Where can I buy food grade diatomaceous earth in store?


Where Can I Buy Food Grade Diatomaceous Earth?

Archive: Where Can I Buy Food Grade Diatomaceous Earth?

February 21, 2011

Where can I buy food grade diamotaceous earth?

By Brittney from San Diego, CA


You should be able to purchase at any large hardware store. I purchased a 3lb. bag at Lowe’s for just under $10 with tax. It has lasted for a very long time! I have also seen it available at smaller hardware stores and online. Lawn and garden stores also carry it. It is fairly inexpensive and yet so useful for many things. Please be cautious when purchasing that you don’t pay more than necessary. Since bed bugs have become such an issue many companies are selling the DE powder in special packaging advertising for the use of killing bed bugs and charging 3 to 4 times more. Also, be cautious not to get pool grade. The 2 are often sold at the same store on the same shelf. Good luck to you! (10/24/2010)


By Toni

I would order it online:



By Robyn Fed

By slayergrrl

Earthworkshealth.com. 1 800 228 5836. It comes with directions, uses, etc. The price is reasonable and they have fast shipping. They are a concerned for health company. My gallon jug, I think was $9. I had enough to share. I took it myself and found I had worms. There were no symptoms, but I had found that about 75% of our population has worms. Kids can’t go through school without pinworms. The eggs are on the doorknobs. What a blessing huh? (10/27/2010)


By vicki hood

Animal feed stores carry it along with pet stores that sell higher quality food. I have used it on my dogs and cats for fleas and though messy, it eradicates fleas. (10/27/2010)

By Lisa

Check eBay if you cannot find locally. This is where I buy my supply. (10/28/2010)

By cybergrannie

Comment Was this helpful?

Diatomaceous Earth Pure Food Grade

Quite simply Diatomaceous Earth is the fossilized remains of ancient algal shells called Diatoms or Phytoplankton. Diatoms are the grass of the waterways of the planet. Much in the same way grass is the staple food of land based herbivores. Diatoms (algae) are the foundation basis of all aquatic life and form the most plentiful group of individual species known to man. There are more types of Diatoms in the world than all land plants combined.
The Diatoms living in the waterways absorb minerals and elements from water enabling them to ‘build‘ their tiny shells. Consequentially, the fossilized remains have captured and contain the some 15 trace minerals used to form the shell. As they die the microscopic diatoms drop to the bottom of the waterways and form deposits of essentially marine sediment.
These sedimentary deposits are later mined, milled, dried and bagged creating Diatomaceous Earth or more commonly known as DE. DE is widely used internationally for a host of industrial, agricultural and horticultural applications.
Just like all animal and plant groups there are many different species of Diatoms – potentially some 25,000 types world-wide. Some Diatoms are salt water based, others are fresh water based.
Salt water based DE is generally used for industry as a filtration aid, paint and chemical additives. This salt water form of DE is known to be harmful to humans and animals and should only be used for their intended industries.
Fresh-water DE is considered to be ‘Food Grade’ and has been shown to have a myriad of uses. For a number of decades fresh-water or food grade DE has demonstrated to have excellent health benefits for mammals and plants when used correctly.
Some of these areas include …

  • In the Garden
  • In the Home
  • For Pets
  • On the Farm
  • Horticultural Applications
  • Stock Feed Supplement
  • Grain Storage protector
  • Anti-caking agent
  • Commercial Insecticide

Consumption by mammals Of many hundreds or possibly thousands of deposits of DE internationally and only a very small percentage of them are actually fresh-water based and consequentially can be rated as ‘Food Grade.
The Diatomaceous Earth sold on this site is imported from Perma-Guard in the United States and is considered to be one of the finest and purest in the world. Perma-guard are the world leaders in DE being the longest and largest Diatomaceous Earth supplier internationally.
Perma-guard has a history in DE usage, testing and applications spanning over 4 decades with a client base across North America and now exports to 18 countries. Perma-guard brands its DE under their unique, registered trademark – Fossil Shell Flour.
Don’t settle for anything less than Perma-guard Fossil Shell Flour for your home, your family, pets, farm or horticultural uses. Fossil Shell Flour is the purest, most refined food grade DE available in the world that we know of. Perma-guard have achieved OMRI (Organic Materials Review Institute) status for Fossil Shell Flour – certified Organic in the United States. BioGro Organic status in New Zealand has just been approved as an animal feed supplement and soil conditioner.

