I don't know about you, but this past week has been a total storm of frustration and miscommunication. Cell phones disconnecting, missing texts, my kids snarling over misunderstood comments... oy. Just this afternoon, I was showing a video to my summer-camp class when a thunderstorm knocked out the Wi-Fi. I don't ordinarily put much stock in astrology, but if this isn't all a total sign of Mercury in retrograde, I don't know what is. And if a mere human like me can be affected, just think of what effect Mercury retrograde could have on a dog.
In case you're not up on your astronomy, a planet "in retrograde" is moving at a slower orbit than usual, making it appear to be moving backward because of its relative position from the Earth, explained the astrophysics site StarChild. Mercury goes retrograde about three to four times per year. Right now, we're in a Mercury backtracking that began on July 26 and will continue through August 18, according to Astrology Zone. Astrologers believe that during a retrograde period, the qualities normally governed by that planet do an about-face. Since Mercury rules connections and communication, per CafeAstrology, a retrograde period means lots of missed signals.
For our dog companions, "I would imagine it’s very much the same as how it affects people: confused communication, delays," astrologer Maressa Brown tells Romper. "Of course, the lunar eclipse last week was mixed up with the first week of the retrograde, and that just cranked the intensity of everything." On the other hand, a Mercury retrograde period can also be a time to take a deep breath and get organized when it comes to your dog's care and needs, explained Dogster.
With that in mind, here's how you and your fur baby can make it through the next couple of weeks.
Double-check your vet appointment
Astrologer Brown notes that dog owners are likely to see confusion and miscommunication surrounding important dates and meetings when Mercury is in retrograde. If your pup is due for a checkup or grooming this month, call the office to confirm the date and time.
Order food and medication now
Mail and other deliveries tend to be delayed or canceled during a Mercury retrograde, said Dogster. You don't want your dog's heart meds or favorite canned dinner to run out unexpectedly, so go online (assuming Mercury hasn't messed with your online server) and place your order ahead of time.
Give your dog extra TLC
"Dogs may be more emotional, fussy, or nervous" during this period, says Brown. Lots of petting, outdoor play, and an occasional treat should help calm your pup's jitters.
Be prepared to repeat yourself
The same communication problems that affect people during this retrograde can crop up in dogs, too. Your fur baby may not obey commands as quickly, notes Brown, so you'll probably have to work harder to get their attention.
Mercury's backward wackiness might make you more likely to leave the door ajar or the gate unlatched, increasing the chances of your dog wandering off, said Bustle. Good advice for anytime, of course, but particularly during this retrograde, don't leave the house without double-checking the locks.
Hold off on teaching new tricks
Mercury retrograde is definitely not the time for launching any new ventures, advised AstroStyle, and that includes the ones involving your dog. If you're thinking about trying a new dog run, teaching a new command, or starting your pooch on a raw-food diet, wait until the planet is back in its usual orbit.
Keep your cool
If the retrograde itself weren't bad enough, this one is occurring in the season of Leo, that period between July 23 and August 22 when everyone can get a little argumentative and hot-tempered, explained Bustle. So when your restless Mercury-affected dog is chewing up your running shoes or digging through the trash, Leo's dramatic vibes may tempt you to have a meltdown. Instead, "have a sense of humor," advises Brown. "That's how I recommend everyone handle it."
Awareness is key to coping with what can be a difficult astrological time, explains Brown. "It helps to know what's up with the planets; at least, it offers some reason for the craziness," she says. Even if you do run into communication breakdowns with your dog, just remind yourself that this, too, will pass. When Mercury returns to its normal orbit speed on August 19, you and your fur baby should have smooth sailing for the rest of the summer.