August, the hottest month of the year in the northern hemisphere. Also known as the Dog Days of Summer. This time of year is when you’re most likely to have an overheated dog. No one wants that.
I think dogs are getting a bum rap.
I mean, my poor dogs are just burning up in this heat, what with their black double coat of fur. And their air conditioned house, which they don’t leave unless they need to go potty. Oh, alright. Don’t feel too sorry for my babies. No overheated dog in MY house.
My inquiring mind needed to know why the hottest month of the year is referred to as Dog Days. So of course I turned to Wikipedia. Evidently, eons ago, the ancients tagged it so because Sirius, or the Dog Star, was the brightest star in the night sky. And get this:
The Romans sacrificed a brown dog at the beginning of the Dog Days to appease the rage of Sirius, believing that the star was the cause of the hot, sultry weather. (Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dog_Days)
Glad I don’t have a brown dog. And any way you slice it, August is hot. I don’t know about your neck of the woods, but Tulsa, and Oklahoma at large, is one of the hottest places on the planet right now. So how do we keep our dogs safe and cool? Keep your furbaby from being an overheated dog?
- WATER WATER WATER – Seriously. You can’t give your dog enough water this time of year, regardless of how much time they spend outside. A small wading pool, buckets of water. Make sure there’s more than one source of water. And please, clean out the receptacle and give them clean water daily. And put that water in the shade.
- SHADE – Omigoodness. I can’t emphasize this one enough. If your dog is going to spend any time outside in the heat, shade is a necessity. Pay attention, though – what’s shady when you leave for work in the morning won’t be shady when you get home. It especially won’t be shady at noon. Multiple sources of shade are important.
- COLD AIR – What?!? You’re probably thinking I’m crazy, asking you to put an A/C window unit in the dog house. Believe me, I’ve considered that for my hen house. But here’s what I’ve come up with for the chickens, and it works for dogs as well – frozen jugs of water. At night I collect all the gallon jugs (my teens drink a lot of milk), fill them near the top with water (too full and they’ll burst when frozen), then put them in the shady spots in the morning. Best are spots that really will be shady all day, like under a deck, or toward the back of a 55 gallon drum turned on its side. Even in the back of the dog house. The point is, a place where it won’t melt quickly, where the dog can curl around it if necessary.
- NO RIDING IN CARS – It’s sad that I have to say this. Don’t take your dog out and about with you this time of year unless it’s going to the vet or will be going in with you everywhere you stop. If you leave your dog in the car, even for a minute while you run in to grab something in a store, someone is liable to come along and either a) call the police, and/or b) break open a window to get the dog out. More and more news stories are about just that happening. And really, it’s bad for your dog to sit in the hot car for any length of time. Tell ya what – go out and sit in your car with the engine off and the windows cracked for five minutes during daylight and make that decision for yourself. Don’t forget to wear your fur coat when you do.
I love my dogs. You love your dogs. You already know these things, right? So do the right thing by your critters and keep ‘em cool! And give your pups a treat. They deserve it!
Until I write again …