With all the hype online about the use of Geranium essential oil - I will see daily comments by well intending animal people recommending its use. "Just put some drops on your dog's collar." "Soak a bandana in this solution and put it on your dog." The problem is - the quality of the essential oil, species of the Geranium, source of the essential oil, or even proper recommendations for amounts to use - are never mentioned. Leaving a person reading the comment to figure it out on their own.
What to do? Create a veterinary Geranium-based blend, that will "tick the boxes" for someone who is determined to use Geranium essential oil - and provide some good sound instructions as well.
NOTE the Cedrol crystals present at the bottom of a bottle of Juniperus mexicana.
I saw this fact more and more within the essential oil community - when choosing which essential oils they would apply to an animal, and with how they would choose to apply it. So many recommendations start out based on good information, but become a bit out of hand when everyone starts recommending its use without a lot of experience or knowledge base behind it. I feel that Geranium essential oil really fell into this situation. Sure, Geranium can repel insects, and many humans use it for many reasons. But it is a really strong smelling, and floral essential oil. Not always the most "animal appropriate" scent profile. However, I would see blog after blog, and post after post of people recommending to put a bunch of Geranium oil onto a bandana or dog collar and put that around your dog's neck to repel bugs. To see the flaw in this - I just urge any human to do the same for themselves. Soak a bandana in essential oils and put it around your neck for even an hour. I'm pretty sure you will be overwhelmed by the scent fairly quickly. And this mentions nothing of the quality of the essential oil being selected for use either. The number of Geranium oils that I have smelled that are absolutely a poor quality and give me a headache - is quite staggering.
In general - if you have used the Away blend - you can most likely use Oust in all of the similar ways in which you have become accustomed to using Away. The main factor that I consider with Oust - is the scent of Geranium - which may not be a favorite for all animals or humans. If you were planning on misting near the face of an animal (as with Away for Skunk smell) - I would still suggest the use of Away instead. For horses and other large animals around the face - I either wipe on Oust RTU Drops or spray the Oust FCO mist (that I made myself) onto my hands, then wipe around my horses face and eyes. Oust delivers a great way to use the heavily touted Geranium essential oil, but within a safer profile and more pleasant blend. While I love the scent of Geranium personally - it is a scent I can get overwhelmed with or tired of quite easily. If you are one that loves Geranium - you are likely to fall in love with this blend!
A note on Cedarwood in general... Cedarwood is quite an interesting oil. It often will be found with crystals in it (some species more than others) - and for proper blending or pouring of the essential oil - it is often required to gently heat the oil to dissolve or "melt" the crystals. If suppliers or manufacturers of products containing Cedarwood oil do not handle this essential oil correctly, the chemical profile could be greatly changed if only the liquid portion of the essential oil is used. I'm not going to lie...heating this oil is sometimes an all day adventure - and takes careful monitoring, mixing, and a lot of patience. When I work with this oil, I just cringe at the thoughts of those who are more lazy and do not know or care to recognize what is needed to use a "complete oil." It is a lot like adding a bunch of sugar to coffee - yet never stirring it. The top part of the coffee will still not taste sweet - and by the time you get to the bottom of your cup - you will get one giant sludgey gulp of coffee-sugar!
For the most part, if you are familiar with our Away blend - you can use Oust in similar ways. Oust is a NEAT blend - which means it is undiluted. It can be used for diffusion - however it is still a blend that will smell strongly of Geranium - and may not be a favorite for all within a household. When diffusing a new blend for the first time, I will always urge you to initially be present, and monitor closely that everyone within your household (even the humans). See more on Diffusion HERE. Oust is not suggested for diffusion other than in an open room - and with a water-based diffuser. Tenting and diffusion in contained quarters is not suggested for this blend.
For Birds & Exotics: Diffusion of Oust within a water-based diffuser may be appropriate in some circumstances. Please read the above paragraph regarding diffusion and the monitoring of diffusion. When odor elimination or insect control is desired via diffusion - we recommend to start with the use of the blend Away. Oust is not recommended for direct topical (undiluted) use in these species at this time, and we recommend the use of Oust RTU Drops when topical applications are desired. Oust can be added to shampoos - generally in an approximately 1% concentration for animals such as ferrets and other exotics who would be bathed. Adding about 5-6 drops or less to a Tablespoon of shampoo is a good starting point. Oust is still being evaluated with many exotic animal species, and our results so far are really excellent for a variety of insects including flies, fleas, mosquitoes, lice, gnats, and more. However, for these delicate species - we have a longer experience base and understanding of the Away blend - and will typically suggest Away as the preferred blend to start with.
