Summer Safety Tips for Pets: Beating the Heat

2 min read
May 02, 2024

You and your pet may be looking forward to enjoying quality time together outdoors this summer. However, summer’s arrival brings potential hazards that may put your pet’s health and safety at risk. Let’s consider a few summer safety tips for pets.

Avoid Heat Stroke

You should make pet heat safety a priority during the summer. Heat stroke (aka hyperthermia) is a potentially life-threatening medical emergency that occurs when a pet’s body temperature rises to dangerous levels.1 There are several ways to help your pet avoid the condition:1,2

  • Keep pets inside during heat waves.
  • Avoid strenuous activity during the hottest part of the day (typically 3 p.m. – 5 p.m.).
  • Provide plenty of fresh water.
  • Ensure pets have shaded areas to rest and cool off in.
  • Brush their fur to remove excess hair and help air circulate around the skin’s surface.3

Signs of heat stroke may include heavy panting, drooling, rapid pulse, and fever.1,2 If you begin to notice these signs, wetting your pet with cool water and placing them in front of a fan may help. However, if symptoms continue, see a vet as soon as possible.1

Don’t Shave Your Pet

Since fur can provide sun protection and natural cooling, don’t shave your dog during the summer (trimming their coat is fine, however).3 Like humans, pets can get sunburned and develop skin cancers. Pet-safe sunscreens may also provide sun protection, but talk to your vet to see if they recommend a certain product.4

Avoid Paw Burn Risks

Hot pavement may pose a significant burn risk to your pet’s paws. However, you may be able to reduce your dog’s risk of paw burns by taking them on walks during the cooler parts of the day and by walking on grass instead of pavement.5,6

Need To See a Vet?

Pet Insurance Can Help

Watch Out for Insect and Animal Bites

Summer brings out animals of all stripes, and they can pose bite risks to pets. Consider what to do in the case of:

  • Stings: Remove the stinger and keep an eye on the area for signs of an allergic reaction.2 If you begin to notice any signs of a reaction, seek veterinary care immediately.
  • Snake bites: If possible, try to identify whether the snake is venomous. Even if the bite isn’t poisonous, your vet may run tests, prescribe antibiotics, and clean the wound to prevent infection. Venomous bites may require antivenom treatment and hospitalization.
  • Other animal bites: Take your pet to the vet if they receive a bite from another animal. Your vet may clean, repair, and dress the wound, and also recommend antibiotics or other treatments.

Be Careful Around Water

Monitor your pet around water just as you would the rest of your family. Keep a few ideas in mind:6,7

  • A flotation device may help protect your pet in the water.
  • Contaminated water may pose health risks to pets. For example, certain algae can cause cyanobacteria poisoning in cats and dogs.
  • Don’t let your pet drink pool water, which may contain toxic chemicals.
  • Ask your vet about an ear wash to help cleanse your dog’s ears after a swim, which may help prevent swimmer’s ear and ear infections.
  • Bathe your pet after a swim to wash salt or chlorine off their fur.

Never Leave Pets in Hot Cars

A hot car is extremely dangerous for pets, and in some states, leaving a pet in a hot vehicle is illegal even if you leave the windows cracked.8 If you see a pet in a parked car:9

  • Record the car’s make, model, and license plate.
  • Try to find the car’s owner. You can ask nearby businesses to announce that there’s a pet in a hot car.
  • If you can’t locate the owner, call the police or animal control and wait by the car until they arrive. While some states allow you to legally rescue pets from hot cars, check your local rules before attempting to do so.

Reduce Poisoning Risks

Pets face a variety of poisoning risks. For example, food at your summer barbecue — such as alcoholic beverages, grapes, onions, and chocolate — may harm your dog. Common insecticides and lawn chemicals may also be toxic for pets.6 Do your best to keep these items out of reach.

If Summer Pet Problems Arise, MetLife Pet Insurance May Help

We get it, you can’t always prevent your furry companions from having a run-in with a summertime hazard. MetLife Pet Insurance may cover many veterinary costs related to summer ailments and accidents. As summer’s hot days beckon, get a free quote from MetLife Pet today to help with covered expenses.

Help Keep Your Pet Healthy and Happy


**As with any insurance policy, coverage may vary. Review our coverage and exclusions.


1 “Summer heat safety tips for dogs,” Cornell Richard P. Riney Canine Health Center,

2 “Canine Summer Safety Tips,” American Kennel Club,

3 “Heat Wave Approaching! Should You Shave Your Pet?” ASPCA,

4 “Pets and Sunscreen: Don’t Get Burned by the Myths!” ASPCA,

5 “Keep pets safe in the heat,” The Humane Society of the United States,

6 “Hot Weather Safety Tips,” ASPCA,

7 “Cyanobacteria Poisoning,” VCA Animal Hospitals

8 “Can I Leave My Dog in the Car If I Crack a Window?” American Kennel Club,

9 “What to do if you see a dog in a parked car,” The Humane Society of the United States,

Coverage issued by Metropolitan General Insurance Company (“MetGen”), a Rhode Island insurance company, headquartered at 700 Quaker Lane, Warwick, RI 02886, and Independence American Insurance Company (“IAIC”), a Delaware insurance company, headquartered at 11333 N Scottsdale Rd, Ste 160, Scottsdale, AZ 85454. Coverage subject to restrictions, exclusions and limitations and application is subject to underwriting. See policy or contact MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC (“MetLife Pet”) for details. MetLife Pet is the policy administrator. It may operate under an alternate or fictitious name in certain jurisdictions, including MetLife Pet Insurance Services LLC (New York and Minnesota) and MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions Agency LLC (Illinois).

L0524040248[exp0526][All States][DC,GU,MP,PR,VI]