The Dog Days of Summer

June 3, 2024 - 3 minutes read

Helping our companions keep their cool.

We’ve all heard the phrase, Dog Days of Summer, but did you know that the term comes from Hellenistic astrology?  Heat, drought, storms, and lethargy, among other things, were associated with Sirius, the Dog Star, and the first time each year when it became visible above the eastern horizon just before dawn. Sirius would then be invisible to the night sky. The effect of Sirius’ light, along with the Sun’s, was said to affect plants, animals, and people. Today, we use the term to describe the hottest part of summer here in the northern hemisphere, usually July through August.

Our team has put together some tips and tricks to help our Pack members thrive during this time of year.

Walk your dogs when it’s cooler outside. 

Waiting for cooler temperatures reduces the risk of heatstroke and burning their paws on the pavement. (Walk in the early mornings and evenings).

Do NOT leave your dog unsupervised around bodies of water.

A swimming pool can provide a welcome cool-down on a hot summer day, but a pool, or any body of water, can be a drowning hazard for pets.

NEVER leave your pet inside a car.

Even if just for a few minutes and with the windows cracked open, the temperature inside a car can quickly reach 120°F and beyond in just minutes.

Be cautious of your dog drinking seawater.

During beach days, remember that your dog can consume salt water when swimming or playing in the water. This can irritate the GI tract and, in large amounts, potentially become toxic for your pet. Tip: Pack fresh water and a bowl for your doggo.

Be careful swimming in bodies of fresh water. 

Dogs who play or swim in lakes, ponds, or rivers are at risk of coming in contact with algae, bacteria, or parasites. Some of these organisms can be harmful to your pet.

Recognize signs of heat stress and heat stroke.

What to watch for:

Heavy Panting
Unable to get up
Unable to calm down
Red, tacky gums
Excessive drooling
Vomiting or diarrhea

If you suspect heatstroke, move your dog to a cooler place, offer water, and contact a veterinarian immediately.

Be Aware of Breed-Specific and Dog-Specific Needs

Brachycephalic Breeds: Breeds with short noses (like Bulldogs, Pugs, and Boxers) are more prone to heatstroke and need extra care in hot weather, as are overweight dogs and those with respiratory issues.

By following these precautions, you can help ensure your dog stays safe and comfortable during the summer heat.