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Is Diatomaceous Earth Safe For Dogs and Will It Kill Fleas? Uses and Facts

Updated on September 13, 2016
Diatomaceous earth for pets IS safe!
Diatomaceous earth for pets IS safe! | Source
I use diatomaceous earth with my pets.
I use diatomaceous earth with my pets. | Source

What Flea Treatment Do You Use For Your Pet?

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Food Grade DE for Flea Control

How I Learned about Diatomaceous Earth

A few years ago, I dutifully went to the vet to get those popular topical flea applications. I read the directions, mildly alarmed that there were so many warnings on the label. But I knew that as a "good pet owner," I needed to prevent fleas and ticks on my pets.

Besides, there are few things worse than flea infestations - I didn't want that. So, I twisted off the tip of the green-looking chemical solution and thought, "bye-bye, fleas".

A couple hours later, my dog started foaming at the mouth. He was an older dog and I watched anxiously as he started to grow lethargic. The year before, the same had happened to my cat.

I called the vet. It was 10pm. He agreed to meet me at the clinic with the dog. By 1am, my dog was showing improvement, with IV's attached and an oxygen mask. The vet said he would need to keep my dog overnight to monitor him.

The next day, I anxiously waited until I could bring my dog home.

I now had two animals that had had adverse reactions to name-brand flea medications. I hopped online, wondering if other people had had the same problems.

I should have guessed the topical applications were bad when the directions urged me to wash my hands immediately and to avoid skin contact. But looking online, I then read things like "endocrine disruptors," and "toxic to the brain and nervous system." This information wasn't just on one site. There were many.

I began to look for natural alternatives - for so many reasons. I wanted to not perpetuate the rampant use of chemicals in our society, and to reduce the risk of death to my animals. My dog ran out in the woods all the time and would invariably bring home a few fleas from his romps in the bushes. I recalled that despite the incident at the vet, I still expected the flea application to last a month. It lasted three weeks and not a day more. This stuff wasn't cheap and it never lasted as long as the box would say.

What was a person to do?

I ordered some herbal sprays with tiny amounts of cinnamon oil and cedar oil. It worked, but I felt like I had to apply it every other day and my dog hated being sprayed down all the time and then smelling like a cinnamon stick. Right after applying, he'd run out to the grass and roll and slide in the grass and leaves until he was satisfied he didn't smell anymore - effectively rubbing it off. I liked the smell of the cinnamon, but it was equally difficult holding him still long enough to spray from head to toe. He would shake like a leaf whenever he saw me bring out the bottle.

I tried adding garlic to my dog's food. It seemed to work, but mildly. After running around in the woods, I'd still have to pick off ticks. Some would argue that garlic wasn't good to give to my dog. I had done enough research to be comfortable trying this with my dog but not the cats. Onions are not good for dogs, either - they are poisonous. Small amounts of garlic are okay. Both onions and garlic are toxic to cats, as are many essential oils. I still felt like I was fighting a losing battle.

Then I finally read about diatomaceous earth or DE. With my veterinarian's blessing, I began to use DE exclusively on my pets. Maybe a stray flea will hop on for a ride, but it won't survive for long in fur treated with DE.

Source

Microscopic View of DE

Source

What is Diatomaceous Earth?

DE is made up of a mineral called silica. It comes from the fossilized remains of ancient diatoms, a type of microscopic algae. It looks like a fine, white powder.

This white powder has numerous practical applications including water filtration, scientific experiments and in pest control.

In terms of pest control, it works by cutting the exoskeleton (the hard outer layer) and then dehydrating fleas, ticks, ear mites and all sorts of other tiny pests. This is because the powder has tiny but sharp edges and has the ability to absorb liquid.

DE is fine to use topically and even internally with animals. However, avoid breathing the dust from it - you don't want those tiny silica particles in the lungs.

In fact, be careful: you really want to avoid breathing in the dust as much as possible. The same goes for animals.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
More information on DE.  You can find it at health food stores.  Pet stores USUALLY WON'T have it.  Ironic, isn't it?Instructions for using on or administering to pets.What DE looks like.  I usually just scoop a little bit out and sprinkle it on my dog and cats.
More information on DE.  You can find it at health food stores.  Pet stores USUALLY WON'T have it.  Ironic, isn't it?
More information on DE. You can find it at health food stores. Pet stores USUALLY WON'T have it. Ironic, isn't it? | Source
Instructions for using on or administering to pets.
Instructions for using on or administering to pets. | Source
What DE looks like.  I usually just scoop a little bit out and sprinkle it on my dog and cats.
What DE looks like. I usually just scoop a little bit out and sprinkle it on my dog and cats. | Source

Using Food Grade DE Internally

You can help get rid of parasites and improve digestion in humans and animals alike with DE.

~Kittens - 1/4-1/2 teaspoon once daily with food

~Adult cats - 1 teaspoon once daily with food

~Small Dogs and Puppies - 1/2 teaspoon once daily with food

~Medium and Large Dogs - 1 tablespoon once daily with food

~Humans - 1 generous tablespoon daily before breakfast or before bed with a glass of water

Uses for Diatomaceous Earth

Note: Only use food-grade DE. Pool grade DE has been chemically treated and is altered. It will poison humans and animals alike.

Food-grade is fine and is widely used all over the world on livestock and domesticated animals.

Note #2: When buying DE, make sure it is approved for use on animals, as well. Many hardware stores carry DE, that is SAFE to use inside, but NOT on animals.

If in doubt, call the manufacturer phone number listed on the product and they will tell you for sure if it's safe.

