Once days start to get longer, hotter, and summer has definitely arrived people often talk about the ‘dog days’, but what does this mean? Is it anything at all to do with dogs?
Where ‘Dog Days’ Comes From
Originally the term ‘dog days’ was not associated with summer. It certainly has nothing to do with dogs! In fact, the term refers to the dog star Sirius. In Greek and Roman times the position of the dog star across the sky was tracked. It was noticed that the star would rise before the sun in late July – hence the term ‘dog days’ was born.
In Greece and Italy, the star arrives during the hottest part of the summer which is also when other things like fires would occur. Over time the term ‘dog days’ became linked to the high temperatures rather than the star and the saying changed to ‘dog days of summer’.
That’s history, what about today?
Today the term is used when temperatures soar high and the days feel like they will never end – essentially, the peak of summer. Some folks believe that ‘dog days’ refers to how dogs behave during the heat – being unable to cool down. Even so, the expression has nothing to do with dogs even though many do act a little off kilter during the hottest of summer days.
Protecting your canine companion through the dog days
Although ‘dog days’ has nothing to do with your dog, he or she will still need some help getting through the long, hot summer days in safety. Here are some tips on how to keep your dog healthy and happy through the dog days:
Hydration – your dog must have plenty of water to avoid the risk of dehydration which is higher as the temperatures soar. When the hot weather comes, make sure that the dog bowl is always full of water and that they have constant access whenever they need a drink.
Activity – activity should be adjusted according to the temperature. So keep those longer walks for cooler days as during the dog days hours of running around can cause serious health issues for your pet.
Look out for signs of overheating – things, like being overly tired or weak, or panting excessively and drooling, are tell-tale signs your furry friend may be overheating. Makes sure they can get inside, grab some water, rest and cool down.
Paw Care – walking on scorching hot sidewalks can damage your dog’s paws. Keep walks on the asphalt to a minimum and if you can avoid them in favor of walking on shaded, grasses areas do so. You can buy booties to protect your dog’s paws but some dogs don’t like these.
Water – dogs love water but not all of them swim well. If you take your dog along for a dip in the lake make sure you keep a close eye on him or her.
NEVER, leave your dog in the car not even for a few minutes. The insides of cars heat rapidly to dangerous levels and your dog cannot sweat so is unable to cool down. It is very dangerous and can kill your dog. In some States it is illegal. Just never, EVER be tempted, take your dog with you or leave him at home in the shade.