Diatomaceous What?

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Diatomaceous Earth: Why this organic substance is one of my favorites in my holistic tool kit!

Diatomaceous Earth for dogs is a powder made from the remains of fossilized organisms known as diatoms. Diatoms are a type of algae found in both saltwater and freshwater. The skeleton of diatoms contains a substance known as silica. When the diatoms die and become fossilized, they form a flour-like powder that we use for natural pesticide, natural parasitic and one of my favorite natural remedies in my holistic toolkit.

The use of diatomaceous earth, or DE,  dates all the way back to the ancient Greeks. Ancient Greeks used diatomaceous earth to make building materials. The Europeans then realized the potential of DE and began implementing it for nearly everything within their civilizations.

Diatomaceous Earth for Pest Control

The use of DE for pest control is a fairly common practice. It is used in various industries for pest control and can also be used to kill fleas, ticks, lice, and mites on your pets. It’s important to note the diatomaceous earth used for gardens is different than the type used for our animals. DE used for fleas and ticks, or internal use for our pets, must be food-grade. 

How can DE be safe for our dogs and us, but not safe for insects? Through a microscope, pieces of DE somewhat resemble broken glass. It doesn’t poison insects similar to dangerous glyphosate- containing pesticides. Instead, the razor sharp particles pierce the insect’s exoskeleton and cause dehydration. DE dries insects from the outside in. 

angie using diatomaceous earth
Angela Ardolino using Diatomaceous Earth


Diatomaceous Earth for Parasites

Holistic practitioners often turn to diatomaceous earth to control parasites including whipworms, roundworms, pinworms, and hookworms. It’s important to make sure it’s food-grade; the other types that are found in gardens are not designed to be ingested. 

To be fully effective, DE should be provided to your pet for at least 30 days. This will ensure not only the adult parasites are killed, but the eggs are killed as well. It’s important to note here though, unfortunately, DE will not kill heartworms. A tablespoon  can be added to their food, water or mixed with water and syringed into their mouth.  The taste is very mild and many pets don’t even notice it. 

External parasites, like fleas, can also be controlled by dusting your pet’s fur with diatomaceous earth. In order to effectively remove fleas, you must not only dust your dog but also the bedding, furniture, and carpet. It’s important to kill all of the fleas within the home and on your dog. Even just a few being left behind can result in a re-infestation. Completing this process once per month by brushing it into your dog’s coat and cleaning your home will provide the greatest benefit. 

When treating your carpet and furniture, wait at least 24 hours prior to vacuuming. You’ll want to make sure all of the fleas have dehydrated and can no longer interfere with your dog’s health. 

Diatomaceous Earth for Improving Health 

Diatomaceous earth is rich in calcium, magnesium, silica, gallium, and other trace elements that can offer a variety of benefits to your dog. Recent studies show silica in the powder can be absorbed directly into the bloodstream. In humans, DE has been found to lower blood cholesterol, remove heavy metals from the blood, and improve blood pressure. 

The elements and minerals found in diatomaceous earth are beneficial to the endocrine, metabolic, and nervous systems. When your dog consumes DE, benefits include improved skin and coat, electrolyte balance, stronger joints and bones, and improved skin and coat health. 

DE can also be used as a detox. According to research, silica works similar to antioxidants. Even in liquid form, it is known to fight free radicals. It’s broken down to act as a detoxifier for the blood due to its electrical charge. The electrical charge connects to free radicals and other harmful substances within the body resulting in neutralization (balance). The now neutralized free radicals can then be removed from the body via excretion (urine/feces). 

Diatomaceous Earth for Livestock

DE is not only beneficial for us and our dogs, but it’s also been found to improve the health of livestock. In a 2011 research study, when hens were fed a diet supplemented with 2% DE, they showed a significant increase in the size of their yolks, an increase in overall egg size, and a decrease in internal parasites. Hens who were fed DE were also heavier in weight than those in the control group. Not only did research find there were fewer internal parasites, but also fewer external parasites in hens given DE dust baths. 

According to the study, the results “indicate the DE has the potential to be an effective treatment to help control parasites and improve production of organically raised, free-range layer hens.”

When feeding hens DE, mix 1 cup of DE into approximately 70 pounds of food. You can also add 2 tablespoons of DE per 3.5 gallons of water in the early spring and fall for internal parasite detox. 

The Bottom Line

Diatomaceous earth has a wide range of benefits. Due to its consistency and containing calcium, it’s important that you nor your dog inhale the DE. Aside from dangers of inhalation, diatomaceous earth is non-toxic and completely natural when purchased from a high-quality source. Don’t forget to make sure you purchase food-grade diatomaceous earth for your pets and/or livestock. 

Related: My Essential Holistic Toolkit for Pets


About Angela Ardolino:

Angela Ardolino Author Photo with Odie the SchnauzerAngela Ardolino is a holistic pet expert who has been caring for animals for over 20 years. She operates a rescue farm, Fire Flake Farm, in Florida. In addition, she owns Beautify the Beast,  a natural pet salon and shop. Moreover, Angela got her certificate in Medical Cannabis Biology and Therapeutic use from the University of Vermont School of Medicine. Next, she founded CBD Dog Health to provide high quality, all-natural medical cannabis products designed specifically for pets. 

Accordingly, she uses Full Spectrum Hemp Extract on all her pets at her rescue farm every day since 2016. Angela has five dogs. Odie a 15-year-old mini-schnauzer, Nina an 9-year-old Doberman. Jolene a9-year-old mutt, Maza a 9-year-old mutt, and Rhemi an 9-year-old poodle. In addition, she has 4-10 more any time she is fostering or boarding. She is a member of the Society of Cannabis Clinicians and the Veterinary Cannabis Association. In fact, Angela has educated hundreds of medical doctors and veterinarians on the therapeutic uses of medical cannabis on animals.