Using Diatomaceous Earth for Natural Flea and Tick Control

Using Diatomaceous Earth for Natural Flea and Tick Control

Our family is fortunate. We've never had a flea infestation, our dogs don't have flea allergies, and we've been able to avoid the use of chemical flea and tick repellents for two years. But our luck with fleas hasn't stopped me from using natural products for flea and tick prevention and treatment.

Diatomaceous Earth (DE) is one of those treatment options, and it can help pet parents get rid of fleas and ticks safely and effectively.

What is Diatomaceous Earth?

Food grade DE is finely ground siliceous sedimentary rock (similar to flour in consistency) that dries out the exoskeleton of fleas and ticks, making it an effective pest killer. It can also be used against internal parasites as a detox, a digestive aid and a colon cleanser. It can be found through online retailers and at many home and garden stores.

Using Diatomaceous Earth to Treat Pets

Although diatomaceous earth is safe for pets, it shouldn't be used daily, because it will dry out your pet's skin, leading to itching and irritation. If you choose to use it on your pets, protect their eyes, nose and mouth and give your pet a bath within 5-12 hours (to wash away the DE and fleas). Afterwards, make sure to use a conditioner to restore moisture to your pet’s coat and skin. 

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Warnings Associated With Treatment

It is very important that you make sure to use food-grade DE instead of “pool-grade” DE, which is dangerous for pets. If you have a pet with sensitive skin, DE shouldn't be used directly on your pet. If you have a cat who does not like baths, this treatment is not recommended.

Using Diatomaceous Earth to Treat Fleas at Home

We use DE on pet bedding and carpeting in our home. I sprinkle the DE on our area rugs and the pet bedding in the morning before going to work and use a broom to make sure it gets deep into the carpet fibers. I let it sit for the day and when I come home, I vacuum the area rugs and put the dog beds in the wash. 

Because fleas haven't been a problem for us, we do this process monthly during the spring and summer.

Also, keep in mind that DE kills fleas and ticks by drying out their exoskeleton; it doesn't repel the pests. Since flea eggs hatch anywhere from two days to two weeks after they are laid, you'll have to repeat the above steps to kill all the fleas in your home.

Before using DE, make sure to consult your veterinarian and do your own homework to ensure that it is a safe treatment for your pets.  

Kimberly Gauthier is Pet360’s natural contributor. She is the proud pet parent of four dogs and the founder of Keep the Tail Wagging, where she shares personal experiences about raising her dogs naturally. You can follow Kimberly on Twitter at the Fur Mom.


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Image:  Mona Makela via Shutterstock