Diatomaceous Earth is Not a Safe Supplement or Topical Treatment for Dogs and Cats

Diatomacious earth is not a safe supplement for dogs and cats

★ 2 min read

In this article: 

1. What is Diatomaceous Earth 
2. Why Diatomaceous Earth is Harmful to your Dog and Cat 
  1. DE and your animal's gut
  2. DE and your animal's lungs
  3. Mineral loss and deficiency 
  4. Heavy metal contamination
  5. Topical use of DE can cause harm
3. Safe Natural Alternatives to Diatomaceous Earth
  1. Supplements and supplemental foods
  2. Herbal wormers and worming support aids
  3. Natural flea, mosquito and tick - dips, sprays, rubs and rinse recipes
  4. Natural alternative for treating household surfaces (carpet, hard floors, etc.)

Food grade diatomaceous earth (DE) is not a safe supplement for dogs and cats. Some dog and cat owners use DE as an anti-parasitic ingested treatment (worming aid), and use DE as a topically applied flea deterrent. But DE is not a safe choice. The good news is that there are many natural foods, herbs and nutraceuticals that are safe to use.

1. What is Diatomaceous Earth?

Diatomaceous earth is the fossilized skeletons of tiny aquatic organisms called diatoms (plankton). DE powder is ground fossilized diatom skeletons.

DE is a desiccant. It kills parasites by removing moisture from the parasites body. The microscopic particles of DE are very **SHARP**. 
These sharp edges are abrasive, and cut into the parasites exoskeleton and body. The damage from the cuts results in more moisture loss which speeds the drying out process.

2. Why Diatomaceous Earth is Harmful to Your Dog and Cat

2.1 Diatomaceous Earth and Your Animal's Gut
Parasites cause inflammation of your dog and cat's stomach. So does DE. When your dog or cat ingests DE the sharp abrasive powder cuts and dries out the parasite's body. DE powder also causes dehydration and inflammation of your animal's gut.
2.2 Diatomaceous Earth and Your Animal's Lungs
If your dog or cat inhales DE powder while consuming her food:
- The sharp particles can cause irritation and inflammation of the lungs.
- Permanent damage of the lungs can occur.
- For animals with underlying respiratory issues the risk is even greater.

The adverse effects of DE on the respiratory system is well documented. Repeated inhalation of silica  (*silica is the primary component of DE) can accumulate in the tissue of the respiratory system: bronchi, lungs, lymph nodes and pulmonary alveoli. Long-term exposure has been linked to lung cancer, non-malignant respiratory issues and disease, and silicosis. This is well documented in humans. Consider that cats and most dogs are significantly smaller than an adult human.

2.3 Mineral Loss and Mineral Deficiency
Diatomaceous earth is 80% to 90% silica. Ingesting too much silica can result in displacement (loss and deficiency) of essential minerals. 
If your dog and cat's diet contains nutrient blocking dietary components such as grains, rice, beans, peanut butter or starchy root vegetables, their risk of mineral deficiency is increased further.
A diet lacking in bioavailable minerals contributes to and causes short and long-term health issues and conditions.

2.4 Heavy Metal Contamination
DE is composed of:
  • 80% to 90% *silica
  • 2% to 4% alumina
  • 0.5% to 2% iron oxide
  • And a lesser amount of heavy metals, arsenic, cadmium and lead.
Arsenic, cadmium and lead are known to cause and contribute to: 
  1. Acidification of the body
  2. Poor immune system function
  3. Parasitic infestations
  4. Inflammatory disease including cancer
2.5 Topical Use of Diatomaceous Earth Can Harm Your Dog and Cat
DE kills by intensely dehydrating (desiccation) and cutting the body of insects and parasites. The desiccating action of DE can damage your dog and cat's fur and skin resulting in, for example:
  1. Minor to major skin rash.
  2. Dry, fragile skin.
  3. Dry brittle fur.
When applying the DE to your dog or cat's fur and skin, to carpets, furniture etc., DE particles can become airborne. The particles can end-up in your animal's eyes, or respiratory tract resulting in temporary or long-term harm.

3. Safe Natural Alternatives to Diatomaceous Earth

There are many natural, safe alternatives (ingested and topically applied), that replace the need to use diatomaceous earth. Examples are provided in the article links just below.
Supplements and Supplemental Foods 
Herbal Wormers and Worming Support Aids
Natural Flea, Mosquito and Tick Dips, Sprays, Rubs and Rinses
  • Rosemary Flea Spray Recipe go here.
  • Natural, Herbal Recipes for Flea Dips, Sprays, Rubs and Rinses, go here

Natural Alternative for Treating Household Surfaces
Salt, such as fine ground Himalayan Pink Salt can be generously sprinkled on household surfaces to assist in the eradication of fleas. Once sprinkled on the require surfaces, leave the salt in place for 24 hours, then vacuum-up the salt.
Salt acts as a desiccant, as it draws moisture from the body (of fleas and other insects) resulting in dehydration and death. 

Full spectrum salt is non-toxic to dogs and cats when ingested in small amounts, however it should not be ingested in large amounts. 
Learn more about choosing salt in this article, what to avoid and what to choose:

Holistic Diet, Nutrition, Wellness Services Tailored to Your Individual Dog and Cat

For information about my holistic diet, nutrition and wellness services, visit my holistic wellness services page.

Maintain good health | Address acute and chronic health issues | Pre and post surgery support and recovery

My holistic wellness services are available worldwide via video consultation.

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To set-up your holistic wellness consultation get in-touch via email, go to my contact me page.
Holistic Behavioral Services for Your Dog

For information about my holistic behavioral services, visit my holistic behavioral services page.

For dogs of all ages, sizes and breeds.

My behavioral services are available worldwide via video consultation.

🌎 USA | Canada | UK | Europe | Australia | New Zealand | Asia | South and Central America | Africa | UAE

πŸ“±FaceTime | Facebook | Skype | WhatsApp

To set-up your holistic behavioral session get in-touch via email, go to my contact me page.
Affiliations to Companies  
✓ None. 
✓ I don't sell food, supplements, or other products.
I'm not aligned with any companies. 
Article and graphics by Karen Rosenfeld.

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