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Frequently Asked Questions

Dogs

Can I use WashBar products on my puppy?

Yes all our products are safe to use on puppies as well as full grown dogs. And we have a gentle shampoo in our range especially for puppies.

However, it’s best to hold off washing puppies until they are at least four weeks old – six to eight weeks is even better. While they are small they can become chilled easily as they have trouble regulating their body temperatures. Keeping them clean really is mum’s job - a puppy that is still with mum is cleaned enough by her licking.

However, we know that sometimes puppies will be puppies and they’ll get into something gross, or get a flea infestation, and will need a bath.
If you do wash your puppy, make sure you keep them warm during their bath and have clean, warm towels to dry them off afterwards – getting chilled can make them very sick.

Once your puppy is old enough, getting them used to bath time is a great idea – it will benefit you and your dog for life, no matter what breed they are.   All dogs need at least an occasional bath throughout their life. Bath time is a lot easier if they enjoy it, or are at least used to it.

What's the best way to wash my dog?

Put your dog in a bathtub, sink or in the summer use a bucket of water and a hose. The water should be warm but not hot.

Start by wetting the dog all over. Turning the hose on them isn't a good idea, most dogs don't like getting a cold hose down. Using a plastic jug to scoop water from a bucket is far more pleasant for the dog. Start with the hair around the neck and work in some soap or shampoo. Working from the head towards the tail provides a soapy ring that fleas won’t jump across ensuring they are washed out rather than finding refuge on the dogs head. Work down the rest of the body massaging as you go – if you are gentle and work with the dog it will be an enjoyable experience. Slowly work your way over the whole body and down the legs.

Leave the lather on while you gently wash the face and ears with a cloth – a toweling facecloth is ideal. Wet the cloth well and put a tiny bit of lather on the cloth, still taking care to avoid the eyes. Rinse off thoroughly by wetting the cloth and repeating until no signs of lather remain.

Add more warm water to the body and gently massage again and rinse off the lather.

Have a towel or two on hand to give your dog a dry off afterwards. Voila - nice clean smelling dog.

Is neem safe to use on my dog who is pregnant or feeding puppies?

Yes - in WashBar products it's totally safe.

Neem oil is gentle, non-irritating and helps to soothe the skin wherever it is applied. It has been used for thousands of years on people and animals of all ages to support healthy skin.

The use of diluted neem oil products (including neem-based soaps and shampoos) on pets is considered safe. Experts suggest avoiding pure neem oil during pregnancy or lactation for both animals and humans. WashBar products contain diluted levels of neem. These levels offer therapeutic benefits to skin and coats. Pure neem oil is sticky and brown and smells unpleasant, something you wouldn't want on your dogs coat anyway.

The small amount of neem and essential oils in our soaps, shampoo and spritzers are safe for all dogs, including those who are breeding or feeding. It’s also safe on puppies.

Our products are all designed for external use only. While dogs may lick themselves after being washed, spritzed or having flea repellent applied, the quantities are too minute to cause any issues.

In the unlikely event your pet has a reaction to any of our products, discontinue use.

My dog ate the bar of soap - do I need to take it to the vet?

The bars are made with neem oil and essential oils in a vegetable soap base. They're non-toxic, but your dog may suffer from some minor gastric discomfort.

Over the years we've regularly fielded calls from concerned dog and horse owners, but really there's little to worry about, apart from the annoyance of having to buy another bar.

The smell of the soap and shampoo is light and not as heavily scented compared to other shampoos why this is?

We only use natural pure essential oils (the highest quality) in all our products to create their smell. We do this because it not only makes the products smell good but they have excellent beneficial properties which help with calming, skin conditions and the overall health of your pet.

Other companies that have stronger more highly scented shampoos use a synthetic fragrance – often called parfum, perfume, fragrance, scent or essence of some exotic sounding flower or fruit name. These fragrances are made up of many different ingredients – mostly synthetic compounds derived from petroleum by-products. The complex concoctions that make up a typical fragrance can use anywhere from 10 to 300 chemicals. Manufacturers don’t legally have to list the individual ingredients because the “fragrance” is the ingredient. Many of these ingredients have been linked to hormone disruption, reproductive issues, sperm damage, thyroid disease, allergic skin reactions such as contact dermatitis, headaches, asthma, nausea and many are known carcinogens.

