CBD’s wellness benefits are no longer reserved just for humans; it is becoming ever-more popular for all kinds of pets. In this episode, Joshua Whitley, the founder of DoggyTread, joins to discuss how he uses CBD to help dogs live happier, healthier lives.
Josh discusses the outstanding impact CBD can have on animals and takes us into the details of the efficacy of using CBD tinctures, along with other nutritional supplements, to help keep canine hips healthy. Listen in to hear Josh provide some insights into how pet owners can approach the topic of CBD.
Insights From The Episode
- How Josh’s journey with DoggyTread started with how his dogs benefitted from a lifestyle including CBD in conjunction with a raw diet, and targeted physical therapy.
- Why DoggyTread focuses specifically on CBD tinctures, and the steps for finding the correct dosage of CBD for pets.
- What DoggyTread’s process looks like to ensure high-quality CBD, and how Josh utilizes community knowledge within his business.
- The efficacy of CBD tincture alternatives, and how the addition of multi-vitamins can make a difference in the overall effectiveness of CBD.
- How other animals can benefit from CBD, such as the ability to serve as an appetite stimulant for cats, as well as its well-known anti-anxiety benefits.
- Why there needs to be increased confidence in the abilities of pet owners so that some of the misconceptions around CBD can be addressed.
- The foreseeable future of CBD includes lowering the prices for CBD, and having pet owners include themselves in the movement of CBD.
Resources & Links From The Episode
- CBD For Dogs? New Research Backs Canine Cannabis Use for Osteoarthritis – Forbes
- Why CBD and Tumeric May Help With Inflammation – Green Entrepreneur
- About Us: The DoggyTread Protocol – DoggyTread
Connect With The Guest
Doggytread is an organic and regenerative hemp company based in Eugene, Oregon. Doggytread was founded by Applied Scientist Joshua Whitley; Joshua Whitley possesses a B.S. of Applied Science in Information Systems Technology from Southern Illinois University and 15 years of experience in the computer industry. Doggytread grew its inaugural, federally compliant hemp crop in 2019 using organic and regenerative agricultural practices. In 2020, Doggytread is excited to be growing dryland heirloom squash as a foundation for a line of dog treats. Joshua Whitley is “fond of fuzzy little critters” and has cared for dogs, cats, mice, gerbils, ferrets, snakes, lizards, chickens, turkeys, and spiders as pets in his lifetime. He was co-owner of 22 dairy goats, has been growing organic food for 25 years and enjoys partner dancing in his free time.
Scott: Hey, what’s going on, everyone? Scott here with you, and welcome to another episode of “The CBD Guide Podcast.” I am so excited about this one because we’re going to be talking about pets and dogs specifically. And who doesn’t love dogs? There are so many applications for CBD out there. And we’ve touched on this before, I think a few episodes back, but I wanted to explore it a lot more deeply and with someone who has built a business around CBD for dogs specifically. And my guest is Joshua Whitley, who is the founder of DoggyTread, which is located in Eugene, Oregon. And prior to founding DoggyTread, Josh spent 10 years providing computer services to small businesses and five years providing enterprise support to large corporate entities and governmental agencies. And then he founded DoggyTread. So, that story, I think, is going to be really interesting to hear. Let’s dive in. Josh, welcome to the show.
Joshua: Thank you for having me, Scott. It’s great to be here.
Scott: Absolutely. Really appreciate you being here. I feel like I’ve built all this hype, so we got to dive into it because, you know, CBD for dogs, that is something that we’re seeing more and more products and interest in this. And I think it’s fascinating. So, how did you discover CBD and realize it could be so helpful for dogs and ultimately start DoggyTread?
Joshua: Well, that’s a tough one for me to answer briefly. But…
Scott: Right. It’s a big question.
Joshua: It is. It all started in 2009. This is the first time I’m telling my story to the public, and this is something that’s deeply personal to me because DoggyTread was founded before CBD was legal at the federal level and before CBD was legal at the state level. And I started off growing an ACDC plant under the umbrella of the Oregon Medical Marijuana Program. I was a legally licensed medical marijuana grower. So, I am working off of notes, so there’s something I’d like to read very quickly just so I get everything right and kind of set the context. So, my name is Joshua Whitley, and I own DoggyTread LLC. I manufacture a high-quality CBD tincture for pets. And I’ve been working with CBD and pets since 2014. DoggyTread exists to empower dog owners with effective affordable techniques to keep pets mobile, pain-free, and long-lived. The problem I address is arthritis and mobility issues in dogs using not only Oregon-grown CBD but additional nutritional and physical therapy protocols. And what I’m talking about is the DoggyTread Protocol. There is a menu of choices to pick from that fit each pet owner’s time and budget and food preferences, whether you’re feeding kibble or you’re feeding raw. It doesn’t matter if you live in the city or if you live in the country. The DoggyTread Protocol was designed with flexibility for everyone, maximum choices.
