing the remaining fossils of tiny, aquatic organisms (called diatoms).
Humans have been using and consuming the substance for millennia.
Diatomaceous Earth for Dogs
So what can a dusty powder made from fossilized marine life do for your dog?
We’re glad you asked.
Diatomaceous earth has shown to be an incredibly effective, non-toxic insecticide that not only rids the dog of ticks, fleas, and worms but can also provide a slew of other benefits.
And the best part is, diatomaceous earth is safe! While deadly for insects and parasites, diatomaceous earth poses virtually no risks for dogs.*
*Diatomaceous earth poses no risks when administered properly. The misuse of most anything comes with a fair set of dangers. Pet owners should make sure they adhere to the dosages and specifics that are determined by whichever way they are using DE. We’ll get more into that shortly.
Diatomaceous Earth Food Grade
Speaking of using diatomaceous earth properly, it is imperative that pet owners purchase food-grade diatomaceous earth for their dogs. The diatomaceous earth that is used in gardens and pool filters can be extremely dangerous for dogs.
Diatomaceous Earth Uses
While the most common use of diatomaceous earth is for flea and tick control, you may be surprised at the additional ways pet owners are seeing its benefits.
Pest Prevention – Diatomaceous Earth for Fleas and Ticks
We’ll start with the most well-known use of diatomaceous earth: getting rid of fleas and ticks!
If you were to look at diatomaceous earth under a microscope, you would find tiny pieces of what looks like glass. While these fragments pose no harm to humans or dogs, they kill fleas, ticks, mites, lice, as well as their larvae.
The way in which diatomaceous earth kills the insects is mechanical as opposed to the chemical method of conventional flea medication. This means that instead of poisoning the pests, it instead causes them physical harm, specifically by piercing and stripping their outer shell causing them to dry out and die.
As graphic as it sounds, this mechanical way of getting rid of the insects means that pet owners are reducing the amount of chemicals that their pets absorb.
Pet owners can lightly apply DE to their dog’s coat as well as the dog’s bedding and carpet.
Diatomaceous earth can take up to three days to kill off the insects so it’s important to make sure it remains on your carpet for at least that amount of time.
Internal Parasite Control
When consumed, diatomaceous earth can eliminate internal parasites such as roundworms, whipworms, pinworms, and hookworms. The process takes about seven days when the diatomaceous earth supplement is fed to the dog daily.
While the process to eliminate present parasites takes about seven days, pet owners should incorporate diatomaceous earth into their dog’s food for 30 days in order to ensure that any eggs that hatched were also destroyed.
Garden Pest Control – DE for Your Dog’s Day-to-Day Play Space
Diatomaceous earth has long been used as a mechanical pesticide (instead of a chemical pesticide), so if your dog enjoys roaming around in your garden or yard, you may want to look into the benefits of using diatomaceous earth.
Here are some of the pests that diatomaceous earth eliminates:
- Army worms
- Bed bugs
- Fruit flies
Pet owners can sprinkle diatomaceous earth in the area or make a spray. Use 1 cup of diatomaceous earth to every 1/2 gallon of water and be sure to repeat regularly!
DE as a Dietary Supplement
Diatomaceous earth is packed full of minerals including:
- Additional trace minerals
Therefore, consuming diatomaceous earth can be highly beneficial for humans and their pets to keep you both feeling your best.
Diatomaceous Earth – A Natural Deodorizer
If you have a smelly dog on your hands, diatomaceous earth can be a great non-toxic, natural deodorizer. Simply sprinkle diatomaceous earth around the stinky area, wait about a day, and then vacuum it up.
Additional Diatomaceous Earth Benefits
The most common use of diatomaceous earth is topically for the treatment of fleas, ticks, and other pests. It has only been recently that pet owners have been adding the supplement to their dog’s diet and seeing even more benefits. Pet owners have stated that they saw the following benefits in their dogs:
- Improved coat
- Healthy skin / Improvement of any existing skin conditions
- Healthy air and nails
- Lower blood cholesterol
Furthermore, studies show that diatomaceous earth may be able to absorb the following toxins:
- Organophosphate pesticide residues
- Drug resides
- Proteinaceous toxins produced by intestinal infections
Therefore, diatomaceous earth is thought to be an effective colon cleanser and detoxifier.
How to Use Diatomaceous Earth
Regarding the use of diatomaceous earth as a carpet cleaner, odor removal, and garden pest control, the amount each individual will need will vary based on the surface space they need to cover. However, a general guideline is to cover the area with a light sprinkle.
When using diatomaceous earth to treat fleas and ticks, the same general rule applies. In these cases, pet owners should apply a light layer to their dog’s coat.
Diatomaceous Earth Powder for Consumption
When using diatomaceous earth as a de-wormer or for additional internal benefits, use the following guideline:
1/2 tsp for puppies and small dogs
1 tsp for dogs under 50 lbs
1 tbsp for dogs over 50 lbs
2 tbsp for dogs over 100 lbs
Diatomaceous Earth Dangers
First, we want to restate and stress how important it is that pet owners are purchasing food-grade diatomaceous earth. There are alternative types of diatomaceous earth on the market for pool filters and gardens. These kinds of diatomaceous earth are highly dangerous for your dog.
Additionally, diatomaceous earth can be a lung irritant and cause respiratory issues if it is continually inhaled. When treating your dog’s coat, be sure to administer the powder in a well-ventilated area, preferably outside.
Also, when treating carpets or dog bedding, do your best to keep your dog away from the area while it settles into the carpet and, if possible, open a window in order to aerate the space.
Diatomaceous Earth Food Grade Side Effects
There are no known side effects from consuming diatomaceous earth. With that in mind, too much of anything can cause harm. Pet owners should be sure to stick to the recommended dosages.
When used topically on the dog’s coat, some pet owners report that diatomaceous earth dried out their dog’s skin. If this happens, a soothing conditioner bath should do the trick to restore moisture.
Where to Buy Diatomaceous Earth
Here’s a link for a food-grade diatomaceous earth supplement on the market.
Regardless of the brand you choose or where you decide to purchase, make sure that you are buying FOOD-GRADE. When researching, you’ll see a lot of options for a diatomaceous earth powder that looks the same but is not food-grade. You’ll want to steer clear!
Diatomaceous Earth for Humans
As we’ve mentioned, diatomaceous earth has loads of benefits for humans and has been used for millennia.
You may want to go ahead and pick up two orders of this natural supplement.
Your New Go-To : Diatomaceous Earth
We hope that you are as pleasantly surprised as we are in finding out that there is yet another non-toxic, natural option for pet wellness.
From a household cleaner to tick removal, it’s pretty remarkable what diatomaceous earth is able to remedy. Who would have thought that the fossils of tiny, aquatic organisms could have such effective uses on your beloved pup?!
As always, we encourage pet owners to chat with their veterinarians regarding options and what is ultimately going to be best for their dog.