If you’re tired of spending big bucks to control fleas, there’s a dirt cheap way to do that. Many of Earth Clinic’s posters depend on food grade diatomaceous earth (DE) to control fleas on their dogs, cats and other pets. In addition to killing fleas, diatomaceous earth is effective against parasites within the bodies of both humans and animals.
Only use food grade diatomaceous earth, at least 90% pure and as close to 100% pure as possible. Food grade diatomaceous earth is non-toxic and safe for humans and animal when used as directed.
The pool or industrial grade of DE is contaminated with toxic ingredients. By the same token, check the label if considering diatomaceous earth sold as a flea killer. It is probably mixed with strong insecticides. While it might kill the fleas a little faster, the whole point of using diatomaceous earth is to avoid using dangerous chemicals.
What is Diatomaceous Earth?
Diatomaceous earth is composed of the fossilized, silica shells of microscopic algae. It is a fine powder. When applying it, try to avoid doing so where wind or fans will blow it around as it is always a bad idea to inhale any kind of powder into the lungs. Also, if DE is blown around the house onto furniture, etc., the cleanup will make you wish that you had turned off the fans first.
How Does Diatomaceous Earth Kill Fleas, Worms and Other Pests
Diatomaceous earth kills fleas, ants, parasites and other pests by cutting the bodies of the pests and larvae with the microscopically sharp edges of the fossilized diatoms. Pests are unable to develop a resistance to DE because it kills mechanically by dehydrating the fleas. It has been reported that fleas die in about 4 hours. The diatomaceous earth particles are safe to use because they are too small to cut a person or animal.
How to Use Food Grade Diatomaceous Earth
Food grade diatomaceous earth can be taken internally or applied externally to pets, carpets, bedding, etc. Diatomaceous earth absorbs moisture, so it is reportedly less effective in humid climates. If sprinkled outside, it will need to be reapplied after rain.
Use no more than one tablespoon per day for dogs over 55 lbs. Small dogs can be given up to one teaspoon per day. Some people use DE only occasionally, perhaps once a month, as part of a flea prevention program. Consult with a holistic vet for dosage recommendations if using for parasite removal or for use on puppies or kittens.
If the powder is put into a plastic bottle (such as the red or yellow ketchup or mustard bottles sold in dollar stores) it can be applied fairly easily. Run a line of the powder down the dogs back and rub in. Use once a week when fleas are active or once a month as a preventative. Using more often will dry out the skin.
Bedding, Sleeping Areas, Around Doorways or Outside
Spread some on, let it sit for a while and then vacuum. When sprinkling on carpets to get rid of fleas, it’s necessary to do this once a week for about 4 weeks in order to kill newly hatched fleas after the adults are gone.
Continue reading below for interesting feedback from our readers who have used DE for years on their dogs and cats. If you have been using diatomaceous earth, please let us know your experiences and recommendations.