Martha Stewart has done it all. The founder of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia is best known for turning her passion for everyday living – crafting, cooking, gardening, entertaining and decorating – into a business empire that has made her a household name around the world.
She’s never been one to follow the traditional paths with her career. She started her modeling career by being featured in a Unilever TV commercial at the age of 15. She started her catering business when she was 40, and published her first book, “Entertaining,” the following year.
In “Martha Stewart: How I Became a Household Name,” she refers to a sit-down session with her doctor after a physical exam. He called her a “late bloomer,” and she took his remarks as a compliment to remind herself that it’s never too late to start a project or realize a dream.
“By 1990, I was the 49-year-old mother of a grown daughter, a divorcée, and I knew that I was onto something big. I’ve been dubbed a ‘late bloomer,’ and I love the moniker. I published the first issue of ‘Martha Stewart Living’ that year, and have been pursuing my dreams ever since. My curiosity knows no bounds. I continue to learn each and every day, and will continue to teach what I know to as many people as will listen.”
Stewart entered the CBD market in 2019 when she collaborated with Canopy Growth to develop a line of CBD-infused gummies, softgels and tinctures for people. This partnership now also includes a line of CBD pet products that launched earlier this year.
These pet products include three formulas of soft-baked chews and a tincture. The chews are available in chicken and cranberry flavor for calming effects, chicken and blueberry for mobility, and chicken, blueberry and anise flavor for overall wellness.
Throughout her career, Stewart has been an advocate for the health and wellness of companion animals and farm animals, so her entry into the pet care industry with a line of CBD pet products should come as no surprise.
An admitted pet mom, Stewart currently has three cats and four dogs in addition to her countless farmyard animals, and she has described her dogs as “not only my companions, but they are part of my family, and I prioritize their emotional and physical well-being as I do my own.” Pet Age recently spoke with Stewart to learn more about her vast knowledge on pets as well as what she believes is important to know on the topic of CBD pet products.
I’ve seen on your blog that you have a wide range of animals at your home, including dogs, cats, canaries, horses, donkeys, chickens, geese, pigeons and peafowl. How did you come to possess this passion for animals?
MS: I have always had an affinity for backyard farmyard animals. I’m of polish descent. My family in Poland were all farmers. That’s how they existed through wars. They grew vegetables and raised livestock, and that’s how they managed to survive the hideousness of wars in Poland. Gardening and farming have always been in my blood. I’ve always been drawn to animal husbandry as well as raising my own food. I can’t eat anybody else’s eggs. If I travel, I take my own eggs with me…
In terms of dogs, I only had one dog as a child. We were six kids. We were once allowed to have a dog, a fox terrier, which was not the best dog for a family of eight. It was a little yappy and a little overactive, and it was not the right breed of dog for us. My parents finally gave it away, and I was very unhappy about it because I knew this family was not going to take good care of this dog. I always thought about having a dog, but it had to be the right dog for me that I could correspond with.
The first dog that I had was a keeshond – it was the Dutch barge dog. It was very good with children, very family-oriented, very friendly and obedient and the nicest kind of dog. Little Bear, her name was. And she was fantastic. I bred her once, and she had 13 puppies. (laughs) So her name was Little Bear, and she had Honey Bear and Yogi Bear and all other Bears. All my friends took puppies, so everybody had keeshonds. It was a lovely, lovely breed, but a little bit obsequious – and “obsequious” meaning a little needy.
So then I discovered the Chow Chow, and I have had Chow Chows ever since. They are amazing dogs. They are the opposite of a needy dog. They are absolutely independent and very protective. Chows had a bad reputation when I first started collecting them. They were known for being a one-person dog and kind of vicious and unpredictable. The breed has evolved very nicely. They’re the most beautiful dog, and they’re so friendly. I have two now. I have Emperor Han, who’s going on 3 years old, and I have his older sister, Empress Qin. She is amazingly beautiful. She showed at Westminster. Han has not shown yet, because of COVID, but hopefully he can take Best of Breed next year.
You also have the French bulldogs, who seem to be the complete opposite physically to the Chow Chows. What made you get them?
MS: I really wanted a little car dog. I commute to New York, so I wanted a dog that I could take to New York with me in the car. I originally got a pair. A crème called Sharkey and a brindle called Francesca Blackbird. They were both the cutest Frenchies on earth. They lived until they were about 14 years old, then I got another pair just like that from Fabelhaft [French Bulldogs of Ohio]. He’s always at Westminster and has very fine show dog-types. These two are both so great. One is called Bete Noire – “the little black beast” – and the other is named Creme Brûlée. They get along so well with the Chow Chows. They chase the Chow Chows, and they chase my horses. These are true bulldogs. They have the real bulldog ethic. They chase my horses. They chase giant Friesian horses around the field! …
I love my Frenchies, and I love my Chow Chows. They co-exist very well.
What do you feel about the value of pet CBD products?
MS: Many veterinarians are not prescribing CBD yet. But they better start doing their research. A friend of mine, who is a biochemist, has just finished a huge study on CBD. He called me so excited two weeks ago to tell me that the auto-immune and anti-inflammatory capabilities of CBD far, far exceeded almost everything else. Boy is that good news! It’s a breakthrough kind of research, so people who poo pooed CBD [saying,] “oh it doesn’t do anything,” are now finding that it actually does do something.
