View Full Version : Sick from the heat

18th August 2008, 06:38 PM
Yesterday we took Alex out for his morning walk which is usually 45-60 min, twice a day. It was 9a and about 82 degrees out. At the park I let him run for about 15 min before we started back home. Gave him water after the run. Starting home he got slower and slower (usually he is running everywhere). Once home he layed most of the day, inside & out where we were working in the garden. Very sluggish and last night had the runs and would not eat. Do you think it is possible it was to hot for him and is it possible for them to get overheated or heatstroke and make them sick? This morning he was a little better but still moving very slow.


18th August 2008, 07:15 PM
I would get to the vet asap.Could of picked up a tummy bug and poss eaton something nasty on the way.

18th August 2008, 08:25 PM
Echoing Justine. Ring your vet NOW!! Please, never, ever wait when you see worrying symptoms like this -- heat stroke is a life or death affliction if it is bad and the dog could suffer brain or organ damage from being left to deal with it on its own. Please ring a vet now and an emergency vet if you are out of normal hours -- you need immediate advice from a professional. Fingers crossed all is OK.

IMHO that is a risky exercise routine -- too long at too high a temperature -- and would risk serious problems but discuss this with your vet to be sure. I would also check your dog's heart as this is a breed problem and this reaction if not heat related could indicate serious heart problems.

18th August 2008, 08:41 PM
I echo the advice of Justine and Karlin..hope all will be well..please let us know.

18th August 2008, 10:16 PM


Heat stroke in dogs is not all that uncommon. Dogs do not have an efficient method of handling heat stress because they don't sweat and they don't seem to figure out that they shouldn't get excited or work hard in the heat, either. Heat stroke is most common in the large breeds and in dogs with short noses...

Death from heat stroke can occur pretty quickly. The shortest interval between exposure to high heat extremes and death is about 20 minutes, based on our practice experience, but these have been "closed car" cases. It is probably more common for dogs to experience heat stroke in the first few days they are acclimating to heat and for it to occur in conjunction with excitement or exercise. Most dogs probably take an hour or more to develop heat stroke in these circumstances but if they were struggling with the heat prior to exercising it is possible that the problem could develop more quickly. Any illness that is contributing to an increase in body temperature can also shorten the time period for signs to become severe.

The most common clinical signs of heat stroke are weakness, loss of balance, excessive panting, roaring breathing sounds, excessive salivation, decrease in mental awareness, collapse and death. Any time that heat stroke is suspected it is best to get an immediate rectal temperature reading and to begin treatment immediately if the body temperature is over 106 degrees Fahrenheit or to stop all activity and move indoors if the temperature is less than this but elevated above 103.0 degrees Fahrenheit. Body temperatures over 107 degrees Fahrenheit are a critical emergency, because organ damage can occur at this temperature and at higher temperatures.

Treatment consists of cool water (not cold water) bathes or rinses. If the water is too cold, or if ice is used to cool a heat stroke victim it can cause a decrease or loss of skin circulation, which can delay cooling. This should be done immediately for a few minutes and then the dog should be taken to the veterinarian's office or to an emergency veterinary clinic immediately. Most dogs will not drink water at this stage of heat stroke and it is not a good idea to spend time trying to get them to. Just go to the vet's as quickly as possible. The veterinarian may want to use cool water enemas, cool water gastric lavage (rinsing of the stomach), corticosteroids and specialized intravenous fluid therapy using colloids to maintain blood pressure. If there is any evidence of disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC), intensive therapy for several days may be necessary if a successful outcome is possible.

Immediate treatment is critical to success when dealing with heat stroke, so delays are potentially harmful, or fatal. Many people do not associate the clinical signs they are seeing with heat stroke, though. Especially when their level of suspicion is not high. We have seen heat stroke in dogs who were swimming or who were merely excited but not obviously exercising hard, situations in which people often do not make an association with heat stroke. We have even had one bulldog patient who developed heat stroke in the house, with the air conditioning on, apparently because he became very excited about guests at the house for a party.



Heatstroke (Hyperthermia)
Veterinary & Aquatic Services Department, Drs. Foster & Smith, Inc.

