Summer safety tips: How to protect your dogs during the Fourth of July

Michigan Animal Rescue League issues tips for upcoming holiday, summer season

Photo does not have a caption

Summer is officially here, and Michiganders are planning to celebrate the Fourth of July.

Michigan Animal Rescue League (MARL) executive director Magee Humes has issued tips on how to care for your dogs this upcoming holiday as well as the summer season.

MORE: How to keep your pets calm, safe while fireworks are popping


  • Make sure collars are secure and ID tags and microchips are updated
  • Create a comfy, safe spot that can include your dog’s favorite bed and toys, something with your scent on it, curtains drawn and try to muffle the sound and turn up the TV or radio to a level that is comfortable but might help drown out the sound of the fireworks
  • Provide a distraction – new toys, a Kong, puzzles, games, etc.
  • Be understanding of your dog’s fear – if your dog wants to hide, that’s OK as long as he/she is in a safe spot.
  • Talk to your vet to see if medication might be an option for your dog


  • Walk early in the morning or in the evening, rather than the hottest part of the day
  • Check the asphalt with the back of your hand, if it bothers your hand, it’s too hot for their paws
  • Stick to the grass over asphalt and concrete
  • Provide plenty of fresh water when outside and be sure there is a shaded area nearby
  • If you’re going to be outside for a while with your dog, a bandana soaked in cool water tied around their neck will help keep them comfortable.

Summer Fun

  • Sprinklers and pools aren’t just for kids. Some dogs love to cool down while splashing around.
  • Cool activities: Freeze a small block of ice with treats or a toy inside. Freeze a Kong with frozen chunks of food, treats, frozen fruit or veggies inside.
  • Games to do inside on really hot days to help get energy out: treat puzzles, treat hunt around the house, snuffle mats, work on training and learn a new command or trick this summer.

Signs of Overheating:

  • Heavy panting
  • Excessive drooling
  • Elevated heart rate
  • Deep red/purple tongue and gums
  • Nausea/vomiting
  • Weakness and lethargy
  • Agitation
  • Disorientation
  • Staggering or collapsing
  • Glossy eyes
  • Loss of consciousness

About the Author:

DeJanay Booth joined WDIV as a web producer in July 2020. She previously worked as a news reporter in New Mexico before moving back to Michigan.