  • Use for flea control - If your pet has fleas, it's a good idea to comb them over with a flea comb first to get rid of the worst of them. Then powder him from head to toe, roll over and powder the legs and underbelly. Brush against the fur if you can to help rub it in. Repeat daily for severe infestations. After that, repeat every three days or so.
  • A little goes a long way. Be sure not to put more than a couple tablespoons on at a time - you don't need much. My dog doesn't mind having the powder on his fur and doesn't shake when I bring out "the bottle". One can or jar of DE lasts me six months or more.
  • Use for tick control - The directions are the same as for fleas. See above.
  • Use for ear mites - First, use vegetable oil (olive oil or almond oil work best) on a cotton ball to clean your pet's ears. Then put just a pinch of DE in each ear on a daily basis until ear mites are gone - about 30 days.
  • Use it for intestinal worms - Humans and animals alike can ingest DE to help improve digestion and to get rid of intestinal worms. It can also help with other internal parasites.
  • Use on carpets - Sprinkle lightly on carpets and work in with a broom so that you can't see it. Wait three days and vacuum lightly. Lightly reapply and wait three days. Vacuum lightly again. Do this for three weeks.
  • Use on pet bedding - Sprinkle lightly on bedding and work in with hands or a broom.
  • DE has a drying effect on skin. However, those of us in the population that have clammy hands will benefit from DE's drying action.
  • Use in the yard - You can use DE in the yard to help rid it of fleas. However, it will also kill beneficial insects, too, so you may want to just apply in heavily infested areas - such as on ant hills. If you live near the woods like I do, you can use nematodes to kill fleas and ticks in the yard; it won't kill other beneficial insects. DE is not supposed to hurt earthworms, though and may even help them!

Related Articles

Check out this hub on How to Kill Fleas in a Carpet. It offers even more suggestions for getting rid of fleas.

Get some advice on using flea combs. Check out How to Flea-Comb Pets.

Have a look at The Organic Pharmacy to help combat too many chemicals in products that you use.

Want to clean with natural products? Look at the hub on Cleaning with Natural Products.

Does your pet sometimes mess in the house? Get rid of the smell and clean with biodegradable products.

© 2011 Cynthia Calhoun

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    • rebeccamealey profile image

      Rebecca Mealey 5 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

      I use this on my dogs. Thanks goodness for it, and thanks for sharing. I am sure many will want to try it!

    • cclitgirl profile image
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      Cynthia Calhoun 5 years ago from Western NC

      Rebecca - thanks for stopping by! DE is good stuff - I'm a believer in it. :)

    • MissDoolittle profile image

      MissDoolittle 5 years ago from Sussex, UK

      Currently I use branded products - Advocate etc, but having read this I am starting to think twice about it.

      The information you've provided on DE is informative, but does it really work? By killing the fleas? I've used lots of different products in the past, and they don't kill them.

      But will look into it further.

    • cclitgirl profile image
      Author

      Cynthia Calhoun 5 years ago from Western NC

      MissDoolittle - thanks for stopping by. Well, you can always try it and if you don't like DE, you can always go back to the other stuff. However, you might find that dusting your pet with the powder every so often does the job pretty well. Plus, you can put it on their bedding and carpets without any worry. I would also say that when I used the topical applications, I'd find that the fleas would become resistant to it after awhile. That could be because I live near a national forest and there are lots of critters, but I haven't found - just in my experience - a better alternative.

    • profile image

      Serena Gabriel 5 years ago

      Very useful article. I didn't know DE could be used all these different ways!

      Very informative - accolades and a vote up!

    • cclitgirl profile image
      Author

      Cynthia Calhoun 5 years ago from Western NC

      Thanks, Serena. I knew a lot about DE before writing, but then still found out a lot of things when I was researching. DE even helps cure things like bedbugs! Who knew? :)

    • Brett.Tesol profile image

      Brett Caulton 5 years ago from Thailand

      voted up and awesome! Finally a natural solution to an age-old problem. Although I have used shampoos on my dog, I get tired of picking ticks out of her after she has been exploring.

      Thanks for SHARING.

    • cclitgirl profile image
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      Cynthia Calhoun 5 years ago from Western NC

      DE is *awesome*! I found it at the health food store a couple years ago and began using it on my dog. He's great! I treat his ears with it, and it takes just a second to sprinkle it on his fur - no time at all. Plus, I love the fact that I'm not using any bad-for-you chemicals. :) Thanks, Brett.

    • Victoria Lynn profile image

      Victoria Lynn 5 years ago from Arkansas, USA

      CC--I'm going to look at the local health food store tomorrow for DE, but I can probably get it much cheaper online. I just want to make sure I find a reputable source. Any recommendations??

    • Jenna Pope profile image

      Jenna Pope 5 years ago from Southern California

      Well, I learned something new and useful. I bookmarked this for later. I'm going to try it on my puppy-dogs' fleas, if they get them this summer. Thanks!

    • DzyMsLizzy profile image

      Liz Elias 5 years ago from Oakley, CA

      Hi there--

      Thank you for helping spread the word. Indeed, it should give anyone pause about putting those "spot-on" treatments on their pets. "Avoid skin contact?" Really! What about your pet? It's contacting THEIR skin, and is ABSORBED through the skin--hence the warning label.

      Funny,I, too wrote about this in an article titled "How to Safely Keep Fleas and Ticks Off Your Dogs and Cats" back in November. ;-)

      I'm not trying to self-promote, here, but my article also tells about an entire organization (Timmy Stones) dedicated to getting the word out worldwide so all these toxins can finally be banned & eliminated from the veterinary pharmacopoeia.

