this post does contain affiliate links but as always all thoughts & suggestions are from my experience
The other day MaHoney was doing the itchy bum scoot around in circles which is different from her angry anal gland scoot. 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 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 than 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 for 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 and 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’s digestive tract. 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 having 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 by mixing 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.
I have given my 28boston terrier a tbl/day of de for over 60 days and still find tapeworms…I don’t think it works. Yes, I did use food grade de and put it in his wet food.
That’s a bummer. It’s effective for my pooches but I still get a stool sample checked by my veterinarian to make sure.
Great article! Short and to the point – thank you!!
I read that if wet it wont work ! So avoid mixing with wet food but rather with dry food 2 teaspoon a day i believe
HI Aimee, Thank you for your post, it is very helpful.
I was wondering.. did the DE help get rid of the worms? I have two rescue dogs (one is new, she has been with us for about three months now) other other one I’ve had for just over a year- she had hookworms about 4 months ago (I took her to the vet and she got meds, after the sample coming back showing she had hookworm)
Recently both dogs have had a little blood in their poop and one drags her bum on the floor. So I’m thinking the worms are back. Before getting pills and a large vet bill, I was wondering if your experience has been positive and what the outcome was?
I ordered some DE today and will give the natural approach a try.
Hi Vanessa, thanks for reading. It sure did, about 3 or 4 times now. I do have a stool sample checked by their vet after treatment to make sure.
That’s great, I’m glad it worked for your dogs! I read that DE only works when it’s dry (so not internally) so I was hesitant to try it, but I’ve also heard of positive results, so i’m crossing my fingers… Thanks so much 🙂
Wouldn’t the DE get wet in my dogs stomach? So how could it affect the DE in wet dog food?
Diatomaceous Earth is as effective in wet dog food as it would be in your dog’s stomach.
It says not to inhale it or it will cause lung damage. I’m wondering how it is possible to use it in any airborne situation to kill fleas or ticks without my animal breathing it. Also, for humans it is recommended to put a teaspoon in water and drink it , so it must have some benefit being wet. It is stated in all the literature that it will kill parasites by excoriating their shells, but it also says it’s not very useful for tapeworms. I would have to have my dog tested BEFORE use, then after to confirm the presence of worms prior to treatment. Thank you for your great posts. It’s nice to have so many people to discuss these things. I learn a lot.
Thanks for the comment. I have trouble with using as a flea powder. I tried once and just was not able to effectively powder the mutts without filling my lungs at the same time. I do have some natural flea recommendations you read about here. I hope it helps!
Our puppy has hookworms and other worms I think cause I see hard white dots in his stool and he has diarrhea and is scooting on his but how do I help him with diptomacious earth? He is about 3 months old
Great article, Aimee! Just started my 13 lb Silky Terrier on food grade DE for 1/4″ white worms found in his stool. We apply DE on the ground outside the house using a one-gallon pump-up sprayer; put in one lb of DE then add one gallon of water. Shake well then apply. Avoid spraying flowers and tops of leaves to keep from killing good guys like honeybees, etc.
How would you suggest using DE as wormer for litter of puppies? I see it says 1/2 teaspoon for puppies – wondering if it would be different if feeding 7 puppies.
Great tips! My shelter GSD has several different skin issues and HW+ with live worms in Her stools. Starting DE today for everyone and perhaps a really good dewormer four all four types of worms just to kick start Her recovery! She’s gotna lot going on but We now have each other! No stool tests! I see the white worms in Her stools! She scratches Her body bloody! This is day three of Her rescue!