Everything in Nature works according to a cycle. And every step in the cycle feeds the next. This is evolution or alchemy if you will. Diatomaceous Earth illustrates this so beautifully, as it provides us with the opportunity to turn fossils into medicine.
So, what exactly is Diatomaceous Earth?
Diatomaceous Earth, also known as DE or diatomite; is an organic, naturally occurring, soft, siliceous sedimentary rock. It consists of the fossilized shells of single cell microscopic water-dwelling plants known as Diatoms. In prehistoric times (roughly 30 -50 million years ago) masses of Diatoms existed in water masses across Planet Earth. These tiny plants used soluble silica (sand) from their environment to make their cell walls. When they died, their shells sank to the bottom of the water masses in which they lived to form thick beds of sediment. Over time these built up into deep, chalky deposits of diatomite. Today, the diatoms are mined and ground up to render a fine white or off-white powder with a slightly abrasive feel.
What uses does it have for us and our pets?
Diatomaceous Earth is milled and processed into a myriad of types for a large variety of uses, but is predominantly used as a water filtering aid or filler. It also ends up in paints, cosmetics, drugs, chemical insecticides, and is used for cat litter, as an activator in blood clotting studies, and a stabilizing component of dynamite. But best of all, Diatomaceous Earth is a natural insecticide that is safe for use environmentally as well as in direct application on pets and people. Diatomaceous Earth dehydrates insects, killing them and their larvae.
Important to take note:
Pool filter grade Diatomaceous Earth has been heated and chemically treated – a process which creates fine threads of silicone glass which makes it a better filtering product, but that will poison an animal or human who ingests it.
On the other hand, food grade Diatomaceous Earthh has many uses and excellent health benefits for humans, plants, and animals. It is recommended for pets and other animals as a de-wormer and a food supplement. It is an effective, organic anti-flea, tick, and insect remedy. It is also reported as having provided significant human health benefits such as lower cholesterol, relief from arthritis pain, increased energy, more regular bowel movements, lower blood pressure, smoother complexion, and sinus and cough relief.
Food grade Diatomaceous Earth detoxes. It has the ability to act as both a digestive aid and a colon cleanser. Enlarged with a microscope, food grade Diatomaceous Earth has a honeycomb shaped skeletal form – it looks like cylinder full of holes. This cylinder has a very strong negative charge whilst bacteria have a positive charge. As these millions of cylinders move through the stomach and digestive tract, they attract and absorb bacteria, fungi, viruses, endotoxins, pesticides, and drug residues, E.coli, and heavy metals. These are trapped inside the cylinder and passed out of the body, ridding it of toxic waste. In addition, any larger parasites that happen to be in the stomach or digestive tract are “cut up” and killed by the sharp edges of the Diatomaceous Earth.
Internal parasite control
Food grade Diatomaceous Earth has been used for at least two decades as a natural wormer for livestock. Some people believe Diatomaceous Earth scratches and dehydrate parasites. Some scientists believe that Diatomaceous Earth is a de-ionizer or de-energizer of worms or parasites. The important thing is however that worms are definitely controlled, thereby ensuring the continued health of humans and pets alike.
To be most effective, food grade Diatomaceous Earth 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.
Food grade Diatomaceous Earth works in a purely physical/mechanical manner, not “chemical” and thus has no chemical toxicity. Parasites are not able to build up a tolerance/immunity to its reaction, so no rotation of worm treatments is necessary.
Diatomaceous Earth can be mixed into animal feed or grain and/or can be fed on a self-selection basis. The daily recommended food grade Diatomaceous Earth feeding rates are as follows:
- Kittens – 1/2 teaspoon
- Cats – 1 teaspoon
- Puppies – 1/2 to 1 tsp.
- Dogs under 15kg’s. – 1 teaspoon
- Dogs over 15kg’s. – 1 tablespoon
- Dogs over 45kg’s – 2 tablespoons
- Cattle, Dairy Cows, & Hogs – 2% of dry feed ration
- Chickens – 5% in feed
- Goats, Sheep, Alpacas, & Llamas – 2% in grain
- Horses – 1/2 to 1 cup in daily ration
- Zoo animals – 2% in daily feed
Internal feeding of food grade Diatomaceous Earth helps eliminate most internal worms, including roundworms, pin worms, tapeworms, etc.
For human use, it is best to start at a small dose – 1/2 teaspoon for the first few days while making sure to drink plenty of clean fresh pure water (not city tap water) and slowly increasing the dose as your body tells you it is okay to do so and to make sure you don’t have a heavy detox.
*All our meals at Raw Love Pets contain a healthy and safe dose of Diatoms.
Flea, tick and insect control
Urban myth states that a flea can jump 100 times its own height. It is also said that just one female flea will produce 20,000 eggs in a period of only three months. It is a fact though, that it can take anywhere from three to six weeks for flea eggs to hatch – so ONLY 5 to 15% of the flea and/or tick infestation that you see are the adult fleas and ticks.
So, what’s with the frightening flea trivia?
Most traditional dog/cat flea and tick preventative treatments are toxic to us and our pets. Some people get rashes and have allergic reactions immediately after petting dogs or cats that have been treated with these topical flea treatments. The chemical components of these treatments are designed to poison your pet’s body – skin, blood, brain, kidneys, liver, lymphatic system, and then when the flea or tick bites them, it kills them. Many veterinarians recommend these topical flea and tick treatments without the consideration of natural solutions.
