Can Dogs Eat Diatomaceous Earth? – Read Before You Feed

Diatomaceous earth (DE) is a natural form of silica, composed of tiny fossils called diatoms. DE is often recommended for flea control in pets. But does it really work? Can dogs eat DE?

Diatomaceous Earth is a naturally occurring substance found in soil and rock formations. It consists primarily of microscopic fossilized shells from marine plants and animals.

The shells are composed of silicon dioxide (SiO2), magnesium oxide (MgO), calcium carbonate (CaCO3), and trace amounts of other elements.

There are several types of DE, some of which contain high levels of minerals such as iron, zinc, copper, manganese, and phosphorus. These minerals can be beneficial to humans, but they may also cause harm if ingested.

For example, ingesting large quantities of iron can result in stomach upset or even death. Likewise, too much copper can lead to liver damage.

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How Does Diatomaceous Earth Work?

The purpose of DE is to prevent the attachment of insects to your pet’s fur. When an insect lands on your dog, the legs break off and remain attached to the body of the bug. As long as the insect remains attached to the dog, it cannot fly away.

This makes DE effective because you don’t have to spray the entire environment with chemicals that kill all fleas at once. Instead, you only need to apply DE around where your pet spends time. 1

Do Vets Recommend Diatomaceous Earth?

Veterinarians typically recommend DE when treating fleas on cats and dogs. They believe that DE will help reduce the number of fleas that land on your pet’s coat.

However, there isn’t enough scientific evidence to support this claim. In fact, while many veterinarians do recommend using DE, most of them don’t actually use it themselves.

While DE might not hurt your pet, it could make him sick if he eats too much of it. If you’re concerned about your dog eating DE, talk to your vet before giving him any.

What Happens If Your Dog Eats Too Much DE?

When DE gets into the digestive system of a dog, it causes irritation in the intestines. This can lead to diarrhea or vomiting. Some cases can even develop into more serious problems like blockages or internal bleeding.

If your dog has eaten too much DE, contact your vet immediately. You should also wash his mouth out with water after he consumes it.

How much diatomaceous earth should I feed my dog?

You shouldn’t give your dog more than 1/4 cup per day. That’s approximately one teaspoon. If you want to double-check how much your dog needs, ask your veterinarian.

How to Use DE for Fleas

The microscopically-sharp edges of DE enable it to kill fleas. The sharp edges will not hurt you because they are so small, but for an insect, it’s like crawling on cracked glass. In a matter of hours or days, it will pierce their shells and kill them. DE can be used in several ways:

Externally after potential flea exposure

Before a walk or hike, or in any situation in which your pet is likely to be exposed to fleas, sprinkle it on the coat and brush it through their fur thoroughly. Apply the DE before they come inside every time they go outside in a flea-ridden area.

If you apply it around your dog’s nose, eyes, or mouth, be careful. Check that it doesn’t dry out or irritate your dog’s skin if it already has dry skin – don’t use it too often if it already has dry skin.

In your yard/garden

Sprinkleing DE in the soil can kill fleas and their larvae if you know there are fleas in your yard. Additionally, it kills ticks and earwigs. You won’t have to worry about it when your pets nibble on grass or roll in dirt because it’s non-toxic.

In your home, in case of an infestation

After applying it to bedding and carpeting, leave it for at least three days, then vacuum it up. The treatment does take 3+ days to work, but it will kill both larvae and adult fleas, breaking their life cycle.

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What Are the Health Risks of Using Diatomaceous Earth for Fleas?

DE is made from fossilized algae that were once living on the ocean floor. It’s been chemically processed to remove impurities, making it safe for humans and animals. It’s considered a natural product and is approved by the FDA as an effective pesticide.

DE is generally safe for people and animals. There are some reports of allergic reactions to DE, although these are rare. When DE comes in contact with the skin, it may cause mild itching or burning. These symptoms usually disappear within a few minutes.

If you notice any unusual behavior or signs of illness, stop using DE and get medical help right away. Contact your doctor if you experience any of the following:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal pain
  • Fever
  • Skin rash
  • Lethargy
  • Seizures
  • Difficulty breathing

Can Diatomaceous Earth Kill Fleas In Your Home?

Ramsden believes that diatomaceous earth is effective in killing fleas. It is often misapplied or overapplied by homeowners.

If an individual is contemplating applying a pesticide, it’s best to consult with a pest-management professional. Ramsey warns against handling pest issues without the aid of a professional.

It’s also important to remember that DE only kills adult fleas. According to Ramsey, DE does not keep fleas from reproducing. Diatomaceous earth is not effective in controlling flea populations, despite its application.”

For any type of flea prevention, your veterinarian is the best person to consult. The best and safest flea preventative for your pet is to consult your veterinarian, says Dr. Coates.

Can diatomaceous earth make dogs sick?

According to veterinarians, DE is unlikely to harm most dogs. However, it should never be used in conjunction with other products that contain chemicals such as insecticides, herbicides, fungicides, rodenticides, or other pesticides.