      Everything each of us can do will help. Thank you again for sharing your story and posting the article. I am glad your dog recovered well. I am sharing your article as well, for by cross-posting, ever more people will become educated as to the truth of these "brand name" products, whose only true interest is their own bottom line.

      Voted up and useful.

    • DzyMsLizzy profile image

      Liz Elias 5 years ago from Oakley, CA

      P.S. You want to be sure and buy FOOD-GRADE diatomaceous earth.....there is also a variety sold at garden centers, and it could contain other minerals or contaminants.

    • Dale Hyde profile image

      Dale Hyde 5 years ago from Tropical Paradise on Planet X

      A well written and informative hub on diatomaceous earth! DE has been used by myself and wife for years for not only fleas and ticks, but for cockroaches and even bed bugs at time that moved in from a neighbor's apartment.

      I would like to say thanks for the references to onions and cats. Our cat loves to munch on chives. After reading here I did some quick online research and saw how harmful chives are to cats! I had no idea. Chives are moved now and she will just have to settle for the Lemon Grass. :)

      Well done, voted up, useful and interesting!

    • cclitgirl profile image
      Author

      Cynthia Calhoun 5 years ago from Western NC

      Vicki - I have only checked on eBay, but here's the website for the DE that I have for my pets: onlynaturalpet.com - I have the one can still from last summer and I used it all winter. It costs $14.99 but it's lasted for a long time. I'm going to have to order more. Thanks for reminding me. :D

    • cclitgirl profile image
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      Cynthia Calhoun 5 years ago from Western NC

      Jenna - hey there! Thanks for stopping by. :) This stuff is so easy to use - just a few shakes of the can against the fur and my pets are all set for a few days - it really just takes under a minute to do. Easy. :) Thanks again.

    • cclitgirl profile image
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      Cynthia Calhoun 5 years ago from Western NC

      DzyMsLizzy - I'm so glad you stopped by. I will check your article and link back to it b/c you're right - I think it's important to spread the word. There's so much misinformation out there. I would love to see ALL TOXINS banned for all uses. Perhaps one day we will realize that for millenia humans and animals existed without them. Why do we need them? Thanks so much for your kind words and feedback. (HUGS)

    • cclitgirl profile image
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      Cynthia Calhoun 5 years ago from Western NC

      DzyMsLizzy - you're absolutely right. I can't stress the FOOD-GRADE version enough - that's part of why there's misinformation out there. POOL-GRADE is fatal and poisonous - it's literally been chemically altered and treated to KILL microorganisms - it's a must to stay away from that stuff. Food-grade, however, is the pure stuff and is even safe for humans. :)

    • cclitgirl profile image
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      Cynthia Calhoun 5 years ago from Western NC

      Dale - I'm so glad I could help with the onions/cats info. It's so refreshing, however, to see people interested in DE - it's good stuff (food grade) and my dog never minds when I put it on. He actually thinks I'm giving him a belly rub (well, I partly am, anyway, hehe). Thank you for your feedback as well. Cheers!

    • DzyMsLizzy profile image

      Liz Elias 5 years ago from Oakley, CA

      Thank you--I'll link back to your article, as well.

    • Victoria Lynn profile image

      Victoria Lynn 5 years ago from Arkansas, USA

      CC--Another question--Do you wear gloves to rub it around on pets? I'll check out that site...and maybe ebay. I'd like to get something I can sprinkle for the dog and cats, but I also need a huge bag. I need it for bedding, carpet, outside....I think I have fleas running around. Nothing will keep them off my dog, and he has been scratching like crazy! Thanks for the info! And from DzyMsLizzy as well!

    • cclitgirl profile image
      Author

      Cynthia Calhoun 5 years ago from Western NC

      DzyMsLizzy - that was a great article! Glad to link. Let's spread the word. :)

    • cclitgirl profile image
      Author

      Cynthia Calhoun 5 years ago from Western NC

      Vicki - the only thing DE will do when you rub it into your pet's fur and you use bare hands is dry them out. But, I have clammy hands, so I don't mind too much. :D You can wear dish gloves if you don't want your hands to dry out. Wash your hands afterwards. I once forgot and rubbed my eye when it itched and really irritated it. Oh and don't breathe the dust if you can help it. It will make you cough like crazy for a little while if you do - you want to avoid breathing in those little microscopic shards. But, it's safe stuff: once it's on fur or in the carpet or even EATEN (as a detox treatment), it's perfectly fine. But, it's like breathing in most any kind of dust or powder - it'll irritate for awhile. Best to avoid. :)

    • watergeek profile image

      watergeek 5 years ago

      My nephews were having trouble with their cat, so I bought four 2.5 pounders - 3 for them and 1 for me. Then they decided not to use it. I've been ingesting the one I bought for myself every night for about five months and I'm only half done. Don't need the other 3, so they're for sale. If someone wants to buy all 3, you can have them for $20 each plus shipping. Go to my profile and send me a private email. (Also, please let me know if this is not cool on HP.)

    • Victoria Lynn profile image

      Victoria Lynn 5 years ago from Arkansas, USA

      CC--Yeah, I thought about that once I asked. Dry hands is the only reason to wear gloves if it's safe. I found DE at our health food store today for $1.69 per pound. That seems pretty good considering prices I've seen online. Thanks for all the great info!!

    • watergeek profile image

      watergeek 5 years ago

      Wow. That's a great price, Victoria. Good luck with it.

