The health and beauty industry has its share of bad publicity when it comes to the use of chemicals in its products. As consumers become more aware of the damage caused by products that set out to make us look and smell good, the wave has rolled over into products for pet care too.

A man looks into the camera wearing a dark blue t-shirt hugs a brown and white dog in his arms with WashBar products set on a table besides him

WashBar natural pet care is front and center, wagging its tail for attention as all-natural products that keep your pet looking, feeling and smelling his or her best. The New Zealand-based brand offers pet shampoos that are different from other brands in a variety of ways. Firstly, the shampoos are shaped into a bar of soap. This eliminates the need for shampoo bottles, which are typically made of petroleum-based plastic

Related: Wanderruff makes puppy products from recycled bottles

A cardboard WashBar box that says its the original WashBar, soap for dogs

Secondly, the bar itself arrives in a recyclable cardboard box. It’s an example of only using the amount of packaging needed to do the job and minding the needs of the planet at the same time. Another benefit of the bar design is that a little goes a long way. Each bar is equivalent to an average 20-ounce bottle of liquid shampoo. A price comparison will show it’s an economical choice. Using the bar is also noticeably easier than handling a slick plastic bottle while trying to manage the animal.

A hand holding a bar of soap and the cardboard WashBar packaging with the other hand

Finally, their shampoos are made from all-natural ingredients. Of course this is better for your pet, but it’s also a win for the environment. It avoids toxins that find their way back into our water stream. Making a full circle, that means it is better for humans too!

Two dog paws in the snow next to a canister of WashBar

The WashBar Original Soap for Dogs is made from natural ingredients. This included neem leaf, lemon scented tea tree oil and manuka oil to provide a wash that leaves your dog’s fur naturally soft and clean. It’s recommended for all skin types and is safe for puppies too. 

The ManukaBar is another WashBar shampoo that is designed for animals with sensitive or problem-prone skin. It’s formulated with a nourishing blend of natural ingredients like manuka oil, kanuka oil, neem oil and lemon myrtle to help calm and soothe dry, irritated skin. 

A golden retriever getting its ears scrubbed with a bar of soap in a white bathtub

Often, chemicals are to blame for Fido’s skin problems anyway. So ditching the synthetic fragrances and colors, sulfates and parabens means the ManukaBar is safe for all dogs, along with smaller domestic animals like ferrets, guinea pigs and kittens. The bar is a bit smaller than The WashBar Original Soap for Dogs, so it can be more easily used on smaller animals. Each bar contains the equivalent of over 15 ounces of liquid shampoo. 

A dog with its mouth open to a man in a gray shirt both in a white bathtub

On the other hand, the Paw Balm can be used for your dog’s dry patches, including the particularly persistent dry nose and paws of winter. With Paw Balm, even pets can lower their carbon pawprint by eliminating toxins in favor of natural ingredients that include kanuka and copaiba oils, as well as familiar ingredients such as beeswax, apricot and carrot.

It aims to help repair cracks and minor wounds on paws and offer aid for minor skin conditions found in wrinkles, tail flaps, ear creases and on noses. The all-natural ingredients mean it’s safe for the inevitable licking that will occur. The Paw Balm comes in an easy-to-use and convenient 50 milliliter tin.

A bald man and a golden retriever smile at each other

WashBar is as dedicated to the planet as the health of your pet. To highlight this commitment, they are partnering with Trees that Count. They plant one tree for each Original or Manuka soap bar ordered during Earth Day weekend (April 22 to April 24). This effort will contribute to reforestation of New Zealand’s beautiful and biodiverse landscapes. 

A white bar of soap that has the words WashBar imprinted on it stands in front of a cardboard packaging

WashBar product review

With three German shorthaired pointers in the house, I was more than willing to give WashBar a try. These are working dogs that get into everything during daily runs through fields, ponds and mud. Plus, one of them insists on rolling in every smelly thing she can find. Yuck!

The company sent the WashBar Original Soap for Dogs and it wasn’t long before I had an occasion to try it out when the aforementioned pet, Dharma, brought a nasty stench home with her. This was the kind of stink that hits you when you enter a room. Since it was cold out, we enticed her into a small shower enclosure by the scent of peanut butter on a spoon and gave her a washdown with the WashBar. 

The bar was somewhat slippery, yet much easier to maneuver in a small space than a plastic bottle that typically requires several pick ups and set downs to apply more shampoo. Overall, I found it convenient to have an extension of my hand in the bar soap rather than trying to identify spots with liquid shampoo on them. 

I wouldn’t say the product produced a lot of sudsy action. It’s more of a lotion-type feel. However, it rinsed away easily and left her coat feeling really clean. Even better, the stink was gone. Completely gone, even while she would typically still be promoting “wet dog scent.” The bar itself has a lovely lemon-citrus scent, but after use, the dog didn’t smell like anything — which is exactly the result I hoped for. 

They also provided a tin of the Paw Balm. My same pet Dharma, a.k.a the problem child, has severe allergies that causes her nose to dry and crack. I used the Paw Balm on it and found it to be very moisturizing with a pleasant scent. Of course, her predictable response was to begin licking her nose.

I couldn’t decide if it was because she liked the flavor and scent, or because she was trying to get it off. So I held the container out in front of her to see if she would shy away. But instead, she began repeatedly licking and moved towards it as I moved it away so I guess I have my answer. Give it a try. 

+ WashBar

Images via WashBar