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The fleas are gone why is my pet still scratching and licking?

There are two possible causes. First is flea bite dermatitis (FBD) the other is flea allergy dermatitis (FAD). They sound similar but do have different causes. Fleas themselves can cause itching due to the direct irritation from their bite. This is FBD. In contrast with FAD which is an allergy to flea saliva means that your pet\'s immune system produces substances that magnify the severity of itching.

With FBD the skin is normally red and inflamed, which raises its temperature and humidity and creates the perfect environment for bacterial and fungal growth.

Most of the damage in FAD is caused by self-trauma, the animal scratching itself. The first symptom you may notice is severe itching and inflammation of the skin. The dog will scratch and bite at affected areas often causing damage to the skin that may develop into circular, red painful sores called hot spots. These hot spots can occur anywhere but are most commonly seen along the back and at the base of the tail.

Many owners don\'t know that itchy cats don\'t scratch as much but instead groom, so while they think the cat is frequently washing itself they don\'t realize that it is actually very itchy.

In a multi-pet household, your other pets may not have the same symptoms. Not all pets are affected with FAD.

FAD is more common in atopic (the genetic predisposition of an individual to produce high quantities of IgE in response to allergens) but any breed of dog or cat can be affected. Flea allergic dermatitis is uncommon in animals less than six months of age, and the average age range is 3-6 years. However, any age of animal can suffer flea allergic dermatitis. There is no sex predisposition.

We recommend that you can contact your vet if you suspect either of these conditions. Lumino does have free samples of Canine Cool Balm for Hot Spots if you would like to try it.

Can DE for Pets be used to repel insects?

Yes sort of, but it is not the recommended procedure. It is only a repellent if you use too much. Clumps of DE look like mountains to insects they do not usually want to walk over them

When DE gets wet does it still work?

Yes, once DE dries out it will continue to work. Depending on how it got wet it may wash away and be ground into the soil where it won\'t be as effective.

If DE stays dry how long is it effective?

It actually stays effective as long as it is dry. However, as it gets covered with dust or dirt over a period of time, it becomes less effective.

My pets spend a lot of time in my car, do I need to dust it for fleas also?

Yes, it should be applied wherever the pets lie down as well as under mats and seats.

Why haven't I heard more about DE before now?

DE is a naturally occurring product that can't be patented.  That means it is of little interest to the drug companies.  Many individuals buying DE are doing so because of referrals from family or friends.  DE doesn't generate enough profits to pay for the advertising and marketing that supports OTC and prescription drugs.

Many people claim DE is especially dangerous if inhaled, is this true?

NO.  There is confusion because Food Grade DE and Commercial Filtering DE have the same name.  Filter grade DE is heated to over 1,000 degrees and then fluxed with additional chemicals to crystallize it.  These additional step makes it a valuable filtering agent, but also cause it to be dangerous to people and pets.

The World Heath Organization states that DE needs to be less than 2% crystalline silica to be generally considered safe. Filter grade DE is 60% crystalline silica. Filter grade DE is dangerous and should be handled with extreme caution.

All Lumino DE is less than 1\2 of 1% crystalline silica and all other sediments that are considered unsafe by the FDA are below harmful limits. This is four times more than the recommended maximum for safety. Lumino DE is a fine powder, and should be used with caution, as any powder should be, by those with respiratory complications, such as asthma.

How do I use DE in food storage?

The recommended ratio is one cup of DE for every forty pounds of grain or legume product. This is approximately one cup of DE for a five-gallon container. Both the DE and grain need to be dry for even coating and equal distribution. Mixing smaller batches makes this easier.

Stray baby kittens with fleas have just adopted me. How old do they need to be to treat with DE?

We recommend using DE on pets 8 weeks of age or older. Before that time their respiratory, circulatory, nervous, and immune systems are not fully developed. This said, we know of individuals, especially those involved in feral rescue, who use DE much earlier. They believe that if left untreated, the animal will contact parvo, and be more apt to die.

I have rabbits, guinea pigs, and goats. What other pets besides dogs and cats can be treated with DE?

All of the above, plus poultry, alpacas, llamas, horses, and other livestock. There has been discussion about using DE internally for goats. Some owners find it works and others don't. There is little information available about using DE on reptiles. I would rather err on the side of caution until more is known and not use DE on reptiles.

I keep reading about all the benefits for humans. Why isn't this mentioned on the label?

EPA labeling regulations are extremely restrictive regarding what is allowed (as well as what must appear) on a label when it is used as an insecticide. That aside, almost everyone in our office, lab, and warehouse takes a teaspoon or more of DE in a glass of water or juice every day. Most of us take it for four reasons: 1) we spend time around a variety of animals, 2) we travel to foreign countries, 3) we spend much time outside in the garden and 4) as a mineral additive, the high concentration of silica is great for our skin, hair, and nails.