Dogs who ingest DE could suffer serious health problems, including vomiting and diarrhea. If your dog ingests DE, immediately call your vet and report the incident.

Can I sprinkle diatomaceous earth on my dog?

You can sprinkle DE on your dog’s food and water bowls. This isn’t harmful to them, but they may develop a taste aversion to it.

Sprinkling DE around your house is another option. Just be sure to apply it sparingly so it doesn’t end up on your carpet or furniture. To avoid getting DE into your carpet, use a dust mop instead of sweeping.

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Is Safer brand diatomaceous earth safe for pets?

Safer brand DE is manufactured according to EPA guidelines. Other brands of DE are not regulated by the EPA and may have unknown ingredients.

Diatomaceous earth for dogs dosage

Give the following amounts internally to dogs:

  • 1/2 tsp per day in food for small dogs and puppies.
  • 1 teaspoon per day for up to 50 pounds.
  • For dogs over 50 pounds, 1 tablespoon per day in food.
  • 2 tablespoons per day for 100 pounds or more.

The best way to mix it is with raw food or another moist food. Feeding dry food requires a little water or broth to moisten the powder.

Your dog can be protected from external pests by rubbing the powder into their coat. To get the hair on the skin, begin at the tail and pull the hair back.

Be careful around the eyes, nose, and mouth as it can irritate the mucous membranes.

Dogs can also be treated externally with it to eliminate fleas. It should also be sprinkled on his bedding and carpets. It should sit for up to 3 days before being cleaned.

What if my dog eats Diatomaceous earth?

If your dog inhales diatomaceous earth, he may suffer respiratory problems. Ingestion is recommended instead of inhalation. Make sure it is prepared in a well-ventilated environment or with adequate protection. Human and canine skin can also be dried out by it.  

Is diatomaceous earth safe for dogs to walk on?

DE is considered non-hazardous when applied to your dog’s paws. You can even sprinkle some on sidewalks and streets to reduce the number of fleas on your dog.

Diatomaceous earth for dogs side effects

Some dogs may experience mild gastrointestinal upset after eating DE. In rare cases, it can cause allergic reactions, especially in those with allergies to plants or grasses.

Dogs who chew on it may swallow it and choke. Dogs who lick it off their fur may become coated with it and develop a rash. Any adverse effects will go away within 24 hours.

Is diatomaceous earth safe for pets to breathe?

Yes, DE is safe for pets to breathe. Do not allow them to play in areas where there is an excessive amount of DE. They should wear masks while playing outdoors.

Benefits and Uses of Diatomaceous Earth for Dogs

The primary use of Diatomaceous Earth in dogs is for the prevention and management of external parasite infestations and internal parasite infestations. In addition, this powder has a number of health-promoting properties. Here is a list of some of these uses.  

Detoxification using diatomaceous earth. As a digestion aid and colon cleanser, DE is an efficient detox solution.

Specifically, Diatomaceous Earth can soak up harmful toxins like methyl mercury, organophosphate residues from pesticides, endotoxins, viruses, proteinaceous toxins from stomach infections like E. coli, and drug residues.   

Deodorizing with diatomaceous earth. As a powerful absorber, Diatomaceous Earth can successfully neutralize odors. DE can be sprinkled on your dog’s fur and bedding if it is starting to stink. On carpets or couches, you can use DE if your dog has an accident. 

As a mineral source, diatomaceous earth can be used. Minerals other than silica are also found in the skeletons of diatoms. Besides calcium, magnesium, sodium, iron, copper, zinc, potassium, selenium, and phosphorus, these algae are rich in calcium, magnesium, sodium, and potassium. 

Garden pest control with diatomaceous earth. Diatomaceous earth kills insects by dehydrating them, while it is safe for pets and wildlife, according to the National Pesticide Information Center (NPIC).

Using Diatomaceous Earth will prevent pests (spiders, bedbugs, cockroaches, ants, worms, termites) from attacking your garden or your pet (some of these pests bite/sting).  

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Diatomaceous Earth for Parasites in Dogs

Diatomaceous is effective against intestinal parasites such as roundworms, hookworms, tapeworms, whipworm, pinworms, and heartworms. It is particularly useful for treating giardia and coccidia, which are common causes of diarrhea in dogs. 2

Preventative Measures Against Flea Infestation

Fleas feed on the blood and body fluids of animals; they can transmit diseases like plague and typhus. Fleas are most active during the night. To avoid flea infestation, keep your dog indoors at night.

You should also vacuum up fleas regularly so that they do not have access to your pet. If your dog starts scratching excessively, then consult your veterinarian. 3

Your vet might recommend the application of topical insecticides containing pyrethroids, chlorfenapyr, or fipronil.

These products provide quick relief without causing any adverse effects. The use of permethrin spot-on spray is another option. This product controls fleas within 24 hours. However, it must be applied every 7 days.

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