Cats: Again, follow the instructions for careful initial diffusion of Oust (always within a water-based diffuser) if you select to diffuse it near cats. It has been used within many feline households to date, however it still smells predominantly of Geranium, and this may not be a favorite smell for some animals or humans. I always recommend being present, and monitoring those within the household when you diffuse any new blend for the first time. This would be true for all species - not just cats. For most cat situations, I would suggest starting with the Away blend when insect repellent actions are needed beyond the basic KittyBoost recommendations. If topical applications of Oust are desired, dilution is required. Oust RTU Drops are recommended when topical applications are desired for most cats. Oust could be added to shampoos for cats (if they are accepting of bathing) - please see the Shampoo Instructions page for more information. The 1.5% concentration should be used for most feline needs.
Although it would be safe to mist a cat with a water mist of the Oust blend - we find that most cats just don't appreciate that form of application. We always attempt to make the applications of essential oils as happy and well accepted as possible. You can certainly use your discretion on if your cat would be accepting of a spray, if you find yourself in need of it - but most of the time, we attempt to select other "cat friendly" products and methods instead. I suggest applications of KittyBoost when general insect repellency is needed. Away RTU Drops will be another excellent option for you to explore, along with the various ways we can use Away.
Oust RTU Drops are being evaluated for use for feline ear mites at this time (end of 2018) - and while this is undergoing clinical evaluations - I suggest the use of Away RTU Drops for any ear mite concerns. Oust RTU Drops have also been successfully applied to many of our outdoor farm cats with great acceptance. Several of our cats seem to enjoy the application, while some of our cats are pretty turned off by the scent profile. Now that we have multiple options available - finding the blend best suited to your cat is a great goal when you need more than KittyBoost or Away RTU Drops in your arsenal.
Dogs: Diffusion of Oust within a water based diffuser should be fine for most dog households - however, please read the above paragraphs for more information regarding this blend. Oust is the perfect option for those who are convinced they would like to use a Geranium essential oil within their bug repelling mission. For most dogs, direct topical applications should be made with Oust RTU Drops. Oust is quite excellent at eliminating odors on the dog, or on dog bedding, couches, etc... Oust can be mixed with distilled water contained within a glass spray bottle as a water mist for both odors and insect repellency.
For odor elimination on the dog - place between 4-20 drops of Oust into 4 ounces (120 mL) of distilled water. Shake the spray bottle before each use, and mist onto the dog directly where the odor is a problem. For skunk sprays, we recommend the use of the Away blend - which is also very safe to be misted near and onto the face. Away has a long track record of great use with Skunk issues.
Regular diffusion of Oust around your dog, will also permeate their coat, and will provide not only odor eliminating benefits, but will impart small servings of the therapeutic benefits of the essential oils contained within Oust, on a regular and sustained basis!
The Oust water mist can also be used on dogs as an insect repellent. For insects, a stronger solution of the Oust mist may be needed (more drops added to the water) - but it is still best to start with a few drops, make sure your dog tolerates it well, then gradually increase how many drops are in your spray bottle every few days. In most cases, we find we will use approximated 40-60 drops of Oust in a 4 ounce glass spray bottle.
See more information on Water Misting HERE.
Oust RTU Drops are recommended when topical applications directly from a bottle are desired. Please see that product page for more information. Oust can be added to shampoo for dogs - as described on the Shampoo information page. Oust can be diluted for a variety of needs and uses - including within water, salves (to repel flies from ear tips and noses), ointments, shampoos, added to laundry soap, or within a carrier oil such as Fractionated Coconut Oil or even Raw Coconut Oil. In some cases, it may be appropriate to apply Oust through a petting application (but in general we recommend use of Oust RTU Drops for petting applications). To "pet" Oust onto a dog - place 1-3 drops into your hands, rub them together until a light coating remains, then pet onto areas of need. For insect repellent; rubbing down the legs, neck, shoulders, and back are good locations to concentrate on. I especially focus on the "ankle" area of my dogs, since ticks will often contact this area first, as they start to climb up the legs.
Horses & Large Animals: These animals can use Oust in all of the ways described for dogs, although generally they can use it in higher concentrations and use more of it. For my horses and cow, prefer to add Oust to Fractionated Coconut Oil (FCO) - in up to a 10% concentration - and then mist it onto them. Our Accessories Sales Page includes the 4oz Glass Trigger Spray Bottles, which work very well for spraying essential oils contained in FCO. For convenience, Oust RTU Drops are perfect for direct from the bottle petting applications or spot care of the inside of ears or other areas affected by insect bites.