What can you tell us about your decision to enter the pet industry with the line of CBD pet products? Did meeting Snoop Dogg during a segment of your TV show have any influence on it?
MS: A few years ago, if you remember, this [human CBD] industry exploded in popularity. All of a sudden everybody was taking CBD, so I did a lot of research. My affiliation with Snoop Dogg prompted me to ask questions and find out the benefits, not only for humans, but also for animals.
[After the VH-1 show with Snoop Dogg,] that’s when we investigated the benefits of CBD. Bruce Linton, who co-founded Canopy, came to me and asked me to be an advisor in the edibles area. That’s when we began working on our delicious gummies, tinctures and pet edibles. The pet edibles actually took longer because they had to complete their research on the effects of CBD on dogs – because that’s what we’re dealing with right now. We don’t have cat edibles just yet but I think that would be a very good thing… We’re working on cats now, and we’re working on research for horses. [Canopy Growth has] been doing a lot of pet research.
We’re investigating CBD in shampoos. A lot of cosmetic companies are investigating CBD in shampoos and conditioners for humans. Why not dogs, who suffer tremendously from skin problems, itchiness. Hotspots are terrible. Shampoos have greatly evolved, but I think they would benefit from an infusion of CBD also. There are a lot of areas we can incorporate broad-spectrum CBD, we’re just working on it. Canopy is very particular about testing and developing.
Is that one of the reasons why you agreed to take on an advisory role with Canopy Growth and collaborating with the brand to produce your pet CBD line?
MS: They have a very good research and development department. I’ve been to their facilities in Canada, and they’re widespread in the United States in terms of distribution. We’re very happy with our relationship with Canopy, and I continue to serve on an advisory board for edibles and also for skin therapeutics.
We’ve consulted with Dr. Bob Menardi [Canopy Growth’s director of veterinary technical and educational services for the Martha Stewart product line] because CBD is a very serious business. Products have to be licensed and approved for distribution in certain areas, so we’re very, very careful about that. Canopy is the leader in this area. It’s very important to be cutting edge but extremely careful that the research precedes any development.
That’s why a company like Canopy is very essential when developing [pet CBD] – they have the research facility, they have the testing, and they have the affiliation with the NASC [National Animal Supplement Council]. That’s very important.
In speaking with Dr. Menardi, he describes Canopy Growth’s relationship with Stewart as “a very natural fit.”
“Martha is a leading expert in the lifestyle space, and we are the leader in pet CBD research and science,” Dr. Menardi added. “The partnership came together easily with the overall passion and goal to create a line that promotes animal health and overall wellness while producing high quality, safe and consistent products. We launched Martha Stewart CBD for pets in January based on this vision and are incredibly excited to be able to offer a superior CBD product for dogs to consumers.”
Dr. Menardi also reiterates the importance of research to ensure CBD is appropriate as well as beneficial for pets, noting that Canopy has led more than 32 studies into the safety and efficacy of cannabinoids in pets. He points to the NASC certification on Canopy Growth’s line of products as something that consumers should value in the CBD products that they give their pets.
“The NASC plays a pivotal role in providing manufacturers with regulatory guidance for products such as Martha Stewart CBD for Pet,” he explained. “We follow all of the strict NASC guidelines – which requires independent lab testing to confirm ingredient concentration and the absence of pesticides, microbes, and heavy metals, among other things – and are audited regularly by NASC to ensure compliance. Your pet’s safety is always our top priority and we want to help you make an informed decision when choosing a CBD product for your pet.”
The Martha Stewart line of pet CBD products includes Wellness Drops as well as CBD Chews for Calm, Mobility and Wellness. The product line’s ingredients are naturally derived and responsibly sourced with no artificial flavors, colors or preservatives.
“With the range of products offered in this line – from Wellness to Calm to Mobility – it’s easy to find ways to incorporate Martha Stewart CBD for Pet into your pet’s daily health regimen depending on their wellness needs,” he noted. “For example, to help maintain a dog’s mobility and joint health, we use a combination of the highest quality CBD from broad-spectrum hemp extract and Omega-3 fatty acids from salmon oil and flaxseed in the Mobility soft chews. To help dogs cope with everyday stress, we offer the Calm soft chews, which utilizes a perfect recipe combining only the highest-quality CBD from broad-spectrum hemp extract and chamomile. In our Wellness line, we again combine the highest-quality CBD from Broad-Spectrum Hemp Extract with the flavors of fresh chicken, real blueberries and Omega-3 fatty acids from salmon in a soft-baked chew.”
As with any health product, Dr. Menardi recommends pet parents consult with a veterinarian if they have any concerns before introducing a companion animal to a pet CBD product. Based on Stewart’s business savvy and passion for pets, combined with Canopy Growth’s investment in research and development, one can’t help but expect the Martha Stewart pet CBD line to have a long, positive impact on the well-being of companion animals.
(Photo courtesy Martha Stewart Living)