Enter Diatomaceous Earth
Food grade Diatomaceous Earth makes a very effective natural insecticide. This is due to the microscopic razor-sharp edges of the diatom remains. When Diatomaceous Earth comes in contact with fleas (and other insects for that matter) the sharp edges cuts through their waxy exoskeleton and then the powdery Diatomaceous Earth absorbs the body fluids causing death from dehydration.
Lightly, but thoroughly rub food grade Diatomaceous Earth into the dog or cat’s coat and bedding to dehydrate fleas, lice, mites, and ticks. It will kill adult fleas and ticks within 24-72 hours of the flea(s) coming in contact with the Diatomaceous Earth. Not only will this treatment kill the fleas, it will also give you some quality bonding time with your dog or cat.
To make flea and tick treatment successful, it is imperative that everything is treated all at the same time, the dog, cat, or other pet; the yard; the bedding; the household, if the animal is an indoor pet. If you are diligent in treatment with the Diatomaceous Earth and the other treatment in the yard or acreage, you can expect a flea and/or tick infestation to be eliminated within 3 weeks.
As mentioned above, the fleas you see at first are only 5% -15% of the actual problem. So, everything must be treated at once because the remaining 85 to 95% of your flea and tick infestation are the flea larvae and tick eggs that have not yet hatched- and in order to completely eliminate a flea/tick infestation, the entire life cycle must be broken. So everything and every affected pet must be treated at the same time for lasting effectiveness. Also note that larvae hatches during the full moon cycle, so it’s best to track the days of the month when you intend to start.
One should be careful during application, whether outside in your veggie garden or onto your pet, to cover or protect the eyes and nose area as Diatomaceous Earth will irritate/dry out the eyes and mucus linings in the nose. Once the dust has settled, it won’t have any effect on you or any animals other than insects.
Many game farmers in South Africa now use licking blocks which are placed in the areas frequented by these animals – once they lick these blocks Diatomaceous Earth is introduced into their digestive systems and the results have been outstanding.
Farmers also put food grade Diatomaceous Earth in suspended burlap bags, so game and cows, goats etc can rub against it and sprinkle themselves with Diatomaceous Earth, which helps to eliminate flies that land on them, as well as lice, mites, and ticks. An inexpensive solution that works.
Diatomaceous Earth is excellent for fly control when fed daily and thrown on top of manure/compost piles – since food grade Diatomaceous Earth is eliminated from the body, exactly the way it went in, it kills flies that come in contact with it and prevents flies from growing in the manures – an added bonus is that it helps reduce the manure odour by drying it out much quicker than normal!
Garden, outdoor & other uses
Gardeners, especially permaculture enthusiasts, have found that Diatomaceous Earth is a dream come true.
- It makes an excellent pesticide, effectively controlling aphids, thrips, mites, snails, and slugs without harming beneficial soil microorganisms.
- Food grade Diatomaceous Earth will not destroy earthworms if applied to the top of the soil in worm farms and the worms are allowed to work it into the soil on their own.
- Diatomaceous Earth is composed of a unique combination of 33% silicon, 19% calcium, 5% sodium, 3% magnesium and 2% iron, as well fifteen other trace minerals like boron, manganese, titanium, copper and zirconium, potassium, phosphorous and selenium. These minerals are great for enhancing the quality of the soil, especially in food gardens.
- A small amount of food grade Diatomaceous Earth applied to livestock water and water storage tanks keeps algae from growing on hot summer days, effectively filtering the drinking water.
More Wonders of Diatomaceous Earth
- Deodorizing and absorption are natural functions of Diatomaceous Earth, so add it to your cat’s litter tray or in kennel areas to absorb odours and keep the litter box drier.
- People note shinier coats, better overall health, better reproduction, etc. in their animals who are fed food grade Diatomaceous Earth regularly.
- Diatomaceous Earth also makes a very inexpensive soft scrub for the shower, sink and faucets. Make a paste with Diatomaceous Earth and water to produce a metal polish.
- Need an inexpensive face mask or cleanser? Mix Diatomaceous Earth and water together until you have made a paste. Apply to the face with circular scrubbing motion until your face is fully covered. Leave on face for approx. 2 min. and then wash off with warm water. Your face will be fully exfoliated and toned!!! You can also mix Diatomaceous Earth with your favourite cleanser and you will have cleaner, smoother skin in no time.
- Scared of the dentist? If you sprinkle a small amount of Diatomaceous Earth on your favourite brand of toothpaste and brush as you normally would, you will notice that your teeth look and feel as if you’d just had them cleaned!
Food for Thought
“I have personally used food grade Diatomaceous Earth for the last few years and I am very happy with the results. I use it for all my animal companions – no more chemical tick and flea-treatments or dewormers for my dogs, cats or horses. It helps with flies in summer, and is great to sprinkle in my food storage areas to keep feed as bug-free as possible. My vegetable garden is happier without the constant attack of aphids, snails and slugs and rewards me with healthy, pest-free home-grown vegetables!”
- Helena Swart, founder of Raw Love Pets.
With so many uses, can you afford to be without it? Organic, food grade Diatomaceous Earth – get yours for your pet today!