With large animals - I will also "pet" Oust directly on if there are severe bug issues that Oust RTU Drops or a mist cannot handle. For "Petting Techniques" - I will put approximately 5-10 drops into my hands, rub my hands together, then rub down the legs or wherever bugs are bothering them. For each location, I may repeat placing 5-10 drops into my hands. For gnats and little bugs that bite inside ears, and on chests, adding a "whole bunch" of Oust to Raw Coconut Oil (the kind that is solid below room temperature) or to another natural ointment or salve, and using this to coat the inside of the ears or chest area is highly effective. When I say "a whole bunch" - I will often decide how much I add to the Coconut Oil based on how much Coconut Oil I have, and how much Oust I have on hand. I know - not very scientific!!! But, truthful! In about 1/4 cup of Coconut Oil I will often add 30 or more drops. When the gnats have been really intense, I may apply Oust neat to the location of attack as well. For most cases however - I prefer to use Oust within an FCO mist up to a 10% concentration, or to use the Oust RTU Drops for "spot treatment" of areas such as the chest or inside of ears.
Water Misting applications can be used to apply Oust to a larger surface area, but again, we have found for large animals that spraying it within the Fractionated Coconut Oil creates a bit more of a lasting result. As with the blend Away, I will add "a whole bunch" of the Oust to the Fractionated (liquid) Coconut Oil when I am using it as a spray - and this may mean 60 or more drops in a 4 ounce glass spray bottle. The glass spray bottles mentioned above, do a great job of spraying the thin liquid Coconut Oil. When bugs are really bad, I will add more drops into the mixture. For a 10% concentration of Oust in Fractionated Coconut Oil one part Oust can be added to 9 parts of Coconut Oil. 10% is often the maximal concentration needed for most situations. As an example - a 30mL bottle of Oust (1 oz) could be added to an additional 9 oz of FCO. This means you will end up with 10 oz of liquid total in the end (which does not fit into the 4 oz spray bottle!)
Onward to Citronella. This essential oil is often a favorite in bug blends, and it lends a wonderful scent profile to many essential oil recipes. It certainly is not a dominant note within the blend, but definitely lends its unique properties and characteristics, as well as being helpful in "toning down" Geranium. Citronella also has a good safety record with animals, and has been used quite extensively in proper amounts and dosages.
Rosemary (of the Cineole chemotype) - has long been a favorite oil for me in terms of insects. I feel it is entirely under-utilized and it's addition into this blend really brings its amazing abilities to the table. Rosemary often gets a misplaced "bad rap" - and it is not harmful or worrisome when used properly. People often want to avoid use of Rosemary with animals with seizures, and I am here to tell you - it is just not a founded concern. The sheer number of animals who are exposed properly to Rosemary essential oil through diffusion or properly dosed topical use, who actually benefit from the exposure - far outweighs the risks or issues I have ever witnessed. In Tisserand & Young's book Essential Oil Safety - 2nd Edition - the essential oil and seizure issue is well discussed in The Nervous System chapter. Basically reports of misuse and over-dosage (especially orally) of various constituents (not often the whole oil) are used to incriminate an essential oil. In clinical practice - we just simply do not see that proper use of oils is harmful - and actually quite the opposite - are usually helpful to a variety of health concerns.
Basil Linalool chemotype is a glorious oil - and if you have not experienced it - you should! Again, this oil carries it's own amazing properties, but when blended with Geranium also just really helps in scent profile and acceptability of a blend. With Geranium, finding several oils that "play nice" together, create a synergy, but also tone down the "obnoxious friend" - is worthy of addition!
Finally Thyme is added to Oust. But this TIME...this THYME is completely different!!! This Thyme is a Geraniol chemotype. So basically the same Genus and Species of Thymus vulgaris - but due to a variety of growth conditions - it produces an essential oil with a dominant Geraniol component, instead of the "hot" Thymol. Thyme has also been long recognized as a fabulous aid in bug repelling - and so when it is included in blends like AromaBoost or Boost in a Bottle - we have noted great help in repelling fleas or other nasty insects. Within Oust - the Geraniol chemotype of Thyme is simply perfect.
I selected my favorite Geranium essential oils for use within the Oust blend. If you'll notice, this is actually THREE different types of Geranium. Each have their own unique scent profile, as well as slightly different benefits and properties. While Oust still smells predominantly of Geranium, it is more acceptable within a proper blend, than used as a single essential oil. Research articles such as THIS ONE - show the interest in the science community and also confirm what we hear about the ability of Geranium to repel insects. And if you search on www.PubMed.gov - you can find many research articles on a variety of essential oils and insects.
Cedarwood (Juniperus virginiana) is also added to this blend. It is also a wonderful insect repellent, but really aids in mellowing out the strong scent of the Geranium. Cedarwood is also a lovely oil that is a bit more on the dense/thick side - and lends itself to "fixing" certain blends so that they last longer. With many blends, we try to find a "base note" oil that is thicker and heavier, that can act as an agent to help keep the blend from evaporating quite as quickly - or results in a bit longer "hang time."