Food-Grade Diatomaceous Earth: The Many Health Benefits For Dogs And Their Humans

Benefits of Food-Grade Diatomaceous Earth For Dogs And Humans

This post is about the benefits of food-grade Diatomaceous Earth for dogs and humans. You’ll also learn about the proper dosage of food-grade Diatomaceous Earth as well as how to use it around your home for flea control.

But first, I need to share the story of how I learned about Diatomaceous Earth (DE) in the first place. That part was only indirectly linked to dogs. 

When I came back from my road trip to TN in late July, an ant trail welcomed me back home as soon as I opened the pantry door.

They must have been attracted by a cookie crumb that fell on the bottom of the pantry.  

Either way, I felt the very strong urge to get rid of them as soon as possible. Who wouldn’t, right? Plus I have a special love-hate relationship with those little suckers, especially the biting fire-ant kind. Ugh. 

So my first plan of attack was to clean up the trail by spraying the ants with my vinegar spray bottle. That actually worked like a charm and killed every last one of those ants on the trail. 

Side note: It’s the same vinegar spray bottle I carry on me when walking dogs. I mentioned it in 3 Tips For A Safe Encounter With Loose Dogs.

DIY loose dog deterrent vinegar spray

However! More ants came crawling out from underneath the baseboards in the pantry, sending me into a repetitive spraying/cleaning frenzy.

I knew I needed a long-term natural insecticide because I neither wanted Missy nor myself to be harmed by toxic chemicals. However, I doubted that the local grocery store had anything of that sort. 

30 mins later I knew they definitely didn’t when I returned home with toxic ant bait.

Using ant bait in the pantry before resorting to Diatomaceous Earth
Toxic ant bait in my pantry

I was OK with setting up the short-term bait solution along the baseboards inside of the pantry. That’s because Missy wouldn’t be able to stick her curious nose in there, at least until I came up with a natural solution.

By the way, this is how the bait works: The ants crawl inside and grab the bait, then take it back into their nest(s). That’s where they share it with their fellow ant buddies & queen, resulting in multiple ant deaths.

Now the ant bait worked great – I watched the ants walk into the bait and by the end of the day, I didn’t see any more ants. It was then that I started researching natural alternatives to my ant problem. I found several products on Google, but one that kept coming back up was food-grade Diatomaceous Earth.

Benefits of Food-Grade Diatomaceous Earth For Dogs And Humans

Food-Grade Diatomaceous Earth for dogs and their humans

Disclaimer: This blog post contains affiliate links. I may earn compensation when you click on the links at no additional cost to you

What exactly IS Food-Grade Diatomaceous Earth?

Food-Grade Diatomaceous Earth are the fossilized remains of diatoms (diatoms are single-celled algae that have transparent cell walls made of silica.

They’re found anywhere there is water such as in oceans, lakes, and rivers. 

It is an odorless, very fine white/off-white powder that consists of 85% amorphous silica (naturally occurring trace mineral) and a number of other trace minerals such as calcium, magnesium, titanium dioxide, gallium, and sodium. 

Whenever I look at it I’m reminded of the powdery-sugar like beaches on the West Coast of Florida. #ThatsJustMe

K9sOverCoffee | Food Grade Diatomaceous Earth for Dogs

Benefits of Food-Grade Diatomaceous Earth For Dogs & Humans

Food-grade Diatomaceous Earth is a natural cleanser & detoxifier for both dogs and humans because of its abrasive capabilities.

They’re what causes pests to die and which clean our dog’s AND our human internal systems.

The abrasive diatoms create holes in the insects’ exoskeleton which cause them to loose their body fluids and eventually die.