    • cclitgirl profile image
      Author

      Cynthia Calhoun 5 years ago from Western NC

      watergeek - hey, thanks for the info. I have no idea if it's "cool" or not to share that info, but I think it's cool that you're trying to help. :) I appreciate you stopping by and telling us some of your experience with DE. Cheers!

    • cclitgirl profile image
      Author

      Cynthia Calhoun 5 years ago from Western NC

      Wow! $1.69/lb? That's great!! I wish our health food store had that! I have to order mine, usually. Good to know. :)

    • cclitgirl profile image
      Author

      Cynthia Calhoun 5 years ago from Western NC

      watergeek - yep, Vicki is a great pet owner. :) Thanks again for commenting. :)

    • profile image

      KC 5 years ago

      I've heard that caution should be used when first introducing DE into one's diet, because it will really "clean out your system" in the beginning. I was told to start with 1/4 teaspoon daily for an average-sized adult, and to time it so that you don't have any special plans the first couple days, due to needing a lot of access to a bathroom.

      Has anyone else heard this, or had similar experiences? I haven't bought any DE yet myself, but I'm anxious to try it. Thanks so much for this great article, CC!

    • profile image

      KC 5 years ago

      Also, I just wanted to throw in my two cents regarding topical flea treatments for pets. (I've been a professional pet groomer for almost 30 years, btw)

      I sincerely believe my Sheltie's cancer was caused by using a brand-name flea deterrent. Her growth was on top of her shoulderblades, right in the middle, in the spot where these treatments would be applied. I have no proof that this is the cause of her cancer, but my gut feeling tells me it is. I'd applied only after finding fleas on her, so she had maybe 8 treatments in her lifetime, but from now on I will be using DE instead. I cannot risk putting another dog through what she went through. :(

    • cclitgirl profile image
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      Cynthia Calhoun 5 years ago from Western NC

      KC - hey there, thanks for stopping by! :) I have not heard of starting out "lighter" when trying DE in the diet. However, that makes total sense. With anything new, it's always a good idea to tread carefully. Good advice there. :) I'm glad you enjoyed this article.

    • cclitgirl profile image
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      Cynthia Calhoun 5 years ago from Western NC

      KC - I'm so sorry about your Sheltie. Aww, I LOVE that breed of dog. Alas, there's no proof, but I'm with you: so many drugs/food/pesticides/products that we use contain chemicals that weren't in drugs/food/pesticides/products before the modern age. Some do indeed help. However, I have to wonder at so many others - including flea treatments. I'm definitely an "herbal/simple" remedies first kind of gal, and then I'll use modern medicine if I can shake it - both on myself and my pets. Stick with your gut feeling - it's usually correct. DE is so easy to use and takes so little time. I just sprinkled my animals with it in less than two minutes. Two minutes every three or four days is all it takes. Ahh. (HUGS)

    • sadie423 profile image

      sadie423 4 years ago from North Carolina

      We use DE in the garden and for our chickens....I haven't treated the dogs and cats yet....though I probably should! Great info!

    • cclitgirl profile image
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      Cynthia Calhoun 4 years ago from Western NC

      sadie - thanks for stopping by at another of my hubs. :) That's great that you're already using DE for such good things. I have lots of friends that are complaining that the ticks and fleas are really bad this year...but with the DE I haven't had that problem. :) Cheers!

    • Sharyn's Slant profile image

      Sharon Smith 4 years ago from Northeast Ohio USA

      Hey Cyndi, I have never heard of this and learned so much. I will definitely keep this in mind. I haven't had a problem with fleas for many years. When I did, it was horrible. This stuff will help for so many other things too. And I also never heard of cleaning a dog's ears with oil, that is such a great tip. Thank you!

    • cclitgirl profile image
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      Cynthia Calhoun 4 years ago from Western NC

      Sharon - yeah, this stuff rocks!! It's saved our lives this summer. Where we live, the fleas and ticks have been bad. Yeah, I clean "my boy's" ears and put a teeny bit of earth in them. It keeps them pretty clean. :) Thanks for stopping by!

    • profile image

      kelleyward 4 years ago

      This is a fantastic hub. Like Sharyn I learned so much from reading this. Thanks! Voted up, useful, and shared. Kelley

    • cclitgirl profile image
      Author

      Cynthia Calhoun 4 years ago from Western NC

      Kelley - thanks so much! I definitely use this stuff A LOT! :D Thanks so much for coming by!

    • profile image

      cherubmom5 4 years ago

      I'm glad the DE is safe to put on my dog because I feel so bad for her. She is a poodle and I had her shaved down and treated with a spot on treatment and it only worked a week. I tried the DE on my carpets but haven't found any relief yet. I think there is just too many in my house and in my couch . Regardless I have not given up and am tired of spraying toxic chemicals with all the asthma we have in our house only to have those products not work either. I will continue putting the earth all over my house and will now also put it on my poor poodle. when I bought the DE from Home Depot but it did not say "Food" or "pool" on it. But the worker said it is safe to get on your skin and put in your house. Am I safe to put it on my dog as long as it doesn't say for POOL?

    • cclitgirl profile image
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      Cynthia Calhoun 4 years ago from Western NC

      Cherubmom5 - The DE on your carpet will work, but because the fleas have eggs that hatch after the fact, you'll have to reapply it every week. I think the standard time is 5 weeks. But yes, you have to let it sit on the carpet for a few days - even sweep it in - vacuum up and then reapply after a few days - at least that's what I've done.

