The Best “Dog Days of Summer” Quotes

The dog days of summer are nearly here, with their scorching, sweltering, oppressive heat. This period of time is named after the position of Sirius, the Dog Star.

Since astronomy has been around for thousands of years, that means that the concept of the “dog days” have too. So it’s no surprise to find mentions of this sticky time of year in books, plays, and songs from ancient Greece all the way through to present day.

This post covers quotes about the dog days of summer, from literary works, to song lyrics, to inspirational quotes. We hope you enjoy!

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What are the Dog Days of Summer?

First off, what exactly are the dog days of summer? They’re a period of time in early August. In 2022, that’s August 3rd to 11th.

You might think the dog days are named for how lethargic and sweaty you might feel after being out in the hot sun (“tired as a dog”), but that’s not the case.

The dog days are named after the star Sirius, in the constellation Canis Major. Each year, in early August, Sirius appears above the horizon at dawn after not being visible for many months.

This is because Sirius (along with its constellation Canis Major, and nearby constellation Orion), are visible in the night sky only in the wintertime for those in the northern hemisphere.

And early August marks the first time that the star peaks its head back above the horizon. In official terms, this is known as the “heliacal rising of Sirius”.

But you don’t need an astronomy degree to know that the dog days of summer are a hot and sweltering time of year. This period of time is also shortly before harvest for a lot of places, which is why it appears in farmer’s almanacs and proverbs.

Dog days bright and clear
Indicate a good year;
But when accompanied by rain,
We hope for better times in vain.

from Weather Proverbs by Chase Dunwoody

Literary “Dog Days of Summer” Quotes

In a literary sense, this part of summer gives a sense of suspended animation. The air is so hot and humid that it feels like time itself is slowing down and it can make you a little bit crazy.

Combined with the backdrop of agricultural importance, the dog days of summer have the effect of being portentous of busy or difficult times to come.

Blackbirds fatten best in hard weather: why not I in these dog days?

from The Duchess of Malfi (Act 1 Scene 1) by John Webster

The first week of August hangs at the very top of the summer, the top of the live-long year, like the highest seat of a Ferris wheel when it pauses in its turning. The weeks that come before are only a climb from balmy spring, and those that follow a drop to the chill of autumn, but the first week of August is motionless, and hot. It is curiously silent, too, with blank white dawns and glaring noons, and sunsets smeared with too much color. Often at night there is lightning, but it quivers all alone. There is no thunder, no relieving rain. These are strange and breathless days, the dog days, when people are led to do things they are sure to be sorry for after.

from Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt

There was no air; only the dead, still night fired by the dog days of August. Not a breath. I had to suck in the same air I exhaled, cupping it in my hands before it escaped. I felt it, in and out, less each time… until it was so thin it slipped through my fingers forever. I mean, forever.

from Pedro Paramo by Juan Rulfo

Priam saw him first, with his old man’s eyes,
A single point of light on Troy’s dusty plain.
Sirius rises late in the dark, liquid sky
On summer nights, star of stars,
Orion’s Dog they call it, brightest
Of all, but an evil portent, bringing heat
And fevers to suffering humanity.
Achilles’ bronze gleamed like this as he ran.

from The Iliad by Homer

Sophia and Grandmother sat down by the shore to discuss the matter further. It was a pretty day, and the sea was running a long, windless swell. It was on days just like this–dog days–that boats went sailing off all by themselves. Large, alien objects made their way in from sea, certain things sank and others rose, milk soured, and dragonflies danced in desperation. Lizards were not afraid. When the moon came up, red spiders mated on uninhabited skerries, where the rock became an unbroken carpet of tiny, ecstatic spiders.

from The Summer Book by Tove Jansson

Now came the dog days–day after day of hot, still summer, when for hours at a time light seemed the only thing that moved; the sky-sun, clouds and breeze-awake above the drowsing downs.

from Watership Down by Richard Adams

No town-bred dandy will compare with a country-bred one–I mean a downright bumpkin dandy–a fellow that, in the dog-days of summer, will mow his two acres in buckskin gloves for fear of tanning his hands.

from Moby Dick by Herman Melville

And just as a lizard, with a quick, slick slither,
Flicks across the highway from hedge to hedge,
Fleeter than a flash, in the battering dog-day weather,

A fiery little monster, livid, in a rage,
Black as any peppercorn, came and made a dart
At the guts of the others, and leaping to engage

One of the pair, it pierced him at the part
Through which we first draw food; then loosed its grip
And fell before him, outstretched and apart.

by Dante Alighieri

Seven dog-days we let pass
Naming Queens in Glenmacnass…

from Queens by J.M. Synge

When the hot days come… they might remember that those are the dog days, and leave a little water outside… like they do for the horses

from The Bar Sinister by R.H. Davis

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By the way, if you’d like to be “more literary”, why not try out audiobooks? You can get a dose of literature (whether ancient or modern) while you’re out walking your pup.

Music Lyrics about the “Dog Days of Summer”

When I hear the phrase “dog days of summer”, I think of the song from Florence + the Machine. But she’s not the only one with a mention of this part of August. Within Tempation and Taylor Swift make the list, too.

Run fast for your mother, run fast for your father
Run for your children, for your sisters and brothers
Leave all your love and your longing behind
You can’t carry it with you if you want to survive
The dog days are over
The dog days are done
Can you hear the horses?
‘Cause here they come

from The Dog Days of Summer by Florence + the Machine

These are the dog days, these are the dog days
Leading our hearts astray
These are the dog days, these are the dog days
Soon they will fade away
One, two, three, four, what are you waiting for?
One, two, three, four, what are you waiting for?
These are the dog days, these are the dog days

from Dog Days by Within Temptation

Can’t not think of all the cost
And the things that will be lost
Oh, can we just get a pause?
To be certain, we’ll be tall again
Whether weather be the frost
Or the violence of the dog days
I’m on waves, out being tossed
Is there a line that I could just go cross?

from Evermore by Taylor Swift ft. Bon Iver

Inspiring Quotes about the Dog Days of Summer

While literature and music make up most of this list, there are a few other quotes about the dog days of summer that are worth mentioning.

Summer, with its dog days, its vacations, its distractions, is over. We have had our holidays, our rest, our recreation. The fall season, with its new opportunities for effort, enterprise and achievement, is upon us. Let us rip off our coats and get down to business. We may have allowed pessimism to grip us during the summer months. We may even have allowed laziness to enter our bones. Now it is up to us to throw off both lassitude and pessimism. The time has come for action, for aggressiveness.

by B. C. Forbes

For me, [the song] ‘Dog Days’ symbolizes apocalyptic euphoria, chaotic freedom and running really, really fast with your eyes closed.

from Florence Welch

In many ways, September feels like the busiest time of the year: The kids go back to school, work piles up after the summer’s dog days, and Thanksgiving is suddenly upon us.

by Brené Brown

Stay Cool!

We hope you’ve enjoyed this post, with quotes about the dog days of summer. For summer safety with your pup, please check out this post on cooling your dog with a cooling vest and preventing heat stroke, or this one on dog pool floats! Have a safe summer!

PuppyLists is written by J., who has owned, trained, volunteered with, and loved dogs for nearly three decades. When she isn't writing or researching, she's out adventuring with her 14 year old Lab mix.

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