Parrots at an exposed cliff in Peru, where they gather to eat clay, which is richer in sodium than plants in the area.

Frans Lemmens/Getty Images

Clay can provide several benefits to animals in various ways. Here are a few examples:


  • Digestive Health: Some animals, such as birds and mammals, have been observed consuming clay or soil rich in clay minerals. This behavior is known as geophagy and is believed to help animals with digestion. The clay can act as a binding agent, helping to neutralize toxins and bind them to be eliminated from the body. It can also provide essential minerals and trace elements that may be lacking in their diet.


  • Detoxification: Clay has natural adsorbent properties, meaning it can attract and bind to toxins and impurities. When animals come into contact with toxins, such as pesticides or heavy metals, applying clay topically or allowing them to ingest it can help in the detoxification process. Clay can bind to these harmful substances, preventing their absorption into the animal's system.


  • Wound Healing: Clay has been used for centuries as a natural remedy for wound healing in humans, and it can also benefit animals in this regard. When applied to wounds, clay can help absorb excess moisture, reduce inflammation, provide a protective barrier against bacteria, and promote faster healing. It can be particularly useful for animals with superficial cuts, scrapes, or skin irritations.


  • Pest Control: Certain types of clay, such as diatomaceous earth, have insecticidal properties. When insects come into contact with diatomaceous earth, the microscopic particles can penetrate their exoskeleton, causing dehydration and death. This natural pest control method can be used to protect animals from external parasites like fleas, ticks, and mites.


  • Environmental Enrichment: Some animals, especially those kept in captivity, can benefit from clay as a form of environmental enrichment. Clay can be provided as a substrate for digging and burrowing, which allows animals to engage in natural behaviors. It can also be used in the creation of artificial nests or burrows for animals that require such structures for breeding or nesting purposes.


  • It's important to note that while clay can provide these benefits, the specific use and dosage of clay may vary depending on the animal species and their individual needs. It's always recommended to consult with a veterinarian or an expert familiar with the particular animal species before using clay for any specific purpose.

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