      As far as the Home Depot brand - what I would do is call the manufacturer and find out if it's safe. I wouldn't trust the salesperson at HD only because they may or may not know enough about DE to give you an informed response. That being said, I got my most recent bag of DE from a garden shop. It doesn't say anything about being Pool Grade, nor does it say anything about being safe in the home. It does give instructions for "indoor use" which tells me it's safe, despite the fact that it says "ant killer" on the bag. But, if a company says you can use the DE INSIDE the home, then is PROBABLY safe. The safest thing you can do? Call the number on the bag to be 100% sure. :) I hope that helps. Good luck.

    • profile image

      cherubmom5 4 years ago

      Thank you for responding. I did call the manufacturer which is SAFER product. She said it is all organic but they cannot put "Food Grade" because of all the testing with FDA they would have to go through but it is perfectly safe to get on our skin, etc. She said she would not recommend me putting it on my dog as it does have a little something added to attract the bugs to it. And even though it wouldn't harm any pets skin she would be concerned with them licking it over and over again. The woman recommended me calling my vet if I wanted to do that. That makes sense to me. I never thought about the licking the fir part. I will keep using it on my carpet and other places in my house. And my dog I will just have to keep sudsing her up in the bathtub every few days and using the comb to take the dead fleas off until a month goes by and I can reaply some kind of spot treatment. Fleas in my house is ruining my social life, lol. Thanks for your help and all your information.

    • cclitgirl profile image
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      Cynthia Calhoun 4 years ago from Western NC

      Cherubmom - I'm really glad you called them. Now, you can be 100% sure of the use of this particular DE. It makes sense why they can't put the "food grade" on there. Your vet may have recommendations where you can get food grade DE inexpensively. In addition, I often get mine at the health foods store in the pet section. Good luck with those fleas. I personally use DE most of the time, but in the height of summer, I don't think ANY product is 100% effective all the time, so I'll supplement with a bath or two. My dog doesn't like it, but he sure smells nice for two days. LOL.

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      staylor20 4 years ago

      Does DE also work on mange? I think my little cat has mange and need to know if this works on that.

    • cclitgirl profile image
      Author

      Cynthia Calhoun 4 years ago from Western NC

      Staylor - my best advice would be to see a vet. Sometimes what appears to be mange can actually be something else. Not only that, if you're dealing with open wounds, you'll want to get those taken care of immediately, and then with the advice of your vet, try home treatments. Sorry I couldn't be more helpful, but with acute conditions, it's a good idea to rule out other problems that may need other types of treatment, too. Good luck.

    • mariacolomy profile image

      Maria Colomy 4 years ago from Nashville, TN

      Love DE - great write up!

    • cclitgirl profile image
      Author

      Cynthia Calhoun 4 years ago from Western NC

      Mariacolomy - thank you. I love it, too. :)

    • profile image

      staylor20 4 years ago

      Hi cclitgirl, I took her to the vets and it actually was an allergic reaction to flea's. He gave her a shot and she is looking and acting much better.

      Thanks for the information you give to people about DE. It really does help.

    • cclitgirl profile image
      Author

      Cynthia Calhoun 4 years ago from Western NC

      Staylor20 - I'm so glad you were able to take your doggie to the vet. My dog also gets allergic reactions to fleas - they really drive him crazy. The DE and the occasional bath really help him. Thank you for coming by again. :) Cheers!

    • profile image

      Rod 4 years ago

      Thanks so much for this info. I've been looking for gentle, chemical free (if possible) to get rid of relentless ticks and parasite that certainly acquired a taste for my dog's blood. Hopefully I can find this on my area.

    • profile image

      Jennifer 4 years ago

      Ok. ..I purchased some diatomaceous earth from my holistic natural pet store and it says on it for fleas and ticks on it (belly rub). The ingredients say just diatomaceous earth. So that information can it be ingested? I got a puppy from a breeder 8weeks old shes been diagnosed with walking dandruff. Wow...that stuff is horrible, now I and my fiancé both have bites all over us. I am getting the worst of it. :( I'm using the diatomaceous earth because im at my wits end. I only pray that it takes care of the issue. I'll keep you posted! !!

    • cclitgirl profile image
      Author

      Cynthia Calhoun 4 years ago from Western NC

      Jennifer - DO keep me posted, but um, ingesting a pet-variety might be a little suspect, but you can call the company and find out if, indeed it is JUST diatomaceous earth. You can also click some of the informational links in the hub to help locate pure DE.

      As for putting it on the skin: it will dry it out on you. It will most likely kill whatever it is on the puppy, but I would research "walking dandruff" to see what sorts of treatments (including home remedies) are available. Beyond that, it's always a good idea to contact a medical professional (vet) in such cases - I definitely don't want to give out bad advice, especially since I'm not a doc. :) I just know that for fleas and ticks, this stuff works great with my dog.

      I am so sorry you're getting all those bites. :\

    • profile image

      Jennifer 4 years ago

      Ok ty for your response. I haven't yet taken it orally. But I have dusted my furniture with it and when you sit on it we look like we're apart of the peanuts gang lol. So there for I'm sure were getting some. I've dusted the puppy and she's still scratching so today is the fourth day we've appliedttwice now

    • cclitgirl profile image
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      Cynthia Calhoun 4 years ago from Western NC

      Jennifer - good luck. I hope it goes well. There's a site called Earth Clinic that might also be able to help. They have a pet section. :)

    • Que Scout profile image

      Stephen Hodgkinson 4 years ago from Sydney Australia

      Good hub cclitgirl

      I put this hub in the top 100 of all hubpages. You have effectively bowled on to three areas with success; The hub highlights a flee control product that works, is non-chemical, and environmentally safe, all in one solution. No hub does that !

