Keep Your Pet Safe This Summer

Avoid human foods, bring water on hikes, and more tips for keeping your furry friends healthy and happy.

Young woman in summer wardrobe taking a selfie with her Golden Retriever iStock

Visits to the park, trips to the beach, hikes outdoors and strolls through the neighborhood all make for great summertime memories with your furry companions. As a pet parent, you’re used to providing everyday necessities like food, water and love.

But when the weather heats up, there are additional animal care needs to consider. Follow these guidelines for a happy, healthy summer.

The best pet protection is bringing enough water.

When you head out for some fun in the sun, bring fresh water for your pet and offer it to them often. A good rule of thumb is that if you’re thirsty, your pet probably is, too. For ease and convenience, bring a collapsible water bowl or use a special dispenser that attaches to your bottle.

Little girl holds a hamburger patty over her plate while Jack Russell terrier stares longingly at it iStock

Keep your pet safe by feeding them the right foods.

Many common foods at cookouts and potlucks can be dangerous for your pet. And although feeding bones to dogs may seem natural, they can be a choking hazard or cause digestive distress. A safe pet is one that consumes food made just for them.

Here’s a list of human foods and drinks that can be harmful to pets:

  • Alcohol
  • Avocado
  • Chocolate
  • Coffee (and caffeine in general)
  • Citrus
  • Coconut/coconut oil
  • Grapes and raisins
  • Macadamia nuts (and nuts in general)
  • Milk and dairy
  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Chives
  • Raw or undercooked meat and eggs
  • Bones
  • Salt
  • Salty snacks
  •  Xylitol (a sugar substitute)
  • Yeast dough
Male veterinarian examines a gray and white kitten with stethoscope in vet clinic iStock

Consider a vet checkup.

Schedule a routine vet appointment to ensure that your pet is up to date on vaccinations and has a clean bill of health. And continue to give them heartworm and tick and flea preventive medicines, especially if you’re planning a camping or hiking trip.
Also when traveling, be sure to bring along a copy of their vaccine and medical records, pet ID and extra collar.

Avoid using fireworks or sparklers around your pet.

Loud sounds can be disorienting and stressful to animals. There’s also a chance for injury. During celebrations, bring your pet inside so they can stay safe and won’t run away.

Welsh Corgi in a life jacket made for dogs swims after a ball in the pool iStock

Supervise your pet around water.

Even if your pet is a top swimmer, always keep an eye on them near the pool, the ocean, lakes, creeks and rivers. When you’re at the beach, don’t let your pet drink seawater and be sure to have a shady spot so they can get out of the sun and off the sand. (Learn more about pets and water safety.)

Never leave your pet alone in a parked vehicle.

Eighteen states have laws that explicitly address leaving an animal in an unattended vehicle: Arizona, California, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Tennessee, Vermont, Washington, and West Virginia.

Protect paws on hot asphalt.

Be aware of surface temperatures when walking on asphalt and concrete because the heat can burn your pet’s paw pads. And because animals are low to the ground, remember that the heat reflected from concrete and asphalt will transfer to your pet’s body quickly. Try taking walks in the early morning or late evening when temperatures are cooler.

Know the symptoms of overheating.

Recognize the signs of overheating, such as excessive panting, rapid heart rate, weakness, drooling and unusual behavior. If your pet is overheating, quickly take them to a cool place and spray their body with cool (not cold) water.

Provide water to drink and wipe their face and muzzle. Remember: If you’re hot and sweating, your pet probably is, too

Woman sitting on sofa with dog, looking at laptop iStock

Consider getting pet insurance.

Pet plans can be customized to fit your circumstances and needs. Spot Pet Insurance is a best-in-class option to cover accidents, illnesses and preventive medicines. Your AAA Membership lets you save up to 20% on a policy.*

Spot Pet Insurance is available to AAA Members, in all ACG states (except Puerto Rico). AAA Members receive›:

*Up to 20% discount on policies (except in TN, only eligible for 10% multi-pet discount, per insurance regulations).
30-day money-back guarantee. Preexisting condition clause—coverage for certain cured conditions. 24/7 Vet Telehealth Helpline. No network restrictions.

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