Have you ever thought about where the term dog days of summer came from? These are the most oppressive days of summer. They are those days that are so sultry hot that even the dog doesn’t want to be out in the heat for long. But the truth is that the dog days of summer don’t have anything to do with dogs.

The Greeks coined the phrase from the dog star and its position in the heavens. When the dog star rose just before the sun in late July, it was the hottest day of the year.

Now, getting back to the dog. Summer is here which means fun and sun with your dog. We don’t need the dog star to tell us how hot it is in August. But it can be a reminder about the dangers of the heat. Dogs can’t handle it and will overheat sooner than you do. They can also become dehydrated and get heat stroke.

You might not realize it because dogs can’t sweat like you. Instead they pant to help cool off.

One sign of your dog overheating is excessive panting. If they drool, or have diarrhea, nausea and vomiting, these are other signs of overheating.

Two of the best things you can do is make sure your dog has plenty of fresh water, and bring him indoors or to a cool area. Here are 3 other tips to help care for your dog during the hot summer days:

  • Spray your dog with cool water and get their paws wet. Dogs absorb and release heat through their feet so stick their feet in water for quick relief from the heat.
  • Exercise your pets only in the early morning or late evening. Avoid the hottest part of the day and try to find a route that avoids the hot asphalt.
  • Put out multiple bowls of water on really hot days. Use bowls that can’t be tipped, and place them in a shady and relatively cool spot.

There are many parks to bring the dog around town. During the dog days of summer, have fun but limit your time outdoors while keeping an eye on him so he doesn’t get overheated.