So, my personal background is that I’m an applied scientist, I possess a BS of applied science in information systems technology, research scientist, aggregate data and draw conclusions based on those findings, laboratory scientist, run experiments under controlled conditions and draw conclusions based on those. Applied science addresses problems in the real world. And that’s what I did for many years as I was a problem solver. And in the fall of 2008, I moved from Humboldt Park in Chicago to Eugene, Oregon to work for a large corporate software company. And one of my big motivators for that move was so I could be in a position to own a dog, and I got a job that was close enough to me to where I could own a dog. So, in the fall or in the summer of 2009, I purchased a purebred Rottweiler puppy, named St. Chico. And St. Chico, his temperament was very different than other Rottweilers that I’ve met before or since, and he was full of rocket fuel. And I fairly well held on for dear life. I had…
Scott: I love it.
Joshua: Yeah. I mean, he was an unusual dog. I was a novice dog owner. And I fairly well had to go all in order to keep this dog.
Joshua: And I made it. I trained him in an advanced obedience class twice a week for two and a half years. At the age of 2 and a half, I started training him in dryland mushing, and what dryland mushing it is that’s how they train sled dogs in the offseason.
Scott: Okay. That’s awesome.
Joshua: There is a fantastic mushing community in Oregon. And when you talk about how dogs, how pets, not just dogs, how pets change your life, you know, these experiences, I’m very deeply connected and have wonderful friends in the animal communities in Oregon. And so that was our primary activity together from the ages of about 2 and a half to 5 and a half, is I would hitch him up, and he would pull me around in my mountain scooter. And it was incredible fun. And in 2012, I rehomed a second adult female Rottweiler, and so I had two dogs at that point. And at approximately the age of 5 and a half years old, I switched brands of kibble with my dogs. And what happened was, within a few weeks, the coats of my dogs became dull and dingy and greasy-looking. And St. Chico began having serious hip problems and arthritis. Yeah. And in hindsight, I think it was an undiagnosed chicken allergy because the kibble was based on chicken. But he was young, and he was still beautiful and strong. But his hips would give out, and he’d be standing there, and his body would give out, maybe sitting, and he would have this excruciating pain. He would sleep all night, he’d wake up, and he would yelp in pain. And that’s a tough thing for everybody. It’s a tough thing for the dog. It’s a tough thing for the owner.
And so what I did, I was not ready for my dog experience to be done, and I put on my problem-solving hat. And I got to work on how to get my friend healthy again. And so what I did. There were several things that happened in the fall of 2014. The catalyst for a lot of that was the decline in the health of my dogs. And the other thing that happened in the fall of 2014 is I harvested a handful of high-CBD cannabis plants that were grown under the umbrella, legally grown under the umbrella of the Oregon Medical Marijuana Program. And back then, CBD genetics were very difficult to find. We didn’t really know anything about them. We knew it was good for epilepsy. I had acquired them as a personal interest. I’ve chronic digestive issues. And so I grabbed the ACDC plant when I had the opportunity to grow it for digestive issues. And we didn’t really know anything about it. We didn’t know if it was good for digestive issues. I have no recollection of it being good for arthritis. The only thing that I remember it being established as potentially good for was epilepsy, which is Charlotte’s Web strain. So, there were three things that I did in about January of 2015 or late 2014. One of them is I switched my dog to a raw diet. The second thing I did is I purchased a made-for-human-beings treadmill off of Craigslist. And the third thing I did is I started dosing him with the high-CBD oil from the ACDC plant. And that synchronistic event, when everything came together, that’s when the magic really started happening.
Scott: That was the aha moment, so to speak?
Joshua: That was definitely the aha moment. And what was going on there is you had an inflammatory event, he was allergic to chicken. So, I removed the inflammation, and I gave him a quality of food that he was better able to digest, and hopefully, it was more nourishing than what I had been serving him previously. I began doing treadmill therapy with him. And when I say treadmill therapy, that’s walking him at a slow walk on a gentle incline for about 15 or 20 minutes. And within five or six weeks, that was when I could tell things were going to be okay. And at that point, the vertebrae on his spine began to mobilize and move more properly. And I refer to them as the doggy buns, the booty muscles that hold the femur securely into the hip sockets that stabilize those joints. The treadmill did a wonderful job of strengthening those. And then the third thing I did is I started dosing him with CBD. And that was the beginning of the DoggyTread Protocol.
