Is Diatomaceous Earth Safe for Pets?

natural flea control

Yes, food grade Diatomaceous Earth (DE) is completely safe for all types of animals.

And I can vouch for that.  We've been using it on our dogs regularly for the last couple of years for flea and tick control with great success and no adverse effects.

What is Diatomaceous Earth?

Diatomaceous earth is a fine, talc-like powder made from the fossilized remains of tiny, aquatic organisms called diatoms. Their skeletons are made of a natural substance called silica. Over a long period of time, diatoms accumulated in the sediment of rivers, streams, lakes, and oceans.

Earth Easy explains how it works:

These diatom particles are very small and sharp – but only harmful to the small exoskeletons of insects. Insects cannot become immune to its action, as it is a mechanical killer – not a chemical one. Because it is like a light dust, it easily clings to the bodies of insects as they walk and crawl over it. The tiny diatom particles then cut the waxy coating of insects and they eventually dry out and die of dehydration within 48 hours. It is an all-natural product that is so safe, it can be sprinkled around your vegetable patch, or rubbed right into your dog’s fur.

In fact, many naturally-focused breeders I've spoken to add it to their animal's food each day to kill parasites. They also love the fact that it has 15 trace minerals, which helps fortify their diets.

What Bugs Does it Kill?

Diatomaceous Earth has proven to be effective against various household and garden pests including:  Ants, Bedbugs, Silverfish, Flour Beetles, Fleas, Cockroaches, Slugs, Earwigs, Centipedes, Millipedes, Sowbugs, Pillbugs, Carpet Beetles, Spiders, Crickets, Colorado Potato Beetles and Caterpillars.

Be Sure to Choose Food Grade DE

Food grade DE has to meet certain specific requirements for heavy metals like lead and arsenic, while pool filtration grade DE is treated with chemicals and very high heat so it's dangerous for people and pets, so be sure you avoid it.

And even with food grade DE, t's always a good idea to use commonsense when applying so that you don't inhale a large amount. The National Pesticide Information Center  says if breathed in, diatomaceous earth can irritate the nose and nasal passages temporarily, but doesn't cause any longterm damage.

Where  to Find It

We ordered our first bag online and bought another bag today at a local farm supply store.  I thought it was interesting that they commented about how quickly they're selling out of it these days.  Folks are finally catching on to this simple, cheap alternative to toxic pesticides!

>>Get more DIY flea busting tips HERE.

  1. Do you have any more information on how it is used? Is it just sprinkled on the coat? How often? Does it need to be brushed or massaged into the hair? More how-to info would be great! I’m really interested in this. I have a bag of DE for my chicken coop but never even thought of using for my dog! What a great idea!

    1. Great question K!

      You should rub DE into your pet’s fur, and sprinkle it around your pet’s bedding. I reapply it to our dog’s coat when they get wet or if I see any live fleas.

      If your dog has a dense coat and you’re worried about getting the DE applied correctly, try dusting some on then brushing against the hair growth with a comb/brush and continue repeating until you get the DE as close to the skin as possible. ~Alicia

  2. Just wondering … do you know if it’s safe for cats? I’ve also read the people should wear protective gloves and possibly masks when using it … does it bother the animals breathing at all? Thanks!

  3. I have a new puppy, she is 11 weeks. Can I give her DE for worm treatment? Also, by her being only 4 lbs how much would I need to give her? Thanks

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