  • Natural Insecticide (keeps pests such as fleas and ants out of your home)
  • Natural Pest Control (kills fleas, ticks, lice, spiders, roaches and mites)
  • Boosts Liver Function
  • Naturally Rich in Minerals (calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, sodium, selenium, iron, copper, zinc, potassium)
  • Whole Body Cleanser (gently flushes digestive tract & absorbs harmful toxins in the blood) 
  • Cleaner Looking Skin & Coat (Dogs)/Healthier Hair (Humans)
  • Natural Dewormer (gets rid of roundworms, whipworms, pinworms, & hookworms
  • Supports Healthy Bones & Protects Joints

Good to know: While food-grade Diatomaceous Earth gets rid of lots of internal worms, it does not kill heartworms.

I Use Food-Grade Diatomaceous Earth …

For Ant & Flea-Control Around the House

I started dusting the patio threshold with the DE as a preventative measure to keep pests out. I look at it as the equivalent of a “Keep Out” sign in ant/flea/whatever crawly language.

I’ve also lined the kitchen baseboards with it for the same preventative reasoning.

If you’re dealing with a flea infestation, here’s how to use food-grade Diatomaceous Earth for fleas on dogs:

  • Thoroughly vacuum all carpeted areas
  • Wash your pet’s bedding on the hot cycle
  • Next, dust DE onto your vacuumed carpet and onto your pet’s washed bedding using a sieve or specific DE-applicator/powder duster
  • Leave it there for several days, then vacuum/wash your pet bedding again
  • I recommend tossing your vacuum bag right after you’ve vacuumed to avoid fleas crawling back out. If you have a bagless vacuum, empty the dirt tank right away and wash it out with hot water.
  • You can also apply some food-grade DE to your dog’s coat. Leave it on for a few hours, then wash it off and treat your pup’s coat with a flea-specific dog shampoo. For example, Vet’s Best Flea Itch Relief Dog Shampoo.
Missy Helping Me Line The Patio Threshold With Food-Grade Diatomaceous Earth
Dusting thresholds with DE using a paint brush
Lining The Kitchen Baseboards With Food-Grade Diatomaceous Earth
Dusting baseboards with food-grade DE

In My Pups’ Raw Dog Food

I add a teaspoon of the food-grade Diatomaceous Earth to Missy’s dinners (more on how much to feed below). It’s perfect to mix in with her raw food and she doesn’t mind it one bit.

You can also easily mix it into your dog’s wet dog food. If you’re feeding kibble, add a little water to the DE to help the powder stick to the dry dog food.

Update 2023: My current pup Wally also gets DE with his daily dinner.

Raw Dog Food With 1 Teaspoon of Food-Grade Diatomaceous Earth
Food-grade DE in Wally’s homemade raw meal

How Much Food-Grade Diatomaceous Earth To Feed Your Dog recommends the following daily feeding guidelines: 

  • 1/2 teaspoon for small dogs and puppies (once they’re on solid food)
  • 1 teaspoon for dogs weighing under 50 lbs
  • 1 tablespoon for dogs weighing over 50 lbs
  • 2 tablespoons for dogs weighing over 100 lbs

In order to be effective, especially when you’re giving it to get rid of internal worms, you have to feed it on a daily basis for at least 30 days!

Diatomaceous Earth for dogs dosage

In MY Smoothies

After reading about all of its health benefits I just had to start using it myself as well. I began adding 1/2 teaspoon to my banana smoothies.

Food-Grade DIATOMACEOUS EARTH for Dogs & Humans

Only Feed/Eat Food-Grade DE (NOT the pool-grade kind)

Food-Grade means it’s fit for human & pet consumption.

It is really important to feed FOOD-GRADE Diatomaceous Earth only, and under no circumstances the industrial pool/fish tank-grade DE that is used for filtering purposes. 

The latter has been chemically treated, is not biodegradable and very harmful when ingested. It consists of crystalline silica (unlike the amorphous silica in food-grade DE), which is classified as a lung carcinogen!

Don’t Inhale Food-Grade Diatomaceous Earth

Inhaled DE can irritate the lungs, so when filling a glass jar for Missy’s & my personal usage, I scooped it out using a spoon rather than transferring it from the bag into the jar via means of pouring. I suppose another way to avoid breathing it in would be to wear a face mask.

