Friday, 9 April 2021

Diatomaceous Earth, Not a Safe Supplement for Dogs and Cats

Diatomacious earth is not a safe supplement for dogs and cats

★ 2 min read

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). 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.

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

How Does DE work to Kill Parasites?
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.

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.

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.

DE and Mineral Displacement
Diatomaceous earth is 80% to 90% silica. Ingesting too much silica can result in displacement of essential minerals. 
If your animal's diet contains nutrient blocking ingredients (ie. grains, rice, peanut butter or starchy root vegetables) the risk of nutrient deficiency escalates.
A diet lacking in bioavailable minerals can will contribute to further nutrient deficiency.

DE and Your Dog and Cat's Heavy Metal Toxic Load
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: Acidification of the body
Poor immune system function
Inflammatory disease including cancer

Also keep in mind that an acidic body and poor immune system make the body vulnerable to parasites.
Don't Use DE, Use Safe Alternatives

There are many natural safe alternatives you can use instead of diatomaceous earth.

To help remedy infestations and help keep your dog and cat parasite-free:
Ingested Natural Parasite Prevention Aids
- Supplemental Foods to help prevent and treat flea infestations here.
- Herbal Wormers and Worming Aids to treat and prevent intestinal parasites here.

Topical Natural Parasite Prevention Aids
- Rosemary Flea Spray Recipe here.
- Natural, Herbal Recipes for Flea Dips, Sprays, Rubs and Rinses here

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Article and graphics by Karen Rosenfeld 


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Important Note

1.0 Use of Foods, Herbs, Alternative Medicines:

Safe use of items and protocols in the article above, is your sole responsibility.

Foods, herbs and alternative medicines have health issue, condition and conventional drug interactions. Safe use of all substances and protocol are your responsibility.

Before you use any substance or protocol do your research. Check for cautions, contradictions, interactions and side effects. Do not use substances or protocols not suitable to your animal's individual circumstances.

If your animal has an underlying condition substances and protocols may conflict.

2.0 Definition of Holistic…

Food, herbs, alternative medicines are NOT ‘holistic’ they are a substance and MAY, or may NOT be ‘NATURAL’.

If you use a ‘natural’ substance (ie. an herb) you are using a natural substance, not a holistic substance.

Holistic is not defined by use of one or several substances. Holistic is an approach.

Definition of “holistic” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press


"relating to the whole of something or to the total system instead of just to its parts"

"Holistic medicine attempts to treat the whole person, including mind and body, not just the injury or disease."

Holistic is a way of approaching life, and within that health, and well-being.

3.0 Expectation a natural substance remedies a health or behavioral situation.

A natural substance used to treat symptoms. But, if factors causing the underlying issue remain you do not have a remedy.

Remedy requires a comprehensive approach. It is necessary to identify root cause. Remove items that trigger, cause or otherwise contribute to issues. Holistic approach includes design, implementation to treat, remedy and maintain long-term health.

4.0 Leave a Comment

I review all comments and publish those deemed appropriate for this site.

I answer questions deemed appropriate when I have time to do so.

Wishing your dog and cat the best of health!

Karen Rosenfeld
Ottawa Valley Dog Whisperer
Holistic Behaviorist - Dogs
Holistic Diet Nutrition Wellness Adviser – Dogs and Cats