By Kelli Nesbitt, Parks & Recreation Marketing Coordinator
It’s not called the dog days of summer for nothing – especially in Texas.
When the ancient Greeks and Romans studied the sky, they noticed Sirius – the Dog Star – rose with the sun from early July through mid-August. Since Sirius is the brightest star and appears during a warm season, some of our ancestors believed the sun’s brightness and star combined to cause summer’s extreme heat.
In modern times, the expression evolved to describe sweltering days that aren’t bearable for dogs, much less humans. The fact is that summer heat can be even more harmful to our canine friends.
Unlike humans, dogs can’t sweat through their skin. They rely on panting and releasing heat through their paw pads and nose to regulate their body temperature and keep cool. Dogs can suffer from heat stress in a few short minutes, even when the temperature doesn’t seem stifling hot to us.
The consequences can be severe – and deadly.
Understanding how dogs keep cool – and what we can do to help – ensures our beloved pooches won’t overheat. With the help of the Aggieland Humane Society, we offer these sensible tips to keep your pet safe this summer:
Walk pets in the mornings or late evenings, but first test the ground’s warmth by placing the back of your hand on the surface and counting to 10. If it’s too hot for you, it’s too hot for your pet.
Get your dog a kiddie pool and keep it filled with cool water and out of direct sunlight. If your dog stays outside, check the water frequently.
If you see paw print on the ground when walking your pet, it could be a sign your pet is overheating.
Have a disaster plan for your pet. Review our disaster preparedness checklist to ensure your pet will be safe and cared for in an emergency.
No matter how long or short your walk, drive, or visit to one of our dog parks, always have plenty of water available for your pet. Keeping your pet hydrated helps prevent overheating.
Never leave your pet unattended in a parked car for any amount of time. The temperature inside a vehicle can exceed 120 degrees in a matter of minutes – even with the windows partially open – and a dog can suffer organ damage or even die. If you see an unattended dog in a hot car, call the police department or animal control.
If you have questions or want more information, call the Aggieland Humane Society at 979-775-5755.
Enjoy the dog days of summer – and keep yourself cool, too!
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