Happy Saturday! I hope everyone is having an amazing weekend!
Today I want to talk a little bit about Diatomaceous Earth. I guess we'll just start at the beginning - What is Diatomaceous Earth? Diatomaceous Earth, or just DE for short, is usually sold as a white powder, and is made up of the fossilized remains of diatoms, a type of algae. DE is usually between 80% to 90% silica. It is commonly used in a wide range of products, everything from pool cleaners to toothpaste.
You're probably wondering why I'm writing about DE on a pet blog. Food grade DE is an excellent, non-toxic, way to control parasites. It is also sometimes used as a digestive aid.
Before I get too far into the uses of DE, it's very important that you take note to only use food grade DE on your pets (or yourself)! Like I mentioned above, DE can be purchased to clean pools. However, the DE sold as a pool cleaner has added chemicals and is toxic. This is the DE I got the last time that I purchased it. You don't have to get that exact one, just make sure the one you get says 'food grade'. In my experience, a 10 lb bag will last a very long time, and luckily it's not expensive.
If you looked at DE under a microscope, it would look almost like tiny pieces of glass. When the powder comes into contact with pests such as fleas, bed bugs, ants, etc, it cuts into their exoskeletons and absorbs their body fluids, killing them. But don't worry, food grade DE is nontoxic and safe for larger organisms, like humans and dogs, to touch. Some pet owners dust DE onto their pet's fur to kill fleas. It can also be given internally to help control parasites such as roundworms, whipworms, pinworms, and hookworms. When giving DE internally I recommend mixing it with some tasty wet food. DE is a pretty fine powder and can become air-born easily, avoid inhaling it and be careful not to get it in your pet's eyes.
I give my 20 lb dog, Kitsune, a teaspoon a day of DE when I'm using it as a wormer. I don't personally use it topically to treat fleas. Partly because we've never really had any major issues with fleas, and partly because DE can be very drying. The few times when we had to deal with minor flea issues, I used DE to treat our rugs but just used a flea comb to remove the fleas from my dog. I've also used it successfully to eliminate ants from our apartment. If anyone gardens, DE can also be used to eliminate garden pests. Luckily we haven't had to deal with too many pest problems here, but if we did DE would be my first line of defense. I feel much more comfortable using something nontoxic than spraying chemicals that aren't healthy for me or my pets.
**Remember that I am not a veterinarian, and information provided here should not take the place of regular vet care. I always recommend doing your own research/speaking with your pet's vet before starting any new treatment.**
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