Is Diatomaceous Earth Safe For Dogs? How Does It Work?

Is Diatomaceous Earth Safe For Dogs? How Does It Work?

Alex Seilis

Diatomaceous earth offers a cost-effective solution to control parasites in dogs.

But is diatomaceous earth safe for dogs? Absolutely ... as long as you're using food grade DE. Not only is food grade diatomaceous earth safe for dogs, but it also provides numerous health benefits.

Despite its white, powdery appearance, DE is a natural, non-toxic substance. Below, we'll share the various ways diatomaceous earth can benefit your dog, from controlling flea infestations to additional health perks.

But first, let's make sure we're clear on what exactly diatomaceous earth is in the first place.

What Is Diatomaceous Earth And How Does It Work?

Diatomaceous earth (DE) is a remarkable natural substance often used to control pests. Derived from the fossilized remains of diatoms, a type of algae, DE appears as a fine powder. While it may not look like typical soil, it's a non-toxic and eco-friendly solution with many benefits.

The unique structure of DE, when observed under a microscope, reveals tiny, sharp particles resembling bits of broken glass. These microscopic shards are the secret behind its effectiveness against pests. When insects come into contact with DE, these particles pierce their exoskeletons, causing them to dehydrate and die. This mechanical action ensures that DE is safe for use around pets and humans, as it doesn’t rely on harmful chemicals to do its job.

In addition to its pest control properties, DE is affordable and readily available at health stores and online retailers. It's not just for tackling bugs; DE has a variety of other applications that can benefit your dog and household. From acting as a natural deodorizer to serving as a dietary supplement, DE is a versatile and valuable tool for pet owners.

With its low cost, ease of use, and broad range of benefits, diatomaceous earth is a fantastic addition to any pet care routine. Whether you’re dealing with internal or external parasites, looking for a natural detox solution, or simply wanting to enhance your dog’s diet, DE is a safe and effective choice.

So the answer to the question "is diatomaceous earth safe for dogs?" is a resounding yes! As long as it's food grade DE.

Let's take a look at some of the more specific benefits of DE for dogs.

Benefits Of Diatomaceous Earth For Dogs

1. Repel And Eliminate Parasites

Internal Parasites

Diatomaceous earth is highly effective in controlling internal parasites such as roundworms, whipworms, pinworms, and hookworms. To utilize DE to help control internal parasites, ensure you choose food-grade diatomaceous earth, as the variants used in gardens or pool filters can be harmful to your dog.

By adding DE to your dog's food daily for at least 30 days, you can help manage these parasites. This extended duration ensures that newly hatching eggs are also targeted, breaking the cycle of infestation.

External Parasites

What about external parasites? Can using diatomaceous earth kill fleas, too?

Yes! For external parasites like adult fleas, ticks, lice, and mites, dusting your dog's coat with DE can be an effective solution.

Additionally, sprinkle DE on your dog's bedding and carpeted areas for extra flea control. This will help dehydrate and kill the pests, providing a chemical-free method to keep your dog pest-free.

2. Detoxification

Diatomaceous earth can act as a detoxifier, absorbing and eliminating various toxins from your dog's body. It has the potential to remove heavy metals, E. coli, endotoxins, viruses, pesticide residues, and drug residues.

DE can also aid in detoxifying the colon and improving digestive health. Its ability to absorb these harmful substances makes it a valuable tool in maintaining your dog's overall health.

3. Nutritional Supplement

Diatomaceous earth is rich in essential minerals such as magnesium, silicon, calcium, sodium, iron, potassium, copper, zinc, phosphorus, and selenium. These minerals can contribute to better sleep, increased energy, and healthier skin, hair, and nails for your dog.

Incorporating DE into your dog's diet as a supplement can enhance their nutritional intake, supporting their overall health and vitality.

4. Chemical-Free Deodorizer

If your dog tends to develop odors, DE can serve as a natural and safe deodorizer. Sprinkle it on your dog's coat and let it sit for a few hours before brushing it out.

DE can also be used to freshen up your dog's bedding, carpets, and other areas that may retain odors. This natural deodorizing method avoids harsh chemicals, ensuring a safe environment for your dog.

5. Safe Garden Pest Control

Diatomaceous earth is not only beneficial for your dog but also for your garden. It repels and kills various pests, including ants, caterpillars, armyworms, cockroaches, snails, spiders, termites, silverfish, earwigs, bed bugs, fruit flies, and beetles.

However, it's harmless to beneficial earthworms and other non-bug wildlife. Using DE in your garden helps you avoid chemical pesticides, creating a safer outdoor environment for your dog and other pets.

How To Use Diatomaceous Earth For Dogs

Internal Use

For internal use, mix DE with your dog's food. The recommended dosage is as follows:

  • Small dogs and puppies: 1/2 teaspoon per day
  • Dogs up to 50 lbs: 1 teaspoon per day
  • Dogs over 50 lbs: 1 tablespoon per day
  • Dogs 100 lbs or more: 2 tablespoons per day

Mix the DE with raw or moist food to ensure your dog consumes it effectively. If feeding dry food, add some water or broth to moisten the powder.

External Use

For external pest prevention, rub DE into your dog's coat, starting near the tail and working towards the head. Avoid the eyes, nose, and mouth as DE can irritate mucous membranes. To get rid of fleas, sprinkle DE on your dog's bedding and carpets, leave it for up to 3 days, and then vacuum or launder the items.


Always use food-grade diatomaceous earth for your dog. Inhaling DE can cause lung irritation, so be careful not to inhale the dust or allow your dog to do so. DE can also be drying to your dog's skin, so if you notice any dryness, bathe your dog with a moisturizing shampoo or conditioner.

Final Thoughts

Diatomaceous earth is a versatile, low-cost solution that offers many benefits for your dog's health. From controlling internal and external parasites to detoxifying the body and providing essential minerals, DE can be a valuable addition to your dog's care routine.

By following the recommended usage guidelines and taking necessary precautions, you can ensure that your dog reaps the benefits of this natural and effective substance.


What if my dog licks diatomaceous earth? If your dog licks diatomaceous earth, make sure it's the food grade version, which is safe and non-toxic. It can even provide some benefits to your pet's digestive tract when ingested in small amounts.

Is it safe to use diatomaceous earth around pets? Yes, applying diatomaceous earth around pets is safe, especially the food grade version. Pet parents often use it to control fleas and other pests in pet kennels and living areas.

What do vets say about diatomaceous earth? Vets generally consider food grade diatomaceous earth safe for pets and effective in managing flea populations. It's a popular natural remedy recommended for pet parents seeking chemical-free solutions.

What parasites does diatomaceous earth kill in dogs? Diatomaceous earth kills a variety of parasites in dogs, including fleas, ticks, lice, and mites. The fine particles from tiny aquatic organisms pierce the exoskeletons of these pests, causing them to dehydrate and die, effectively reducing flea reproduction and infestation.