Scott: Wow. I mean, Josh, what a fascinating story. And it totally makes sense, sort of your process there. And it’s just bringing up for me, you know, we’ve talked about CBD so much on this show. Obviously, we’re a show about CBD. And one of the things that so many people I’ve had on say is they talk about how, you know, CBD, it’s not a silver bullet solution. You know, so much of the great results come with entire plans and a wellness routine. And kind of what you’re talking about there with your dog is just that, you know, there was the exercise with the treadmill, there’s changing the diet, and then you add in CBD on top of that, and you’ve got this fantastic result. I mean, is that fair to say that that really underscores that?
Joshua: That’s totally fair to say. Yeah, changing the diet, some targeted physical therapy, and then a powerful anti-inflammatory. When you begin stacking these nutritional protocols, I mean, CBD is fantastic in and of itself, it can be incredibly helpful. But really, if you want to get really technical, what you’re talking about is enzymatic cofactors. And that is calcium, magnesium, sulfur, molybdenum, manganese, zinc, you know, all these little minerals that have been depleted from our soil. And what we’re starting to discover is that the absence of these minerals makes biology prone to chronic diseases, like arthritis.
Scott: Okay, Josh. So, you helped your dog out, you establish this protocol, now that’s the beginning of DoggyTread. Let’s fast forward to now. What kinds of products are you selling with DoggyTread, and how does, I guess, the dosing for dogs tend to work and get these best results today over your time or just learning more and kind of venturing off to starting your own business around this?
Joshua: Well, DoggyTread is very much a labor of love. And before, if you allow me, I’d like to add that right now the full DoggyTread Protocol and what I’m seeing positive results with in terms of the pet owners that I’m working with is adding turmeric. My recent German Shepherd, I was giving her about a teaspoon of turmeric powder in her kibble every day. I was giving her a teaspoon of agricultural kelp, organically certified agricultural kelp that I got at the feed store, and I’ve fed that to dogs, cats, chickens, llamas. I consumed a little bit of it myself, not recommended. But the agricultural kelp is where all those enzymatic… It’s basically a natural multivitamin, and that’s where all those enzymatic cofactors come in and fill in whatever gaps there might be in nutrition. Kelp…
Scott: Right, what you were talking about before, yeah.
Joshua: Yeah. Kelp is a prebiotic, and it is full of polysaccharides. Polysaccharides are associated with aloe and lion’s mane mushroom, which have a reputation for being good for things like digestive issues as well as dementia. And so what I noticed over the years, kelp was a component of my raw diet, and I didn’t really think anything of it other than, when I fed it, my dog’s coats would look very slick and shiny, and they seem to be very healthy. But there’s a Rottweiler that I met recently that had a formal hip dysplasia diagnosis. She was having trouble with her elbow. And the owner put her on fish oil and kelp before graduating to CBD and turmeric, and just the fish oil and kelp gave that owner a boost in the health of that dog.
So, I’ll move on to answer your next question. The one product that I sell is I’m focusing exclusively right now on selling a very high-quality CBD tincture. I make it from non-certified organically grown hemp and USDA-certified organic MCT oil. And I have that in two different strengths. I have a smaller bottle with 470 milligrams in it, and I have a larger bottle that is an 8-ounce bottle that has around 7500 milligrams in it. And that is one thing that sets me apart, is I’m starting to sell these larger bottles of CBD, and people love having the big bottle. In terms of dosing, my recommendation for dosing is you start low. With dosing, there is a lot of it depends, it depends on the size of the animal, it depends on what you’re trying to get fixed upon the animal, and it depends on how sick the animal is. And my recommendation for dosing is you start low, you work your way up with CBD until you’re starting to see a benefit. And I refer to that as the tipping point where you’re starting and you’re getting the tipping point where things are starting to look good, and then you double your tipping point.
Scott: Wow. I like that. So, really the ramp-up, and that’s something that we’ve talked about, even just with people, with humans. When you are starting to try out a CBD product of some kind, you know, don’t start at 100%, you know, work your way up, see how you feel, be consistent with it, and then pick it up from there if you’re looking for those better results. It’s one of those things where, you know, observe, right?
Joshua: Working your way up, seeing how you feel, and observation is critical, for sure.
Scott: Okay. We’re talking a lot about dogs and things like that. And you also were talking a bit about, you know, the different things you’re doing. How do you go about ensuring that you have sort of the highest quality CBD and subsequent products for these dogs? What’s your QA sort of process there?
