What is Diatomaceous Earth?
Diatomaceous Earth (DE) is made of diatoms from fresh water shells that have fossilized over millennia. Collections of these shells collect over time and form large silica deposits which, in turn, form the main component of DE as silicon dioxide. When these fossilized diatoms are ground into powder, they become Diatomaceous Earth. DE has long been used as a natural approach to treat fleas and intestinal parasites. The microscopically sharp edges contact the insect or parasite and pierce the exoskeleton so that they dehydrate and die.
How should you use DE?
Traditional flea repellants work because they are an insecticide and are effective because of a chemical reaction. What makes DE different is that the cell is porous, essentially eating away at the exoskeleton of the flea. When using DE to eradicate fleas rub the powder into your pet’s fur, being careful to avoid the eyes. When a pet has fleas it means your house also has fleas. The good news is that DE can be used around the home as well. Often times DE comes sealed into an airtight package. To sprinkle around the house poke small holes in the seal, sprinkle around the environment and vacuum 8-10 hours later. You may want to let the DE sit for the entire day and then vacuum. Remember, Diatomaceous Earth is not toxic to animals so be sure to also treat their bedding.
Additional beneficial uses for DE:
Many pet owners also use Diatomaceous Earth as a nutritional supplement to help prevent intestinal parasites. It’s important to remember that when using DE to treat fleas you want to use it in its dry form and when treating for intestinal parasites it should be given in wet form. Always make sure you are using food-grade Diatomaceous Earth. DE has been shown to treat and prevent roundworms, whipworms, hookworms in seven days. However, considering the life cycle of the intestinal parasite it is necessary to treat for 30 days to eradicate eggs that haven’t hatched yet. Again, make sure the Diatomaceous Earth is food-grade. When using to treat or prevent intestinal parasites you can add it to dry kibble with some water or mix it in their wet diet.
Beyond being a great, safe alternative for flea and intestinal parasite treatment and prevention, Diatomaceous Earth has an abundance of vitamins and minerals including mostly amorphous silica, calcium, magnesium, titanium dioxide, gallium, sodium and other trace minerals. These extras can improve the coat, appetite, metabolism and digestion. Diatomaceous Earth can also be sprinkled in the kitty litter box as a natural deodorizer.
For food-grade Diatomaceous Earth, daily dosages are as follows:
Dosage for Dogs
Small dogs and puppies (puppies must be on solid food): 1/2 tsp.
Under 50lbs: 1 tsp.
50-100lbs: 1 tbsp.
Over 100lbs: 2 tbsp.
Dosage for Cats
Small cats and kittens 2-6 ½ lbs. (kittens must be on solid food): ½ tsp.
Full grown cats 7-13lbs: 1 tsp.
Large cats: 1 ½ tsp.