Dog days of Summer

 

Ancient Egyptians once believed that dogs were possessed by the devil during hot, dry spells. We know that this isn't true, however, the family pet can sometimes have a devil of a time dealing with hot weather during the "dog days of summer."

The term "Dog Days" originated in Egypt with Sirius, the Dog Star, which is only visible for about 40 days each year and coincides with sweltering heat. The superstitious Egyptians believed this was an evil season because the dogs became bad-tempered, slobbered profusely, staggered about with their tongues lolling, and madly searched for water. They concluded that the poor animals must be possessed by devils that made their bite poisonous and infected with the rabies "germ."

 

Even today, some people believe dogs are prone, if not to madness, at least to strange behavior during hot summer days. Before the intense heat of summer puts the devil into your dog, consider the following canine facts and take precautions to ensure both you and your pet can keep your cool!

No Sweat

Dogs have difficulty in hot weather mainly because they do not perspire the same as people do. A dog's tongue is an integral part of its cooling system. They inhale cool air and expel hot. They perspire primarily through their tongue and a minimal amount through their paw pads and skin pores. The result is slobbering and panting hot dogs!

You must also pay close attention to your dog's coat. Just as a well-groomed coat provides insulation from the cold, it also insulates an animal from heat.

Exercise Anyone?

Never walk a dog or worse - ride a bike with your dog along side you - in extremely hot weather. Hyperthermia kills!

Be Aware

Short-nosed dogs, such as Boxers and Pugs, ALL puppies, and very old dogs are more sensitive to extreme heat than other breeds and adult dogs. If your pet fits into any of these categories, be extra sensitive to his needs during hot spells, especially between the hours of 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Cool Water

Be sure your dog has an abundant supply of clean, fresh water accessible at all times. And keep in mind that just like you, he may not want to eat as much as usual when the temperature rises. Unless he/she is exhibiting other forms of illness, don't worry about temporary changes in eating habits.

 

Made in the Shade

Keep your dog confined inside your home (ideally in the cool basement) during the hottest part of the day. If the dog is kept outside a shade source is critical! The added shade offered by mature trees or the side of your house will make his doghouse and dog run more comfortable.

A Cook Out

Firing up the barbecue for family and friends? Don't forget that barbecues smell wonderful to dogs, and they have no way of knowing they're dangerous. Before starting the barbecue be sure to tie your dog up or lock him in his kennel to keep him from getting under foot.

Keeping all these points in mind, you and your dog can enjoy the sunshine during the "Dog Days of Summer". Relax in the shade of a big old tree without feeling guilty. If anyone questions your laidback attitude, just say, "The Devil made me do it."

Article submitted by: © Terri Perrin (Biography & Additional Information)

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