Joshua: In my process, there is no compromise between what I would serve up to myself and what I serve up to my animals. I want the highest quality product possible. I consume it myself on a daily basis, the Doggytrend Protocol that the… There are a lot of people that are consuming turmeric, and fish oil, and CBD, a lot of human beings that are taking that and seeing benefits. In terms, the CBD market is crowded, it’s confusing. There are a lot of producers. And so the first thing I do is I test everything. All of my CBD oil is tested for pesticide residue, residual solvents, mycotoxins, bacteria. And in addition, I go above and beyond what is legally required. And I also run a heavy metals test for arsenic and lead and whatnot. The second half of that is I live in a place where cannabis has been intensively cultivated for years prior to legalization. And many of my peers, they went from being outlaw growers to being…having the legal gray area of medical marijuana. And then as recreation marijuana opened up, they’ve moved into hemp. And so I have a network of colleagues that have… The people that I deal with grow exclusively organically and have always grown exclusively organically.
Scott: Right. And I’m sure, you know, within that, just the practices, the methods, all of this, this is honed with, you know, years of knowledge and then, of course, community knowledge sharing and things like that, right?
Joshua: Absolutely. The amount of knowledge that we’re gaining… It’s very interesting to watch the marijuana industry filter into other areas in terms of organics. And some of the techniques that we’ve been using for a very long time are now filtering into larger kinds of mainstream agriculture and farming. And the opposite is also true is as we move out of very small-scale grows that are guarded inside of our indoor grow rooms, and we’re able to spread out and grow acres of cannabis. So, the larger-scale farming practices are… It’s fun to watch the transfer of information and kind of the push-pull as everything congeals.
Scott: Yep, absolutely. Okay. So, I want to ask this just because I have talked to folks before who have used CBD products for their dogs or their other pets. And one thing, I know some people use CBD topicals and then potentially some other types of CBD products. What are your thoughts on the efficacy or potential benefits of these tincture alternatives?
Joshua: I’m a big fan of the tincture alternatives. The topicals, I use a topical, I don’t sell it, I produce it for myself, and sometimes people ask me for it, and so I’ll make it, and I’ll give them some. But the topicals that I personally use, I like to use them sort of like a wound cream that you would purchase at the store, you know, your triple antibiotic ointment or whatever.
Scott: Sure. Yeah.
Joshua: And you put it on a bandage, and then you stick it over a wound. That’s a wonderful way to use topically.
Scott: And that helps with… Because I’ve used CBD topicals just because I’ve got hip and lower back pain that can sometimes be quite uncomfortable. And that’s where a lot of my kind of approach to the topical world is. Is it for just things like that, just general soreness and things like that?
Joshua: General soreness. And the other thing I would add if you’re experiencing lower back and hip pain is to stack more anti-inflammatories to your protocol. And that would be a teaspoon of turmeric powder, you put that in a glass of water, and you consume that once a day, and fish oil as well as… I personally take a calcium, magnesium, zinc supplement on a daily basis that I think has a lot of kick to it.
Scott: I’m already doing part of that. I do the fish oil. So, I’ve got other things to add, so that’s good.
Joshua: Fantastic. You just add… I mean, well, now that you have that…or do you take it every morning, or is there a routine involved with that?
Joshua: So, now you just stack a couple… You’re already doing the routine, you already got your daily thing going, and so you just start adding multivitamin turmeric, and it doesn’t take…but just a little bit extra time. And there are kind of fulcrums, there are places where you can get more bang for your buck. And the synergy of stacking these anti-inflammatories together works wonderfully.
Scott: Kind of shifting gears again back to the pet side of thing. I have to admit I love dogs, but I don’t have a dog, but I do have three cats. And fortunately, they are all in good health right now, running around, jumping, being crazy, whatever. What are your thoughts on potential CBD benefits for other pets as they may age or develop hip problems or what have you, which can happen to cats, as well, of course?
Joshua: The fantastic news is that CBD works very well for kitty cats. And I’ve received positive feedback. There’s one fella that gave some CBD to his kitty cat. And, you know, this cat was older, and he was very attached to it, and he just wanted to have a few more years with it. And so he gave some CBD to that old kitty cat, and that cat’s appetite improved.
Joshua: Yeah. That’s pretty amazing because cats can be pretty fussy about what they eat. And so having a way to stimulate their appetite is powerful. So, I’ve received positive feedback. The kitty cat groomers dose cats with CBD about 45 minutes before they groom them. I have provided a few bottles to local cat rescue, and so I’m getting feedback from her. And she is using that in place and in conjunction with gabapentin, which is kind of a sedative. If you have to massage a feral cat’s anal glands, that’s what you…
Scott: You want to give it a sedative first.
