5 must-haves for a day at the lake with your dog

By Jackie Dreyer

Editor's note: This is a guest post written by Mat Coulton, owner of Wiley Pup.

If you have a canine glamper on your hands, enjoying the outdoors can be twice as fun—especially if you have boating and swimming on the agenda. Getting ready for your adventuresome vacation, however, does require a little extra planning for your canine companion when you're planning to spend a day at the lake.

Here are 5 must-haves for enjoying the water with your furry friend.

1. The essentials: A dog's eye view

Any outdoor adventure is better when you pack the right gear. When it comes to enjoying the water with your dog, there are some unique needs that are easy to overlook. Be sure you think through the trip from your dog's perspective and cover these basics.

Collapsible water bowl

It's an easy thing to forget, but your dog can't drink from your canteen. Even if the lake is freshwater, it's also not a good idea to let your furry companion drink from it. In fact, some types of algae are downright toxic! Make sure to pack a collapsible water bowl so your dog can enjoy plenty of cool fresh water and ward off potential dehydration.

Waterproof bag

Keep treats and other snacks dry while canoeing or kayaking with your pooch in a waterproof bag. A day full of swimming and boating burns a lot of calories—probably more than your dog is accustomed to. Just like you, they are probably going to be ready for a small mid-afternoon snack to keep going on high octane. Remember to keep feedings small when your dog is active to avoid the potentially life-threatening condition known as bloat.

Extra towels

Easy to forget, but absolutely essential: extra towels. Your pooch won't mind if they get the towel with a big tear in the corner from that time it got partially eaten by the dryer....just so long as they don't have to share! (And really, who wants to layout on a beach towel that smells like wet dog?)

First aid items for dogs

You probably have people first aid covered; however, the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) has put together this list to make sure you have any possible dog emergencies covered, as well. A few essential first aid items for dogs that probably aren't in your regular kit include:

  • 3% hydrogen peroxide
  • Milk of Magnesia
  • Muzzle
  • Extra leash
  • Vet information and prescription list
  • Pet digital thermometer (They go higher than those used for people.)
  • Animal Poison Control phone number (888-426-4435)

2. Canine life jacket: Safety gear for Fido

Contrary to popular belief, not all dogs are natural swimmers. Admittedly, some dogs can't swim at all! While there are always exceptions to the rule, breeds that are notoriously bad swimmers include bully breeds (bull dogs, pit bulls, terriers, and more), basset hounds, dachshunds, and pugs and other Brachycephalic breeds.

Even if you have a strong swimmer on your hands, it is advisable to fit them with a dog life vest if they will be joining you on the boat. The reason for this is that it can sometimes be difficult to get a dog back in the boat if they jump out. They may make a beeline to the shore, not realizing it is too far for them to be able to swim. Better safe than sorry!

3. Saddlebag harness: Let your pooch carry the load

Many lakes offer hiking trails to enjoy the beauty of the outdoors from dry land. If you plan to take advantage of them, consider investing in a saddlebag-style hiking harness for your dog.

They come in many styles designed to provide your dog with balanced comfort for both short and long hikes. Roomy pockets on either side of these adventure harnesses allow you to pack items, such as ponchos, treats, kibble, portable water bowls, leash, sunscreen, and anything else that may come in handy on the trail.

Be sure that you keep an eye towards matching your dog's fitness level with the amount that you pack him up with. In addition, try to balance the load left to right for comfort and safety. Finally, take the harness off on breaks to make sure your dog has a chance to cool off, especially in warm, humid weather.

4. The right stuff: The best waterproof toys

Sure, a tennis ball might be your dog's go-to in the backyard, but it won't do for shoreside games of fetch. First, they get waterlogged and nasty. More importantly, they will eventually sink if they get punctured.

Floating skipping stones

These floating stones by Kurgo have the built-in advantage of flat sides, just like river rocks, so that you can skip them along the surface of the water with each toss. It makes a fun game even more fun by getting your dog's two-legged companion involved in the challenge.

Floating disc

If you have a Frisbee fanatic by your side (Border Collie parents especially), you may be disappointed to find out that most flying disks will turn over and sink in the water. The Zogoflex by West Paw solves that problem.

Dog float lounger

Finally, if you plan on whiling away a summer day floating on the lake, make sure you don't have to leave your dog waiting back on the shore. This innovative dog flotation device is made with durable fabric that is built to withstand dog claws. Plus, it folds up easily to take up very little room in the trunk.

5. Campfire bliss: visibility after hours

One last thing to consider that many pet lovers leave off their glamping list? Nighttime visibility. You'll have a flashlight to make it from the campfire to the cabin, but your four-legged friend will be using all four of his or her hands for walking.

Luckily, LED technology has made illuminated dog harnesses a relatively inexpensive piece of must-have outdoor gear for your pooch. Lasting 12 hours or more on a single charge (via USB cable), you'll get peace of mind when you're able to keep track of your dog when it's time for s'mores and ghost stories.

Note that this harness is water-resistant, not waterproof. While it isn't safe to go swimming with your dog after dark anyway, just be aware that this harness is not the right choice for an afternoon swim on the lake.

