truInsights into Summertime Pet Health: Trupanion Offers Safety Tips for High Temps, & Backyard Barbeques

truInsights is a data focused initiative introduced by Trupanion and designed to deliver valuable health-related data and insights to pet parents, veterinarians and pet lovers alike.

SEATTLE--()--Good times abound in the heat of the summer season, but when it comes to our pets, following a few safety precautions can save pet parents a costly trip to the veterinarian. With over 20 years of pet health data, Trupanion, Inc. (Nasdaq: TRUP), the leading provider of medical insurance for cats and dogs, has investigated its veterinary invoice data, which shows an increase in claims for heat stroke, dehydration, and burnt paw pads in the summer months (June, July, and August). Additionally, common foods found at backyard barbeques can pose a potential risk for choking, gastrointestinal upset, pancreatitis, or toxicity.

Beating the Heat

During the hot summer months, heat stroke and dehydration can occur in pets due to high temps and overexertion. Pet parents are most likely familiar with the dangers of leaving pets locked in hot cars during the summertime and should be advised that this is unsafe even with the windows down. Unlike humans, pets don’t sweat—they pant—to naturally reduce their body temperature, which makes them more vulnerable in high heat.

According to Trupanion North America data, heat stroke or hyperthermia related claims are 297% higher in the summer months (June, July, and August) than all other months, and in the past 3 years (2019-2023), these claims peak in July. While the average claim amount is approximately $1,664 per claim, the highest claim was $18,130–a Golden Retriever in Colorado in August 2023. Vet care for heat stroke may include hospitalization, IV fluids, bloodwork to check organ function, and medications.

“Limiting exercise during high temps is a good precaution, because many pets will overexert themselves,” cautions veterinarian and Trupanion General Manager, Dr. Stephen Rose, BVSc (Hons1) M Infotech CVA ACVCHM. “It’s also important to know your pet’s breed and their specific needs. Some breeds, such as brachycephalic breeds, which are breeds with flat muzzles like bulldogs and pugs, have a much lower heat tolerance because the restricted airflow makes panting less effective.”

Dr. Rose continued, “If you want to cool your pet down, don't use ice or cold water on their bodies as this can cause shock, and don't use wet towels draped over their bodies as that can trap in the heat. Use cool water and apply it to the groin, armpits, and feet to help gently lower body temperature and let them sip cool water. If you suspect your pet is suffering from heat stroke, get them to the veterinarian for care immediately.”

Among Trupanion pets, the top 5 states for heat stroke or hyperthermia claims in the US are as follows:

  • Florida
  • Texas
  • California
  • New York
  • North Carolina

At Trupanion, dehydration related claims are spread a bit more evenly throughout the year because dehydration can be caused by risk factors unrelated to heat, such as vomiting. However, claims are 19% higher in the summer months (June, July, and August) than all other months, and in the past 3 years (2019-2023), these claims peak in June. While the average claim amount is approximately $483 per claim, the highest claim was $9,843–a small mixed breed dog in Ontario was hospitalized with vomiting and anorexia (mucocoele) in July 2022.

Among Trupanion pets, the top 5 states for dehydration claims in the US are as follows:

  • Florida
  • New Jersey
  • Massachusetts
  • Colorado
  • New York

Trupanion claims for burnt paw pads have peaked in July over the past 3 years (2019-2023), and the highest claim was $1,450 when a small mixed breed dog in Nevada burned his paws in July 2022.

“During heat waves, always ensure that your pets have easy access to fresh, cool water to prevent dehydration,” says Dr. Rose. “Protective shoes for pets can shield paws from hot pavement and hot sand, and keeping pets cool with cooling pads, and providing shaded areas in the backyard that are raised off of hot surfaces are all excellent precautions against high temperatures.”

Backyard Barbeque Safety

When it comes to barbeque season, there are several potential dangers to be mindful of when it comes to our pets—chief among them choking and toxicity hazards. Animal bones are brittle when cooked and can splinter as the pet chews on them, posing a choking hazard, and can also puncture or get stuck in the intestines in addition to causing gastrointestinal upset. Raw bones pose a separate set of risks, as they may contain infectious bacteria such as salmonella. Spices on barbequed meats can also cause stomach upset and set off conditions such as pancreatitis.

According to Trupanion data, the highest claim amount for choking on a bone was $3,800 in 2020 when a West Highland White Terrier swallowed a bone in Newfoundland and Labrador. The highest claim amount for toxicity with bone ingestion was $3,057 in 2019 when a small mixed breed pup in California ate some chocolate and bone at the same time.

“There are plenty of things at barbeques many people would never even think of as being dangerous that curious pets can get into: kabab skewers, corn on the cob, fruit salad, onion, garlic, avocado, and even aluminum foil, just to name a few,” says Dr. Stephen Rose. “Even hot dogs and hamburgers can cause gastrointestinal upset or pancreatitis in pets, which is why it’s important to keep pets secured and away from areas where food is being cooked and eaten during barbeque gatherings, and don't feed your pets off your plates.”

About Trupanion

Trupanion is a leader in medical insurance for cats and dogs throughout the United States, Canada, Europe, Puerto Rico and Australia with over 1,000,000 pets enrolled. For over two decades, Trupanion has given pet owners peace of mind so they can focus on their pet's recovery, not financial stress. Trupanion is committed to providing pet owners with the highest value in pet medical insurance with unlimited payouts for the life of their pets. With its patented process, Trupanion is the only North American provider with the technology to pay veterinarians directly in seconds at the time of checkout. Trupanion is listed on NASDAQ under the symbol "TRUP". The company was founded in 2000 and is headquartered in Seattle, WA. Trupanion policies are issued, in the United States, by its wholly-owned insurance entity American Pet Insurance Company and, in Canada, by Accelerant Insurance Company of Canada. Trupanion Australia is a partnership between Trupanion and Hollard Insurance Company. Policies are sold and administered by Trupanion Managers USA, Inc. (CA license No. 0G22803, NPN 9588590). For more information, please visit


Media: Trupanion Corporate Communications


Media: Trupanion Corporate Communications