Welcome to the official “Dog Days” of summer. No, that’s not related to the old saying that it’s “so hot it’s not fit for a dog,” or even to an actual dog. In fact, the phrase was coined by ancient Romans, who noticed that during July and August, the sun is close to Sirius, the Dog Star. Because Sirius is so bright during this period, the Romans believed it actually emitted heat, which accounted for the month-long stretch of sizzling temperatures. Thus, Dog Days.

Now that we have that fun fact out of the way, let’s talk about what these days can mean for our own dogs in terms of their health.

Joan Merriam: Summer health hazards

If the roadway is too hot for your bare feet, it’s too hot for your dog’s feet! Asphalt can be much hotter than the air temperature, and can burn your dog’s paws in as little as 60 seconds.