Diatomaceous earth is a dirt cheap way to control parasites in your dog.
It’s not only low cost … it’s also easy to find at health stores or online. And it has a few other practical uses too.
So, what is diatomaceous earth? It’s white, so it doesn’t exactly look like earth.
Diatomaceous earth is a non-toxic natural substance. It’s made from crushed fossils of freshwater organisms and marine life. Through a microscope, the particles look like bits of broken glass.
Diatomaceous earth is deadly to any insect, yet completely harmless to animals. It can kill fleas, ticks, lice or mites on your dog.
It doesn’t poison insects or paralyze them like some pharmaceutical products do. The way it works is purely mechanical.
When the razor-sharp particles touch the pests, they pierce the insects’ protective coating. So the bugs quickly dehydrate and die. The particles affect larvae in the same way.
I’ll provide more detail on using diatomaceous earth for parasites in a bit.
There are a few other things you can do with diatomaceous earth. Let’s talk about what it can do for your dog.
5 Benefits Of Diatomaceous Earth For Dogs
Diatomaceous earth can help your dog’s health (and yours!). You can also use it in your home and in the garden. And it’s safe to use around your dog and other pets.
#1 Repel And Eliminate Parasites
Diatomaceous earth can help your dog with both internal and external parasites.
You can control internal parasites like worms by giving diatomaceous earth with food. Make sure you choose the right product: diatomaceous earth for your dog must be food grade. The product that’s in gardens and pool filters is processed differently and can be harmful.
Diatomaceous earth can eliminate roundworms, whipworms, pinworms, and hookworms in your dog. It can work in as little as 7 days of daily feeding.
But, to be most effective, you should feed diatomaceous earth for at least 30 days. That’ll make sure you get rid of all newly hatching eggs. And it will catch the cycling of the worms through the lungs and back to the stomach.
Note: Diatomaceous earth works for intestinal worms. It will not kill heartworms.
Another use for diatomaceous earth is killing external parasites and insects. You can do this by dusting your dog’s skin with diatomaceous earth. If you have a flea infestation, you’ll also need to sprinkle it on his bedding and carpeted areas.
But it’s not just for parasites. Diatomaceous earth can be useful for several different purposes.
Some sources report that diatomaceous earth may absorb methyl mercury, E. coli, endotoxins, viruses, organophosphate pesticide residues, drug resides, and protein. It may even remove the proteinaceous toxins from some intestinal infections. There’s research showing it can remove heavy metals from waste water.
This means diatomaceous earth can be very useful as a detox solution, digestive aid and colon cleanser.
But it also has nutritional benefits!
#3 Food Supplement
Diatomaceous earth is full of minerals like:
So it can help dogs – and people – as a nutritional supplement. According to Wolf Creek Organics, better sleep, more energy, healthy skin, hair and nails are all potential benefits.
And there’s research by the University of Innsbruck, Austria, showing it can even improve cholesterol numbers … lowering LDL and triglycerides and increasing HDL.
#4 Chemical-Free Deodorizer
If you have a stinky dog, you can also use diatomaceous earth as a natural deodorizer. You can sprinkle it on your dog’s coat and leave it in … or brush it out after a few hours. You can dust your carpet or other smelly area; leave it for about a day, then vacuum or sweep it up.
You can also use it in sweaty gym shoes or in your kitchen trash can.
If you have a kitty, try sprinkling diatomaceous earth in her litter box. It can help eliminate dampness and odors.
#5 Safe Garden Pest Control
Diatomaceous earth won’t harm beneficial earthworms in your garden. But it repels and kills most other bugs … ants, caterpillars, army worms, cockroaches, snails, spiders, termites, silverfish, earwigs, bed bugs, fruit flies and beetles. (Remember: it’ll keep the ticks away too!).
So it’s great for the garden and will help you avoid chemical pesticides. It’s safe for your dog, as well as birds and other non-bug wildlife. Sprinkle it in your garden, or mix it with water and spray on trees. According to Wolf Creek Ranch, about a cup per 1/2 gallon of water should do the trick). Make sure to apply repeatedly.
Internally in dogs, give these amounts:
- Small dogs and puppies: 1/2 tsp per day in food
- Up to 50 lbs: 1 tsp per day in food
- Over 50 lbs: 1 Tbsp per day in food
- 100 lbs or more: 2 Tbsp per day in food
It’s best to mix it with raw or other moist food. If you feed dry food, add some water or broth to moisten the powder.
For external pest prevention, rub the powder into your dog’s coat. Start near the tail and pull back the hair to get it on the skin.
Avoid the eyes, nose and mouth as it can irritate mucous membranes.
Using it externally can also get rid of fleas on your dog. You’ll need to sprinkle it on his bedding and carpets too. Let it sit for up to 3 days, then launder or vacuum.
Bonus! Flea & Tick Recipe
Here’s a bonus insect repellent recipe from Herbs for Pets by Mary Wulff and Gregory Tilford
Use caution around the eyes and mouth of your dog as the powder can irritate the mucosa. Once the dust settles, it won’t harm your dog.
3-Ingredient Bug Repellent
Or, here’s an even simpler recipe you can make yourself, using just 3 ingredients.
Mix equal parts of diatomaceous earth, yarrow and neem powders.
Combine them in a flour or sugar shaker, or a jar with holes in the lid. Dust your dog with it, starting at the tail end and pulling back the hair to get it on the skin. Be careful not to get it in your dog’s eyes, nose or mouth.
You’ll want to reapply it after your dog goes swimming and washes it off!
[Related: Top Home Remedies for Fleas]
Make sure you purchase and use food grade DE only. DE can cause lung irritation so please be careful you and your dog don’t inhale any dust.
Diatomaceous earth can be drying for your dog’s skin. If you notice any dryness, bathe your dog with a moisturizing shampoo or conditioner.
So there you have it. An amazingly versatile, low cost parasite control product with a bunch of other uses too!