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Dog Days of Summer

I heard a meteorologist recently say that Oklahoma was now in the middle of the "dog days of summer." I have heard of that term many times before describing late summertime. I never really gave it much thought as to what the phrase meant. I had always thought it meant that it was so hot that even dogs didn't want to do anything except pant and sleep. Napping during the afternoons is how some people deal with the heat, but some people's jobs require them to work outside even during the heat of the day. For myself, I still find things to do to keep busy, just not outside--at least not until it cools off in the evening.

The “Dog Days” of summer are from July 3 to August 11 each year. They’re usually the hottest and most unbearable days of the season. The phrase actually has something to do with the stars. It is a reference to the star named Sirius, or the Dog Star. During the “Dog Days” period, the Sun occupies the same region of the sky as Sirius, the brightest star visible from any part of Earth. Sirius is a part of the constellation Canis Major, or the Greater Dog.

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.”

Thus, the term Dog Days of Summer came to mean the 20 days before and 20 days after this alignment of Sirius with the Sun—July 3 to August 11 each year (What Are the Dog Days of Summer? - Farmers' Almanac - Plan Your Day. Grow Your Life. As far back as I can remember, the "dog days" of summer occur and will continue to come around every summer. The book of Ecclesiastes tells us, "For everything there is a season and a time for every matter under heaven (Ecclesiastes 3:1, NRSVUE). These "dog days" of summer seem to last forever and maybe the purpose is to remind us that it can get just as uncomfortably cold in the "dead of winter" and help us to appreciate the cooler days of fall. This quote is summarized from House at Pooh Corner, by A. A. Milne: “Rivers know this: there is no hurry. We shall get there some day.” We will get through the "dog days of summer" eventually.


Rao, Joe. “Dazzling Sirius: The Brightest Star In The Night Sky.” Farmers’ Almanac - Plan Your Day. Grow Your Life., January 25, 2016.

Staff, Farmers’ Almanac. “What Are the Dog Days of Summer?” Farmers’ Almanac - Plan Your Day. Grow Your Life., June 29, 2015.


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