Mat Coulton was born and raised in Sydney, Australia, and grew up with dogs from young on. He decided to combine his business education, entrepreneurial experience, and love for dogs to create Wiley Pup. For more on Mat and Wiley Pup, visit their website and Facebook pages!

Glamping Hub x The Breasties: A Galentine's Day weekend getaway

By Amy Ahlblad

What happens when an alternative travel company empowering guests to reconnect in nature, a unique host with a passion for recycling and repurposing, and a nonprofit organization supporting young women with breast and gynecological cancers come together? One unforgettable Galentine’s Day weekend—where a group of 24 strong, brave women came together at one of Glamping Hub’s most unique accommodations and left as breast friends.

The Breasties is a NPO made up of a group of women who move mountains. With their own unique take on support groups, they host free wellness retreats and meet-ups across the U.S. that connect survivors and previvors of breast and gynecological cancers, as well as caregivers. This was their first retreat of 2019, and we were so happy to share this special weekend with FlopHouze.

Below the infinite blue Texas sky sit six “shipping containers on psychedelics,” i.e., FlopHouze. Here, you can find host Matt White, who is just as unique as his accommodations. All the shipping containers have been outfitted with recycled vintages goods, and each with its own special treasures from around the world. Similar to the Breasties—sitting around the campfire, opening up to one another about their journey—no two are alike, but they all have something in common: they tell their stories of the past and inspire hope for the future.

White went above and beyond to help make this event the unique success that it was. He introduced us to chef and women's healthcare champion, Monica Pope, and lead the women to the world-renowned music institute, Festival Hill, for Saturday's activity. Pope, who you may know from Top Chef, provided healthy, locally sourced, farm-to-table meals, as she believes in healing the mind, body, and spirit by using food as medicine. She also recently co-founded the organization I'll Have What She's Having in support of women's healthcare in the hospitality industry.

While we did our best to plan each and every detail, we all know that there will always be surprises. For Saturday's activity, The Breasties made there way to Festival Hill—a sprawling 210-acre campus, containing major performance facilities, historic houses, extensive gardens, parks and nature preserves.

Among its collection of rare artifacts, this site also holds a statue of St. Joseph, and a guide, Bruce, from Festival Hill tells the story of the statue's wish-granting powers and his own personal account of its lure. In short, the man was having trouble selling his house, when one of the founders of Festival Hill recommended he pay St. Joseph a visit.

Intrigued by the story of the statue, Matt and The Breasties trekked deep into the woods to see for themselves. As told by Matt and Breastie Bri Wesley-Majsiak in follow up conversations, when they found the statue, an unfamiliar sound began to arise. After a few moments, everyone realized it was coming from the birds. The forest had come harmoniously alive, as all of the birds in all of the trees suddenly decided to serenade The Breasties—an inexplicable and eerie coincidence, but a memorable experience shared together nonetheless.

Upon starting this partnership with The Breasties, I could never have predicted how moved I would be by this organization of women. I have not been personally affected by cancer, and I cannot fathom what these brave women and their families go through on a daily basis. It all started last September when was introduced to Bri Wesley-Majsiak by a colleague of mine from Glamping Hub. We started discussing ways we could potentially work together for a wellness treat, and I felt so inspired by the Breasties. I was in awe of their strength, yet I also had feelings of guilt. Were there things in my life I was taking for granted?

Fellow Breastie, Dr. Lisa Pena, covered it as authentically and as real as it could possibly be said in her post, "Forever Changed":

"Just imagine for a second that you are in your mid 20s or early 30s. You are living your best life. You have plans and dreams and goals and although you have not found "the one" you know the universe or God will send the right person at the right time and you will have babies and a house and each other and a career… you know… no rush. Then you get the call. You have cancer and it's bad. It will require your beautiful young self to go through rounds and rounds of chemotherapy that will remove every piece of hair from your body, it will ruin your nails, it will devastate your libido and the medications that come with the chemotherapy may cause weight gain and swelling. You will now be single, have no hair, look sick to the world, feel sick most days, maybe be at a weight you aren't comfortable with and then you will lose your breasts to an extreme surgery. Your self confidence will be at an all time low and before all that you will consider freezing some eggs if you can afford it. What now? How in the world do you even begin to navigate this ridiculous dating world with all these perceived disadvantages?"

If there was anything I did understand, it was that these women are unstoppable. “They are terrified but dance and sing to Cardi B anyway. They are filled with anxiety but laugh and joke and drink too much in hot tubs anyway. They are uncertain and scared but love with all they have anyway. They are sad and grieving but lift everyone up around them anyway," Pena went on to write. The Breasties are united beyond their diagnoses. They are a group of women who take nothing for granted, open their hearts, and love endlessly. Glamping Hub is honored and humbled to have been a part of this experience.

All photos and video were taken by Erin Panosian.

For more on the Breasties, check out their website, Facebook, and Instagram!

Glamping Hub x Ethan Abitz road trip

By Amy Ahlblad