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Peruse the grooming section of your local pet store, and you might spot something familiar — the signature black-and-white packaging of Paul Mitchell hair care products.

But these are no copycats, nor are pet parents purchasing human shampoos for their four-legged family members. John Paul Pet was launched in 2005, largely thanks to John Paul Mitchell Systems co-founder and CEO John Paul DeJoria — who also happens to be a passionate animal advocate and pet parent.

John Paul Pet is only the most recent manifestation of DeJoria’s long history with pets. His love affair began with a white Husky named (appropriately) Whitey, whom DeJoria had when he was 11 years old. As an adult, in the midst of selling self-branded shampoos door to door on a $700 budget, he discovered he had the power to protect furry friends in a larger way.

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“When we [DeJoria and co-founder Paul Mitchell, the late celebrity stylist] started John Paul Mitchell Systems, I realized the cruelty of testing human grooming products on pets. I felt we had to stop animal testing, and I did.” In 1980, Paul Mitchell became the first professional beauty company to announce that it would not conduct or endorse animal testing.

Several years later, “when my good friend John Capra approached me about starting a high-end grooming product line, I felt it was a perfect fit. And so the John Paul Pet line was created.”

John Paul Pet aims to provide pet grooming products held to the same standards as the for-human-hair Paul Mitchell line. Take JP Pet’s newest products, for example. Like all John Paul Mitchell Systems products, “Awapoochi” shampoos and conditioners are tested on humans, not animals, to ensure they are gentle enough for pets. They’re free of the additives and preservatives paraben and EDTA, and the Awapuhi extract used in it is produced on the company’s own sustainable, solar-powered farm in Hawaii.

This ethical and environmental responsibility is part of what John Paul Pet calls “Behind the Paw,” the pet version of Paul Mitchell’s “Behind the Bottle” philosophy.

“‘Behind the Paw’ is a culture that brings pets, people, passion and programs together in an effort to create a better world for animals,” DeJoria explains. “[For example], we are working with Petfinder.com and the Petfinder.com Foundation to help adopt an additional one million pets. We also support local shelters and rescues nationwide with grooming products, because we know that a groomed pet has a higher (and faster) chance of being adopted than a pet that has not been groomed.”

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Animals may not have been used to test John Paul Pet products, but they did have a hand in designing them.

“We include our pets in the final scent and fragrance decisions. We watch which products they liked, and then work with them.”

The result is a line of pet grooming products that includes shampoos, conditioners and wipes, all of which DeJoria says “use similar high-quality ingredients to those used in our human grooming products, although the formulas are especially balanced for the pH of pets.”

As pet “dad” to a family of four Golden Retrievers — Jack, Bella, Joe and Suzy-Q — DeJoria understands that good grooming isn’t just about keeping pets clean — it’s about keeping them healthy.

“Proper grooming is an excellent opportunity for us, as pet owners, to identify any areas of concern, and it’s a wonderful time to bond with our pets.”

DeJoria’s own pets are bathed once a week and kept freshened up with John Paul Pet Wipes as necessary. When asked whether he prefers “grooming” people or pets, he says, “They are both great and fun, but it’s my responsibility to groom my pets, and it’s one that I love.”

That’s just one of DeJoria’s many responsibilities. Besides continuing to helm the billion-dollar John Paul Mitchell Systems, which includes products, styling tools and beauty schools, he is co-founder of the Patron Spirits Company, which produces high-end tequila, and devotes a good portion of his time to philanthropic and humanitarian endeavors.

But at the end of the day, he says there’s still nothing like having a happy, healthy — and clean! — family of furry friends waiting for him at the door. 

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