Helping dogs get better using CBD
It’s rare that we respond to press releases at DigBoston and Talking Joints Memo. We’re reporters; we like to come upon new things organically.
At the same time, not every email we get from a budding business involves cannabis and dogs getting healthier. And so our ears perked up upon hearing from Emily Lagasse, the founder and owner of the new store Petwell Supply in the Spring Hill neck of Somerville.
Lagasse is a respected small biz owner around here, having already sold her own brand of dog food nationally for four years before opening the Somerville shop. From that experience, she came to understand that “many pets continue to suffer from ailments despite being fed healthy food.”
Our main interest: Among a smorgasbord of other doggy goodies and essentials, Petwell sells “unique products from CBD oil for anxiety to flower essences for dogs adjusting to a new home.” As well as “homeopathic remedies for everything from butt scooting to hairballs.”
We asked Lagasse to break down the whole operation, right down to these intrepid treatments.
Where did the idea for this company come from? Tell us about your dog, Fenway.
I founded [the dog food company] Fedwell [Pet Foods] after returning from my Peace Corps experience with my African dog. Once we arrived in the US, Fenway got sick on all foods here, and his health declined rapidly. After taking classes and learning to cook for him myself, his health improved, and I got inspired to bring that same quality food to pets everywhere.
Through my [Fedwell] experience I learned that many of my customers were struggling to fully support their pet’s health. Issues ranged from diabetes to allergies, and although vets were good at diagnosing these issues, and prescribing medication when necessary, they didn’t offer much ongoing support. As a result, I opened Petwell Supply to provide access to the products and services to support these health issues.
What were the first steps you took in becoming an expert in this field?
When I returned from my peace corps experience and my dog got sick, I began taking classes to learn how to cook well-balanced meals for him. I studied dog nutrition and anatomy with local experts. I attended many trade shows over the years, and met many vets and enthusiasts making holistic products to support pet health, which gave me a great start for my store.
You have been involved in various business incubators and programs. How have supports helped you along the way as a small business owner?
The entrepreneur network in the Boston area has been tremendously helpful. It’s nice to have a group willing to share resources freely and offer advice and support when it’s needed.
You say that your products are “natural alternatives to prescription pet food diets.” Tell us a bit more about the benefits and about why it is worth it for pet owners to go out of their way to find such alternatives.
The products in the store are not an alternative to a prescription diet for pets. My ultimate goal is to create foods under the Fedwell brand that would be the natural alternative to prescription diet for pets. Currently, the remedies carried in the store would be complementary to any prescriptions or prescription foods.
How are things in Somerville? Why’d you pick the area?
Somerville is a great place. I have enjoyed living here and believe that the community and demographic here is open to trying new products, and curious about natural alternatives.
Tell us about CBD and pet meds. Is it a controversial topic? What’s your take? What is your business doing along these lines?
I don’t see it as controversial, but we are in the early stages of understanding CBD uses and effects, and it is important to source and use products from credible brands. We carry a range of CBD products in our store that I have carefully vetted. Our customers have seen dramatic results using CBD for everything from arthritis to anxiety.
And finally, are you related to Emeril? We had to ask.