      It is also said that DE works well on cockroaches. Sprinkle under the house or anywhere the roaches wonder. It cuts them up as they walk. eeuwwww.

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      Cynthia Calhoun 4 years ago from Western NC

      Que Scout - thank you very much for your feedback. Yeah, I really like this stuff. :) I have been using it for years with my pets and it works just as well as those nasty chemical drops - and like you said, it's not bad for the environment. :)

      I'm not surprised it works on cockroaches. Ewwww. LOL

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      Michelle Liew 4 years ago from Singapore

      Hi CC, was so busy yesterday that I forgot to say that DE is a good, natural alternative for those considering using it. Am sharing this around!

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      Cynthia Calhoun 4 years ago from Western NC

      Michelle - no worries! We're all so busy and half the time, I don't get around to MOST of the things I want to read: between HP and blogging and all the awesome stuff out there, I wish I could read 1000 pages a minute. Then maybe I could keep up. LOL

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      Susan Zutautas 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      I've never heard of DE before. I've always used brewers yeast for my dogs. A tablespoon of brewers yeast powder in their breakfast and it's always worked. If ever I need to switch I'll remember DE.

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      Cynthia Calhoun 4 years ago from Western NC

      Susan - cool! And I haven't heard of brewer's yeast, so I'll look into that, too. :) Thanks for that info. :D

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      Ciscokid2 4 years ago

      I have always used DE for treating fleas on my pets and done so cautiously, when there is no wind etc.

      But recently I began to wonder just how safe it is, as on the package it warns against breathing in the diatomaceous earth...

      So what happens when you apply it to your pet - as you cannot put a mask on them, or even when they clean themselves is there a chance that they could breathe it in?

      The reason I ask is that my cat had been diagnosed with lung cancer and I am wondering if in treating her with DE, it might have caused the cancer.

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      Cynthia Calhoun 4 years ago from Western NC

      Ciscokid - while I"m not a vet, the reason you don't want to breathe it in is because the DE is microscopic shards of glass: it irritates the lungs. I end up breathing it in half the time when I apply it to my animals, but if you read above, they like to lick themselves and it's ingestible. I end up coughing for about a half hour but it's not more terrible than that.

      The things that actually cause lung cancer are far and wide, but my animals are getting on in their years and I've never had any lung issues with them. And I would venture to guess that it's impossible to know just what caused that in your animal. I will say that ANYTHING and EVERYTHING we use has plusses and drawbacks. For me, the positives for using DE far outweigh the negatives.

      Of course, it's best to take these concerns to your vet.

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      Ciscokid2 4 years ago

      Thanks cclitgirl. I will be seeing my vet for my other pets and I just hate to use all the other dangerous toxic chemical alternatives.

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      Cynthia Calhoun 4 years ago from Western NC

      Ciscokid - no worries. Yeah, it's always best to ask your vet, preferably one who is into alternative and natural treatments. Some of them do get paid to promote the topical (chemical-heavy) flea products and personally, I will never use it again. Good luck in the future with your kitty who has cancer. Have a great day.

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      Diana 4 years ago

      I found some at Tractor Supply company. It was $13 for 20 pounds.

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      Cynthia Calhoun 4 years ago from Western NC

      Diana - just please make sure it's NOT pool grade but FOOD GRADE and you're good to go. :)

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      susansisk 3 years ago from Georgia, USA

      I am always trying to find natural flea remedies. I don't like all the chemicals either, plus, after using them several times, they quit working.

      Will have to look for some of this.

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      Cynthia Calhoun 3 years ago from Western NC

      Susan - awesome! It takes awhile for it to start working, remember. It's sort of a cumulative effect. Once you use it and reapply, then you'll really see the benefits. :)

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      Sammy 3 years ago

      YES! It's safe! I've been using Food Grade DE for a few years now. I first heard about it when looking for an organic and safe solution to nasty garden critters, but I now use it twice a year for flea and tick control in and around my home. I have 15 acres and an Aussie that roams it. There is NO way I can treat the whole area, so I treat the lawns around my home and then use it on the dog regularly. I also use it on his bedding in his crate and on his food to control internal parasites. I won't use anything else now. Here's where I first found it and if you scroll down there is a bunch of information about its uses: http://www.gardenharvestsupply.com/ProductCart/pc/...

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      Cynthia Calhoun 3 years ago from Western NC

      Sammy - that's great! I like the stuff, too. Thanks for the info.

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      Richy's mom 3 years ago

      Thanks a lot! Your report is so informative to apply for my little one who has been infected with fleas. I happened to know DE in google and I already ordered and have been waiting it delivered. But I do not know well how to use DE, especially to apply to a dog directly. With your productive explanations and experience, I think that my little one and I would be free from small devils! Thanks again :)

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      Cynthia Calhoun 3 years ago from Western NC

      Richy's mom - that's great! I hope it works well. :)

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      Jaye Denman 3 years ago from Deep South, USA

      I use the DE (from Natural Pet) on my dog's bedding (I don't have carpet) and use their natural flea preventive ointment (no chemicals) on her skin after bathing her. There is also a natural, non-chemical spray. I stopped using the chemical products after a vaccination compromised her immune system. They are just too dangerous. Why would I want to poison my dog? The safe natural products work well--haven't seen a flea, and she's not scratching--so I'll continue using them.

