Baking Dogs Happy: Interview with the Founders of BakedBones

If you follow us on Instagram, then you know we love BakedBones. Like really love BakedBones! For one, their high quality CBD treats and tinctures are a regular part of our routine. We genuinely love their products! Secondly, the people behind the brand are some of the kindest, most authentic business owners I’ve met– and by “met” I mean virtually, because #2020. It takes a lot for any brand to stand out these days on Instagram, but BakedBones’ authenticity really shines.

Because of this, I wanted to share a little more about their products and mission with you all. I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to collaborate with them, so I reached out for an interview.

Best of all, one lucky reader will win a FREE bag of seasonal CBD Baked Bones to try out! Just scroll to the end of this post for details.

But, What is Baked Bones?

Before we jump into the interview, I wanted to talk about what BakedBones is and why we love their products. BakedBones makes CBD treats and tinctures for dogs to improve their quality of life. We use their tinctures on a regular basis– and by “we,” I really mean the dogs AND myself!

For the dogs, I like to add a little CBD into their diets for a variety of reasons. For one, it can help calm anxiety around things like fireworks or thunderstorms. Secondly, CBD is an anti-inflammatory and natural pain management supplement, which makes it great for soothing everything from arthritis to sore muscles after a long hike.

For myself, I use CBD to help my sleep. Often, I have incredibly lucid, highly vivid dreams that leave me exhausted and worn out. CBD helps minimize these dreams so that even when I do dream, the vividness is not there. It vastly improves my quality of sleep and helps me get to sleep quickly, without all the noisy brain chatter and anxiety.

There are so many reasons we love BakedBones over other CBD providers, and it really boils down to these three elements:

  1. Quality EVERYTHING
  2. Sustainability
  3. The people

Quality

Not all CBD is created equal, and there is actually very little quality control or regulation in this trending industry. It’s not so much that CBD can be dangerous or unsafe, just ineffective or inconsistent! Considering how pricey CBD can be, that is a huge waste of money!

There are several elements that go into making BakedBones the best. First, they very carefully source ingredients from small farmers in the Midwest who use certified organic farming techniques to grow all-natural hemp plants. Then, they extract the CBD through a unique process called Cold CO2 Extraction. This ultimately results in less processing, which yields a purer end product.

Additionally, BakedBones uses full-spectrum hemp oil. This means it contains all available cannabinoids. Oil containing all available cannabinoids may provide benefits that no single cannabinoid can provide on its own. This phenomenon, called the “entourage effect,” is seen a lot in whole foods nutrition, too. For example, eating a whole apple will provide more effective Vitamin C benefits than taking a Vitamin C supplement.

All in all, BakedBones provides a high quality product that ensures a more effective and consistent experience. Yet, their pricing is much more competitive than other CBD companies of similar caliber, making this high quality product accessible to pet parents on a budget (like me).

Sustainability

Sustainability is incredibly important to me, and BakedBones is always striving to reduce their environmental impact. From supporting organic, clean farming practices to embracing zero or low waste packaging, BakedBones makes an authentic effort to be as sustainable as possible.

That isn’t always easy to find in an age of green-washing where words like “sustainable” and “eco-friendly” are thrown around haphazardly as buzzwords more than honest intentions.

The People

Last but certainly not least, I really love the people (and dogs!) behind BakedBones. All of the hard work outlined above really boils down to two incredibly kind humans and their two adorable dogs: Chris and Brantley, along with their pups Olive and Emma.

So, without further ado, here are the totally rad humans behind my absolute favorite CBD company for dogs.


Interview with BakedBones

This interview was a collaboration with BakedBones and was conducted via email. All photos from here onwards are courtesy of BakedBones.

1. To start off, who are the folx behind BakedBones?

We are just two guys devoted to baking dogs happy. In 2019, we shifted focus from our careers in architecture and oil & gas towards improving canine quality of life. Armed with oven mitts and rolling pins, we’ve been helping dogs to cope with everything from anxiety to arthritis in the past year, and it has been incredibly rewarding and inspiring.

We’ve built an amazing network of friends, both 2- and 4-legged, since we began our journey and look forward to more in-person interactions in 2021. Like most small businesses, we weren’t quite sure where the first year would take BakedBones. We didn’t realize we’d soon be part of such a kind and collaborative dog community! (Emphasis on “kind” and “collaborative” because wow – it’s exactly what we needed in 2020!)

We measure our success in tail wags, and as we move forward, we hope to continue growing BakedBones and making new connections with dogs and their parents.

2. Tell us a bit about Emma and Olive. Both are Catahoula mixes, right? Was that on purpose?

When we adopted Olive from a rescue organization in North Houston, we actually thought we were bringing home a Great Dane mix. Surprise! Although her DNA test shows she is a super mutt, she’s got the appearance and personality traits typical of a Catahoula.

