Surviving the Dog Days of Summer
I’m sure you’ve heard the expression “the dog days of summer” but do you know the history behind it?
The expression originated in the areas around the Mediterranean Sea and refers to the hot and humid days of summer. Greek lore attributed the hot weather to the corresponding appearance Orion’s dog, Sirius (the dog star in the constellation Canis Major) in the early morning sky at this time of year.
The saying has certainly stuck around for ages but regardless of origin we can all agree these days can become a bit uncomfortable. And if they are uncomfortable for us, imagine how uncomfortable for our dogs. They are wearing a fur coat in this weather!
Here are a few ideas for keeping Fido cool through the coming weeks.
- Get out for those walks and exercise early in the morning or later in the evening when the temps have cooled some.
- Keep plenty of fresh water available at all times so that your dog can stay well hydrated. Remember that dog’s can’t really sweat so they can over heat much more easily than humans.
- If you feel the need to cool your dog off, water or a cool towel will do more good if applied to the belly area (where there is less hair coat) rather than the top of the dog.
- Keep your dog’s hair coat brushed out but don’t shave him down. A dog’s coat is designed to both cool and insulate the dog. A dog’s hair is designed to lift or raise at the shoulders, back and along the tail. You’ve probably seen a prominent display of this when a dog “raises his hackles”. This ability allows air to circulate to the skin. When the hair is clipped short the dog can no longer perform this function and it actually makes it more difficult for them to cool themselves. Keeping the hair free of tangles and mats enhances their ability to cool themselves and helps hot spots from developing.
- Create some cooling treats by filling an ice cube tray or muffin tin with a mixture of water with applesauce, low sodium broth or plain yogurt. Drop in a few treats; kibble or bits of cheese or liver, freeze for several hours or overnight then allow Fido to enjoy his own pupsicle ?
And be sure to check out our summer special on Dog Cots. These cots are particularly nice in the summer because they allow air to circulate entirely around your dog rather than lying on a warm mat or dog bed.