Caitlin UltimoHealth / Wellness

Is Diatomaceous Earth a Natural Flea Remedy?

Diatomaceous Earth for Dogs and Cats: Is It the Best Way to Get Rid of Fleas?

Providing your pet with adequate protection from internal and external parasites, like fleas, ticks and intestinal worms, is an essential part of pet parenting. There are a wide variety of options when it comes parasite prevention and treatment for pets, so it is important to do your research and know which one suits you and your pet’s needs the best.

For pet parents seeking a more natural flea killer and a way to ward pests off, diatomaceous earth has long been considered an effective option. This article will show you how you can use diatomaceous earth for dogs and cats and how it works to improve your pet’s health and well-being.

What Is Diatomaceous Earth?

Diatomaceous earth (DE) is actually made from single-celled organisms called “diatoms.” The skeletons of these diatoms are made of a natural substance called silica, and over long periods of time, their skeletons accumulate and fossilize in the sediment of lakes, rivers, streams and oceans. The resulting sedimentary deposits are mined and used to create what we know as diatomaceous earth.

Diatomaceous Earth Uses for Pets

Diatomaceous earth uses include the control and prevention of bed bugs, fleas, ticks, spiders, cockroaches, crickets and many other pests in outdoor and indoor settings. There are different grades of diatomaceous earth that are used for a variety of jobs, but as Dr. Michele Yassom, a holistic veterinarian based in New Paltz, NY, specifies, the one that you would want to use with your pets exclusively is the 100% food-grade diatomaceous earth. DiatomaceousEarth Food Grade Powder is an example of an appropriate form of diatomaceous earth for cats and dogs. Dr. Yassom explains that most clients use it as a routine natural flea treatment.

How Does Diatomaceous Earth Work?

Using its abrasive, sharp edges, DE works by penetrating an insect’s exoskeleton and absorbing the oils and fats, thus drying them out and killing them. Dr. Yassom explains, “The diatom fossils are attracted to the wet, slippery lipid layer of the parasites, and scratches them with their sharp edges and dries them out.” However, DE is not effective at killing insect eggs, so it is important to continue treating your pet for a minimum of 2 weeks.

Diatomaceous earth for cats and dogs is only effective at killing insects and parasites when it comes into direct contact with them, so according to what type of parasites you are dealing with, your treatment method may differ.

For internal parasites, you can use DiatomaceousEarth Food Grade Powder in your pet’s food to help eliminate hookworms, roundworms, whipworms, pinworms and tapeworms. You will have to talk with your veterinarian to discuss treatment duration and dosages, to ensure you treat your pet effectively.

For external parasites, such as fleas and ticks, DE can be used topically in a variety of forms and methods. For dogs, you can use it in a powder form, like the Natural Chemistry De Flea Carpet Powder—which can be used on carpets and rubbed into your dog’s coat. Take care not to get the powder near a dog’s eyes, nose or mouth. Or you can use the DERMagic Diatomaceous Earth Dog Shampoo Bar during bath time to help eliminate those pesky parasites.

For cats, you can use DERMagic Diatomaceous Earth Cat Shampoo Bar at bath time. Once again, it is very important to discuss your use of DE with your veterinarian so that you can be sure you are using it effectively and safely.

Things to Know Before Using

Always store diatomaceous earth in a clean, dry area, in a sealed container or bag. Diatomaceous earth can last indefinitely as long as it is stored in a dry and clean container.

Caution: Since diatomaceous earth is so incredibly absorbent, the powder form can act as an irritant to the skin, eyes, mouth and lungs. It is very important to take the proper precautions, like talking to your veterinarian and reading all instructions on the bag, to make sure you are using it safely and correctly.

Jasmine Chang has been a New York City-based fashion editor and consultant for over 25 years. She adores dogs because of their authenticity and the fact that they never judge what people wear. She lives in Brooklyn with her very spoiled Frenchie, Harry.