Nature’s Miracle: Bentonite Clay for Dogs!

By Chelsea Hunt-Rivera / February 20, 2018
Bentonite clay for dogs

Have you heard of bentonite clay detox for humans? Have you? Great! Did you know that this clay can also help treat, and even cure, many ailments our pets may have? No? Then, keep reading!

Bentonite clay for dogs

What Is Bentonite Clay

Bentonite clay is an earth material that’s formed from the gradual erosion of volcanic ash. In order to create clay, volcanic glass—when hydrated, losses alkaline, bases, and silica. The result is a clay-like material that’s often soft and crystalline to the touch.

Now, clay is generally classified based on the main element found in them. For instance, calcium bentonite clay will predominately consist of the element calcium, while sodium bentonite clay will predominately consist of the sodium element.

It is important to note that there are differences between the two bentonite clays. In general, sodium bentonites have a high-retention for water. This means that they are able to absorb a lot of water and in the process, their granules may swell up and almost gelatinize. Sodium bentonite is commonly used in pharmaceuticals, juices, liquors, and as a water softener.

Calcium bentonite is a little different! Calcium bentonites have a poor affinity for water! Meaning they will not absorb water as efficiently and may appear gritty-granular to the touch. Have you ever heard of fuller’s earth? Fuller’s earth is the broken down version of calcium bentonite. Fuller’s earth is widely used as an absorbing clay! This means that one of the uses of sodium bentonite is to absorb harsh toxins, oil, and other contaminants.

Now, you may have also heard of montmorillonite clay and its similarities to bentonite clay. Both of these clays are synonymous with each other and this is partly because they both fall under a class known as Smectite clay. But, there is a minor difference in their properties that you should be aware of…

In general, montmorillonite is a group of clay minerals that have a high retention for water. The name for both montmorillonite clay and bentonite clay come from the region they are present in. For instance, montmorillonite clay comes from an area in France known as Montmorillon. Both clays are Smectites (a grouping of clay types), making bentonite clay synonymous to montmorillonite.

For Humans & Pets? The Many Health Benefits of Bentonite Clay

Bentonite is an aluminum phyllosilicate clay that is known to vigorously treat various ailments. In ancient times, people have used this clay to treat conditions such as detoxification, skin conditions, hair conditions, gastrointestinal tract issues, and kidney problems. In addition, research has shown that this clay may have antibacterial effects! Which can be of great value to researchers currently trying to fight antibiotic resistance!

Bentonite Clay and Animals In the Wild

The act of consuming bentonite clay, and in fact other classes of clay, is quite a normal behavior seen in wild animals.The act of consuming clay or dirt is actually known as geophagia and it has been observed in over 200 species of animals. Because eating dirt has become such a common and natural act that has been practiced for centuries, scientist believe that it is an adaptive mechanism.

This means that scientists believe animals and early humans may naturally be drawn to clay as clays such as calcium bentonite or sodium bentonite are high in minerals that are essential for normal bodily functions. Now, the consumption of dirt for the purposes of acquiring minerals is just one of the explanations for this evolutionary phenomenon.

It’s been observed that animals will consume dirt instinctually for the purposes of toxin absorption. Of course, no one really knows how wild animals have figured out how to consume dirt to absorb toxins. But, various studies have demonstrated that certain animals may consume clay in order to counteract the toxins they may have ingested while foraging for food.

What Studies Say…

The benefits of clay for humans is extensive! But, did you know that it can help our pets as well? Here we have listed the many benefits of this healing clay for our dogs and cats.

A study done in 2017 briefly reviewed and analyzed the effectiveness of bentonite clay in both humans and animals. This is what they found:

  • Bentonite clay is considered polycationic by nature. This means that when consumed, this clay can absorb particles and toxins that had a negative charge. The study found that clay was effectively able to absorb mycotoxins, aflatoxins and metals such as lead.
  • Heavy Metal Toxicity may occur in dogs that have accidentally ingested excessive amounts of lead. This may be most commonly seen in dogs who have ingested paints and newspaper. It may also be a common problem in dogs and cats who have been drinking water out of a lead pipe or from a ceramic bowl that may not be well glazed. When your veterinarian suspects heavy metal toxicity, they may add clay as part of the heavy metal detox treatmentBentonite clay and its derivates may be used in order to draw out and absorb the heavy metals circulating in your dog’s blood.
  • Bentonite clay can also has been able to treat skin and hair problems. For example, bentonite clay was quite effective when it comes to treating dermatitis caused by poison oak and poison ivy. Additionally, Bentonite can also treat skin lesions, ulcers, and can act as a form of sunscreen.
  • Bentonite clay is effective in treating gastrointestinal diseases such colitis, food poisoning, spastic colitis, diarrhea, and food poisoning.