      Voted Up++

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      Cynthia Calhoun 3 years ago from Western NC

      Jaye - that's awesome! Thanks for sharing your experience with this. :)

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      Adrienne Janet Farricelli 3 years ago from USA

      I used food-grade DE for intestinal parasites for a foster dog but it didn't work. I waited and waited to see the dead worms in the stool but nothing. I had to purchase the regular dewormer, and right after, a poop full of dead worms showed up. I think it works better topically for fleas. It's my understanding that when wet, DE doesn't work well, so perhaps with the dog's digestive juices and all, this is why it didn't work.

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      Cynthia Calhoun 3 years ago from Western NC

      alexadry - you know, once in a while, DE just isn't quite as effective as other things. The cool thing is that you tried. In fact, with our new puppy, he ended up having a skin allergy to the DE - wouldn't stop scratching. So we had to try other remedies. Eh...you can't win them all, huh? :)

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      Adrienne Janet Farricelli 3 years ago from USA

      When I contacted the manufacturer he told me that I may have gotten a "bad batch" and he was supposed to ship me a different type that was supposed to be more effective. He never did, but I was curious to learn if there is really one that works well for intestinal parasites as I am not that eager to use chemicals. If so, that would be awesome!

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      Cynthia Calhoun 3 years ago from Western NC

      Alexadry - that sounds fishy. I personally would do one of two things: order food grade DE from a reputable manufacturer online or go to a health foods store and get the pet-specific stuff. Of course, if you think your doggie might have parasites, my best advice would be to see a vet first - one who is sympathetic to using natural products. I just say that because sometimes when you think it's one thing, it's another. I was treating my dog's ears for what I thought might have been fleas - I was treating him with DE - and when it didn't clear up after a little bit, I took him to the vet. Turns out he had swimmer's ear, which, incidentally, you treat with different remedies. :) good luck

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      Adrienne Janet Farricelli 3 years ago from USA

      Thanks, I have yet to find a vet suggesting natural products for worms:( I worked for a vet and knew she had roundworms because they look like strands of spaghetti, --I know, yuck! I wanted to try DE before going the classical dewormer route, which is what the vet prescribed in the first place after running a fecal test and turning positive.

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      Cynthia Calhoun 3 years ago from Western NC

      Alexadry - yeah, good to know. Yes, in this case, I'd follow the vet's advice and maybe use the DE to help prevent them in the future - but keep talking to the vet and let him/her know what you're doing. :) Good luck.

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      Lynda Sanders 2 years ago

      My sister called me the other day and told me she applied one of the flea products you can purchase from your Vet on her little Yorkie ,I won't say which one it was, because even though it seems to be the cause of the dogs death, we can't prove it. Anyway she applied the product and two days later her little Yorkie started having neurological problems and four days later had to be put down because he was suffering so much pain. I have a small 14 lb rat terrier. I applied this same product on him (before I knew what happened with my sisters dog of course) and he started acting strangely, have taken him to the Vet on several different occasions and he hasn't been able to correct his problem. It's been about a month since I applied the product and he is now improving, I will not use it on any of my dogs again . I am so happy to learn of this new natural flea preventive and I'm definitely going to try it. Thanks so much for all the info.

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      Cynthia Calhoun 2 years ago from Western NC

      Lynda - I hope the DE works and I'm sorry for your pet - it's maddening what chemicals we use in society, no?

      Also, make sure you get the food-grade kind. If in doubt, ask: the store will know and if they don't, then the manufacturer will. Farmers around the world treat their animals with this stuff. I will say it's not always 100% foolproof - a flea or two may get by until they're exposed enough times - but it sure beats the alternative. :)

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      anonymous123 2 years ago

      Thank you! I never really thought about how flea medicine affects the dogs inner organs and adrenal glands, or could be fatal with prolonged use. I feel guilty using it on my dogs... I stopped already because it gave both of my dogs horrible rashes all down their backs where it had been applied, and one of them licked some of the spots bloody. It looked like they had been attacked. Now they have fleas which are making the spots worse. I just ordered some diatomaceous earth from this holistic retailer my friend likes online, it should be here anytime, and I'm looking forward to giving it a try. My dogs are so sensitive to anything, and the flea medicines never worked 100 percent anyway. I ordered a ton, because I'm really desperate to get this under control. I love my dogs and these fleas are making them miserable and I hate feeling like getting their skin healthy is out of my hands. I'm going to try all of your instructions and get some beneficial nematodes for the yard.. I was wondering though, do you know anything about prevention? I just worry about things like Lyme disease, and wanted to know if treating the dogs will help them ward off disease carrying insects if I want to take them hiking or whatever. Now I'm going to make sure that my heartworm meds are safe! Haha. Thanks for sharing, I'm really excited to give this stuff a shot!

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      Cynthia Calhoun 2 years ago from Western NC

      Hey, anonymous. Thank you so much for your comment. As far as Lyme disease - you know, here's my recommendation: I would ask around for vets that are also advocates from diatomaceous earth. If they know and like DE, then they're going to know great remedies for Lyme disease prevention. I say that because even with DE, sometimes a flea or a tick does get through it (though I'd say they're not going to be able to be healthy for very long). The awesome thing about DE is it makes for an inhospitable environment for creepy crawlies. Generally, they don't survive. However, they are constantly developing things that are natural to help ward off various things like Lyme.

