Diatomaceous Earth

kittensMay 11, 2011

I bought some food grade St. Gabriel DE with the hopes of dusting my cat kennel for flea control. The package says its a pet approved brand safe for indoors and outdoors. However, I have a concern because there is a precautionary statement about it being hazardous to humans and domestic animals. It says "Causes moderate eye irritation. Avoid contact with eyes. Use adequate ventilation and avoid breathing dust. Wear a suitable dust mask when using this product during prolonged exposure". I'm stumped! Does anyone know how to safely use this product? Aren't they going to breath it in when they are out there playing? What if the wind blows it up in their eyes? Would dusting around the outside perimeter of the kennel do the trick?

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Whoa Nellie.
Just to put things straight DE has been used for thousands of years around people, livestock and pets and without issue. About 15 years ago some people got freaky about DE because with repeated exposure to lots and lots and lots and lots of DE - IE: working in the profession - people can suffer probelms directly related to DE exposure. It can cause eye irritations and DE works by cutting the shells of hard bodied insects causing them to dehydrate and die, well DE can have some detrimental impact on a persons lungs just the same. SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO dont place it when the wind is blowing really hard, dont use half a bag when a cup will do and dont go into an enclosed bathroom, close the door put your head in the bag and inhale - be like Clinton and dont inhale and use it outside in the open air and you will be fine and so will your animals.
De will lose alot of it potency when in contact with water, even though it has been used for centuries - like since King Tut - in order to combat intestinal parasites, you should really reapply after a rain or a mud bath or something equally wet.
So the label is mostly a precaution against using too much in a place that is very confined and if you are really concerned dont get a job working in the mine pitts without good medical insurance and protective gear....otherwise you should be fine.
I have applied it and some wind came up and when I finally close my mouth after being shocked at the white whirlwind of De floating around me, I felt the DE in my teeth, just like sand at the beach - it can get everywhere. I have yet to suffer any ill effects as a result.
You and your furbabies should be fine. Good luck....

    Bookmark   May 12, 2011 at 2:35AM
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Thank you for all that info, now I'm feeling very reassured about using the product now! I would like to do a preventative treatment to avoid fleas but am reluctant to treat them with pesticides since I haven't found any signs of bugs on them. I'm going to do a light dusting tomorrow.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2011 at 9:52PM
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just use a face mask and eye protective-wear and you'll be fine. The danger is in the dust while applying it. After it settles it's fine. When using on the animals use a lampshade type collar to prevent dust from getting in thier lungs and eyes as well.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2011 at 5:32AM
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I've used DE with no problems. To dust for fleas I put some in an old sock and carefully pat it around on the animal so it just leaves a very light dusting. Don't do it vigorusly enough to make a cloud in the air or anything. I have also mixed it in wet cat food to treat for worms (think it's 1/2 tsp?) with good results.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2011 at 4:12PM
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That was going to be my next question, how to apply it to them and how much. I haven't even gotten to use it outside yet. It's been raining non-stop. Thankfully, they don't have any fleas. We have an enormous amount of moles this year though. That's why I wanted to treat. The moles unknowingly made death-tunnels next to the cat kennel within paws reach. So far they've dragged in 4 dead moles and one very much alive mole! They are nuts. I'm afraid they are going to get fleas from them.

I've been very blessed where none of my cats have ever had a flea issue. Why do people use the Frontline products instead of the DE if it's so much safer?

    Bookmark   May 19, 2011 at 11:22PM
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Kittens, because most people don't know about the DE or they think something from a doctor is better.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2011 at 12:18AM
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I found a really good write-up about all the usage and dosage information. It looks like if I put it down on my lawn, I might decrease the mole food, too :). I found my at a fraction of the cost they have it listed for in an Agway store.

Here is a link that might be useful: DE usage and dosage

    Bookmark   May 20, 2011 at 2:30AM
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Because DE has to be reapplied so much more often DE kills all hard bodied insects not just fleas, so it will kill ladybugs spiders and all the beneficial insects that come in contact with the powder. Topical applications target fleas and nothing else.
Mole problems are another thing. Moles take alot to get rid of, the good thing is that they dont carry alot of transmitted diseases and your cats are doing you are great favor by killing them. Good luck with solving your issues

    Bookmark   May 20, 2011 at 2:37PM
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Up until recently I have been giving my dogs Sentinel, which is a heartworm and flea medication in one. I've never seen a single flea on them, until the end of April/beginning of May. I don't know if it's because we had a lot of rain early in the spring here in Atlanta, and maybe we have a bumper crop of fleas, but we were all getting eaten alive. I dislike chemicals of any kind and really didn't want to have to go out and buy more flea medication when I've already bought a full year's supply for my 3 dogs! I tried to go the natural route, DE, essential oils like lavendar and cedar. Unfortunately, it just didn't work. It was difficult to get the DE all the way down to my pets' skin. I feel like I would have had to shave them to get it in good. It dried their fur out really bad and seemed to make them even more itchy. In the end I caved and bought some Comfortis, but I need to make a decision soon because that only lasts a month. Do I redouble my efforts with the natural stuff or buy Frontline or something similar. I hate the stuff and feel that it can't be good for my pets, but we can't live with the fleas either. I'm not sure what to do.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2011 at 3:44PM
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I know, mazer, I love that they are killing them (just wish they'd keep them outside)! We normally have 3-4 every year and my indoor/outdoor kitty leaves them on the doorstep. She's brought me over a dozen this year on top of what my kenneled cats have caught. My neighbors had a bunch too so I guess it's the year of the mole :) - wow!

blessedbe, did you read the old thread that is up about Comfortis? I would not chance that product after some of the messages posted. Flea infestations are awful. I'd do a compromise just to get it under control - treating the house/dog run area with natural products and a Frontline type product if you aren't having success with the natural. If you do find a different natural product that works - do let us know! I don't think anyone likes the chemicals but everyone can't suffer if nothing else works.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2011 at 12:02AM
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