Dog Days of Summer

July 3, 2018

Dog Days

The Dog Days of Summer are here, folks. For many of us, this brings an image of families flocking to neighborhood pools and slow-moving dogs panting heavily on porches to escape the summer heat. However, the original meaning of “Dog Days” doesn’t necessarily come from the sluggish behavior of our four-legged friends. So what are its origins?

To the ancient Greeks and Romans, the hottest days of the year coincided with the rising of the Dog Star, Sirius, before the sun. This usually took place in late July and signaled that drought, disease, bad luck, and lethargy would soon follow. They believed that the combined heat of Sirius, which means “scorching” in Greek, and the Sun were the reason for the oppressively high temps during that time.

Meanwhile in ancient Egypt, the rising of the Dog Star was a welcomed event as it signaled the annual flooding of the Nile River. This was important because the floodwaters brought rich soil to their land for growing crops, and they used the Sirius star as a sort of “watchdog” for this event.

Though the meaning of “Dog Days” has changed from the Ancient Greek times, the phrase has endured and remains popular today. According to the Old Farmer’s Almanac, the Dog Days of summer are the 40 hottest days of the year usually falling between July 3 and August 11.

So lather on that sunscreen, stay hydrated, and set out plenty of water for your pets as the Dog Days of Summer set in.

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