Fleas are blood-sucking parasites living around homes and on our pets. If your cat has a flea infestation, it may be detrimental to your pet’s health if untreated. While there are countless treatments, you may wish to follow the steps of a holistic veterinarian and go for something more natural.
You may hear of using diatomaceous earth, fleas hate this, and it could be a great way to control fleas. Diatomaceous earth works when tiny insects such as fleas come into contact with the fine powder. There are minute abrasive particles that damage the slippery lipid layer of the fleas and thus cause them to dry out and die.
However, veterinarians advise against using diatomaceous earth for fleas on cats directly. Experts claim it isn’t an effective form of flea control. Because one of the main compounds is silica, it could lead to lung damage if inhaled along with harm to the gastrointestinal tract of cats that groom themselves continuously. (Read Is Anthurium Toxic To Cats)
However, there is more to it so we will look deeper. By no means is this expert advice, and if you wish to use this product on your pets, as a responsible pet parent, you need to seek the advice of a board-certified veterinary dermatologist.
By the end of our guide, you can see how to use the food-grade version of diatomaceous earth best to treat fleas on your pets.
Can I Put Diatomaceous Earth Directly On My Cat?
Food Grade (DE) Diatomaceous earth is a good alternative if your cat has fleas and you’re seeking an effective, natural, non-toxic way to get rid of them.
Diatomaceous earth is a silky-fine powder formed from the fossilized remains of diatoms, which are tiny aquatic creatures.
DE works by the sharp edges of the diatom fossils breaking through adult fleas’ strong exoskeletons, functioning as a desiccant or drying agent, effectively killing the fleas and their larvae.
DE is classified as a mechanical killer because of the way it works, making it safer for cats.
It is here; you may wonder if you can use DE on cats. But is diatomaceous earth safe for dogs? Luckily, if you use diatomaceous earth (De) properly and take extreme caution, the food-grade version is suitable for use on dogs also.
DE can tackle fleas, ticks, spiders, bedbugs, cockroaches, and other pests.
Use food-grade diatomaceous earth
Diatom skeletons are comprised of silica, a natural substance, and these skeletons fossilize in river, ocean, and lake sediment throughout time.
Diatomaceous earth is made from the resulting sedimentary deposits created because of this process.
Over 150 diatomaceous earth products are registered for use in homes, gardens, farms, and kennels; some can be administered directly to dogs and cats.
For direct application, however, only food-grade diatomaceous earth is
Industrial-grade diatomaceous earth has been treated to extremely high temperatures, converting its silicon dioxide to crystalline silica, which is hazardous to all creatures, including humans.
How to use diatomaceous earth
1. On animals
Food-grade diatomaceous earth is non-toxic to humans and animals and can be administered directly to them, however caution should be exercised in some animals.
Because it’s a desiccant, it could be problematic for people who have asthma or respiratory difficulties.
Diatomaceous earth should not be applied to animals with dry or inflamed skin.
Food-grade diatomaceous earth can be rubbed into the animal’s coat if he doesn’t have respiratory or skin problems, but it must be kept away from his eyes and snout.
After one day, give him a bath with a natural, gentle shampoo to get rid of the dead fleas and prevent dry skin. (Read Are Peace Lilies Toxic To Cats)
2. Around the home
DE is best used where the animal sleeps or comes in and out of the house.
Vacuum before using on carpets, bare floors, furniture, etc., and empty the vacuum outside.
Apply using a shaker to floor surfaces, bedding, and furniture. Leave diatomaceous earth on floors, carpets, and furniture for two weeks before vacuuming.
Use a flea comb and soapy water to remove and drown fleas on your animal. In addition, Diatomaceous earth kills fleas and ticks when pets touch the floor or bedding.
3. Around the Yard
Diatomaceous earth is safe for your yard, yet you’ll need more for it to be effective. In addition, it won’t work when wet.
Like other treatments, it needs reapplication to treat fleas and other pests.
DE is effective, non-toxic, and can be used with no harsh chemicals.
How Long Does It Take For Diatomaceous Earth To Kill Fleas On Cats?
Does diatomaceous earth kill fleas on cats and dogs? The instructions below will show you how to apply diatomaceous earth to adult fleas:
- Decide where you will apply the diatomaceous earth or where does your pet spend most of its time, including its bed, carpeted areas, and so on?
- Vacuum the areas where your pet is most likely to be found. Because DE does not affect flea eggs until they hatch, this is the best way to catch any flea eggs that may be present.
- Dust diatomaceous earth over beds, carpeting, and any other areas where your pet spends time, being careful not to get the small particles in their eyes or mouth to avoid health issues. When applying DE, wear gloves to keep your hands from drying out.
- Sit back and let the diatomaceous earth kill fleas. Do you know how long diatomaceous earth (DE) should be left on a carpet to control flea populations? It’s suggested that you keep it on the carpet for at least three days before vacuuming, while others say two weeks is the ideal time for flea control.
- Wash your pet with a natural anti-flea shampoo after letting the DE sit for three days. Shampooing adds another layer of flea control after you remove fleas with DE.
Will Diatomaceous Earth Hurt My Cat?
Flea prevention is a year-round concern for pet parents, and for a good reason. Flea bites and flea infestations cause itching and even infections on the skin.
Diatomaceous earth for dogs and cats is frequently recommended as a natural flea repellent.
Food-grade diatomaceous earth has a significantly lower silica content than industrial diatomaceous earth.
Thus, the US Food and Drug Administration has deemed it “Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS)” for human consumption.
DE food-grade is frequently sprinkled on vegetable and fruit gardens to help keep insects away from the crops. But, according to a board-certified veterinary dermatologist, it’s more for use in the house and garden.
Types of Diatomaceous Earth
There are two basic types of diatomaceous earth, which are distinguished by their crystalline silica content:
- Food-grade DE (diatomaceous earth)
- Filter-grade diatomaceous earth
The food grade variant comprises between 0.5 and 2% crystalline silica for human consumption.
Mammals are poisoned by non-food or filter-grade diatomaceous earth. This form of silica can contain up to 60% crystalline silica.
Is Using Diatomaceous Earth for Fleas Hazardous?
Diatomaceous earth could irritate noses and nasal passages when inhaled.
It might cause inflammation and dryness on the skin, and because of its abrasive nature, diatomaceous earth can irritate the eyes.
People working with diatomaceous earth regularly risk developing silicosis, which is an incurable chronic inflammatory lung disease.
Wearing gloves, goggles, and a mask are recommended with any form of diatomaceous earth for fleas and keeping it in a sealed container when not in use.
How often can I put diatomaceous earth on my cat?
Diatomaceous earth for cats and dogs is only efficient in killing insects because it penetrates and dries out the insect’s exoskeleton when it comes into direct contact.
Internal parasites, including hookworms, roundworms, whipworms, pinworms, and tapeworms, can be eliminated using the sharp edges of the powder by mixing food grade diatomaceous earth into a cat or dog food. (Read Low Light Indoor Plants Safe For Cats)
Because pets are unique, consult your veterinarian about treatment duration and dosages to ensure your dog or cat is treated correctly.
DE can be applied topically to external parasites like fleas and ticks. It’s available in powder form for dogs and blends food-grade diatomaceous earth with essential oil extracts.
It can be rubbed into your dog’s coat and used on carpets, but keep the powder away from his eyes, nose, and mouth.
Again, whether you’re planning to use diatomaceous earth internally or topically, it’s critical to consult with your veterinarian first to ensure that you’re utilizing it correctly and adequately.
If you have any questions about flea prevention, talk to your veterinarian. Talk to a veterinarian regarding the safest and effective flea preventative medicine for pets.