Topical or Ingestion—How To Give Bentonite Clay To Your Dog

how to give bentonite clay to your dog

You can choose to use Bentonite clay both externally and internally. Bentonite clay is a tasteless, bland clay which makes it easy to consume for those fussy pets. The best way to administer calcium clay is via ingestion. But, pet owners can also choose to make pastes for topical use.

Below, we have included a very easy and simple to follow, DIY bentonite clay recipe that you can use both internally and externallyIt is important to keep in mind that when administering bentonite clay orally, you must provide a lot of water to prevent dehydration.

An Easy, DIY Topical Paste Recipe

Based on your dogs’ size, add the correct amount of bentonite powder clay to a mixing bowl. For instance, if you’ve got a medium to large dog, then add 1 to 2 tsp of bentonite clay powder into a bowl. Next, add a few tablespoons of water—enough to keep it viscous (you don’t want it too thick and clumpy). Once done, give it a good mix and add it to your dogs’ food.

4 Tips For Administering Bentonite Clay To Pets

  1.  Sometimes the liquid formula of bentonite clay may be hard to give to really fussy pets. So, a little trick you can use is to try mixing the bentonite clay with your pet’s favorite wet food.
  2. You don’t need to make a paste formula if you don’t have time. If you’re running short of time, simply sprinkle some bentonite clay powder overtop of your pets kibble or wet food! Just make sure you provide plenty of water for your dog.
  3. If your pet has any skin problems, bites, or minor wounds. Then you can use the same bentonite paste to help heal any skin conditions.
  4. Never administer clay if your pet has been on any medication. Generally, pets on medication may require over 12 hours before Bentonite clay consumption. Talk to your vet about bentonite clay usage for pets on medication or supplements!

Bentonite Clay Dosage for Dogs

Bentonite clay dosage for dogs

The dosage of bentonite clay for dogs may vary based on the type of clay and the company that sells the clay. In addition, clay dosage for dogs can vary based on the dogs’ current medical problem. In general, the dosage of healing clay for dogs can be:

  • Small dogs may require anywhere from 1/4 tsp to 1 tsp of clay once a day.
  • Medium sized dogs may require 1 tsp to 1.5 tsp of clay once a day
  • Large dogs over 90 lbs may require 1.5 tsp to 2 tsp of clay once a day

It is important to remember that the dosage rate of bentonite can be variable based on many factors. But the safest route will be to give a small dog (under 20 lbs) 1/2 a tsp and progressively move up by 1/4 tsp increments for each additional 20 lbs.

Bentonite Clay—Potential Side Effects

bentonite clay for dogs potential sideeffects

Bentonite clay is generally quite safe for dogs and cats! But, sometimes our pets may not do so well with these amazing clay powders. Some pets may experience the following side effects:

  • Bentonite clay can cause Nausea and vomiting in dogs that may have ingested too much clay
  • Bentonite clay can cause Immunosuppression in pets.
  • Bentonite clay can cause dioxin accumulation which can interfere with your dog’s reproductive cycle and fertility.
  • Montmorillonite clay does contain aflatoxins and can increase the rate of aflatoxins growth in pets. This can be fatal to pets!
  • Occasionally, topical application of Bentonite clay can cause some pets to develop allergic reactions. Symptoms of these reactions include:
    • Inflamed skin
    • Redness
    • Blistering
    • Rashes
  • Itchy skin
  • If consumed orally, clay can cause stomach upsets and constipation.
  • Clay can cause iron deficiency in humans! In theory, this can be true for pets as well.
  • Clay can react with other medications that your pet may be consuming.

Bentonite Clay For Pets—Nature’s Miracle Worker!

nature's miracle bentonite clay for dogs

Bentonite clay truly has some outstanding healing properties that can benefit the health of your pet. The benefits of clay have been vigorously studied so you definitely can’t go wrong when it comes to administering clay to your pet. It’s always important to remember that bentonite clay is not a cure-all! This means you should never replace prescribed, veterinary medicine with bentonite clay. Talk to your veterinarian about the pawesome benefits bentonite clay can have for your pooch!

Do you have a question about bentonite clay? What have you used bentonite clay for? Let us know in the comments below!






Healing clay for dogs? Is there actually any SCIENCE that backs this up?

How can I find a healing clay recipe for my dog?

Is there a certain amount I should give my dog?

Illustrations inspired by our furry friend Nayla!

About the author

Chelsea Hunt-Rivera

Chelsea Rivera is a Dedicated Pet Parent who loves to create amazing content for pet owners and is helping change pet wellness as the Head of Content for