The other day MaHoney was doing the bum scoot around in circles. A very cute action, but unfortunately a sign that she might have worms, again. For those of you who aren’t familiar with my Puggle she is one of those dogs that are allergic to everything. That resulted in several rounds of antibiotics that have destroyed her gut health. What does that have to do with worms? Well, she now eats every kind of dirt, plant and ALL the gross things she can find to compensate for her microbe imbalance. We do add probiotics to her meals but that has not squelched her thirst for the nasty and, most of these nasties carry worms. Since chemicals started the problem I want to find a more natural way to deworm her then by meds. That is where diatomaceous earth (DE) came in.
Diatomaceous Earth and Parasites
So, you might have already heard of DE for fleas. Using human-grade DE as a flea powder is a great natural flea control. You see diatomaceous earth is the fossils of tiny water organisms whose skeletons are made from silica. That fossilized silica has sharp edges that can burrow into the bug’s or worm’s skin and kill them. It also is strong enough to penetrate any eggs from said parasites and kill them also. But is diatomaceous earth effective for deworming a dog? Below is a short description of the most common worms in dogs and if DE will work as a natural remedy.
- These suckers live in your dog’s intestines and feed off their meals before they can absorb the nutrients themselves. Basically, stealing your dog’s food. Diatomaceous earth will treat these worms.
- These are flat, long and attach themselves to your dog’s intestines. They then shed small amounts of themselves into your dog’s waste which will look like little grains of white rice. DE is a great option to treat these.
- They live in your dog’s colon and can cause severe irritation. Besides that, they cause bloody diarrhea and general wasting away. Again, diatomaceous earth with knock these buggers right out.
- Like the others above these nasties live in your dog digestive track. They feed off their blood through intestinal vessels causing anemia. And yes, DE is great for curing them as well.
- Here is where things get serious. Heartworms in dogs can be fatal. That means no messing around with treatments. I need to be 100% positive that I treatment I use is going to work. So, I recommend working with your vet on this one. Due to heartworms being a blood-borne parasite, not a GI parasite (like the others above) it requires a different treatment.
Is Diatomaceous Earth Safe for Dogs
Okay, now that I know what worms to treat and not treat with DE I need to know if it is safe. I mean the whole point of this is to find an alternative to the chemicals that I know are bad for my dogs. Here are the safety issues I found.
Pool Grade DE vs Human Grade DE
- There are two different kinds/grades of diatomaceous earth. One is human grade and is completely safe for us and our pets to ingest. The other is pool grade, intended for filtration systems of pools, and is processed differently. This difference results in pool grade DE to have a high amount of crystalline silica. Use human grade DE you are good to go.
DE Inhalation Causes Irritation
- It will cause lung inflammation if the powder is inhaled, due to the sharp edges. I address the safety issue mixing into my dog’s food with a little liquid.
How to Deworm A Dog at Home
- First, when I see signs of worms in any of my dogs I always treat them both. If one animal has worms, you can bet they all do.
- I bust out the human grade DE and simply add it to one of their daily meals for 30 days.
- After the first 3 – 7 days the symptoms will subside. Continue the treatment for the full 30 days to make sure you kill all eggs and larvae that might be present in their GI tracts.
- Then I take a stool sample to the vet and have it tested. Just to make sure I diagnosed and remedied the issue for sure.