It’s by all accounts and officially the Dog Days of Summer.
The Romans referred to the dog days as diēs caniculārēs and associated the hot weather with the star Sirius. They considered Sirius to be the “Dog Star” because it is the brightest star in the constellation Canis Major (Large Dog). Sirius is also the brightest star in the night sky. The term “Dog Days” was used earlier by the Greeks. In Ancient Rome, the Dog Days ran from July 24th through August 24th, or, alternatively, from July 23 through August 23rd.
In more recent times, “Dog Days” were considered a time of year when dogs go mad, get sick, and basically don’t act like themselves. (In the heat of summer don’t we all?)
This US State Department Bureau of Animal Industry Radio Service script from 1936 “debunks” the dog madness theory and provides information about caring for your canine pets during the hottest days of summer. According to the document, “feed a dog a suitable ration and enough of it” and ensure the “dish … is washed and scalded with the same care that would be given to tableware for human meals.” But, do not, under any circumstances “wash the dog’s dishes with the family’s dishes. Perish the thought!”
The document ends saying, “If for some reason [the dog] acts peculiarly, do not immediately conclude it is mad and get out a gun… shut it quietly away…and send for a veterinarian.” Good advice all around—but just in case, we include a visual aid (above) for how to stop a mad dog.
Short story? Don’t leave your bamboo sticks at home until at least the end of August.
How to stop a mad dog. From George Arents Collection. The New York Public Library.
Dog days debunked, 1936. United States Department of Agriculture, Office of Information, Radio Service. National Archives and Records Administration.
 Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dog_Days