Diatomaceous Earth ...
Diatomaceous Earth provide for a very affordable way to control external and internal parasites in your fur kids. It’s a non-toxic, safe substance made up from crushed fossils of freshwater organisms and marine life. Crushed to a fine powder and observed through a microscope, the particles resemble bits of broken glass.
D.E. is deadly to any insect yet completely harmless to animals. Diatomaceous Earth’s mode of action for insect and parasite control is strictly mechanical. The microscopically sharp edges contact the insect or parasite, and pierce their protective coating, so they soon dehydrate and die. The larvae is affected in the same way.
What Is Diatomaceous Earth, Anyway?
Good question! Food grade Diatomaceous Earth is a fine powder made from diatoms, a type of fossilized phytoplankton. It looks like rice hex under a microscope, only in cylindrical form.
Here’s what makes it so unique:
- It carries a negative ionic charge. This study suggests it helps to reduce parasites in chickens, and many experts believe this is due to its negative charge and cylindrical shape. The thinking behind this is that positively charged bacteria and parasites (plus some viruses) may be attracted to it like magnets are attracted to one another. Because of its shape, the pathogens get trapped in the centre and carried out of the body.
- It’s rich in silica, which is essential for healthy teeth, bones, hair, skin and nails.
- It’s incredibly hard. On the hardness scale, diamonds are a 10 and DE is an 8. This has a variety of benefits, which we’ll cover below.
Think of D.E. as the "the grass of the sea". On land, the basic food of all land animals is grass. The animals that don't eat grass eat the animals that do. In the sea, the basic food is the diatom, which is absolutely essential to the higher aquatic forms of life. While most diatoms are found in the oceans, they are also abundant and important in fresh water habitats, and in moist soil. Diatoms create "shells" for themselves from silica. Silica is a universal element in the human body and plays an important role in many body functions. Silica has been labelled nature's building block, and is often called the "overlooked trace mineral".
The tiny diatom shells are not a food. They do not digest (except some of the trace minerals). They pass all the way through the body. Everything it does is either physical action or electrical action. The diatom shell is a little cylinder full of holes. As stated above, it resembles rice hex cereal. The cylinders have a powerful negative charge and the holes are the right size to absorb positively charged viruses and bacteria, hold them, and take them out of the body. Each shell can hold many positive particles.
"Diatom" is the name given to any of over 5000 species of algae of the class Bacillariophyceae. Diatoms are usually single-celled. Yet, occasionally they aggregate into small colonies by virtue of their sticky, gelatinous coating. Though also present in aerial and terrestrial environments, their main habitat is aquatic. They live in both freshwater and marine water. In the waters of earth they occupy mainly the top 100 meters, where sunlight is abundantly available. When diatoms die, their silica-rich cell walls remain behind and accumulate on the ocean floor in continuous layers that can be up to 3,000 feet thick. These siliceous remains are "diatomaceous earth" or "diatomite". Their chalky deposit is useful in industrial filtering out of impurities, as an adsorbent, and as an insulator.
D.E. works by physically "attacking" harmful parasites inside your pet. Instead of killing these pests using toxic chemicals, the diatomaceous earth actually "targets" them using microscopic sharp edges in its particles. These microscopic sharp edges tear apart the bug’s exoskeleton, then lodge themselves on the bug to dry it out. This kills the bug.
The Benefits Of Diatomaceous Earth For Dogs & Cats
Internal parasites can be controlled by giving D.E. internally. It is very important to note that it must be food grade, like our DE from Raw Love for Pets - the earth used in gardens and pool filters can damage your dog.
D.E. can help to eliminate roundworms, whipworms, pinworms, and hookworms within seven days of being fed daily. To be most effective, Diatomaceous Earth should be fed for at least 30 days, to catch all newly hatching eggs or the cycling of the worms through the lungs and back to the stomach.
Some believe D.E. scratches and dehydrates parasites. Some scientists believe that D.E. is a de-ionizer or de-energizer of worms or parasites. Regardless, pet parents report definite control. To be most effective, food grade D.E. must be fed long enough to catch all newly hatching eggs or cycling of the worms through the lungs and back to the stomach. A minimum of 60 days is suggested by many, 90 days is advised for lungworms.
Another use for D.E. is the control of external parasites and flies. This is achieved by dusting your dog with D.E., along with his bedding area and surrounding carpeted areas.
Fortunately, these microscopic sharp edges are too small to harm dogs, cats, or humans. You can safely rub food-grade diatomaceous earth between your fingers without cutting yourself. It passes through your dog or cat’s body without any negative effects.