Emma was also a surprise because we weren’t necessarily looking for another dog the day we met her. We’ve got a little bit more info on her parents, but the guess is that she’s mostly Catahoula. (We are 100% sure that she’s a wild little lady… no doggy DNA test required!)

Watching Olive adjust to having a baby sister has been such a proud experience for both of us. She has always been a sweetheart, but watching her gently wrestling with baby Emma made us so happy. The wrestling has intensified over the months, as anyone who has brought in a new puppy knows, but they’ve definitely got a strong bond and Olive is always watching out for her little sister.

3. What made you decide to start a dog treat company, and why CBD treats?

We knew we wanted to start something that made dogs’ lives better. Our original recipe was one we developed for our own dog, Olive, and we realized other families could benefit from it as much as we did.

Olive had a terrible skin condition as a puppy and we felt a little helpless at that time because we were relying solely on harsh prescription meds from the vet and had to find ways to keep her distracted and calm while she healed. We wanted more options to be able to help. We also had a 17-year old cat who was nearing the end of his life and who suffered from stiff joints and appetite issues, but the sedatives were just making him sleep and didn’t seem to actually improve anything. I believe now that he could’ve enjoyed his final years a bit more if we had CBD, but it wasn’t an option yet at that time.

When Olive started to develop anxiety on car rides, we were offered sedatives again… but that was the last time. We knew there was a better way… so we got moving on BakedBones!

4. How did you come up with the name BakedBones?

Transparency is very important to us and we wanted our name to represent what we do… we bake bones. Plus, being dog dads means you get to be punny! During an 18-hour road trip, we were bouncing ideas around and BakedBones stuck. We wanted to avoid vague words like “holistic” or “wellness” and opted for something straightforward that would also come with a little laugh.

It is common practice for CBD distributors to mass produce products for resell by multiple brands with custom packaging, so baking was something that set us apart and allowed us to take responsibility for the full production process. We are hands-on for every part of the process from sourcing ingredients to sealing packages and everything in between, and the result is a product that we are proud of and that you can trust.

5. What is the best part about running BakedBones and what is the worst?

The best part is meeting our customers, hearing their success stories, and being able to give back. We love that our customers are as diverse as their dogs and we depend on your feedback to keep us aware of your dogs’ needs. We can’t solve every problem, but if we think there’s a way we can help, we’re going to check it out.

Years ago, I started donating money to one of our local animal shelters on my birthdays and it turned out to be the most rewarding birthday gift I had ever gotten myself. Now, with BakedBones and our customers’ help, we get that rewarding feeling every time we make a sale. That remains one of the best parts of BakedBones!

The hardest parts are overcoming common small business hurdles and navigating misinformation around CBD. The Internet is the backbone of the Information Age, but it can also just as easily become a maze of misinformation. We spend a good deal of time working to contribute to the “good” information available online by doing plenty of research and by collaborating with others in the online dog community who share that mission.

6. Why should people consider adding CBD to their dog’s life? Is CBD just for anxiety and pain, or can any dog benefit?

People use CBD for a lot of different reasons, and the benefits for dogs are just as varied. While anxiety and pain management are common, a lot of the dogs we work with are using to reduce inflammation and increase mobility. CBD can be a huge help during times when the cone is necessary to reduce licking and scratching sensitive areas. One in five dogs today will experience arthritis at some point in their life, which can sadly be a very limiting disability. For these reasons it’s good to have a trusted CBD source available for when it’s time to start intervening.

7. Are there any downsides to using CBD, or negative side effects people should keep an eye out for?

Observing your dog is important because it helps you find the dose that is most effective for their needs (every dog is unique). However, CBD is widely accepted as a safe and natural alternative to other medications with heavy side effects. Because it’s not toxic, overdosing with CBD isn’t a concern. However, if taken at levels higher than our recommended dose, side effects could include lethargy or dry mouth.

Because CBD is bound to other carriers, it’s important to also be conscious of the additional ingredients used to make your treat or tincture. You (and your dog’s vet) know your dog’s preferences and health concerns best and should always check ingredients to make sure there are no undesired conflicts.

8. What is the best way to incorporate CBD into your dog’s life?

Consider your goals and lifestyle before deciding the best method – do you prefer the convenience of a treat form or the customized dosage and bioavailability of a tincture? Our tinctures are made by binding CBD oil with MCT oil, which is known to be safe for dogs to consume and generally quite palatable. Our recipes have been known to tempt the occasional human tongue, so introducing BakedBones CBD in either treat or oil form should be a fairly easy task.

