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Diatomaceous Earth for Fleas and Ticks

Full tick being held in tweezers with a dog's snout in the background

I will use insecticides if I need to, and will sometimes use a commercial flea and tick collar on my dogs, but I prefer to use as few insecticides as possible and try as much as possible to use natural solutions.

That’s why I personally use diatomaceous earth (DE) for flea and tick control on pets – it is 100% natural and uses no chemicals at all. This article will show you how to use it, whether it’s safe for dogs and what it’s good for.

Can you use Diatomaceous Earth for Ticks on Dogs? Click here to learn more.

What is Diatomaceous Earth?

Many people take food grade diatomaceous earth as a supplement and it is also commonly used as a way to kill bugs, because it pierces their exoskeletons and causes them to dehydrate. It’s safe for humans and pets.

Diatomaceous earth is a type of powder made from the sediment of fossilized algae found in bodies of water. Because the cells of these algae were high in a compound called silica, the dried sediment produced from these fossils are also very high in silica. These deposits are found all over the world. The ancient Greeks used diatomaceous earth to make building materials, like bricks and blocks. Later on it became popular in Europe for various industrial uses.

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Is Diatomaceous Earth Safe for Dogs?

Diatomaceous Earth powder in a wooden spoon spilling over onto a blue background

The short answer is YES!

It is 100% safe for both humans and animals like dogs and cats.

On the microscopic level, diatomaceous earth resembles bits of broken glass. Though food-grade DE is harmless to humans and animals, those itty-bitty glass-like fragments kill insects like fleas, ticks, lice and mites (and their larvae) by piercing their protective structures, which causes them to dehydrate and die.

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How Often Should I Apply Diatomaceous Earth To My Dog? Click here to find out.

Is Diatomaceous Earth Safe For Pets To Breathe?

 Diatomaceous Earth powder in a pile on a wooden surface

You don’t want to breathe it in intentionally or have your pets breathe it in intentionally.

It’s never a good idea to breathe in particulates of any type.

An easy way to prevent your pet from breathing in diatomaceous earth is to cover their snout with a poofy sock during application.

Effectiveness Of Diatomaceous Earth For Fleas and Ticks

Pile of full ticks and one unfed tick isolated on a white background

One of the best things about DE is that it’s effective on most small bugs that you don’t want roaming around your pets and house. You can use it in a variety of ways – including creating safe natural flea treatments for dogs.

And because it’s works at a physical level, bugs don’t develop resistance like they can to chemicals. This is a great benefit during flea and tick season.

The skeletal organisms that make up diatomaceous earth have sharp edges that pierce insects and other small pests just enough to cause dehydration and kill them. However, these sharp particles are too microscopic to have the same effect on animals and humans. According to the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension website, dry DE works best — a liquid or wettable formulation may not get you the best flea treatment results. Stored DE will never lose its effectiveness as long as you keep it dry. Pests won’t build up a resistance to diatomaceous earth like they do to some chemical treatments.

Diatomaceous earth does take about 3 days to kill fleas, so if you are looking for an all natural method I recommend starting with something that kills fleas instantly like Natural Care Flea and Tick Spray and then using DE as a follow up method.

Is Diatomaceous Earth Safe for Dogs? Click here to learn more.

How to Use Diatomaceous Earth for Fleas on Dogs?

I like video demos for this kind of thing, so here is a video that shows you exactly what to do.

The basics are you protect your breathing, shake it on and rub it in. That’s it.

How Often Should I Apply Diatomaceous Earth To My Dog ?

There are two different schedules for applying DE to dogs – the first is if you have a flea or tick infestation. The second is for prevention.

For a flea infestation:

Apply every 3 to 4 days and wash in between with a good shampoo like this DIY flea shampoo (all natural). The flea shampoo will kill the fleas on contact and then the diatomaceous earth will kill any fleas that emerge from eggs after the fact.

For flea prevention:

Use DE every 7 to 10 days (don’t forget the sock method outlined above) to kill fleas as they emerge and to prevent infestations.

Is Diatomaceous Earth Safe for Dogs? Click here to learn more.

The Bottom Line on Diatomaceous Earth For Flea And Tick Control On Pets

Open jar of Diatomaceous Earth with wooden spoon

DE is an effective and natural way to control fleas and ticks on pets. Use breathing protection when applying (a fuzzy sock works great for dogs) and always use food grade diatomaceous earth.

There are no chemicals in DE and it’s easy to use. I 100% recommend it if you are looking for safe and natural flea treatments for your dog.

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