Print Back to top
News Article

Doggone right it’s hot

A look at the history of the dog days of summer and what it means for watering your lawn.

Keep your pup hydrated during the dog days of summer with 1 cup per 10 pounds of a dog’s body weight per day. Photo credit: Denver Water.


Woof, woof.

In dog language, we believe that means, “Welcome to the dog days of summer.”

(Of course, it could also mean “Hello”; “I’m hungry”; “Look at that other dog across the street”; or “Why aren’t you paying attention to me?” But for our purposes, let’s go with the first one.)

We typically associate the dog days of summer with hot weather. Some people believe these days are so named because it’s the time of year dogs (and many people) just sit around in the heat and pant.

But through dogged research, we found the true origin is a bit more complex. It has to do with Sirius, the Dog Star. It’s the chief star in the Canis Major constellation, which is Latin for “the greater dog.” Long ago, when the first appearance of Sirius in the sky coincided with hot weather, people started referring to that time as the “dog days.”

Fast-forward a few thousand years, and it feels like we’re right in the middle of the dog days of summer now. Ask Rover. He’ll tell you it’s hot. And the grass Rover loves to roll over is also feeling the heat, which is where Denver Water’s ears perk up. Customers sometimes think they need to water their lawns more when the weather gets hot. Seems reasonable, right?

Wait just a doggone minute.

“The need for irrigation typically declines after July 1,” said Jeff Tejral, a former manager of water conservation at Denver Water.

“Even though temperatures are warmer, your lawn isn’t growing as much, so adding extra water isn’t necessary.”

Tejral offered these three, hot-weather, lawn-maintenance tips (the canine puns are his, too):

  • Has your lawn rolled over and played dead? It’s probably okay. Hand water any brown spots rather than pouring extra water on the entire lawn.
  • You can teach an old dog (or lawn) new tricks. If an area of turf is constantly drying out, rethink what you’re growing there. A Garden In A Box is one option.
  • Who’s a good boy (or girl)?! Somebody who follows our watering rules! They help you use water more efficiently, especially during the hottest times of the year.

Of course, we’d really be in the doghouse if we didn’t remind you to keep your dog hydrated during the hot weather, no matter how sloppy or creepy it may get (fast-forward one minute into the video to see what we mean). Most pet experts recommend about one cup per 10 pounds of a dog’s body weight per day.

After all, the last thing you want during the dog days of summer is a … hot dog.

Editor’s note: Despite that final sentence, the author actually displayed remarkable restraint in the use of dog-related puns for this story. He didn’t even touch any of these.