Diatomaceous earth is a natural, chemical-free way to control tapeworms and other parasites that can plague your dog’s intestinal tract. It’s vital when you use diatomaceous earth for this purpose, you select only the food-grade version of the product, as other industrial grades can be deadly for your dog.
Diatomaceous earth is a natural substance comprised of crushed fossilized single-celled freshwater organisms. The fossilized elements have razor sharp edges that pierce the bodies of parasites, leaving them to dehydrate and die, all while doing no harm to the animal host. Food-grade diatomaceous earth can be purchased at feed and pet supply stores.
A parasite that grows and reproduces in your dog’s small intestine, tapeworms have the potential to deplete your dog of important nutrients and can even create intestinal blockage. Tapeworms can be contracted if your dog eats an animal infected by the parasite, or contracts fleas that carry the parasite’s eggs. Signs of tapeworm include your dog scooting his bottom on the ground, worms in his poop or the appearance of dried tapeworms in your dog’s bedding that resemble golden grains of rice.
If you suspect tapeworms, consult your vet for a diagnostic evaluation and bring a stool sample with you if possible. If the condition is advanced, your dog may require surgery to remove intestinal blockage. If he’s found nutritionally deficient, he may need supplemental feeding. Once you know the extent of the condition you can discuss use of diatomaceous earth with your vet.
Diatomaceous Earth Treatment
Diatomaceous earth should be fed to your dog in his regular food for at least 30 days. This will help ensure the elimination of adult tapeworms, larvae and eggs. Consult your vet for the proper amount to give your dog. Typically, for dogs less than 55 pounds, 1 teaspoon per day of food grade diatomaceous earth is suggested. Dogs more than 55 pounds often are advised to be given 1 tablespoon per day.
Diatomaceous earth is abrasive, and as such, some pet owners worry about wear on their dog's tooth enamel. Mixing the substance with our dog's food can help to reduce the potential for enamel damage.
Future flea prevention can help ensure your dog doesn't get another round of tapeworms.