How Diatomaceous Earth Works

Diatomaceous Earth from Perma-guard or Fossil Shell Flour are the fossilised remains of one-celled plants (phytoplankton) called diatoms that are mined in Nevada from the South Western region of the USA.
Examined under a microscope and magnified 7000x these tiny diatoms appear as spiny honeycombs or tiny cheese-grater like cylinders. These microscopic cylinders are extremely hard and sharp. On the hardness scale, diamonds are 9, DE is 7, insect exo-skeletons are typically rated a 3.
The upside of which is when insects (ants, fleas, flies, cock-roaches to name but a few) come into contact with DE it ultimately kills them. The tiny particles of the sharp and hard DE stick to the insect, abrasively rub through and serrate their epi-cuticle and joints, absorb their bodily fluids and they die of dehydration. This process is purely mechanical not chemical. As such there is no build up or chemical residue, the insect cannot build up immunity or become tolerant to it. There is no plant or livestock with-holding period for human consumption.
DE is a desiccant. It absorbs moisture – some six times its own weight.
DE is death to bugs – every-time! However, the insect must come into contact with DE in order for it to work. As a result Fossil Shell Flour is used extensively overseas in domestic and commercial applications as a natural insecticide with OMRI organic registration.
Despite Fossil Shell Flour having a debilitating and eventual fatal effect on bugs and insects it does not harm its warm blooded host and has no negative impact on mammals.
Perma-guard’s Diatomaceous Earth deposit is 89 – 95 percent amorphous silica. As well as being very high in silica percentage and also contains 15 essential trace minerals including phosphorous, selenium, calcium, sodium, potassium, magnesium, copper, zinc and iron.
In 1939, the Nobel Prize winner for chemistry, Professor Adolf Butenandt, proved that life cannot exist without Silica.
In the 2003 book “Water & Salt” Dr. Barbara Hendel stated: “Silica is the most important trace mineral for human health!”
Silica is the most plentiful element on earth, following oxygen; but there are very few foods that contain an adequate amount to supply the quantity your body needs. Silica is crucial to bones, tendons, skin, cartilage and blood vessels. Silica is even located in the blood itself and important organs such as the liver, heart, and lungs.
DE may be added to pet food to improve its texture and palatability to dogs, cats and pet birds.
As well as the trace minerals, Fossil Shell Flour particles are negatively charged which is somewhat un-common in the elemental world. Heavy metals, bacteria and viruses, pesticides and drug residues, E-Coli are typically positively charged. As the tiny particles of DE sweep through the digestive tract they attract or draw in the positively charged nasties, capture them within their framework and consequentially pass them out as waste.
Regular consumption of DE can therefore potentially have a de-toxifying effect on some users.
Regular consumers of Diatomaceous Earth report a range of potential improvements in the areas of nails/hoofs, coat/hair, skin, general immunity, arthritis, colitis, cholesterol levels, blood pressure, weight loss, improved sleep, increased energy, general well-being and health.
Fossil Shell Flour has achieved OMRI registered, organic registration in the US. Additionally, the United States FDA and the New Zealand Food Safety Authority (NZFSA) have assessed Fossil Shell Flour with GRAS status ‘Generally regarded as safe’. NZ BioGro Organic registration has recently been approved as a livestock feed supplement and soil conditioner.


Diatomaceous Earth is a naturally occurring fresh water sediment, (also known as DE, Diatomite, or Kieselgur) composed of microscopic remains (shells) of prehistoric diatoms; the most common form of phytoplankton. It has a soft and smooth texture when crushed and ground to a very fine and off-white powder. Some industrial grades can be harmful to people and pets for handling and consumption, that’s why we offer only the highest quality Food Grade Diatomaceous Earth.

Your Safety and Satisfaction is our priority…

All our Diatomaceous Earth is the Safe Food Grade that is a powerful health alternative for people. Our DE is purchased through a regulated supply chain as advised by Health Canada. Out of the options we have sourced, the DE we are providing to Canadians, coast to coast, is the safest quality available in North America. Food Grade Diatomaceous Earth is gaining a lot of popularity in the last 5 years based on testimonial sharing of our customers, one to another, so much so that even naturopaths and other health practitioners are adding our Food Grade DE to their products, offering their customers this new and innovative alternative to improve their health and well-being. We advise caution if you are purchasing your DE from suppliers or stores that are not official suppliers, or working in alignment with Health Canada’s regulated suppliers. There is a lot of Diatomaceous Earth out there, but not all of it is safe, especially for people. For more details, please see our page DE for People. We guarantee our products safety, your satisfaction is our top priority.

