Translated from Latin to English about 500 years ago, “Dog Days”, were originally based on what the ancient Greeks thought about the constellation Canis Major, with the star Sirius being the dog’s nose, and its position in the Heavens. In the summer, when Sirius (the brightest visible from anywhere on the earth) aligns with the sun on July 23rd, it was believed by the ancient Romans to give off heat and add to the Sun’s warmth. The term came to encompass the 20 days before July 23rd and the 20 days after. Nowadays, we typically are referring to the lazy, dog days of summer, as being the hottest part.
There’s certainly a lot of fun to be had in the summer with picnics, bar-b-ques (remember that greasy, fatty foods will not do well in your companions belly), trips to the park and vacations. So, how do we keep our dogs safe and comfortable during all of the warm weather festivities?
* Hydrate. Hydrate. Hydrate. You can’t offer too much cold, refreshing water too often. Enough said.
* We all know that exercise is good for all of us, and our pets. However, when it is excessively hot, it needs to be limited.
* I’m sure that you and your dog are grateful, if you are fortunate to have air conditioning. If not, consider a “cooling” bed or mat. Our family once had a vent cut through the wall to provide ac when our dog went into his dog house in the corner of the garage. Okay, maybe that was a bit much!
* Consider a new do. Actually, some breeds need their coat to stay cool naturally. Never shave your dog, as he needs some hair to protect him from overheating or getting a sunburn. Check with your groomer.
* Swimming is a great summer activity to cool off. Be aware that not ALL dogs are good, safe swimmers though, especially those breeds with short legs. Until you are sure that you dog, stay be his side and maybe use a leash, in case he becomes distressed and your need to lead him back to the beach. Supervise your pet around swimming pools as well.
* Take your pets paws into consideration. You may be wearing flip flops, but the sand and sidewalk may be too hot for your dog to walk on.
* We all know not to leave your dog alone in a vehicle when it is hot, even with the windows cracked, as the temperature becomes stifling real quick.
* Watch for sign of heat stroke, such as excessive panting, rapid heartbeat, and drooling. Pets with flat faces are even more susceptible to heat stroke, since they are not able to pant as efficiently.
* Always keep the contact information of a good boarding kennel handy, in the event that you are not able to take you dog with you on some of your summer adventures.
Make sure that your dog is able to “chill” and enjoy summer.