While this post is about the benefits of food-grade Diatomaceous Earth (DE) specifically for dogs (& humans), I need to share the story of how I learned about DE in the first place – which was only indirectly linked to dogs.
When I came back from my road trip to TN in late July, an ant trail welcomed me back home as soon as I opened the pantry door.
They must have been attracted by a cookie crumb that had fallen on the bottom of the pantry, because there really wasn’t a whole lot of food left in it to begin with.
Either way, I felt the very strong urge to get rid of them as soon as possible because I have a special love-hate relationship with those little suckers, especially their biting fire-ant brethren. Ugh.
My first plan of attack was to clean up the trail by spraying the ants with my vinegar spray bottle. That worked like a charm indeed and killed every last one of those ants on the trail.
Side note: It’s the same vinegar spray bottle I carry on me when walking dogs. I mentioned it in 3 Tips For A Safe Encounter With Loose Dogs.
However! More ants came crawling out from underneath the baseboards in the pantry, sending me into a repetitive spraying/cleaning frenzy. I knew I needed a long-term natural insecticide because I neither wanted Missy nor myself to be harmed by toxic chemicals, but doubted that the local grocery store had anything of that sort.
30 mins later I knew they definitely didn’t when I returned home with toxic ant bait.
I was ok with setting up the short-term bait solution along the baseboards inside of the pantry since Missy wouldn’t be able to stick her curious nose in there, at least until I came up with a natural solution.
By the way, this is how the bait works: The ants crawl inside and grab the bait, then take it back into their nest(s) where they share it with their fellow ant buddies & queen, resulting in multiple ant deaths.
Now the ant bait worked great – I watched the ants walk into the bait and by the end of the day, I didn’t see any more ants. It was then that I started researching natural alternatives to my ant problem. I found several products on Google, but one that kept coming back up was food-grade Diatomaceous Earth.
What exactly IS Food-Grade Diatomaceous Earth?
Food-Grade Diatomaceous Earth are the fossilized remains of diatoms (diatoms are single-celled algae that have transparent cell walls made of silica; they are found anywhere there is water such as in oceans, lakes, & rivers).
It is an odorless, very fine white/off-white powder that consists of 85% amorphous silica (naturally occurring trace mineral) and a number of other trace minerals such as calcium, magnesium, titanium dioxide, gallium, and sodium. Whenever I look at it I’m reminded of the powdery-sugar like beaches on the West Coast of Florida. #ThatsJustMe
Benefits of Food-Grade Diatomaceous Earth
Food-grade Diatomaceous Earth is a natural cleanser & detoxifier for both dogs and humans because of its abrasive capabilities. They are what causes pests to die (the abrasive diatoms create holes in the insects’ exoskeleton which cause them to loose their body fluids and eventually die) and which clean our dog’s AND our human internal systems.
Natural Insecticide (Keeps pests such as fleas and ants out)
Boosts Liver Function
Whole Body Cleanser (gently flushes digestive tract & absorbs harmful toxins in the blood)
Cleaner Looking Skin & Coat (Dogs)/Healthier Hair (Humans)
Natural Dewormer (Gets rid of Roundworms, Whipworms, Pinworms, & Hookworms)
Supports Healthy Bones & Protects Joints
I Use Food-Grade Diatomaceous Earth …
…Around The House
I started dusting the patio threshold with the DE as a preventative measure to keep pests out. I look at it as the equivalent of a “Keep Out” sign in ant/flea/whatever crawly language.
I’ve also lined the kitchen baseboards with it for the same preventative reasoning.
…In Missy’s Raw Dog Food
I just recently started adding a teaspoon of the food-grade DE to Missy’s dinners (more on how much to feed below). It’s perfect to mix in with her raw food and she doesn’t mind it one bit.
I am all for implementing preventative health measures such as this detox/potential parasitic cleanse and like that it will help keep her healthy from the inside out.
…In MY Smoothies
After reading about all of its health benefits I just had to start using it myself as well. I began adding 1/2 teaspoon to my banana smoothies.
Only Feed Food-Grade DE (NOT the pool-grade kind)
Food-Grade means it’s fit for human & pet consumption.
It is really important to feed FOOD-GRADE Diatomaceous Earth only, and under no circumstances the industrial pool/fish tank-grade DE that is used for filtering purposes.
The latter has been chemically treated, is not biodegradable and very harmful when ingested. It consists of crystalline silica (unlike the amorphous silica in food-grade DE), which is classified as a lung carcinogen!
Don’t Inhale Food-Grade Diatomaceous Earth
Inhaled DE can irritate the lungs, so when filling a glass jar for Missy’s & my personal usage, I scooped it out using a spoon rather than transferring it from the bag into the jar via means of pouring. I suppose another way to avoid breathing it in would be to wear a face mask.
How Much Food-Grade Diatomaceous Earth To Feed Your Dog
Diatomaceous.org recommends the following daily feeding guidelines:
1/2 teaspoon for small dogs and puppies (once they’re on solid food)
1 teaspoon for dogs weighing under 50 lbs
1 tablespoon for dogs weighing over 50 lbs
How Much Food-Grade Diatomaceous Earth To Feed Yourself
The bag I bought didn’t come with instructions on how to use it, so I did my own research on the web. I kept reading to start with 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of food-grade DE and to work your way up to 1 tablespoon per day.
Where I Bought the Food-Grade Diatomaceous Earth
I’m an Amazon kinda gal, so I found a 5 lb food-grade bag of Freshwater Diatomaceous Earth (sourced in the USA) available via Amazon Prime and had it delivered two days later, for the price of $13.99. #LoveAmazonPrime
Final Thoughts on Food-Grade Diatomaceous Earth
Food-Grade Diatomaceous Earth fits right in with our mission of creating a healthier environment for both dogs & humans here at K9sOverCoffee by choosing natural alternatives over chemical based skincare & pest prevention products (in addition to feeding a minimally processed fresh food diet).
It has a plethora of benefits ranging from preventing pests to detoxifying and cleansing the body. Enthusiastically recommended!
P.S. I found out about a very informative article on the different uses and risks of DE for us humans on peststrategies com. Check it out by clicking the link below:
Leave your comments or questions below in the comment section!