The ancient Romans first applied the term “dog days” to the hot period from the end of July to late August when Sirius, the brightest star in the sky (also known as the Dog Star), appears closest to the sun.
The dog days come later in summer now, thanks to shifting in the position of stars relative to the sun over the centuries. In Austin, of course, just about every day is a dog day if you’re talking about spending time with your four-legged friend. Our dog-loving city always offers lots for humans and their canines to do together, and August is no exception.
Get outta town
Canyon of the Eagles Resort in the Hill Country is dog-friendly year-round and has more than 14 miles of trails that explore the 940-acre nature reserve surrounding it. On Saturdays in August, the resort celebrates with "Yappy Hour" from 3 pm to 6 pm at the Eagles Nest bar.
On August 9, join the DogTippers, pet and travel writing team Paris Permenter and John Bigley, for tips on traveling with your pet. And on August 16-17, Diana Goble will paint your dog’s portrait on the spot.
Paddle for Puppies
You and your dog can raise funds for Austin Pets Alive! at the Paddle for Puppies event Sunday, August 24 at the Rowing Dock on Lady Bird Lake. Money raised will support the shelter’s Parvo Puppy ICU, an alternative to euthanasia for puppies that contract parvovirus. Registration is limited to 250, and more than 100 boards and boats are available for rent from the Rowing Dock. Any Lady Bird Lake-approved watercraft is welcome — stand up paddle boards, kayaks, canoes and water bikes included.
There's no need to wait for an event to take your dog out on the lake, though. Many dogs enjoy riding along on a paddle board or kayak, and you can rent them at the Rowing Dock, The Expedition School, Live Love Paddle, Texas Rowing Center and other places around Lady Bird Lake. (If it’s too hot to walk, let your dog jump into a horse-drawn carriage for a breeze-kissed ride around downtown with Austin Carriage Service; there's no extra charge for Fido.)
Mega Mutt Monday and Yappy Hour
Bangers Sausage House and Beer Garden hosts Mega Mutt Monday August 18, from 5 pm to 7 pm, featuring extended happy hour for humans, treats for dogs, live music and pet-friendly vendors. More than 100 beers on tap and dozens of kinds of sausage are sure to help people and pets alike chill out.
And every Thursday, Whole Foods in the Domain hosts Yappy Hour on its dog-friendly patio. A cold brew for you, shade beneath the table for your pooch, and live music should take both your minds off the heat.
In addition to organized events, the City of Austin maintains 11 off-leash areas around town. The Red Bud Isle off-leash area is especially popular in summer because your dog can swim in nice, cool water that has just come through the Tom Miller Dam out of Lake Austin.
Beat the heat
No matter where you’re headed with your dog this summer, remember to take along plenty of water and perhaps a collapsible bowl. Keep your dog in the shade whenever possible and avoid walking on hot pavement. If it’s too hot for your bare feet, it’s too hot for your dog's. Watch for signs of overheating, which include the dog’s tongue hanging out farther than usual and raspy or audible panting.
Dogs can’t cool themselves as efficiently as we can, they don’t know when they’re getting overheated and can succumb rather quickly to heat stroke. If yours is overheated, stop moving, get into the shade or the water, and if you can’t get the dog into water, pour water over its body.
Be sure your dog has basic training and good manners before taking him to any of these events. And always, always clean up after your dog.