I’ve wondered for most of my life where the phrase “the dog days of summer” comes from. It turns out that it’s not as mysterious as I thought. The ancient Romans called the period of July and the first half of August that because Sirius, the dog star, rises at the same time, or near the same time, as the sun. Mystery solved.
Today we should consider the dog days of summer as a time to be extra careful with our pets. Obviously, lots of fresh water and shade are essential. Dogs such as Huskies, St. Bernard’s and others with heavy coats are especially susceptible to heat exhaustion. If you should see a dog prostrate from the heat, it is imperative that you lower the body temperature as quickly as possible. Use a child’s wading pool if available and if not, use the water hose to cool the dog off before brain damage or even death occurs.
Everyone likes to walk with their dogs. For some, it is a good motivator to get out and moving. Before you let your dog walk on a sidewalk or paved roadway, lay the back of your hand on the surface for ten seconds. If you cannot stand the heat, then your dog shouldn’t be allowed to walk on it. I went outside today at 1:00 PM and measured the temperature of the street in front of my house. The ambient temperature was 96̊ and the temperature of the roadway was 130.5̊. That is definitely hot enough to blister the pads on a dog’s feet.
The last thing to consider is when you take your dog with you to run errands. All dogs love car rides. If you leave your dog in the vehicle even with the windows cracked, the temperature will rise above 130̊ very quickly resulting in heat stroke. In some states, it is illegal, but at the very least, you can be charged and convicted of animal cruelty.
We all love our pets and truly do want the best for them!