Dog Days (and wet days) of Summer

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from David Dickinson

        Do you know where the term, “The Dog Days of Summer” comes from?  The Romans associated the hottest time of the year with Sirrius, the brightest star in the night sky.  Sirius is the brightest start in the constellation Canius Major (which means Large Dog…it’s also featured in the logo for Sirius satellite radio ).  The time of year when Sirius rises just before the sun is commonly referred as the dog days.  The ancients blamed the heat on the bright star.  Now, different cultures use different methods to determine when the dog days end.  In the US, the Old Time Farmer’s Almanac lists the Dog Days as lasting from July 3rd to August 11 in 2013.  Several European countries list the dog days as a little later, from July 24 through August 24.  Climatologically speaking in Atlanta, the average high temperature is 89 degrees from June 30 through August 13.  It’s 88 from August 14-25.  So the days are a little cooler by mid-August.  We’ve hit the end of the Dog Days this year with a screeching halt.  Atlanta’s high on Friday was in the 60s!  That was the lowest high temperature on record in Atlanta on August 16 and broke the record set in 1892. 

      The end of the hot temperatures does not mean an end to the rain we’ve had this year. The weekend forecast is wet. Vets expect an increase in heartworm cases because of the wet summer.  Standing water puddles leads to mosquitoes, more heartworm.  Heartworm is easily treated with medication, but can be deadly.  This is something that is much easier to prevent than treat.  Make sure your pet is taking its medication.  Here are some other problems that wet weather can cause for your pets. If you notice anything unusual with your pet’s behavior, make sure you get it to the vet. 

   Fetch! Pet Care provides pet sitting, dog walking and cat care services for Roswell, East Cobb, Marietta and Woodstock, GA.  You can see the happy pets by following us on Pinterest at http://pinterest.com/fetchnwatlanta/  

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The Dog Days of Summer (and how to keep your dog cool)

Why are these hot days called the dog days of summer?  Your dog seems to not want to spend very much time outside because it’s so hot.  This time of year gets its name because this is the time of year that Sirius, the dog star and the brightest star in our sky beside the sun, is visible in the Northern Hemisphere.  Sirius is in the constellation Canis Major, one of the hunting dogs for Orion.  Orion, the hunter, has the well known three-star belt that is so visible.  Sirius is visible below Orion in the pre-dawn hours right now.Image

Whatever the reason, it’s no doubt hot outside and it’s not very comfortable for your dogs.  Be sure to limit their time outside, and try and walk them on dirt or grass instead of the asphalt.  One thing you can do to cool down your dog before you take them out is to run water over them.  You can use water from a hose, or if you don’t have a hose, a squirt bottle with water in it can be used to spray off their underside.  This is a very effective way of cooling down the animal.  The water doesn’t have to be very cold either.  This works well after the walk and it’s not as messy when you let them back in the house.  Get them to rise up on their back legs and you can give them a couple of sprays of water.  Some of you may use a squirt bottle for discipline with your dog, so you may need to find another way to wet it down without confusing it.

Fetch! Pet Care of NW Atlanta provides pet sitting, dog walking and cat care services for Roswell, East Cobb, Woodstock and Kennesaw, GA.  You can follow us on Pinterest at http://pinterest.com/fetchnwatlanta/