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The History Behind Dog Days of Summer

The History Behind Dog Days of Summer

. 3 min read

We often hear people refer to the dog days of summer but does anyone really know what that means. Here at Ollie, we love any excuse to talk about dogs… look at pictures of dogs… pet dogs… you get the idea. But what do dogs have to do with the dog days of summer? We learned all about the dog days and how the name came to be!

What are the Dog Days of Summer?

There is some debate about this, but the time period generally refers to the hottest days of summer. You know, when the sun is scorching hot and the humidity levels are on the rise giving you (and your dog) the feeling of stepping into a bowl of thick soup when you walk out the door.

Some say that the name dog days comes from the fact that these days can be unsuitable weather for dogs. Others say the heat can drive dogs crazy.

According to Farmer’s Almanac, “The phrase is actually a reference to the fact that, during this time, the Sun occupies the same region of the sky as Sirius, the brightest star visible from any part of Earth and part of the constellation Canis Major, the Greater Dog. This is why Sirius is sometimes called the Dog Star.

In the summer, Sirius rises and sets with the Sun. On July 23rd, specifically, it is in conjunction with the Sun, and because the star is so bright, the ancient Romans believed it actually gave off heat and added to the sun’s warmth, accounting for the long stretch of sultry weather. They referred to this time as diēs caniculārēs, or dog days.”

The dog days run about 20 days before to 20 days after this phenomenon occurs each year, thus this year we observe the dog days of summer from July 3rd to August 11th.

How to properly observe the Dog Days of Summer


While there are no formal ways to celebrate the dog days of summer, you and your pup can enjoy the time together finding interesting ways to stay cool. Some of our favorite suggestions include:

  1. Take a dip in the pool (safely)
  2. Enjoy homemade pupsicles
  3. Crank the air conditioner and enjoy a movie night
  4. Have a nighttime picnic and gaze at the stars together
  5. Serve your pup a nice cool bowl of Ollie’s delicious fresh food
  6. On these hot days, even if you aren’t creating some fun festivities with your pup, it is important to make sure they don’t overheat. This means making sure your dog has access to all the fresh, cool water they can drink, and air conditioning, or a fan and propper shade from the sun.

    If you walk your pup on hot concrete, check the roads with your bare feet or the back of your hand. If you can’t rest comfortably on the street, it’s too hot for your dog’s delicate paw pads - especially puppies and seniors.

    Next time you hear someone talk about the Dog Days of Summer you’ll now be able to tell them about why it’s called that. And even though it has nothing to do with your dog, it’s okay, you can still make this time all about your pup. We know we will!

    The Ollie blog is devoted to helping pet parents lead healthier lives with their pups. If you want to learn more about our fresh, human-grade food, check out