Another exciting use of our product is for your Pets! Food Grade DE is typically best for mammalian pets (Cats, Dogs, Rabbits, Hamsters, and other mammals), and has also some benefits for birds and reptiles as well. Our Food Grade Diatomaceous Earth is safe to use around your pet and also adding to their diet for even more benefits. Commonly DE is added to a pets diet in an amount not to exceed 2% of the total diet. Because our product is a natural form of amorphous silica, it helps to add strength to clays and nails, and brings about a positive stimulation to the digestive tract, as well as reducing, preventing, and even eliminating parasites that could be living inside your pets digestive system for a very long time. There are many more benefits for pets than we can list here in a shorty summary, for more details and information, please see our page DE for Pets, or simply click the image to the right…

And still another use for our Diatomaceous Earth is for the Home and Garden. Food Grade Diatomaceous Earth has a unique porous and hexagonal structure which enables it to be highly absorptive, able to absorb four times (x4) its dry weight in water. What this means is that the many outdoor and home uses of Food Grade Diatomaceous Earth is due to its remarkable ability to absorb and nearly dry-out anything. Along with this powerful drying and absorbing quality, is the added safety of our DE being unaltered and 100% Natural. To be more specific, we have not added any chemicals and keep our product completely pure of any other agents, and neither has our product been altered by heat or pressure treatments which can change the silica from amorphous (natural rock form) to a crystalline form (glass). The crystalline form can be very dangerous when exposed to people or pets, or around your food (like in the garden). Please be very cautious in regards to where you source your Diatomaceous Earth, because not all kinds are suitable for the home and garden, some forms may be poisonous. We can guarantee that our product is 100% Safe and Non-Toxic, for all applications and natural uses. More info? See Home & Garden.

Garden Safe Brand Multi-Purpose 24-fl oz Garden Insect Killer

The experts behind Garden Safe brand know home gardening is as much about how you grow as what you grow. Since 2002, Garden Safe brand has delivered garden products including natural-based and botanically derived formulas to growers who prefer to control plant pests and diseases without traditional chemicals. Organic gardeners trust our solutions to keep garden pest control simple – and let nature do the rest. Let goodness grow. Garden Safe Brand Multi-Purpose Garden Insect Killer contains botanical insecticides for a ready-to-use pest control solution that protects your whole garden. Use it on roses, vegetables, houseplants, ornamentals, trees, shrubs and flowers to kill listed insects on contact. Use it right up to the day of harvest. Garden Safe Brand Multi-Purpose Garden Insect Killer can be used both indoors and outdoors and in home greenhouses throughout the growing season. This formula kills aphids, tomato hornworms, green fruitworms and other listed insects. Hold the sprayer 18 to 24 inches away from the foliage being treated. To apply, direct the spray so that upper and lower leaf surfaces are thoroughly covered. Repeat treatment weekly or as needed to control insects (up to 10 times per season).

Garden Grade Vs. Food Grade Diatomaceous Earth: What Is Garden Safe Diatomaceous Earth

While one type of diatomaceous earth is toxic to humans and animals, there is another type that is relatively safe to use. The type you should purchase depends on the intended use. Find out about the advantages and disadvantages of garden grade vs. food grade diatomaceous earth in this article.

Types of Diatomaceous Earth

The two types of diatomaceous earth include food grade and garden grade, also called pool grade. Food grade is the only type that is safe to eat, and you have probably eaten small quantities of diatomaceous earth without realizing it. That’s because it is mixed in with stored grain to prevent the grain from becoming infested with mealworms and other insects.

Some people use food grade diatomaceous earth as a natural remedy for a variety of human and pet ailments. It isn’t recommended these days because we have better, safer ways of dealing with health problems. It is also a pretty good flea killer, but remember that dogs and cats groom themselves by licking their fur, so you’ll want to use food grade rather than garden safe diatomaceous earth for any purpose that causes it to come in contact with your pet.

Another difference between food grade diatomaceous earth and regular garden grade is that the garden grade may have insecticides and other chemicals mixed in. It’s best to reserve garden or pool grade for outdoor use. In fact, many experts feel that garden grade should only be used for pool filtration and industrial applications.