Which side of a chicken has the most feathers?


I understand how DE kills fleas and mites on pets, but how does it kill internal parasites?

There are two schools of thought on how this works. The first is that it kills internally the same as externally, that is by absorbing lipids from the waxy outer layer of the insect's exoskeleton, causing them to dehydrate.

The second, and the one I tend to favor, is that the alkaline ph level, combined with the high concentration of minerals, drives the parasites out of the body looking for more favorable surroundings.

We have a horrible problem here with (ants, silverfish, fire ants, bedbugs, bees, mice, rats, etc.)   What other pests besides fleas will DE eliminate?

DE eliminates most crawling insects and pests. It is not effective against most flying insects, as the DE falls off during flight. Still, we don't recommend using it near honey bees or ladybugs. When fed internallly or sprinkled on the ground, farmers report fewer flies as it dries the manure quicker.

Why did the chicken cross the playground?

To get to the other SLIDE!

What is your position regarding "spot on" flea repellents?

"Spot-Ons" are advertised heavily, recommended by trusted veterinarians and represented as safer, easier to use alternatives to the older pesticides.  But is the new mix of neurotoxins really safe for pets and your family?

Organo phosphates (aka Chlorpyrifos, Diazinon, Dioxathion and Malathion) and carbamates (aka Carbaryl, Methomyl and Propoxur) were among the original chemicals in flea/tick treatments. Both work by interfering with the transmission of nerve signals. Unfortunately these effects are not confined to the pests but eventually caused enough animal damage and death, that the EPA removed some of them from the US marketplace.  Many of these ingredients are still used in flea collars and flea bombs.

These were replaced by the "Spot-On" treatments.  They are represented by four general categories of insecticides.  The active ingredients of three of them (imidacloprid, fipronil, permethrin) work by disrupting the nervous system of insects.  The fourth type, whose active ingredients are methoprene and pyriproxyfen insect growth regulators (IGR).  They don\'t kill but interrupt the flea\'s life cycle.

These insecticides are promoted as being absorbed into the skin layer where they stay as a reservoir.  Results of radio-labeling produce far different results demonstrating that the chemicals are absorbed systemically.  They were found in various organs and fat and also excreted in urine and feces.

Though supposedly safer, all of these ingredients have been associated with laboratory animal health defects.  The severity of reactions to these new insecticides range from:

  • minor skin irritation, skin sloughing, hair loss
  • body twitches/tremors
  • nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal and lumbar pain
  • whining, barking, crying
  • lack of coordination from stiffened limbs, unsteady gait
  • organ damage to liver, kidney, heart, lungs, spleen, adrenals, brain, gonads
  • increased miscarriages and smaller offspring
  • elevated aggressive behavior, learning disruption
  • animal carcinogen and possible human carcinogen
  • death

These responses are cause for alarm indicating high levels of acute and chronic poisoning from even short-term use.  There has not been sufficient time to evaluate long-term cumulative use.  Also unknown is the potential for synergistic effects from the combined impact of multiple exposures to different chemicals.

The corporate and federal response to these risks has been to amend the product label to include:

  • Additional dosing information,
  • Distinguishing between cat and dog products,
  • Improving label clarity and
  • Addressing uncertainties about inert ingredients.

While these recommendations are worthwhile and necessary to provide more information to the consumer they miss the underlying problem.  It is not the product label but the products ingredients that cause harm.

Even following these new label directions is not sufficient.  Pyrethrin, permethrin and phenothrin can cause severe adverse reactions in cats and ferrets.  These are recommended for use on dogs only, but in mixed pet households cats receiving secondary exposure via contact with treated dogs are suffering from the effects.

Many organizations (NRDC, HSUS, HSVMA) including the EPA are questioning the short and long-term effects of their use.  Our pets have become often-unwilling test subjects.

Not every pet exhibits symptoms from these "Spot Ons".  Adult healthy animals are less likely to manifest problems compared to animals that are very young, old, or suffering from chronic disease.

As a pet guardian you need to evaluate benefits and risks of pesticides.  This should include acknowledging the consequences of increased insect resistance to ever expanding, more complicated and possibly more toxic pesticide formulas.

If you do decide to use flea and tick products, follow these simple steps to help prevent problems:

  • Never use dog treatments on cats, and vice versa
  • Always be certain of your pet's weight before purchase to ensure proper dosage
  • Don't split one "large dog" dose in half for two small dogs (or combine two "small dog" doses for one large dog)
  • Read and follow all instructions when using these products
  • Do not use these products on elderly or pregnant animals

How to tell if your pet has been poisoned:

Symptoms of poisoning by flea/tick treatments may include salivating, dilated pupils, tremors, vomiting, hiding, shivering, and skin irritation.

What do the English call small black cats?