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Does pet insurance cover heat stroke?

Dog with ocean glasses by a sun keeping cooling and avoiding heat stroke.

Summer heat is on its way in Australia, and this year promises to be an El Niño scorcher. But while most of us know to keep ourselves cool, keeping our pets cool too can sometimes slip our minds – and burn a serious hole in our wallet if the worst happens.

So before summer strikes, let’s get into the symptoms of heat stroke in your dog or cat and whether pet insurance can help cover the costs of treatment.

What is heat stroke?

Heat stroke occurs when our bodies can no longer regulate their temperature. The body temperature rises too high, too fast, and sweating is no longer enough to cool us down. 

The threshold for heat stroke is a body temperature above 40 degrees Celsius. Dogs, cats, and humans can all get heat stroke. 

Heat stroke can be a life-threatening emergency, so receiving treatment as soon as possible is crucial. It’s also essential to pay attention to warning signs since heat exhaustion can lead to heat stroke.

Veterinary treatment for heat stroke can cost thousands of dollars, whether it’s receiving intravenous fluids or treating more serious complications due to injuries like burns. 

Symptoms of heat stroke in dogs and cats

Dogs and cats nervous in the sun because they don't want heat stroke.

The signs of heat stroke are similar for dogs and cats, although cats may present more subtly. Some of the key warning signs of heat stroke in your pet to watch out for include:

  • Panting.
  • Head tilting. 
  • Restlessness.
  • Seeking shade and water.
  • Drooling.
  • Weakness.
  • Increased heart rate. 
  • Vomiting and diarrhoea. 
  • Red gums or tongue.
  • Drooling.
  • Collapse or fainting. 
  • Seizures.

If you think your pet is experiencing heat stroke, apply cool-down first aid and call your veterinarian immediately. Remember: cool first, transport second. 

Some things you can do to cool down your pet include:

  • Moving them to a cool and shady area. 
  • Offering them small sips of water.
  • Gently hosing them down with water and fanning them.
  • If your dog is young and healthy, immerse them in cool water like a bath or pool.

Don’t use ice-cold water, as this can slow blood flow to the skin, causing them to shiver and produce more heat. Your vet will tell you what to do next, including whether to bring them in for a check-up or emergency medical attention. 

Does pet insurance cover heat stroke?

Luckily, most accident & illness pet insurance policies cover heat stroke. You will need to check the terms and conditions of your coverage in the policy product disclosure statement (PDS) so you’re aware of any sub-limits or exclusions that apply. 

To make a claim on your pet insurance, go to your provider’s website and follow the claims portal for the next steps. You may need to provide receipts, medical reports, or veterinarian assessments to substantiate your claim. Some pet insurance providers let the vet lodge the claim for you.

How to prevent heat stroke for your pet

As warmer weather lies ahead, it’s important to have a play to keep your pet cool this summer. This can include doing things like having plenty of cool water available, keeping them in the shade, and avoiding walking them during the hottest parts of the day.

It’s also essential to pay attention to other dangers in the summer heat, too, such as hot footpaths. Use yourself as a good measure: if it’s too hot for your skin, it’s too hot for your pet’s paws. 

Animals can get sunburnt, too, so consider buying pet sunscreen for their sensitive areas like noses.

Compare pet insurance policies in the table below.

Compare pet insurance policies - last updated 21 June 2024

Search promoted pet insurances below. Advertiser disclosure Important information on terms, conditions and sub-limits.
  • Pet Protection Plus

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    annual benefit limit
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    benefit percentage
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    choice of excess
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    choice of vet
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    annual benefit limit
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    benefit percentage
    90%
    choice of excess
    $0, $75, $150
    choice of vet
    Yes

    available discounts

    • -
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    Details
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    Pet Insurance

    Enjoy flexible options that make it simple to tailor your pet insurance. Get a quote in just 2 minutes. Aussie customer care team. There are no sub limits and emergency help is available 24/7. Add optional extras such as dental illness and specialised therapies. Get 10% off your first-year premium using the exclusive promo code "MOZO10" - T&Cs apply.

    annual benefit limit
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    benefit percentage
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    choice of excess
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    choice of vet
    Yes

    available discounts

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  • Major Medical

    Get two months free when you sign up with Pet Insurance Australia. Choose between three levels of cover for your pet. Policies cover a range of specified accidental injuries and illnesses. Get refunded for up to 80% of eligible vet bills. 21 day cooling off period.

    annual benefit limit
    $30,000
    benefit percentage
    80%
    choice of excess
    $0, $100, $200, $500
    choice of vet
    Yes

    available discounts

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  • Pet Insurance

    Get cover for a generous 80% of your eligible vet bill when you take your furry family members to yourchoice of registered vet or veterinary practice in Australia. Enjoy a 15% discount on your first year’s premium for new policies quoted online. T&Cs apply.

    annual benefit limit
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    benefit percentage
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    choice of excess
    $100
    choice of vet
    Yes

    available discounts

    • Receive 15% off the first year’s premium for new policies quoted online
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* Terms, conditions, exclusions, limits and sub-limits may apply to any of the insurance products shown on the Mozo website. These terms, conditions, exclusions, limits and sub-limits could affect the level of benefits and cover available under any of the insurance products shown on the Mozo website. Please refer to the relevant Product Disclosure Statement and the Target Market Determination on the provider's website for further information before making any decisions about an insurance product.

^See information about the Mozo Experts Choice Pet Insurance Awards

Evlin DuBose
Evlin DuBose
RG146
Senior Money Writer

Evlin is RG146 certified for Generic Knowledge and has become a leading voice in finance news since joining Mozo two years ago. She is regularly featured in Google's Top Stories alongside major publications like News.com.au and Yahoo Finance, and seasoned journalists. Despite being in the industry for just two years, she is Mozo's go-to writer for all things RBA and her research has been referenced by the Victorian Government. With a Bachelor of Communications degree from UTS, where she won the Dean's Merit Award and acted as the Director of Student Publications.