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Featured Founder: Gel Hydration Innovates Solution for Dangerous Canine Dehydration

Our canine friends are far more susceptible to overheating than people. Yet, like most people, they don’t always drink as much water as they should.

Dogs usually reject water when they are ill, over-excited or distracted. Or like humans, working dogs can stay so focused on their task that they too neglect drinking water.

Handlers of military or search-and-rescue dogs struggle to locate clean water sources. Handlers need to carry fresh water with them to keep their canine partners hydrated. This can be cumbersome and even detrimental to their own performance and safety.

Ellsworth-based startup Gel Hydration Technologies will launch their innovative solution to canine dehydration in the coming months. Their convenient gel products are 97% water to maximize hydration, disguised as tasty human-grade treats that dogs-on-the-go will gobble up.

Critical to Gel Hydration’s journey to market has been their enrollment in this year’s Top Gun class in Bangor. Top Gun Bangor, an UpStart Maine coalition program, is an entrepreneurship accelerator that’s hosted in partnership by the University of Maine and Maine Center for Entrepreneurs.

Founders Laura Lockwood and Patrick Jones shared, “It was a wonderful experience for us. The training was great, especially the legal aspect, manufacturing, pricing, and marketing topics. And we were exposed to more influential people than we expected.”

This exposure helped Gel Hydration form partnerships and access critical resources throughout the state of Maine, such as Manufacturers Association of Maine for co-packing solutions, grant funding from Maine Technology Institute, and their headquarters at the Union River Center for Innovation.

The 4-month Top Gun program, run annually since 2009, has matched founders of more than 200 high-growth potential companies with experienced, professional volunteer mentors. Weekly sessions help entrepreneurs make important decisions at pivotal junctures in the growth of their business.

Top Gun’s business pitch training paid off for Laura and Patrick. They were winners of the recent virtual Top Gun Bangor Showcase where they pitched their business in front of local business leaders and a virtual audience. Both are former employees of The Jackson Laboratory with a long history in biotech sales.

With that win in the bag, they now have their sights on another important win – dog taste testing. Lucky local shelter dogs will soon contribute their palettes to Gel Hydration’s research, in the name of science and good health for dog-kind.

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UpStart Maine is a coalition of programs and facilities striving to build the entrepreneurial ecosystem in the Greater Bangor Region. Upstart Maine works to build a community that fuels entrepreneurship from within by filling the gaps in the entrepreneurial landscape, forging connections with the larger community, and connecting startups with the people, services, and resources they need. To involve your business in any of the UpStart programs or to align your established business with UpStart to support Maine's entrepreneurial landscape, visit for more information.

This article is made possible in part by a generous grant from the Maine Technology Institute, supporting UpStart Maine’s effort to increase awareness of its programs and facilities available to start-up entrepreneurs in the Bangor Region.

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