When using any grade of diatomaceous earth, take care not to inhale the dust. When the diatoms are ground in the manufacturing process, the dust that results is nearly pure silica. Inhaling the product can damage the lungs and irritate the eyes and skin. It’s best to wear a mask and gloves to prevent injury.

One of the benefits of food grade diatomaceous earth is that it doesn’t contain insecticides. Even so, it does a good job of getting rid of insects indoors and out. Use it to safely and effectively repel and kill silverfish, crickets, fleas, bedbugs, garden snails and cockroaches.


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Generally, the foremost thing that comes to mind in regards to substances that are used to destroy insects and harmful organisms is pesticides. Pesticides are well known and widely used amongst gardeners and landscapers. What many might not necessarily know is the varying types of pesticides that are available.

In this article, we will discuss Diatomaceous Earth, which is a type of pesticide that can be used. Our main objective is to provide you with an in-depth understanding of what it is, the different types of Diatomaceous Earth, the advantages and disadvantages of using it, and how to use it on your garden. Let’s begin with the most important question; what exactly is Diatomaceous Earth?

What is Diatomaceous Earth and How is it Made?

An impure Diatomite rock

Also referred to as D.E., Diatomite, or Kieselgur/Kieselguhr, Diatomaceous Earth is a soft, siliceous sedimentary rock that can be crumbled easily into a fine white or cream powder. It derives from the remnants of very small, aquatic organisms that are referred to as diatoms. The skeletons of diatoms are made up of a natural substance known as silica. Silicon, which is an element of silica, usually combines with water and oxygen. The end result of this combination is silicon dioxide.

Diatomaceous Earth is comprised of a particle size that ranges from less than 3 µm to more than 1mm. You will find that most are between 10 to 200 µm. A large amount Diatomaceous Earth is comprised of amorphous silicon dioxide and the first pesticide products that consisted of this silicon dioxide were registered in 1960 in order to exterminate termites and insects. (National Pesticide Information Center)

What are the Types of Diatomaceous Earth?

Each particular type of Diatomaceous Earth is treated differently, and this is what sets them apart from each other. The three main types are pool grade, food grade, and feed grade.

Pool Grade DE

Pool grade Diatomaceous Earth is treated with especially high heat. This type of treatment is known as the process of calcination. Because the heating process alters the Diatomaceous Earth significantly, it is not effective for use in the home, yard, or garden. Pool grade Diatomaceous Earth is primarily used to filter impurities, particularly in water.

Food Grade DE

Unlike pool grade DE, food grade Diatomaceous Earth is not calcined. Instead, food grade DE products are primarily composed of amorphous silica, and they must pass specific testing before they can be labeled as food grade. Overall, food grade Diatomaceous Earth is considered the best grade to utilize because it is multipurpose and can be used in the home, yard, and garden. Farmers usually apply food grade Diatomaceous Earth in large quantities onto their crops and grains in order to eradicate the insects that attempt to feast on the grain. Home gardeners also use DE to get rid of pests like spider mites, and fungus gnats with great results.

Although it is not approved by the Federal Drug Administration, also known as the FDA, food grade DE is still deemed to be safe for human consumption on a fairly regular basis. It consists of many benefits, including weight loss promoter, bone strengthener, and skin health improver. It is commonly referred to as the “Bug killer that you can eat”, but it is important to keep in mind that DE that is labeled for pest control is not safe for human consumption.

Food grade Diatomaceous Earth is also safe for pets and livestock to consume for its natural de-worming abilities. Adding to that, it can be applied on house pets in order to protect them from parasites, such as ticks and fleas. It can even be used as a carpet deodorizer.

Feed Grade DE

This particular grade is no longer commonly used because a majority of consumers now utilize food grade Diatomaceous Earth on their animals, but it was once the “go to” grade for animal use.

What are the Pros and Cons of Using Diatomaceous Earth?


Diatomaceous Earth is natural and non-toxic, thus making it ideal for gardeners and landscapers who would much rather utilize something gentle and organic as opposed to harsh chemicals.


Diatomaceous Earth can be considered impractical since it is dependent upon continual dry conditions in order to achieve successful results. Note that it can be effective on larvae that are infesting outdoor animal housing areas and bedding. Ultimately, if you do decide to use Diatomaceous Earth in your yard despite the lack of dry weather, you will more than likely need to re-apply it after rainfall, since rain can wash it into the soil.

