Diatomaceous earth for dogs is a fine, powdery substance made from the ground, fosilized remains of diatoms. Diatoms are tiny aquatic organisms whose skeletons are made of silica, a natural substance that is very common in nature.
When ground, diatomaceous earth kills insects by absorbing the oils and fats from the insect’s exoskeleton, drying it out. The sharp edges of the ground fossil help speed this process up, which is why diatomaceous earth is often used as a pesticide, treating pests from poultry mites to grain weevils.
Diatomaceous earth for dogs is used to treat fleas and worms, but it’s not as safe or effective as we might hope.
- Safety considerations in dogs.
- Dog fleas and diatomaceous earth.
- Can it cure a roundworm or tapeworm infestation?
- Effectiveness in scientific studies.
Dealing with canine parasites is frustrating. Pesticides can be harmful to animals and humans, and some owners worry about growing parasite resistance to conventional preventatives. As a result, many owners are turning to alternatives to try and treat their dogs more ‘naturally.’ But the results are not always as effective as we might wish.
The most common use of diatomaceous earth for dogs is the treatment of fleas and ticks. Some people also believe that diatomaceous earth can also be used to treat internal parasites.
Is Diatomaceous earth safe for dogs?
Diatomaceous earth is used in non-pesticide products, including toothpastes, skin care, foods, medicines, water filters, beverages, rubbers, and paints.
Diatomaceous earth is appealing because its non-toxic. However, even non-toxic substances can be harmful if used inappropriately. Most veterinarians approve the use of diatomaceous earth for dogs, as long as owners follow the product guidelines. Diatomaceous earth is most effective when dry. It is also dusty and easily airborne.
Heavy use has been thought to potentially cause lung damage. Owners of dogs with preexisting respiratory disease look for alternative products. Diatomaceous earth can also cause irritation to human lungs, and can be dangerous for people with asthma.
When applying diatomaceous earth around your home or yard, take precautions like wearing a face mask and glasses to protect your airways and eyes from irritation. Eyes and airways are not the only organs at risk. Diatomaceous earth dries out insects. It can also dry out your dog’s skin. Excessive use of diatomaceous earth could lead to dry, itchy skin. Make sure you research the product and talk to your veterinarian about how often to apply it to prevent your dog’s skin from drying out.
One manufacturer of diatomaceous earth recommends giving dogs a bath and thorough shampooing after a few days to reduce this risk. Your best resource for safety information regarding diatomaceous earth is your veterinarian.
Is Diatomaceous earth for fleas on dogs effective?
There is very little conclusive scientific evidence backing up claims that diatomaceous earth can absorb toxins, cleanse colons or cure disease. However, diatomaceous earth does appear to be somewhat effective at killing insects. Although further scientific research is still needed to confirm its effectiveness in dogs. This means that without a definitive answer, diatomaceous earth remains a possible treatment for fleas. But is not necessarily a replacement for traditional flea and tick preventatives.
Why It Might Not Be The Best Option?
There are a few reasons for this. Diatomaceous earth works to kill insects over time. This can pose some problems for dogs and their owners, especially if a dog suffers from flea allergy dermatitis. If this is the case, you may need a faster acting product to keep your dog comfortable.
Using diatomaceous earth as your only tick preventative also carries risks. Ticks are vectors for several harmful diseases, including Lyme disease and Ehrlichiosis. Ticks typically need to remain attached for over 24 hours to transmit these diseases. But slower working pesticides like diatomaceous earth could allow them to infect your dog. When used with flea preventatives, however, diatomaceous earth could be an effective treatment for reducing infestation levels around the home and yard.
Is Diatomaceous earth for worms in dogs effective?
Diatomaceous earth shows some promise for treating external parasites, but what about internal parasites like roundworms and tapeworms? One of the advantages of diatomaceous earth is that parasites cannot develop resistance to it, thanks to its mode of action. Of course, this is only important if the treatment works.
The internet is full of claims about how diatomaceous earth can cheaply and effectively kill parasites. The evidence, however, does not back this up.
The Importance Of Scientific Research
For starters, there are very few studies that examine the effectiveness of diatomaceous earth on canine internal parasites. To find answers, I had to look for studies in other species.
Studies in equine medicine about the effects of diatomaceous earth on internal parasites have so far been inconclusive. And equine veterinarians do not generally recommend diatomaceous earth as an effective treatment. Horses and dogs share a few common parasite families. They are often given different dosages of the same dewormers, like ivermectin. If diatomaceous earth has so far provided mixed results in horses, using diatomaceous earth for tapeworms in dogs is not advisable.
There has also been a study on cattle which showed no difference between the control group and the group given Diatomaceous Earth. Parasites like tapeworms can lead to serious health problems and even death, especially in young, senior, or immunocompromised dogs. Instead of using diatomaceous earth for deworming dogs, play it safe and stick with a dewormer recommended by your veterinarian.
How to use diatomaceous earth?
Diatomaceous earth is available over the counter, and can be found in a variety of stores. Including pharmacies, farm and garden centers, and hardware stores. To give your dog a diatomaceous earth dust bath sprinkle it lightly over them. Using your fingertips rub the earth into your dog’s coat. Focus on areas like the neck and upper legs where fleas love to gather!
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