Heatstroke occurs when normal body mechanisms cannot keep the body's temperature in a safe range. Animals do not have efficient cooling systems (like humans who sweat) and get overheated easily. A dog with moderate heatstroke (body temperature from 104º to 106ºF) can recover within an hour if given prompt first aid and veterinary care (normal body temperature is 100-102.5°F). Severe heatstroke (body temperature over 106ºF) can be deadly and immediate veterinary assistance is needed.

A dog suffering from heatstroke will display several signs:

Rapid panting
Bright red tongue
Red or pale gums
Thick, sticky saliva
Vomiting - sometimes with blood
What you should do

Remove the dog from the hot area immediately. Prior to taking him to your veterinarian, lower his temperature by wetting him thoroughly with cool water (for very small dogs, use lukewarm water), then increase air movement around him with a fan. CAUTION: Using very cold water can actually be counterproductive. Cooling too quickly and especially allowing his body temperature to become too low can cause other life-threatening medical conditions. The rectal temperature should be checked every 5 minutes. Once the body temperature is 103ºF, the cooling measures should be stopped and the dog should be dried thoroughly and covered so he does not continue to lose heat. Even if the dog appears to be recovering, take him to your veterinarian as soon as possible. He should still be examined since he may be dehydrated or have other complications.

Allow free access to water or a children's rehydrating solution if the dog can drink on his own. Do not try to force-feed cold water; the dog may inhale it or choke.

What your veterinarian will do

Your veterinarian will lower your dog's body temperature to a safe range (if you have not already) and continually monitor his temperature. Your dog will be given fluids, and possibly oxygen. He will be monitored for shock, respiratory distress, kidney failure, heart abnormalities, and other complications, and treated accordingly. Blood samples may be taken before and during the treatment. The clotting time of the blood will be monitored, since clotting problems are a common complication.


Dogs with moderate heatstroke often recover without complicating health problems. Severe heatstroke can cause organ damage that might need ongoing care such as a special diet prescribed by your veterinarian. Dogs who suffer from heatstroke once increase their risk for getting it again and steps must be taken to prevent it on hot, humid days.


Any pet that cannot cool himself off is at risk for heatstroke. Following these guidelines can help prevent serious problems.

Keep pets with predisposing conditions like heart disease, obesity, older age, or breathing problems cool and in the shade. Even normal activity for these pets can be harmful.
Provide access to water at all times.
Do not leave your pet in a hot parked car even if you're in the shade or will only be gone a short time. The temperature inside a parked car can quickly reach up to140 degrees.
Make sure outside dogs have access to shade.
On a hot day, restrict exercise and don't take your dog jogging with you. Too much exercise when the weather is very hot can be dangerous.
Do not muzzle your dog.
Avoid places like the beach and especially concrete or asphalt areas where heat is reflected and there is no access to shade.
Wetting down your dog with cool water or allowing him to swim can help maintain a normal body temperature.
Move your dog to a cool area of the house. Air conditioning is one of the best ways to keep a dog cool, but is not always dependable. To provide a cooler environment, freeze water in soda bottles, or place ice and a small amount of water in several resealable food storage bags, then wrap them in a towel or tube sock. Place them on the floor for the dog to lay on.

18th August 2008, 11:45 PM
How is Alex doing now? I hope he's ok :hug:

19th August 2008, 07:43 PM
Thanks everyone for your replies. He is back to normal today. I took him to the vet yesterday and he showed no signs of heatstroke, they thought maybe he had some heat exaustion from the excerise and the heat. He gets very excited to go for a walk and loves to run. I guess we will have to be the parent here and put limits on him. We have only had him for a couple of months as he was a rescue and kept caged most of the time, so freedom he loves. He just turned 3 last month. I do have an appointment for a cardio clinic next month so hopefully that will check out fine. It is so great when they are back to their normal sunny selves.


19th August 2008, 08:06 PM
Thats great news that he is okay:D. We often forget that dogs don't sweat to keep themselves cool and they have a fur coat to keep them warm.....

Thanks for posting the info on heat exhaustion/stroke Karlin:)

Cathy T
19th August 2008, 10:40 PM
Relieved to hear that he is okay. Yes, it was probably too warm to walk him for more than 10 minutes or so (enough to potty and get a little air). Definitely sounds like got overheated.