After a fun, long romp at a nearby wilderness park, you take a few minutes to wash down your now-dirty-dog and clean him up. As you dry and brush him, you feel a small bump around his neck… Wait, is that a…
Yes, it’s a tick. Yuck. Gross.
A quick search on your phone and you find the proper tick removal procedure, and you’re breathing a little easier. Except…
Your dog has tons of energy and loves to play at the park. So this is bound to happen again. But you hate the idea of flea and tick preventatives. You’ve done a good job of keeping him flea free by being extra diligent with the flea comb and baths, and you don’t want to start him on chemicals now.
What options do you have?
Diatomaceous Earth: Natural Pest Control And More
A simple one is diatomaceous earth. This non-toxic powder comprised of the crushed fossils of freshwater and marine organisms, not only kills ticks, but has several other benefits:
1. Flea and Tick Control
On the microscopic level, diatomaceous earth resembles bits of broken glass. Though food-grade DE is harmless to humans and animals, those itty-bitty glass-like fragments kill insects like fleas, ticks, lice and mites (and their larvae) by piercing their protective structures, which causes them to dehydrate and die.
Apply the DE lightly on your pet’s coat, as well as on bedding and carpeting. It can take three days for it to do its work, so leave it in any carpeting for at least that long before vacuuming.
Note: Since DE acts as a drying agent, your pet could get some dry skin. If this happens, bathe him with a hydrating pet conditioner.
2. Garden Pest Control
Because DE repels and kills everything from ants, caterpillars, army worms, cockroaches, snails, spiders and termites to silverfish, earwigs, bed bugs, fruit flies and beetles (remember: it’ll keep the ticks away too!), diatomaceous earth is great for the garden – especially if you have pets roaming around there and don’t want to use chemical pesticides. Simply sprinkle in the area, or mix with water and spray on trees (according to Wolf Creek Ranch website, about a cup to a 1/2 gallon of water should do the trick). Make sure to apply repeatedly.
3. Healthy Supplement
Because DE is full of minerals (magnesium, silicon, calcium, sodium, iron and other trace minerals), it’s also known to help keep pets – and people – healthy when eaten. According to eatlocalgrown.com, healthy skin, hair and nails and lower blood cholesterol are all potential benefits.
It’s also known as an overall detoxifier, which is probably why deworming is another common use for DE.
4. Natural Dewormer
Taken internally, DE can rid dogs of roundworms, whipworms, pinworms and hookworms – though they are less effective against tapeworms – within a week of daily feeding. It should be fed for at least a month in order to kill hatching eggs and worms moving in and out of the stomach.
Make sure to mix the DE well into your dog’s food to prevent lung irritation from his breathing in the powder.
5. Chemical-Free Deodorizer
If your problem is stinky dog, you can also use DE as a natural deodorizer. Dust your carpet or other stinky area with DE and leave it for about a day, then vacuum or sweep it up. (If you are using it on carpet, make sure to vacuum your carpet before using the DE too.) For cat owners, mix in some DE with your kitty litter to neutralize odors.
So there you have it, five easy ways you can incorporate DE into your pet’s life for some natural housekeeping and nutrition boosting. Two important points to always remember when using DE: Never use the kind used in gardens and pool filters, it MUST be food grade or you will harm your pet. Also, avoid inhaling DE for you and your pets, as it is a lung irritant.
To use DE as a dewormer or food supplement, use the following amounts:
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
Bonus Recipe from Herbs for Pets by Mary L. Wulff-Tilford and Gregory L. Tilford