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The Dog Days of Summer Are Here!

The Dog Days of Summer have been historically known as the period following the annual rising of the star system Sirus. The star Sirus resides in a group of stars that form the constellation Canis Major, meaning “Greater Dog.” Thus, the nickname of Sirus is Dog Star.

Traditionally, the Dog Days of Summer begin July 3rd and goes through August 11th. They are known to be the hottest and most oppressive days of summer in the Northern Hemisphere. With intense heat comes added dangers to us and to our dogs. There are several hazards you should be aware of to ensure your dog stays safe and healthy during this time.

The first danger is parasites which can be found in great numbers in the summer. Ticks, fleas, mosquitos, and other parasites are widespread through the warmer months and can cause real problems for your pet. It is important to ensure your dog is protected by using flea treatments, shampoos, and sprays.

Secondly, dogs are at risk from heat stroke just like us. Heat stroke in dogs can develop rapidly with exposure to high temperatures, humidity, and settings with poor ventilation. Symptoms include extreme panting, a staring or anxious expression, warm dry skin, dehydration, rapid heartbeat, and collapse. To ensure your dog is not overdoing it during the summer, avoid exercising them during the heat of the day or on a humid evening. Choose to exercise them early in the morning or late in the evening.  If you are worried your dog is suffering from heat stress, it is best to seek veterinary attention immediately.

Another hazard in the heat of the summer is sunburn. That is right, dogs are very susceptible to sunburn just like us. This is especially true in areas of a dog’s body where they have light or thin hair like the nose. It is especially important that you only use sunscreen specifically intended for use on dogs. They should not contain zinc oxide or para-aminobenzoic acid (PABA), as these ingredients are toxic to dogs if accidentally ingested.

In addition to your dog’s skin getting sunburnt on a hot day, their paw pads can be burnt on a walk. This risk is more prevalent when walking on surfaces that heat up quickly like sand or asphalt. The best way to know if a surface is too hot for your dog, is to press your hand firmly on the surface. If you cannot hold it there for long, it is too hot for your dog.

As you continue to navigate the intense heat in the final days of summer, remember there are ways to avoid any related hazards to your pet. One of the best ways is to take your dog to a climate-controlled indoor facility for Doggie Daycare. There, they can run and play freely with other dogs without the risk normally associated with this time of year. And, you will ensure that they get the exercise needed and fully enjoy the “Dog Days of Summer!”