Using Diatomaceous Earth in The Garden

There are several ways to use Diatomaceous Earth, and these are all dependent upon what and where you will use it. Here is how we recommend that you utilize it in your yard or garden.

Step 1: For starters, you will want to locate the area/s in your yard where the infestation is most apparent. This is usually the root of the issue since the influx of pests very rarely encompasses the entire yard. Additionally, pests normally flock together and dwell in one region.
With that said, only the vicinities that consist of a high concentration of pests should be your prime focus in regards to the application of the Diatomaceous Earth. One easy way to find the infested areas of the yard rather quickly is to put on white, knee-high socks and then stand in one area for a few moments.
If that specific area is infested with fleas, they will bind onto the socks quickly. The sections of your yard that are exposed to a lot of direct sunlight and/or heavy foot traffic most often do not become infested by the influx of pests. Instead, it is areas that pets rest in and/or frequently occupy that are more likely to be the source of an infestation.

Step 2: Once you have identified the infested areas, you can prepare to apply the Diatomaceous Earth.
Be mindful that it is best to wait for a consecutive period of dry weather before you commence the application process since Diatomaceous Earth is most effective in dry states.

Diatomaceous Earth can be applied by throwing handfuls of the powder over the infested area/s and then letting it naturally float down and coat the entire section.

It can also be applied with any type of dust spreader. These are usually available at garden centers.

You have the option of mixing the powder with water and spraying it on the infested areas of the yard, but this method will only produce successful results if the weather will be sufficiently dry for at least one week so that the Diatomaceous Earth can return to its dry powder form and begin attacking the pests.

Things to Keep in Mind

It is important to know that any dust/powder substance can be hazardous if it is inhaled in large quantities; therefore Diatomaceous Earth is no exception to this rule. The sharp edges of the dust have the ability to aggravate the soft tissues of the throat and lungs. For this reason, we highly recommend that you make use of safety goggles as well as masks that have the ability to filter dust.

It is also important to understand that because Diatomaceous Earth is not a harsh chemical, it is not a fast-acting solution for pest eradication. Do not fret if you do not see results immediately since it can take several days before you begin to see the difference in your yard and/or garden.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does it take Diatomaceous Earth to kill insects?

It can take anywhere between 7 and 17 days for it to kill bugs, but it is effective, and the end results are long-lasting.

What types of insects does Diatomaceous Earth kill?

It has the ability and power to kill all bugs, but it is primarily known to be most effective in eradicating pests, such as ants, bed bugs, and fleas.

Is it ok to combine Diatomaceous Earth with water?

Yes, that is fine. You can mix a quarter cup of Diatomaceous Earth with a gallon of water and then apply it to your lawn and/or the shrubbery that consists of pests.

What is the best way to apply Diatomaceous Earth by spraying it?

There may be more than one way, but we recommend that you mix approximately 1-4 tablespoons of Diatomaceous Earth each gallon of water and then spray it onto the shrubbery, lawn, and anywhere else on the grass area that the pests inhabit. Just be mindful that the “Wet Spray Method” is only effective after the liquid dries.

Our Concluding Thoughts

We have discussed Diatomaceous Earth in great detail in order to provide an in-depth understanding of this particular pesticide.

Now that you know exactly what it is, the varying types, how to use it in your garden, and the advantages and disadvantages of utilizing it, you have the ability to make an informed decision on whether or not Diatomaceous Earth is the optimal pesticide for your garden. We would like to hear from you so let us know what you think of this article and feel free to share it with others if you liked it and found it useful.

Kristin Hitchcock finds out why you might choose diatomaceous earth for cats, and whether it works.

Oh no – your cat has been diagnosed with worms. Or maybe you’ve noticed a flea or two on your feline friend.

Perhaps their litter tray smells worse than usual and you’re feeling guilty about how much clay-based cat litter you’re using to keep on top of it.

No need to panic!

There might be a natural solution to your cat’s new-found issue – diatomaceous earth.

Though it might sound like something out of a science fiction movie, diatomaceous earth has actually been used for centuries to control fleas and combat parasites in a number of species, from cats to humans!

In fact, diatomaceous earth has even caught on among veterinarians, and some are beginning to recommend it to their patients.

