Some people think the term Dog Days refers to weather so hot it isnít fit for a dog, or that it means people wind up panting, or that theyíre about to endure the kind of weather where dogs go mad. Actually, itís none of the above.

The Dog Days are defined as the period of summer that goes from about July 3 to August 11. During this time the brightest star in the nighttime sky, Sirius, is rising in conjunction with the sun. It was once thought that the combination of the rising sun and Sirius created the most extreme heat of summer. Sirius is called the Dog Star (it resides in the constellation Canis Major, the Greater Dog). So for this reason these hot, hazy, lazy days were called the Dog Days of Summer. Our ancestors linked the Dog Star to more than just severe summer heat. They also thought the early morning appearance of Sirius could set off droughts, plagues, even madness.