      All in all, I hope you have a great experience with this. Just be patient - it works, but you do have to keep at it and diligent about applying. The neat thing is that you can put it on the carpets and it doesn't hurt anything. Of course, just don't breathe it until it settles. :) Those little glassy particles will make you cough - not so good. :P

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      eters 2 years ago

      Would it be safe to put DE in my puppies ears. She keeps digging at them and shaking her head. The vet said he didn't see.any mites but she could have a a few but their not seen. He said if she does they will get more.numerous and then show up later. In the mean time my puppy is whinning and shaking her head. Can anyone help me out. Can i mix it with water and when the water dries the DE will kill the mites. She's so tiny. Only weights 2 pounds

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      Cynthia Calhoun 2 years ago from Western NC

      eters - my best advice is to read the label and/or follow the instructions for DE. Because I'm not a vet, I'm hesitant to tell you exactly what to do, so my second best advice is to consult a vet who is knowledgeable about DE. :) Good luck with your puppy. It's no fun when they're not feeling 100%.

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      eters 2 years ago

      Thanks for the help. Took her again after 3 weeks and the vet said she did have mites. The other problem i have is my two schnauzer have worms. Tapeworms I believe. Have been feeding them DE for over 3 months but they still have them. They only weigh 13 pounds and I give them 2 teaspoons a day. Why isn't the DE killing them. It works for fleas but not worms.

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      Cynthia Calhoun 2 years ago from Western NC

      eters - thanks for stopping by. Well, this is one question where I would also talk to the vet. DE certainly has many uses and combating parasites is one of them. However, there are so many factors involved: weight of the animal, diet, repeated exposure to tapeworms (sometimes your yard can have them or if they eat the excrement of other animals, etc, etc.) - so many things.

      And, you want to be sure that is what they have. Only a vet can diagnose that. DE is also only so strong: they may need stronger stuff to help them get rid of parasites and then you can follow the directions on a food-grade DE package to help keep it at bay.

      Good luck!

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      Peggie 2 years ago

      I have DE. I also have several animals. Is it possible to just add the DE to their water fountains, that way they will all get it internally?

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      Cynthia Calhoun 2 years ago from Western NC

      Peggie - hmm, well, I guess it would depend on how big the fountains/bowls are from which they drink. Then, you could just extrapolate the instructions found on food-grade DE. So, if you have a quart, you could adjust the amount of DE you put in. That question is a really good question for the manufacturer - they could probably give you direct proportions to use based on the size of bowls or fountains you have. :)

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      Jessica 18 months ago

      I've been using this brand of DE, too. I started to worry about the safety of DE when my cat died of lung cancer. Silica is also in clumping kitty litters, which have been linked to lung cancer. I don't care if the vet or the label says it's safe, I am no longer going to use DE around my animals. It's not worth it.

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      Chris 8 months ago

      This exemely fine dust is DANGEROUS if not used properly. The dangers are infact not highlighted sufficiently. Your animal is BREATHING this in.....so HOW do you KNOW how much to administer.......despite ambiguos instruction. Amounts of use WILL vary from person to person My cat had to be put down after severe breathing difficulties following the use of Diatom Flea powder. SEE A VET before use......& no......I am not a vet looking for trade.

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      Victoria 8 months ago

      Do not waste your money. I followed instructions to a "T" and Zero results. Beware of people that try to hype products. Sincerely.

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      Cynthia Calhoun 8 months ago from Western NC

      Chris - yes - always check with your vet if you have any doubts.

      Victoria - I'm sorry it didn't work for you. As with any product, always check with your vet and also with any product - it's kind of like with people: sometimes you find things work really, really well and sometimes...well, they just don't. I do hope you find something that suits you well, though. I know for me, I used this with my vet's blessing and it worked for me. Thank you for your feedback.

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      Gretchen 8 months ago

      I am using DE to treat my dog due to tapeworms. Is it still effective if you put it in water and pour it on his food? I am concerned with him inhaling it if I just sprinkle it on his food. Thank you for your time.

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      Cynthia Calhoun 8 months ago from Western NC

      Gretchen - well, I've not watered it down when I've treated my dog but it'll get watered down when they eat it with food...I'd follow the directions on the label and call the manufacturer to see if it would be as effective. When I've had questions with DE, I've called the manufacturer (and added those tips when I've learned them here).

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      Jilspan 8 months ago

      I buy a 4# canister of it at Tractor Supply for $7.50.

      Can't beat the price!! Most "Flea Powders" are 6-8 Oz For $15-ish, and not safe to use frequently

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      Tinkerbell 7 months ago

      Loved the article.

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      Ellen F 5 months ago

      Hi, great article. I have a 9 year old cat that always had a itchy spot, which seems like a hot spot all his life on a between his shoulder bladed on & off. Since last year it's gotten bigger and it's become a major discomfort for him and I. Getting a cortizone and antibiotic shots lasts only 3 weeks. I've ruled out food and grain allergies. There are no fleas in the home or on my cat, he's an indoor cat. Though it is possible that I could have dust mites. I've tried everything. Posted on my Facebook page regarding his hotspot and a friend if mine said DE got rid of hot spots on her very furry bunny (my cat is also a long hair). She gave me 2 jar fulls. I cleaned the area and dusted him last night around 5 and he didn't break it open again until 9 this morning. I went and reapplied. Have you heard of DE helping hotspots?

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      Kate 5 weeks ago

      Thanks for a great article on de. I've used it for a while now on our carpets to get rid of fleas and their eggs and it does a great job but it plays havoc on a vacuum cleaner!!!lol. Food grade is a must!

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      Jaye Denman 4 weeks ago from Deep South, USA

      I keep DE on hand all the time and never use any chemical for my fur-girl except the necessary one-ingredient Heartworm pill, Interceptor. I only do that because we live in a hot, humid climate where mosquitoes are rampant all but a few months of the year. DE is wonderful and, yes, it works! Thanks for this article. More pet parents should know about it.

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