Diatomaceous earth (also known as “DE”) is made from the fossilized remains of tiny, aquatic organisms called diatoms. Their skeletons are made of a natural substance called silica, a naturally occurring, soft siliceous sedimentary rock that is easily crumbled into a fine white to off-white powder. Over a long period of time, diatoms accumulate in the sediment of rivers, streams, lakes and oceans. Today, silica deposits are mined from these areas.

Silica is common in nature and makes up 26% of the earth’s crust by weight. Various forms of silica include sand, emerald, quartz, feldspar, mica, clay, asbestos, and glass.

There are thousands of non-pesticide products that contain diatomaceous earth. These include skin care products, toothpastes, foods, beverages, medicines, rubbers, paints, and water filters. It is “Generally Recognized as Safe” but the Food & Drug Administration.

How safe is it?

DE is not poisonous to us humans and most of our companion animals. However, it is advises that those who use it still practice caution. People who accidentally breathe in the dust, eat it, get it on their skin, or get it in their eyes may experience negative effects.

If breathed in, diatomaceous earth can irritate the nasal passages. If an extremely large amount is inhaled, people may cough and have shortness of breath.

It can cause irritation and dryness of the skin. Diatomaceous earth may also irritate the eyes because of its abrasive nature. Any dust, including silica, can be irritating to the eyes. People should avoid inhaling them and would do better to use a dust mask when handling DE for extended periods.

Types of DE


Pool-grade diatomaceous earth, used in swimming pools, is heat-treated or calcined and activated for use in filters. They can be dangerous and harmful to both humans and animals. This should only be used for pool filtration and never around small pets or animals.


Food-or-feed-grade diatomaceous earth is uncalcined and is mostly composed of amorphous silica. Both must contain less than 1% crystalline silica and not be calcined in order to be safe for use with and around animals.

Food-grade DE has more stringent specifications when it comes to metal content. In order to be considered food-grade, diatomaceous earth must contain no more than 10 milligrams of arsenic or lead per kilogram.

What does it do for companion animals?

It can repel most insects we might not want in our homes, which include roaches, silverfish, spiders, and fleas. Should insects come in contact with DE, the substance will cause them to dry out as it absorbs oils and fats from the cuticle of their exoskeleton.

Adding DE into your chicken’s dust bath mixture helps prevent problems with lice. DE also has many uses around the home and in barns, as it can help control fleas on dogs and reduce other bloodsucking organisms in horses, pigs, and other animals.

It remains effective as long as it is kept dry and undisturbed.

Other benefits

Because diatomacerous earth is non-toxic to most of our companion animals (including fish and birds), it’s the perfect alternative to harmful and expensive chemicals.

DE helps companion animals by:

1.Controlling fleas, ticks and mites
2. Naturally eliminating internal parasites
3. Providing numerous trace minerals
4. Flushing heavy metals, e-coli, bacteria and viruses
5. Reducing manure odor

For feathered friends

When it comes to pet birds specifically, DE can help maintain their living environments free from harmful contamination. In terms of effectiveness in repelling bloodsucking insects, pet parents found that using food-grade diatomaceous earth in their bird’s diets and living areas is one of the best solutions.

Diatomaceous earth keeps unwanted insects, disease, and viruses away. Birds live on a high seed diet. Seeds can contain high amounts of fat and traces heavy metals and toxins. Diatomaceous earth flushes these metals and toxins regularly. It also kills mites and other insects that might be living on the feathers of our avian friends.

For furry friends

My companion dogs, cats, rabbits, guinea pigs, and hamsters have all been benefiting from DE. Using DE is a great way to naturally control fleas, mites, and ticks on our furry companions, freeing them from any insects that might be hiding in their fur.

DE will help our companion animals enjoy a healthy and worm free life. And it’s a great option for us pet parents who advocate for environment-friendly products.

Simple ways to use DE

1.Rub gently into fur

Animal skin can be soft and sensitive, which is why flea powders, shampoos, and even soapy baths can cause irritation and fur loss. DE can help in this case. For severe infestations, sprinkle DE around the bedding and any other areas in the home where your animal companions spend time.

2. Use to deworm

Sprinkle small portions and mix them with your companion animals’ food for deworming. Always use food-grade diatomaceous earth.


Buying DE locally couldn’t be any easier now compared to decades ago when it was pretty much unheard of in the country. Now, it is widely available in pet stores and online shops in different quantities and packaging. Always make sure to buy only from reputable suppliers.

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