One of the reasons artificial fragrances smell so strong is that they contain alcohol which diffuses the scent. The biggest problem with using alcohol is that it is also a penetration enhancer which allows “nasty” ingredients to permeate the subcutaneous dermal (skin) layers. Not desirable when some of the synthetic ingredients are potentially carcinogenic.

You will find a blog on our website which talks about this issue:  http://washbar.nz/dying-to-smell-great/

The soap after use, fur feels very dry, has the skin been stripped of its natural protective layer of oil? In this case will this cause skin issues?

Soap is one of the most efficient ways to clean almost anything because of the makeup of soap molecules. Soap molecules are amphiphilic. One end of the molecule repels water and the other end attracts dirt. The molecules bind to dirt particles and rinse out easily.

If your dog’s fur feels dry after washing we strongly recommend only washing once. One wash with our soap should be sufficient to clean most dogs – a second wash is unnecessary and may strip the natural oil. It won’t cause skin issues but it could make the fur feel a little dry.

You’ll find a blog on our website about how soap works: http://washbar.nz/soap-the-centuries-old-new-thing/

The soap and shampoo doesn’t foam as much as regular chemical soap, why is this?

High foaming is not an indicator of a good product or a product that cleans more effectively. High foaming indicates the use of more chemicals and that is not a good thing.

Our 3 surfactant shampoos: Citrus+Manuka, NeemFresh & Lavender+Primrose use a natural surfactant which is derived from coconut. This is a gentle cleaner which produces a lighter lather and foam than synthetic options. It still cleans but without the extra chemicals.

The real benefit in a lower foaming natural product is that it is easy to work into the coat and very easy to rinse out.

Cats

Can I wash my cat or kitten?

Our range of shampoos and soap products are safe for use on cats. In fact, several of the WashBar team’s cats get regular WashBar baths. We recommend the Original WashBar Soap for Dogs but we do know The Horse & Hound Shampoo Bar is used by a successful Persian breeder for her show winners.

With kittens it’s generally best to wait until they are 8-12 weeks before washing them. If you do wash your kitten, it’s essential you dry them thoroughly straight away as getting cold can be fatal for youngsters.

Can I use WashBar Flea Repellent on my cat?

We don’t recommend our Flea Repellent for use on cats, it was developed specifically for dogs. It is believed that some essential oils can accumulate in the kidneys as toxins, and although we haven’t been able to find any specific clinical studies to either back up or refute this, we take a conservative approach and don’t endorse use of our product on cats.

If your cat has fleas and you want to deal with the problem using a chemical free approach, a flea comb is as chemical free as you'll ever get. Comb your cat at least daily on a white or light coloured towel so you can see what comes off them. Then drop the combings into a bowl of soapy water and flush it down the toilet. And even when you’re no longer seeing fleas or flea residue on your cat, it’s a good idea to continue to comb each day until you’re sure their environment is completely flea free.

Washing your cat with Original WashBar Soap or WashBar Natural Shampoo is another effective way to deal with fleas.

I can’t use spot on treatments on my cat, could I use Flea+Freshen spritzer?

We can’t use conventional spot on flea treatments on our cats so we use the Flea + Freshen Daily Spritzer in a number of ways to help with flea control.

I have an older cat with kidney failure, he can’t cope with any flea treatments. I comb him 2 or 3 times a week during summer, dipping the comb in very warm water which has a good slug of Flea + Freshen Daily Spritzer in it. I also spray everywhere he lays and any carpeted areas. He does not cope with being spritzed directly – I don’t know if it’s the smell or the sensation of being ‘rained’ on but he hates it.

Our old marketing manager had a Cornish Rex that was highly allergic to any flea treatments – the vet thought she had cat flu her reaction was so severe. She washed her cat with Original WashBar Soap for Dogs (about once a month in winter and more often in summer), it’s perfectly ok for cats that don’t mind being bathed. Between bathes she spritzed the cat and all the areas that the cat laid.

I guess the thing to understand about fleas is that they don’t live on your cat, they live in your environment. So if you cat doesn’t like being sprayed or any of the other suggestions - just spraying your home should help with controlling them.

Got a question that isn't answered here? Ask us ~ faq@washbar.nz