Diatomaceous Earth. I started researching this product in 2005. Over the years I have experimented with it and have had excellent results. The fact that FOOD GRADE, Freshwater Diatomaceous Earth (Amorphous Silica) is non-toxic and all natural makes it an excellent alternative to toxic pet pharmaceuticals but even better is the fact that it has many uses.
According to Wolf Creek Ranch Diatomaceous Earth or DE is defined as “the remains of microscopic one-celled plants (phytoplankton) called diatoms that lived in the oceans and lakes that once covered the western part of the US and other parts of the world. These deposits are mined from underwater beds or from ancient dried lake bottoms thousands of years old. This means diatomaceous earth has an unlimited shelf life provided you keep it dry”.
While DE has the texture of flour, it is much sharper to parasites such as ants, fleas, ticks and parasitic worms.
Some of the ways we use DE includes daily feeding of DE to our dogs to prevent internal parasites. Our Havanese receive 1 tsp on their dry food. It has no flavor so they eat it with no problem. Sprinkling it around the perimeter of our dog patio. Placing a barrier around the foundation of our home and in the nooks and crannies of our garage. Sprinkling a barrier around our chicken coop. Dusting our hens with DE to prevent mites. We also feed it free-choice to our hens. Inside the house if ants are coming in. In our garden and compost bin. DE will not harm earthworms. Sprinkled on top of gardens, the worms will work it into the soil. A light dusting on young puppies during flea/tick season. In garbage cans to kill flies. In chicken feed storage to prevent bugs. To soak up outdoor spills. A mixture of DE and water can be painted on insect-infested tree trunks. Sprinkled in ant hills, encourages ants to move out of your yard, this takes some time but I watched the ants rebuild until finally, they moved the colony into the woods.
As you can see, there are many applications for DE. However, there are some precautions. DE is dusty, I use to care but my husband has asthma, so he uses a dust mask for big jobs. A little goes a long way so I use care when using it on or around my pets. DE is also drying so I use scoops and a hand sieve to spread it around. DE can also harm beneficial bugs such as bees and butterflies, so I avoid using it on flowering plants. Also, some people use it to control flea problems in their homes, which is a great non-toxic alternative but I have read that care must be used with the amount used on carpets because the DE can seize up the vacuum.We do not have carpet but occasionally, will use the central vacuum to suck up about 1tbs of DE to kill anything that may be in the canister.
Where to buy: There are many companies that sell Food-grade DE. We purchase our DE from a feed store. A 50lb bag generally costs around $35.00. This is stored in the original bag in a heavy duty plastic bag, to protect it from moisture and will last us a year or more. You can buy smaller amounts online. When using it for our dogs initially we had them checked for heartworm every six months but after years of negative tests, we now have them tested annually which is recommended by the Vet.
Keep in mind there is a type of DE for pools, this is NOT what you want, it is chemically treated and therefore toxic to pets.
Parasite prevention is necessary especially since they are everywhere and easily brought into the home or ingested by your pet. However, we prefer safer alternatives that are just as convenient to administer to our pets.