The Dog Days Of Summer

Did you know the term "dog days" has more to do with astrology and the constellation Sirius than with our canine companions? It's true, but...


Did you know the term “dog days” has more to do with astrology and the constellation Sirius than with our canine companions?

It’s true, but who cares, just get out there and enjoy what’s left of the warm dog days of summer. While you’re at it, have fun reading some cool facts about your dog.

*Panting is very rapid, shallow breathing that enhances the evaporation of water from the tongue, mouth and upper respiratory tract. Evaporation dissipates heat as water vapor.Panting can reach frequencies of 300 to 400 breaths per minute (the normal canine breathing rate is 30 to 40 breaths per minute). Yet it requires surprisingly little effort. Because of the natural elasticity of the lungs and airways, panting does not expend much energy or create additional heat.

And that’s a good thing, because dogs are very easily overheated and prone to heatstroke in hot weather, especially when humidity is also high, which minimizes the effectiveness of panting.

* Follow the bouncing ball, with caution: A golden retriever named Augie holds the record for the most tennis balls held in the mouth at one time – five, according to the Guinness World Records book.

Even when a dog can hold only one tennis ball, though, owners need to take care. Veterinarians warn that tennis balls should be used for supervised retrieving play only, and never as a chew toy. That’s because a dog can compress the ball, which can then pop open in the back of the mouth, cutting off the air supply.

In other words, we don’t recommend allowing your dog to shoot for that record.

* Drink up: The average daily water intake for a dog is about 3 ounces for every 5 pounds of body weight, so a 25-pound dog would drink about a pint of water per day under average conditions. The amount goes up if the weather is hot, the dog is exercising or both. Depending on whether a pet eats canned or dry food, up to half of a pet’s daily water consumption can come from food. Dogs drink a lot of water, not only because they need it for normal bodily functioning, but also to create moist nasal mucous to help them with their keen sense of smell.

* Computing “dog years”: The idea that one year of a dog’s life equals seven human ones isn’t accurate – but the formulas to replace that easy-to- remember computation are too complicated to ever really catch on.

The first eight months of a dog’s life equal 13 years in human terms – birth to puberty, in other words. At a year, a dog is a teenager, equivalent to a 16-year-old human, with a little filling out still to do. After the age of 2, when a dog is about 21 in human terms, every dog year equals approximately five human ones. But then you have to adjust for the fact that small dogs live longer than big ones.

* Problems with pug noses: Dogs with extremely short muzzles and rounded heads are called “brachycephalic,” and despite their adorable, almost human expressions, they have a host of health challenges related to their nonstandard-issue canine anatomy. (The word “brachycephalic” has Greek roots, combining words for “short” and “head” to define these dogs perfectly.)

From the dog’s point of view, being pug-nosed isn’t much of a plus. The dogs are notoriously heat-intolerant and have such difficulty breathing that air travel is generally not recommended. The malformation of the skull often results in crowding of teeth that can cause dental issues. Snoring and drooling are also issues.

You can read all the cool facts when you buy a copy of BowWOW! Curiously Compelling Facts, True Tales and Trivia Even Your Dog Won’t Know” by Dr. Marty Becker and Gina Spadafori.

I don’t know if Dr. Marty Becker is brilliant or not, but after reading a preview copy of Bo’s book Bad To The Bone: Memoir Of A Rebel Doggie Blogger he said “Bo is truly the voice of his doggy generation.” Obviously there is no disputing he is a very smart man.

Read a preview chapter of BAD TO THE BONE and learn how Bo adopted us.

*Is there anything better than chasing tennis balls at the beach, not according to Arrow.

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