The Dog Days of Summer occur during the hottest and muggiest days of the season – from July 3 to August 11.
“Dog Days” gets its name from ancient times by astronomers observing Sirius (The Dog Star) rising and setting with the sun. During this time, you must take special measures concerning heat and heat-related conditions to keep your pet healthy and happy.
“Dog Days” gets its name from ancient times by astronomers observing Sirius (The Dog Star) rising and setting with the sun.
They believed that the heat from Sirius being added to the heat from the sun was the cause of this stretch of hot, sultry weather. We now know, though, that the excess heat is a result of the earth’s tilt, and not caused by the excess radiation and brightness of a far-away star.
Regardless of the history, the Dog Days of Summer are now upon us, and this can make life uncomfortable for our furry friends! Dogs and cats suffer from the same summertime issues that people do: overheating, dehydration… and even sunburn.
Please take the time to read over these simple precautions to help keep your pets healthy and happy during the Dog Days of Summer!
- If you haven’t had your annual veterinary check-up, now is the time! Don’t forget the heartworm test and to ask about the best flea and tick products for your individual pet.
- Never leave your pet alone in a vehicle! Hyperthermia can quickly become fatal. Even with the windows open, parked vehicles become furnace-like in no time. Parking in the shade might offer a little protection for a short time, but remember that the sun shifts during the day. Play it safe! Just don’t leave your pet in the vehicle.
- Carry a gallon thermos filled with cold, fresh water when traveling with your pet.
- Playtime is best done in the cool of the early morning or evening. Try to avoid after meals or when the weather is overly hot and humid.
- If you are taking your pet to the beach, make sure you can guarantee a shady spot and a fresh supply of water. Dogs should be rinsed off after a dip in the ocean to remove the salt from their fur and skin.
- Don’t let your dog stand on hot asphalt. This can cause your pet’s body to heat up quickly, and sensitive paw pads can burn. Keep road walks during the heat of the day to a minimum.
- Older and overweight pets have extra difficulty during hot weather. Keep pets with heart or lung diseases in air conditioning as much as possible. This also applies to snub-nosed dogs such as Bulldogs, Pekinese, Boston Terriers, Lhasa Apsos, and Shih Tzus.
- Provide fresh water and plenty of shade for pets kept outdoors. The best choice is a properly constructed doghouse. Bring your pet inside during the heat of the day to rest in a cool part of the house. Dogs left out in the sun without enough water can suffer from heatstroke leading to death.
- Summer is the time when gardens, lawns, and trees are sprayed with insecticides. Avoid walking your dog in suspect areas. These chemicals can cause harm, even death. If you suspect your pet has been poisoned, call your veterinarian immediately.
- Dogs with heavy coats can benefit from being shaved in the summer. Never shave closer than down to a 1-inch length, though. Shaving down to the skin will rob your pet protection from the sun.
- Don’t let your pets run wild! Unsupervised, off-leash activity can lead to an animal contacting a fatal disease or injury. Pet theft can also be a problem.
- A tip for all seasons: if you must tether your dog outside, use a buckle collar with identification tags.
- Make sure there are no open, unscreened windows or doors in your home, through which animals can fall or jump.
- Watch for coolant (antifreeze) leaking from your car. Its sweet taste attracts pets, and ingesting just a little can be fatal.
- Be sure your pet wears an ID tag. Keep it up to date. It’s a fact: A lost pet without a pet ID tags seldom finds its way home.
- Natchez Trace Veterinary Services (Belle Meade) (615) 750-2248
- Natchez Trace Veterinary Services (Franklin) (615) 790-8100