Did you know the control of external parasites in dogs can be chemical-free? And that there is a natural substance that combats internal parasites? All you need are the crushed fossils of freshwater organisms and marine life, a.k.a Diatomaceous Earth.
In this article, we will talk about Diatomaceous Earth for dogs as a cheap way of fighting off fleas, ticks, worms, and other pests. We will also cover some other benefits of DE for pets and, of course, give helpful instructions and methods of use.
What is Diatomaceous Earth for Dogs?
Diatomaceous Earth is made of fossilized aquatic organisms and marine life (single-celled algae called Diatoms). The fossilized remains are grounded into what looks like a plain white fine powder (something like baking powder), but under a microscope, the tiny particles look like glass shards.
The health benefits of Diatomaceous Earth stems from its high silica content. There are two main types of silica or silicon dioxide and consequently two types of D.E.:
- Amorphous silica – a non-toxic version used to make food-grade Diatomaceous Earth. The food-grade DE is appropriate for internal and external use in people and pets.
- Crystalline silica – a toxic version used in filter-grade Diatomaceous Earth. The filter-grade DE is an important cleaning method found in pool filters.
Do Vets Recommend Diatomaceous Earth?
In general, vets do not recommend Diatomaceous Earth for dogs, simply because the potential risks associated with inappropriate use often outweigh the health benefits. Plus, those health benefits are rather anecdotal than scientifically backed up.
Benefits and Uses of Diatomaceous Earth for Dogs
As already mentioned, Diatomaceous Earth is primarily used in dogs for managing and preventing infestations with external parasites and infections with internal parasites. However, this powerful powder has other health-boosting benefits. Below we have listed the other uses of Diatomaceous Earth.
Diatomaceous Earth for Detoxification. DE is an efficient detox solution while acting as a digestive aid and colon cleanser. Namely, Diatomaceous Earth can absorb harmful substances like methyl mercury, organophosphate pesticide residues, endotoxins, viruses, proteinaceous toxins from intestinal infections like E-coli, and drug residues.
Diatomaceous Earth for Deodorization. Diatomaceous Earth has absorbing powers and can successfully neutralize odors. You can sprinkle DE if your dog is starting to stink both on its fur and bedding area. Or, if your dog makes an accident, you can use DE on the carpet or couch.
Diatomaceous Earth as a Mineral Source. Silica is not the only mineral found in the skeletons of Diatoms. These simple algae are also rich in calcium, magnesium, sodium, iron, copper, zinc, potassium, selenium, and phosphorus.
Diatomaceous Earth for Garden Pest Control. According to the National Pesticide Information Center (NPIC), Diatomaceous Earth causes insects to fatally dehydrate while safe for pets and wildlife. You can use Diatomaceous Earth to keep pests (spiders, bed bugs, cockroaches, ants, worms, termites) away from your garden and your dog (some of these pests bite/sting).
Diatomaceous Earth for Flea Control in Dogs
Wondering how does Diatomaceous Earth work for external parasite control? Well, unlike most traditional anti-pest products that attack the nervous system of the parasite, the Diatomaceous Earth’s mode of action is mechanical.
Namely, the sharp edges of the Diatomaceous Earth particles damage the insect’s exoskeleton. Then, they penetrate the protective coating and absorb the insect’s water, fats, and oils. As a result, the insect dehydrates and dies.
The same mortal mechanism applies to all external parasites, meaning in addition to fleas, DE can help with ticks, lice, mites, etc. Plus, Diatomaceous Earth can be used to eliminate pests from furniture, carpets, floors, and the dog’s bedding area.
Diatomaceous Earth for Parasites in Dogs
DE is powerful against intestinal worms after seven days of use. However, to achieve full strength efficacy, the supplementation should last for at least 30 days. This is because of the cycling of the worms and the fact that Diatomaceous Earth does not work against eggs.
Diatomaceous Earth Side Effects and Considerations for Dogs
As noted, Diatomaceous Earth has excellent absorbing powers, which is great when it comes to drawing oils from the cuticle of the insect. However, it is bad when absorbing moisture from the dog’s skin.
Additionally, you need to be careful when using DE not to make clouds of dust. This is because if inhaled, Diatomaceous Earth irritates the lungs (of both you and your dog).
Diatomaceous Earth Dosage for Dogs
The Diatomaceous Earth dosage for dogs depends on the method of use and the dog’s body weight. For example, here are the dosing guidelines when giving dogs DE internally:
- Puppies and small dogs – 1/2 teaspoon per day
- Medium dogs (up to 50 lbs) – 1 tsp per day
- Large dogs (over 50 lbs) – 1 tablespoon per day
- Giant dogs (more than 100 lbs) – 2 tbsp per day
Diatomaceous Earth needs to be served with food – preferably canned or raw. If your dog eats kibbles, make sure you moisten the powder using water or chicken/beef broth.
When using the DE externally, there are no strict dosage guidelines – you should use as much as you need to massage the powder into your dog’s fur (if it looks covered with dust, you have probably gone too far). It goes without saying that you need to avoid sensitive parts like the mouth, eyes, and nose.
Diatomaceous Earth for Dogs Usage Guidelines
Always make sure you are using food-grade DE as the other version is toxic for both you and your dog. Ideally, you should opt for a Diatomaceous Earth product formulated specifically for pets as human DE supplements are often boosted with additional ingredients.
We should note that although safe for cats, Diatomaceous Earth should not be used in felines. The reason is simple – cats love to groom themselves meaning, the entire externally applied DE will end up in the stomach.
So far, there are no known drug interactions of Diatomaceous Earth. However, the general rule implies talking with the vet before giving your dog something new, including natural remedies and supplements.
Finally, Diatomaceous Earth is not the only safe substance for the prevention of pet parasites. Chemical pest control products are more straightforward to use – need monthly application and kick in fast. DE requires daily use since it acts solely against grown parasites and not eggs.
Our Final Thoughts on Diatomaceous Earth for Dogs
It is important to remember that Diatomaceous Earth is not a cure-all powder for dogs. It is a natural remedy whose health benefits are yet to be scientifically proven. In fact, most of the things we know about buy nolvadex cycle dosage ultimate muscles insect this powder come from anecdotal reports.
Therefore, it is best to combine the powers of Diatomaceous Earth with traditional medications and approaches for maximum results. Also, do not forget to talk with your vet before giving your dog Diatomaceous Earth.