The Dog Days of Summer!

by, Jo Carol Hebert

‘Star Light Star Bright’ . . .

 “ . . .first star I see tonight,

I wish I may, I wish I might

have the wish I wish tonight!”

Canine Connections

Our ancient ancestors noticed the star lights that twinkled above them in the night sky. They pictured figures in the stars that grouped together. Today, we call these groups of stars – constellations. Early astronomers named the constellations for the shapes they resembled.

One constellation is called Canis Major because it appeared to have the general outline of a dog. In the Canis Major constellation, there is a star that is the brightest in the heavens. It is named Sirius. 

Sirius was so bright that early people thought that the star made the sea boil, wine go sour, and dogs go mad. And so, the star is called the Dog Star.

The Dog Days

July and August are referred to as the ‘dog days’ of summer because these are the hottest months. The metaphor of ‘dog days’ is fitting for our favorite pet.

“Dogs do not sweat” is not a true fact. Dogs have minimal sweat glands in the pads of their feet. Also, they drool saliva and liquid from their nose for cooling. But ‘sweating’ as an effective body temperature regulator is not very effective for dogs.

If Your Dog Could Talk

The ‘dog days’ can be dangerous to dogs and people, too. A dog’s normal temperature is 101-102.5 degrees. Our body temperature is 98.6 degrees normal. Dogs dehydrate easily. If your dog is ‘panting’ heavily, he’s trying to tell you that “I am so hot. I need water, fast!’

Of course, being a good pet-owner, you keep plenty of fresh, clean water accessible to your beloved furry friend.

Fido Goes for a Ride

It is surprising how fast the inside of a car can heat up in summer temperatures.

From 85 degrees, it only takes 10 minutes for the inside temperature to rise to 102 degrees. In 30 minutes, that temperature can shoot up to 120 degrees, even with the windows cracked.

Of course, you would never leave your friend in such a hot spot.

‘Brachycephalic’ Breeds Prone to Heat Stroke

Flat-faced dogs overheat more quickly because they can’t pant. From the Greek words for ‘short’ and ‘head’, these breeds have flat faces and shortened snouts. This results in more narrow nostrils and smaller airways. This makes breathing harder, especially in the super heat of the dog days.

These brachycephalic breeds are adorable with their wrinkled muzzles and smooshy faces, but owners should be aware they are are ‘breathing challenged’:

Did You Know . . .

. . . these brachycephalic breeds of dogs?

  • the ‘pugnacious-looking’ Bulldog
  • the French Bulldog, with bat ears and sweet temperament
  • the energetic Boxer
  • the Boston Terrier with ‘tuxedo coat’ pattern
  • the ‘aloof’ Chow Chow with thick fluffy coat
  • the long-haired, ‘haughty’ Pekinese
  • the silky haired and regal Shih Tzu
  • the fun-loving Pug

Surviving the ‘Dog Days of Summer’

(*WARNING: Idioms will be used recklessly!) 

So, ‘let sleeping dogs lie’ (don’t sweat the small stuff; because ‘every dog will have its day’ ( what goes around comes around).

Tell a ‘shaggy dog story’ to pass the time (tale of a dog that makes good).

‘Teach an old dog new tricks’ (they say you can’t teach an old dog new tricks).

Try to ‘stay out of the doghouse’ (stay out of trouble).

Fight for the ‘underdog’ (bet on the losing team).

Don’t be a ‘glory hound’ (give other people credit for success). ‘

Work ‘like a dog’ (try your best).

And, hope that it rains cats and dogs!’ (look for a downpour of rain!)

It’s Happy Dog Days and Fall is on the way. Enjoy your Summer. Do ya miss school yet?

Categories: Dogs

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