However, what exactly IS diatomaceous earth? What does it do? And is it a solution for your cat’s worm and fleas?

What is Diatomaceous Earth for Cats?

Simply put, diatomaceous earth is the fossilized remains of extremely tiny, aquatic organisms called diatoms.

Over time, these organism accumulate in the dirt of rivers, streams, lakes, and oceans.

And these tiny creatures’ skeletons are made out of silica.

Silica is actually extremely common. In fact, it has been theorized that silica makes up about 26% of the earth’s crust.

Their fossils, however, become a specific kind of silica compound, called silicon dioxide.

Silicon dixoide is created when silica reacts with oxygen and water.

Which is exactly what happens when these organisms die underwater and decay over a long period of time.

The resulting diatomaceous earth is rich in silicon dioxide, and it can be mined from beneath lakes, and places water used to be, like some deserts.

Diatomaceous Earth Uses for Cats

Now that we know what diatomaceous earth is, let’s explore some of the proposed uses.

The most common use of diatomaceous earth for cats is to combat fleas.

Fleas, after all, are an extremely common problem in cats.

Many pet owners are tempted to flee(!) from harsh chemicals and chose something a little more “natural” to combat this problem.

Diatomaceous earth for cats has also been advertised to combat internal parasites, such as tapeworms.

This use is not as common as the previous one. However, it is common enough that is deserves a look.

What Else?

Lastly, diatomaceous earth has also been proposed as an all-natural cat litter.

Many cat owners are opting to switch to this seemingly better alternative over the more traditional, clay cat litter.

But how effective really is diatomaceous earth for these problems?

Can diatomaceous earth really be used to control fleas, treat internal parasites, and as an alternative to cat litter?

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Let’s look at each in turn to find out.

Diatomaceous Earth for Fleas on Cats

Diatomaceous earth has been used for a while as a pesticide, and has actually been shown to be pretty good at preventing and disrupting insect infestations.

It’s effective against insects because, when finely ground, it can pierce a number of insect’s exoskeletons and dehydrate them from the outside in.

One study in particular explored the effectiveness on diatomaceous earth on beetles.

It found that, while diatomaceous earth wasn’t entirely effective against killing older insects, it did cause a substantial drop in the population of various insects.

Another study found that the specific species of the bug, dose rate, and temperature all played a major role in how well diatomaceous earth worked.

However, in nearly every case, it did prove to be decently effective.

Diatomaceous Earth and Cats

But what does all this mean for our felines?

Well, diatomaceous earth works through a mechanical, rather than chemical function.

Because of this, your pet’s liver does not have to work to process it and is does not enter your pet’s blood system.

Due to this fact, it is generally safe.

Furthermore, it is also effective against many types of bugs, including fleas, and might therefore be considered an effective treatment and prevention measure.

How to Apply Diatomaceous Earth to Cats

When using diatomaceous earth for fleas on cats, it is important to make sure that it is food grade, not pool or industrial grade.

This is because it is not completely uncommon for your pet to ingest whatever you put on their fur.

You should also avoid the eyes when rubbing diatomaceous earth onto your pet’s skin. It is an abrasive after all.

Make sure that the product comes into contact with your pet’s skin. You don’t just want it sitting around in the fur, but directly in the area that the fleas will be feeding.

Usually, weekly application is plenty to prevent fleas.

Using Diatomaceous Earth To Tackle a Flea Infestation

However, if you’re trying to get rid of a present flea infestation, you might want to re-apply daily until you notice improvement and then move out to weekly for prevention.

Remember, you should always consult with your vet before starting any new treatment on your pet, including something as simple as treating for fleas.

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Some pets have preexisting conditions that might make this treatment unsuitable.

Your vet will tell you for sure and might instruct you on a more specific application regimen.

Diatomaceous Earth for Cats Worms

Worms are actually extremely common in cats.

On top of this, testing for worms is often difficult and ineffective, which can make treatment even more unsure and complex.

However, it has been found that many internal parasites perish when exposed to diatomaceous earth.

This is due to the same properties that cause diatomaceous earth for cats to be effective against worms.

Diatomaceous earth is abrasive, and can therefore cut and injure small insects.

Its high silica content also dehydrates organisms when they are engulfed in it.

Still, in order for an internal parasite to come into contact with diatomaceous earth you cat would, simply put, have to eat it.

