Does Diatomaceous Earth Kill Tapeworms?

Diatomaceous Earth closeup
Diatomaceous Earth closeup

When my cats would get worms I would have to bring them to the vet to get prescription medication.  It wasn’t until I started using diatomaceous earth for flea control and started to research the magical powders other uses, that I came across using it as a body detox for people.  I researched some more because I wanted to know does diatomaceous earth kill tapeworms?  The answer is yes diatomaceous earth will kill tapeworms and it is a natural cat dewormer.  Tapeworms aren’t the only parasite that diatomaceous earth kills.  It will also kill:

  • Roundworms
  • Pinworms
  • Hookworms and
  • Threadworms

How does diatomaceous earth kill tapeworms?

Fossiled remains of diatoms is what makes up diatomaceous earth.  The texture to us is a powder but if looked at under a microscope, you will see sharp razor-like edges.  These edges cut into the parasite and the result is that it dehydrates the creature and they die.

Is Diatomaceous earth safe for cats?

Yes, it is, both topically and internally.  I have been using it topically for almost two years on my cats.  I have also been putting it in their food a couple times a week to use as worm prevention.  You can read about diatomaceous earth as flea control here.

Both the CDC and the National Pesticide Information Center have fact sheets on Diatomaceous Earth. The CDC fact sheet for Amorphous (Freshwater) Diatomaceous Earth states that there are no known chemical dangers and no short-term effects from exposure (there are long term effects). A phrase of caution contained in the fact sheet states “harmful concentration of airborne particles can, however, be reached quickly when dispersed” which is true.  However, I’ve been using this stuff for a while and my assumption is this is in relation to large quantities.

The National Pesticide Information Center states that amorphous diatomaceous earth is quickly eliminated from lung tissue.  Crystalline diatomaceous earth is smaller and can build up in the lungs. The product we use is amorphous (or freshwater) and is food grade. Crystalline is not food grade and is usually used in pool treatments and pesticides. Click here to read my food grade diatomaceous earth reviews and be sure to buy the proper product.

How to use diatomaceous earth for parasites?

Does diatomaceous earth kill tapeworms
A heaping teaspoon of DE

I myself take a heaping teaspoon every couple of days mixed in water.  When I administer it to my cats they get a level quarter teaspoon every few days which ends up being once or twice a week.  I don’t give it to them every day as they currently don’t have any parasites and I use it as prevention.

For cats that are currently infected with parasites, then I would give them a bit more for a week straight.  That should take care of the problem.  Some websites mention a full teaspoon for 10 days but that seems like a lot for a small kitty.

I don’t want to give them (or myself for that matter) too much diatomaceous earth because of its parasite removal properties.  You can get pretty constipated because it works so well!  With Gyula already having constipation issues, I don’t want to aggravate his condition.  He does great with the amount I’m giving him now so I’m sticking with it.

The most important thing to remember when using diatomaceous earth for human or pet use is to buy food grade diatomaceous earth.  Non-food grade diatomaceous earth contains chemicals and is used for pools and pesticides.

Leave me a comment about your experience with diatomaceous earth!


  1. I’d never even heard of diatomaceous (that’s a mouthful) earth before and I’m still not exactly sure what is it, but it sounds like there are a lot of benefits to using it. I mean yuck, who wants to have tapeworms or parasites? Sounds like it’s worth a try. Does it work for dogs as well? I am assuming it must if it is safe for your cats.

    1. Yes, it absolutely works for dogs as well as any animal or human! Many farms use it in chicken and horse feed to reduce parastites. Chicken farms have reported better eggs after feeding diatomaceous earth! I take a teaspoon in water a couple of times a wekk as well. It is not only good to get rid of parasites but it helps with keeping the colon cleansed as well!

      1. DE has no affect on heartworms. The parasite is transmitted by female mosquitos when she feeds on blood. The parasite does not enter the GI/digestive tract therefore consuming DE will not have ANY effect on heartworms.

    1. I usually mix a little in with their food. It’s a bit gritty so you don’t want to add too much and turn them off from eating. I’ve never added it to their water for the simple fact that it will settle on the bottom and they won’t get the benefit from it. Cheers!

    2. Our cat started eating more and heartier after we added one and a half teaspoons to every meal–because he has/had tapeworms. He’s a large 15 pound Ragamuffin.

  2. I’ve given a teaspoon of DE every day for a week to my cat. Bad flea and lice infestation. He still has symptoms of a tapeworm as he’s eating about 4 times what he needs and would eat more. He’s lost 4 lbs in weight. My concern is, I read DE is very drying and can cause kidney problems. He already has a high white cell kidney count. Any advice appreciated. I don’t want to give him chemicals, he’s 18 years old and debilitated so wondering if there’s another option.

    1. There are two other homeopathic medications that you could try. There is Worm Clear which you can buy on Amazon and there is GI Clean Up from Pet Wellbeing. Honestly, I would try the GI Clean Up first but that’s only because I use a bunch of their products already and really like them. 🙂

      Although I have heard of the drying effect of DE, I had only heard about it being topically drying. I had never heard of it being internally drying and rough on kidneys. Thank you for educating me on that because my baby Gyula has CKD and I wouldn’t want to aggravate his condition.

      If the above products don’t work and he has a very bad infestation, you may need to get him to the vet and give him regular medicine. While I hate that option as well, sometimes it is the best course. Sending hugs and kisses to your furbaby. I hope he feels better soon!

  3. I have 3 kitties all over the age of 10. My oldest is 12 and she is so skinny but has a very healthy appetite but is prone to throwing up. Im wondering if maybe she has a tapeworm? I am excited to try your idea of putting DE in their food. A 1/4 t. twice a week?

    1. Your kitty may have tapeworms or it can be something else as well. Throwing up and being skinny is a sign of so many different ailments. A good way to check to see if your kitty has worms is to check where they were sleeping recently. Do you see little pieces of rice where they were laying? Check their butt. Do you see any pieces of rice there? Those are actually dead tapeworm segments. If they are alive, then the pieces of rice will be squirming. If you confirm that your kitty has worms, then you should give your kitty a 1/4 tsp every day for a week straight to get rid of any current infestation. 1/4 tsp twice a week is more for maintenance. If you don’t see these rice pieces then your kitty may need a checkup. Good luck and let me know if you have any questions and how things go!

    1. Honestly, I would wait until she gives birth to give her the DE. I haven’t had any experience with pregnant cats but to be on the safe side, I would just wait. Thank you for feeding the ferals as well! I help them out too and I have one that comes inside during the cold winter months. I love them all too pieces!

  4. When my pups were born they had worms. Vet gave me the normal poison. I said no. I’ll use Diatomaceous Earth. He said ok, he really is a nice guy, but it hasn’t been proven. 2 days, in 2 days zero worms. I put a few teaspoons in milk, enough to cover bottom of bowl. Only gave it twice. It worked. It’s safe. Never knew it worked on heartworm, I am very happy about that. Not every mosquito is poisonous, according to my research it takes two weeks of temperatures above 75 degrees, ( I recall 80 but to be safe) without the lowest temperatures dropping 56 or less. If those factors haven’t happened the mosquito isn’t poisonous. I do pay attention to that.

    1. That’s great Gerry! I’m so glad it helped your pups. DE is awesome and has so many uses. Thanks for letting me know how you administered it to your pups. That was a great idea to cover the bottom of the bowl they drank their milk out of. Very effective and easy!

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