Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Heat Stroke - See It Coming: Canyon's Story

Canyon's story is shared with us by Brook of Ruled by Paws. Thank you, Brook, for sharing your story!

That evening we took the dogs over to the park across the road for a short game of fetch.

It was sunny, but there was a breeze, so we didn’t think anything of taking the dogs out. Canyon hadn’t played fetch in the park since the previous week, so we knew he’d be excited to go.

After walking a few minutes to the park, we let all of the dogs off leash and began throwing the toy. Canyon ran to get it eagerly every time.

We probably played for 10 minutes before he wandered over to lay down under a big tree. 

At this point we stopped and put everyone back on leash. Canyon was panting a lot, but we didn’t think there was an issue. It was normal for him to pant more than the labs after a game of fetch.

We were only out for about 25 minutes, so we didn’t think it was a big deal.

It was…

As soon as we got home, Canyon went over and laid beside the water bowl, but didn’t drink. 

This was not normal for him. His panting seemed louder too, which really concerned me. I got Canyon up and had him follow me down the stairs into the living room where he could lay down on the cold floor.

He panted and panted and I was worried.

As his panting began to slow, I got a bowl of water and brought it down to him. He only wet his tongue. This really worried me, so I got my water bottle out of the fridge and placed it on his groin area, it seemed to help him cool down even more. I then got some beef broth and offered it to him, he drank a bit of it, but then threw it back up shortly afterwards with some thick mucus.

Canyon ended up throwing up a few more times.

I worried, but Huib still felt he was okay, that he just needed to cool down.

It took about 3 hours before Canyon began looking better and it wasn’t until close to midnight that he decided to take a big drink of water. I think it helped because his panting had slowed and he was perking up. We gave him a coolish bath and then brought him back down into the living room.

After he drank water, we stayed up another hour to make sure he didn’t throw it up and when he didn’t we all went to bed.

In the morning, I couldn't be happier to have him greet me at the side of the bed with a ball in his mouth and his tail wagging when I reached for it.

From our research, it looks as though Canyon had a bit of both heat exhaustion and heat stroke.

From now on we’re going to be extra careful with our golden boy. He has never had this issue before, but we’re thinking his coat seems a bit thicker than previous years, so it’s possible that even though it normally wouldn’t have been too warm, it was.

Dogs having fun are not likely to slow down until the heat already hurt them. It's up to us to be diligent and watch out for signs of trouble.

Did your dog even suffer heat exhaustion or heat stroke?


Brooke is the human behind the blog Ruled by Paws. She lives in northern Ontario with her husband, four dogs and two cats. She has two university degrees, a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Guelph and a Bachelor of Social Work from McMaster University, but has been unsuccessful in her job search. 

She spends her days training for agility with her current dog guide, Cessna, a 7 year old female black lab and canyon, a 22 month old male golden retriever and hopes to enter competitions next summer. She received Phoenix and Cessna from the Liones Foundation of Canada Dog Guides. 

Phoenix has been retired since may 13th, 2005 and Cessna entered their lives just over a week later, on the 27th. In the future, she hopes to begin her own breeding program and small rescue, but for now she tries to learn as much as possible about dog nutrition, health and training, while supporting Golden Rescue through monetary donations when possible.

Articles by Brook:
Phoenix's Chronic Ear Infections
Idiopathic Vestibular Disease: Phoenix's Story 
Canyon's Atypical Seizures 

Related articles:
Heat Stroke Is No Light Matter!
Heat Stroke: What Happens In The Dog's Body? 
Signs, Symptoms And Treatment Of Heat Stroke In Dogs 
Symptoms To Watch For In Your Dog: Excessive Panting 
Symptoms To Watch For In Your Dog: What Can Your Dog's Gums And Tongue Tell You?
Don't Make This Mistake: Ruby's Death To Heat Stroke

Do you have a story to share?

Your story can help others, maybe even save a life!

What were the first signs you noticed? How did you dog get diagnosed? What treatment did/didn't work for you? What was your experience with your vet(s)? How did you cope with the challenges?

Email me, I'll be happy to hear from you!


  1. Great cautionary take - shared.

  2. Seems like a scary incident. I would have been terrified. Thank you for letting us know this can happen to our pets. - Petnet(io) Anu

    1. It can happen very easily. We had a different experience with hyperthermia, which was drug-induced. It was a true horror.

  3. I know my thick-coated corgis get too warm very quickly. Often, on a very hot/humid day, they will actually refuse to take a walk. When this happens, I listen! This time of year they live on top of the floor a/c vents.

    1. It's good that that communicate and it's great that you listen! So important.