Start on the low end of the dosing guide and work up until you see that your dog is getting the benefits she needs. If her reason for taking CBD is situational, consider how much each situation requires and plan ahead. A personal example from our home is when the girls have been playing rough for a while, Olive will get a very low dose afterwards because she isn’t quite as indestructible as Emma and can seem a bit stiff and tired. She’s not battling arthritis, but we think it helps her muscles to relax and unwind after some intense puppy play.

Clinical trials have indicated that there are more benefits with the regular daily use of CBD, so that is another thing to consider when observing your dog’s issues and coming up with a plan to incorporate hemp into their routine.

9. One of my favorite things about your company is you have always had sustainability and eco-friendliness in mind. What are some of the things BakedBones does to reduce their carbon footprint?

Sustainability is largely about kindness – it’s thinking about how small decisions you make affect the world around you. As we became manufacturers, we understood the responsibility increased because we were also making decisions on behalf of families outside our own.

  • The decision to use all organic ingredients was an easy one to make from the start. Reducing the amount of unnatural chemicals in our bodies and our planet is a no-brainer!
  • Using cage-free eggs means that we’re supporting farmers who share the same respect for quality of life and living things as we do
  • Offering compostable, plant-based packaging options is something we’ve got in place, but are also continuously improving upon. As a young and small business, we’re narrowing down which packaging options we can employ that are earth-friendly and that will get BakedBones products to your dogs safely and securely
  • End-consumers are familiar with recycling, which is great considering how much online shopping and cardboard boxes have become a part of our regular lives in the 21st century, but what other options are there? We’d like to share alternatives with our customers on how to dispose of their cardboard boxes in more creative ways, such as using BakedBones boxes in your home gardens or organization projects

10. You also support a lot of dog rescue work. Can you tell us a bit more about those efforts?

The number of dogs euthanized in the U.S. is unacceptable and unnecessary. It’s also a problem that none of us can solve individually – so we baked it right into our mission and business model. We started BakedBones to help dogs, but also understood that most of the dogs we bake for are lucky to be considered part of a human family. We wanted the work we do each day to make a difference for all dogs and that’s why we collaborate with no-kill rescues.

As we mentioned earlier, this is one of the best parts about running BakedBones and something we get a lot of pleasure out of doing, so we try to make it fun when we make our donations. Getting involvement on social media is a fun way for people to get engaged and to also be exposed to the idea of helping the dogs that are still looking for a home that fits just right. As a two-man team, we are stretched thin 99% of the time, but we make an effort to get involved with the shelters that we support so that they can get the most benefit out of the donations we raise.

11. You’ve started coming out with seasonal flavors, which we LOVE! Any exciting new products or flavors coming this Spring you can hint at?

We do have a few surprises in the works. One of the ideas we are excited about is collaborating with another small local business that makes fresh cold pressed juices. We are working to reuse the nutrient rich pulp as one of real food ingredients!

Listening to our customers has been very important part of deciding which products we develop and share. We surveyed our existing customers to better understand why they are using CBD and the three most common reasons were calming, mobility, and general wellness – so we’ve spent a year developing three new recipes that use other botanical ingredients to cater specifically to these issues.

A better quality of life is the key driver behind our seasonal recipes… and that doesn’t always mean dodging the negative stuff. The seasonal recipes are about getting what our dogs need in a fun and flavorful way. The Sweet Potato Stuffing Bites smell and taste like Thanksgiving, which is so fun for us as dog parents. And we LOVE giving our dogs their own Pumpkin Spice Latte Bites! They may or may not associate the tastes of pumpkin and sweet potato with the fall season, but they sure can tell that we’re excited about it… and I think it sometimes comes down to that.

We #bakedogshappy, but that doesn’t mean that we dog parents can’t have a little fun with it, too!

12. For anyone out there interested in starting their own dog company, what is your best piece of advice?

Understand why you want to start a business. (*tip: profit is NOT the right answer)

Focus on what makes your brand unique.

Listen. A lot. Be flexible enough to adapt to what your clients need.

Be yourself – because your creativity, kindness, and hard work will likely be what sets you apart from much larger corporations.


BakedBones Giveaway

First and foremost: HUGE thank you to our friends at BakedBones for taking the time to thoughtfully and thoroughly answer these questions! Be sure to head over to their online shop to pick up some goodies, and don’t forget to use code JUNEMARGOT15 for a discount!

To enter our giveaway, make sure you are following both @thefoxandtheauss and @bakedbones on Instagram and fill out the form below to subscribe. That will enter you into the drawing, and a winner will be selected through a random number generator.

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Giveaway is open to U.S. residents only and ends Monday, December 21 at midnight CST. Winner will be contacted by email on Tuesday, December 22. Prize must be claimed within 48 hours, or another winner will be selected. Once the prize is claimed, the winner will also be announced on Instagram.

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