How Much Food-Grade Diatomaceous Earth To Feed Yourself

The bag I bought didn’t come with instructions on how to use it, so I did my own research on the web.

I kept reading to start with 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of food-grade DE and to work your way up to 1 tablespoon per day.

Where To Buy Food-Grade Diatomaceous Earth

I’m an Amazon kinda gal, so I get a 10 lb food-grade bag of Freshwater Diatomaceous Earth on Amazon. It’s sourced in the USA and available via Prime, so I had it delivered two days later, for the price of $28.99. #LoveAmazonPrime

Food-Grade Diatomaceous Earth For Dogs And Humans: Bottom Line

Food-Grade Diatomaceous Earth fits right in with my mission of creating a healthier environment for both dogs and humans.

I personally prefer natural alternatives over chemical based skincare & pest prevention products. That’s in addition to feeding a minimally processed, raw dog food diet

It has a plethora of benefits ranging from preventing pests to detoxifying and cleansing the body all the way to getting rid of fleas and ants! Enthusiastically recommended!

P.S. I found out about a very informative article on the different uses and risks of DE for us humans on Check it out here.

Leave your comments or questions below in the comment section!

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Barbara launched her blog K9sOverCoffee in 2014 and has been feeding her dogs raw dog food since 2015. As a former professional dog walker, she’s passionate about balancing species-appropriate exercise with healthy dog nutrition. Barbara is raw dog food nutrition certified from “Dogs Naturally Magazine” and the author of several e-books about minimally processed, balanced raw dog food.






8 responses to “Benefits of Food-Grade Diatomaceous Earth For Dogs And Humans”

  1. 2 brown dawgs blog Avatar

    I have heard of that for flea control but with mixed results.

    1. K9sOverCoffee Avatar

      How was it used? By sprinkling on the carpet/massaging it into the dog’s fur?

      1. 2 brown dawgs blog Avatar

        If I am not mistaken, they fed it to the dogs.

        1. K9sOverCoffee Avatar

          Ok – when it’s fed, it’ll only get rid of a variety of worms that are present inside the body, but not attack pests that live in the dog’s coat. It would need to be rubbed/massaged into the coat, and ideally also onto any carpet and doggie bedding, as well as applied at thresholds between the interior/exterior of the house. The yard and grass can also be dusted with it to keep pests away.

  2. Rosemary Dowell Avatar
    Rosemary Dowell

    Hi Barbra!

    I saw the link to your post and got super excited!!

    I use DE to keep those internal and external pesky pests at bay.

    They started having it when I switched them to a 100% raw diet. I thought to myself it would be pointless to feed them a healthy diet and then give them poison to deal with any pests.

    I also use it to keep any skin pests away. I sprinkle little bits on their coats and then work the powder through with my fingers and a dog comb. I wear gloves when I do this because they can become tender after treating 3 dogs.

    Excellent article!

    1. K9sOverCoffee Avatar

      Hi Rosemary,

      Thank you so much for your great feedback! I’m always stoked to meet fellow raw feeders and to hear success stories from them.

      I had the exact same thought process when switching to raw – I figured if I’m going to cut out highly processed foods, I can’t stop there! That’s when I looked into truly natural alternatives to chemical pest preventatives and found – to my surprise! – several different options that work just as well as all those chemical treatments, except that they don’t harm my pups (and us humans when you think about it)!

      I even stopped using dryer sheets once I learned about all the chemicals they contain. It’s quite shocking how many toxins are ever present around us; at the same time it’s enlightening to find out about healthy, non-toxic options!

  3. Patty Avatar


    How do you keep the dog from inhaling the powder when applying to his coat, and afterwards when he may sniff himself?


    1. Barbara Rivers Avatar

      You’ll only want to apply a little and don’t leave it on for too long. One idea is to have your pup wear a sweater or jacket while it’s on their coat.

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