Joshua: Yeah. That’s a brave person right there, but, absolutely, CBD works for arthritis in kitty cats. It works as an appetite stimulant. It works to calm them down. Anti-anxiety is a big one. I have people using that for both puppies when they’re pre-training. I’ve people using CBD for the growing pains that puppies get. And I’ve people using CBD for anxiety or just to calm down full-grown dogs. One of my customers has a year-and-a-half-old Golden Retriever, and she’s full of fire. She’s a hunting dog. And she calms right down, right? Give it to her, and she doesn’t get lethargic, but her demeanor changes within half an hour or 45 minutes of giving her a dose of CBD.
Scott: That’s incredible. That’s incredible. When we’re talking about CBD for pets, what do you think some of the maybe biggest misconceptions are still out there, again, for pets specifically, and how can those who are passionate about both their pets, their dogs, and CBD maybe help clear up these misconceptions?
Joshua: Well, I think there is a level of nervousness with pet owners. We’ve been hearing very mixed things about marijuana and hemp for a long time that were not true. And so there’s kind of a fear of getting your dog and getting them stoned or making them lethargic or somehow. And, hopefully, we’re moving past that. We’ve reached a point where CBD is in all of the grocery stores, the major grocery stores. If you go to the big chains, they’re carrying it. And so it’s gone mainstream. And there are very valid reasons why it’s gone mainstream in addition to people wanting to make money on a new product, that it is powerful medicine, for lack of a better term. So, jump on in, the water’s fine. If you have any doubts about which brand to buy, give me a call.
Scott: Right. And to kind of maybe even provide more assurance, that’s why, Josh, we were talking about the dosing protocol and how you start low and work your way up. And you can be very thoughtful and very intentional and careful about what you’re giving your pet because, you know, we love our pets, that’s why we have them, they give us so much, and we can give them things back. So, really, that’s where you can kind of ease yourself in because, if you’re starting slow, then you can observe. And if you’re seeing some change for whatever reason that you don’t want to see, then you just stop, or lower, or whatever you do, right?
Joshua: Absolutely. And the other thing is people I think are afraid, they don’t feel qualified to care for their animal. And the reality is there is no one in the world that is more motivated to provide care for that animal. So, have some confidence and have some faith in the abilities of pet owners to do exactly what you’re talking about. You start at a lower dose, and you gradually ramp it up, and you observe. And if there’s something you don’t like, then you back it off, or you change your plan, you modify what’s going on according to what you have in front of you.
Scott: I always like to kind of turn the focus to the future of what’s next as we sort of wind down our conversation here. So, Josh, what do you see in the future for CBD for pets as a whole? How might the landscape continue to change in the months and years to come as we’re talking about, you know, really powerful products and solutions that can really help a lot of pets that we were just saying how we all love and everything live better quality lives and things?
Joshua: It’s just gonna keep getting bigger. That’s every… And at some point, the prices will start to drop. And I’m seeing that some, and I’m going at it with a very aggressive price point. I’ve had some feedback that people think my price points might be a little low. But, no, I want to get CBD into people’s hands. I want people consuming more of it. As a rule of thumb, we’re just not eating enough of it. We’re not getting enough of it into our bodies. But years to come, it’ll be very interesting to see what happens as the chemists at these large corporations, they have nanoparticle CBD, they’re doing… You know, the pharmaceutical companies, they have all these processes that have been applied to other substances. And, now, hemp and marijuana are finally legal enough for us to really dig into them and see where it’s gonna go.
Scott: We just recently had an episode where we were kind of talking about the pharmacology side of things. So, that’s happening, and that’s one of those things that I probably sound like I’m droning on here, but it’s one of those things were getting the research out, getting the clinical trials happening, just getting more science applied, I think, can only… That’s a great thing, right? We got to learn more.
Joshua: It is a great thing. And I would also encourage pet owners to include themselves in that movement to find out what’s going on with CBD, buy some, try it out on your pets, send me an email. I’d love to hear it from pet owners. That’s one of my favorite things is hearing how pet owners are using CBD, actually, when the rubber meets the road. That’s the pet owner and the animal interacting hopefully so that your pet is healthier and longer-lived.
Scott: A hundred percent. So, with that said, you know, Josh, I want to thank you for being here today, sharing your really incredible story and your whole approach to really helping your dogs and other pets out there live fuller, happier healthier lives. And so with that, you were saying, “Hey, folks can email me,” contact you, what have you. If folks want to get in contact if they want to maybe find out what your CBD tinctures can do for their dog, where can they do that? Where should they go?
Joshua: www.doggytread.com, and my email is firstname.lastname@example.org. That’s treads for plural, T-R-E-A-D-S.
Scott: Love it. Thanks again, Josh.
Joshua: Thank you so much, Scott.