"Dog Days bright and clear,
indicate a happy year.
But when accompanied by rain,
for better times our hopes are vain."
(from The Old Farmer's Almanac)
The Old Farmer's Almanac says the official Dog Days of summer are the 40 days beginning July 3 and ending August 11. This coincides with the rising of the Dog Star, Sirius, at sunrise.
"The rising of Sirius does not actually affect the weather (some of our hottest and most humid days occur after August 11), but for the ancient Egyptians, Sirius appeared just before the season of the Nile's flooding, so they used the star as a "watchdog" for that event. Since its rising also coincided with a time of extreme heat, the connection with hot, sultry weather was made for all time."
Our dogs are much like us, the owners.
- Marley, a 10-year-old, 86-pound Airedale, loves to be outside, but just can't take the heat and humidity anymore. He needs to come inside and cool his bones more often than not.
Ditto for me - I love to be outside however often reflect on my much younger, foolish years of "laying out" and wonder how in the world I did it. Now, I get things done in the early morning hours before the humidity and heat sucks my breath away. A covered walkout patio, outdoor ceiling fan, and trees, help provide shade and a light breeze when it's really hot.
- Marley loves to go on walks, albeit they're a little shorter now that he's older. But his walks are in the morning and not during the heat of the day...and when he arrives home he tanks up on the water AFTER the walk. Before the walk could cause cramping.
Ditto for us.
- Marley appreciates a good nap - like eight hours or so.
Ditto for us. Okay, maybe not eight hours, but I finally convinced my husband that a good nap is highly underrated. Just about 15 minutes for so. It revives and rejuvenates our bodies and brains. Try taking a nap outside in a portable hammock in the shade. I recently discovered that pleasure.
Nalla is a 12-year-old Springer who, like us, appreciates the outdoors and a good shade tree. But, she REALLY likes the air conditioning. Our dogs come tell us when it's time to go in. They know their limits.
Neither dog feels like eating much when it's hot - ditto for us.
Dogs AND humans need to take care during the Dog Days:
- Drink plenty of water - Keeps you hydrated and helps reduce leg cramps in really active people and elderly.
- Know your body limits - Seek coolness from a fan, shade, and ice water. Read your body's reactions: lethargy, inability to cool down, confusion. You may have heat stress.
- Do your outside activities and heaviest outside work in the morning and not in the heat of the day. This isn't always possible, especially for those who work outside. If you're one of those people, then be prepared with plenty of ice water and cooling towels, like Arctic Ties or Chilly Pads.
- While you may not feel like eating when it's really hot, keep yourself nourished with healthy foods, like fruit, proteins and healthy carbs. Don't consume a lot of alcohol when it's hot...'nuf said.
But DO have fun - the dog days are a great way to do some low key activities with family, kids, and...well...dogs! Take a dip in water, take a short walk, throw a toy in the cool a.m. hours like our great Hyper Pet toys, play some family board games or do a jigsaw puzzle in the shade. Don't forget the mosquito coils!