Dog Days are known as the hottest and most muggy period of summer— and touted to be July 3 to Aug. 11.
Other reports have described these oppressive days of heat and humidity as sultry, sweltering and sticky. It’s nothing new. Since ancient times, observers in countries bordering the Mediterranean have recognized dog days as extending from 20 days before to 20 days after the conjunction of Sirius and the sun. Back then, Sirius, the brightest star in the night sky, located in Canis Major (The Great Dog) was thought to provide heat to the Earth.
This “dog days” period coincided with hot days that were plagued with disease and discomfort. Some advice from various health journals is posted below in relationship to today’s annoyances from the heat and seasonal pests.
In America, “dog days” have been used as names of independent films, dog groomers, dog daycare and songs. Locally, six-packs of beer produced by Two Brothers Brewery celebrate Dog Days.
Cheers to dog-friendly patios
To mark the midway point of the dog days of summer on July 23, 2012, six dogs and their owners met on the dog-friendly patio at Meson Sabika to celebrate. The lovely secluded outdoor area between to the historic mansion and the pavilion provides a place for dog owners to enjoy dinner with their best friends.
McGruff the Crime Dog also showed up to remind folks to help prevent crime and to “run with McGruff” on Oct. 27 during the first-ever Crime Stoppers Running Scared 5K. Info is coming soon at www.crimestoppersrunningscared.com/. Pay attention. Stay alert.
Meanwhile, dog-friendly patios in Naperville are located at Quigley’s Irish Pub (Naperville’s original dog patio, complete with hand-crafted dog water bowls, created by the owner), Catch 35, Ted’s Montana Grill (Very small area accessible from the back), Kumas Asian Bistro (Patio area is out back) and, of course, Meson Sabika. Attentive servers keep water bowls filled for pups.
Dog-friendly patios are a fun destination for a dog walk, especially in the evening when cooler breezes add to the comfort of dog days of summer.
Click any photo to enlarge. Use the area to advance from photo to photo. Choose to make the best the dogs days of summer. Stay cool.
Dog Days Alerts and Advice
While in the throes of summertime, following a number of important hot-weather tips will help all ages stay safe and healthy.
Remember that extreme exercise when it’s hot and humid can cause mild (muscle cramps), serious (heat exhaustion) or lethal (heat stroke) health problems. Simple, common sense precautions are offered to keep folks from overheating during the hot, humid days of summer:
1.) Avoid midday direct sunlight. Take advantage of the cooler temperatures in the morning and evening for daily exercise.
2.) Wear light-colored, loose garments.
3.) Take it easy — Walk instead of jogging or use a cart instead of walking the golf course. Take breaks and drink water instead of alcoholic beverages.
4.) Avoid exercise outside in extreme heat and humidity. Swim in a pool or go to an air-conditioned health club when temperature climb above 85 degrees.
5.) Drink plenty of water.
6.) Stay cool at home or go somewhere cool.
7.) Listen to your body — Fatigue, weakness, confusion, dizziness, nausea, labored breathing, chest discomfort or a rapid or erratic pulse can all be signs of trouble. Stay cool and drink plenty of water.
8.) Note again. Drink plenty of water.
Protect your skin from overexposure to sunlight:
1.) Sunlight contains two forms of ultraviolet rays: UVA and UVB. Use a “broad spectrum” sunscreen to protect you from both.
2.) Stay in the shade when you can, especially between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m.
3.) Wear a hat with a wide brim, pants and long sleeves.
Protect your eyes
The ultraviolet rays of the sunlight can damage your eyes, particularly the cornea, every bit as much as your skin, warns numerous health posts.
Wear sunglasses with high-quality lenses that screen out UV rays. Ask an eye doctor for a recommendation.
Watch out for poison ivy, oak and sumac that can cause contact dermatitis, triggering an allergic reaction. Red, swollen, itchy skin where small blisters can develop and seep clear fluid can be irritating and spread quickly.
To relieve this condition:
1.) Don’t scratch or rub the inflamed skin.
2.) Compresses of cool, clean water can be soothing. Cover with long sleeves or pants to keep from scratching.
3.) Steroid ointments will speed healing — preparations such as hydrocortisone are available from your pharmacist and stronger medications by prescription such as prednisone from your physician.
4.) Learn to recognize and avoid pesky plants.
Insect bites and stings:
Most insect bites are simply a nuisance, but watch out for local alerts about a mosquito carrying West Nile virus or reports of ticks carrying the spirochete that causes Lyme disease.
1.) Try to avoid all insect bites, although most are mild and harmless.
2.) Clean out spider webs, hives and nests.
3.) When in a wooded area or a park where ticks are more common, wear shoes, socks, long sleeves and pants, button shirt cuffs and tuck pant legs into socks. Light-colored clothing makes it easier to spot ticks.
4.) Avoid bright colors, floral patterns and sweet scents that attract bees.
5.) Screened-in porches are great between dusk and dawn, when mosquitoes can be out in force.
6.) Use insect repellents — Products containing DEET (chemical name, N,N-diethyl-meta-toluamide) are best for mosquitoes, ticks, flies and fleas.
Follow common sense & teach children
Mostly, use common sense during the Dog Days of summer. Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated and avoid being outside in the hot midday sun.
Also, always remember to take extra care of your pets, too, Keep dog and cat water bowls filled at all times, too. And if you need pet advice, toys or treats, stop by Dog Patch Pet and Feed.