Is Diatomaceous Earth Safe For Cats To Eat?

This is complicated in itself (my cat won’t even eat cat treats half the time), but also comes with its own set of risks.

Diatomaceous is an abrasive after all, and can cause damage to your pet’s digestive tract.

It also has the potential to cause dehydration not just for your cat’s worms, but your cat as well.

On top of this, we simply do not have very much information involving the safety of diatomaceous earth for cats.

There have been no studies done on its effectiveness or safety as a treatment for internal parasites.

For this reason, it is extremely important to only use this under a vet’s supervision.

You should never to treat your pet without vet consultation.

Many symptoms, after all, can point towards a number of different diseases and treatment plans are often specialized for the specific cat.

Diatomaceous Earth Cat Litter

Diatomaceous earth has been used as a component in cat litter for a very long time.

Now, however, more and more cat litter brands are developing litter that contains more diatomaceous earth than in the past.

This is because diatomaceous earth is both extremely absorbent, like most silica, and more environmentally friendly than clay-based litters.

Most sewer systems can handle diatomaceous earth being flushed down the toilet, while clay tends to be a different story.

(But read more about the wisdom of flushing kitty litters here).

Diatomaceous earth also smells better (at least, in my opinion) and can be far less dusty than traditional cat litter.

Is Diatomaceous Earth Safe for Cats?

Short answer: we don’t know.

There has simply not been enough studies done regarding diatomaceous earth treatments in cats for us to say whether it is truly safe or not.

Many experts agree that diatomaceous earth is okay for external use in cats, such as a flea treatment or cat litter.

This is because it does not actually come into contact with a cat’s organs and does not have to be filtered out by a cat’s liver.

However, internal use is a different story.

We do not know exactly how diatomaceous earth reacts with a cat’s internal system.

Use internally is not complete unadvised, but it does need to be done only under the careful eye of a vet.

Diatomaceous earth is growing more and more common among veterinarians and pet owners alike.

While it has already been proven as a great pesticide, there have simply not been enough studies done on its use in cats to make a firm conclusion about its safety.

More research is needed before anyone can really say how safe it is, especially when used internally.

Do You Use Diatomaceous Earth For Your Cat?

How has it worked for you? Let us know in the comment section below!

References and Further Reading

Butch, T. R. “Diatomaceous Earth: General Fact Sheet.” National Pesticide Information Center. 2013.

Mewis, I. “Action of amorphous diatomaceous earth against different stages of the stored product pests Tribolium confusum, Tenebrio molitor, Sitophilus granarius and Plodia interpunctella.” Journal of Stored Products Research. 2001.

Athanassiou, C.G. “Insecticidal efficacy of diatomaceous earth against Sitophilus oryzae (L.) (Coleoptera: Curculionidae) and Tribolium confusum du Val (Coleoptera: Tenebrionidae) on stored wheat: influence of dose rate, temperature and exposure interval.” Journal of Stored Products Research. 2005.

“Diatomaceous Earth for Flea Control.” Riversong Veterinary Clinic. 2011.

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A truly safe and effective organic pesticide D/Earth (Diatomaceous Earth) is fossilized remains of microscopic shells created by one celled organisms of algae like plants called Diatoms. D/Earth (Diatomaceous Earth) has many protective uses, from use on household pets to spraying field crops, to stored grain, livestock or pet feed. Freshwater, food grade D/Earth (Diatomaceous Earth) can be used for internal parasites by placing in daily feed ration or external parasites when used as a natural topical dusting powder. Completely harmless to all animals, fish, birds, and the environment, it can be sprinkled on the animal, the bedding or around the kennel. About the only negative to D/Earth (Diatomaceous Earth) is when used outside it must be reapplied after a rain. D/Earth (Diatomaceous Earth) makes an extremely uncomfortable environment for any insect or arthropod that it comes in contact with. Unlike persistent chemicals pesticides that can be harmful to your pet and the environment, D/Earth (Diatomaceous Earth) is an ORGANIC mechanical pesticide that treats infestation without harmful side effects. D/Earth (Diatomaceous Earth) is truly a safe ingredient; bugs cannot become immune to D/Earth (Diatomaceous Earth) because it kills them by PHYSICAL not chemical action. Special processed milling makes D/Earth (Diatomaceous Earth) into a product graded for particle size which is most effective for killing insects. This process makes it easier and less dusty to use. As the insect comes in contact with the powder, static electricity causes an attraction to the body. Once the powder attaches itself to the insect, the sharp edges of the particles cut through the waxy outer layer of the exoskeleton of the insect and absorb the body fluids therefore killing the parasite. It takes a day or two for the process to take place but the end results is most effective, death by dehydration.

Can You Use Diatomaceous Earth for Fleas?

Reviewed for accuracy on July 8, 2019, by Dr. Katie Grzyb, DVM

If you prefer to use DIY products for your four-legged family member, you’ve probably read about diatomaceous earth for fleas. While it does kill fleas, there are some important things to be aware of before using it.

Here is everything you need to know about using diatomaceous earth for fleas so that you can make an informed decision about whether it is the right choice for your home and pets.

What Exactly is Diatomaceous Earth?

Diatoms are single-celled algae that inhabit streams, lakes, oceans and other waterways. Fossilized diatoms, whose cell walls are made of silica, are used to make a fine powder called diatomaceous earth (DE).

The food-grade version of DE contains a much lower level of silica than the versions used for industrial work. It’s labeled “Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS)” by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration for human consumption.

“Food-grade DE is typically used to sprinkle on vegetable and fruit gardens to help prevent insects from infesting crops. It’s more of a home and garden type situation,” says Dr. Chris Reeder, DVM, DACVD, a board-certified veterinary dermatologist with BluePearl Pet Hospital in Franklin, Tennessee.

How Does Diatomaceous Earth Kill Fleas?

“The small particles of DE actually look like shards of glass when examined under the microscope,” says Dr. Dolores Costantino, a veterinarian with HousePaws Mobile Veterinary Service in Morrisville, Pennsylvania.

A flea that ingests diatomaceous earth will be torn apart, explains Dr. Costantino. But it doesn’t have to only be ingested to be effective.

According to the National Pesticide Information Center (NPIC), “Diatomaceous earth causes insects to dry out and die by absorbing the oils and fats from the cuticle of the insect’s exoskeleton. Its sharp edges are abrasive, speeding up the process.”

Is Using Diatomaceous Earth for Fleas Hazardous to Your Health?

Diatomaceous earth can irritate the nose and nasal passages if breathed in, says Glen Ramsey, board-certified entomologist and technical services manager with Atlanta-based Orkin.

And the NPIC warns, “If an extremely large amount is inhaled, people may cough and have shortness of breath. On skin, it can cause irritation and dryness. Diatomaceous earth may also irritate the eyes, due to its abrasive nature. Any dust, including silica, can be irritating to the eyes as well.”

In addition, people who handle diatomaceous earth on a regular basis can develop an incurable, chronic inflammatory lung disease called silicosis, says Dr. Reeder.

Is It Safe to Use Diatomaceous Earth for Fleas on Pets?

Veterinarians generally advise against the use of diatomaceous earth for fleas on cats and dogs.

“Do not apply diatomaceous earth directly to your pet. It is not effective for flea control when used in this manner and could potentially result in lung damage if inhaled,” says Dr. Jennifer Coates, a veterinary writer, editor and consultant based in Fort Collins, Colorado.

Aside from possible respiratory risks, “I could see it as being a hazard to the gastrointestinal tract,” explains Dr. Susan Jeffrey, a veterinarian at Truesdell Animal Care Hospital in Madison, Wisconsin.

“I think the precautions with dogs are similar to those in cats, but since dogs don’t groom themselves as often as cats, there may not be as high a risk of adverse gastrointestinal effects,” says Dr. Jeffrey.

Can Diatomaceous Earth Kill Fleas In Your Home?

Diatomaceous earth can and will kill fleas in your home, says Ramsey. The problem, he says, is that homeowners will often misapply or over-apply it.

“If an individual is considering applying a product for pests, it’s always best to contact a pest-management professional. Handling pest issues without a professional can often worsen existing issues,” says Ramsey.

Another thing to keep in mind is that DE only kills adult fleas. And it doesn’t prevent flea reproduction, says Ramsey. “Because of this, flea populations can get out of hand even with the application of diatomaceous earth.”

Your veterinarian is the best person to talk to about any type of flea prevention. “Talk to your veterinarian about the safest and most effective flea preventative for your pets,” says Dr. Coates.

By: Paula Fitzsimmons

Featured Image: iStock.com/chendongshan

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