Pet Tips for Midwesterners



August 17, 2020

The Midwest is an incredible place to be a furry friend or a pet parent. Whether you’re taking your dog to a pet-friendly brewery in an up-and-coming Iowa town, exploring the woods of Michigan, or having a lake day in Wisconsin, the Midwest is a special kind of place to give your pet a unique and fulfilling life.


But with the positives of the Midwest’s pet-friendly lifestyle, come certain precautions that must be taken. The Midwestern climate and wildlife present certain areas for you and your dog to be cautious of if you’re going to take advantage of the offerings of the great outdoors. Here we’ll survey three of those Midwestern states many Bivvy pet parents call home—Iowa, Michigan, and Wisconsin.



Iowa is a goldmine for outdoor adventuring with your dog. Opportunity abounds for outdoor hangs in wide open spaces like Effigy Mounds National Monument and Iowa’s many state parks, forests, and campgrounds. Plus, there are many beaches in Iowa that are dog-friendly.

While you and your furry friend are adventuring in the great outdoors of Iowa, be mindful of the weather. In the hot summers, protect your dog from overheating and/or becoming dehydrated—in cars, while playing at dog parks, you name it. And when the extreme temperatures swing the other way in the winter, wind chill advisories present their own challenges to pets. Just like humans, if your pet appears to be panting too hard or shivering excessively, it’s time to head inside.

Fungal infections are also prevalent for dogs in the Iowa outdoors. Ingesting contaminated soil can cause a dog to contract blastomycosis, a dog disease common throughout the Midwest. A dog consuming poisonous Iowa plants like lilies of the valley, daylilies, buckeyes, and oak trees, can lead to a bevy of internal issues.

Bugs are a whole other problem. Ticks are found throughout Iowa, and they can transmit  diseases like anaplasmosis, particularly endemic in upper-Midwest ticks. When spending time with your dog outside in Iowa, mosquitoes, flies, fleas, mites, and other insects can open up a Pandora’s box of potential health threats to your four-legged companion, as can contaminated water and soil. Raccoon roundworm is an unsavory ailment that threatens pets in the northeast and the Midwest. It’s a worm that often lives in raccoons, and an infected raccoon’s stool can contain millions of microscopic eggs that are transmitted to the soil.

One final threat to be mindful of when you and your pet are having some wholesome Iowa fun is the sun! Prolonged time under those intense UV rays during hot Midwestern summers can lead to skin cancer for your pet, especially if he or she has light hair. Having a Bivvy dog insurance policy means peace-of-mind for you if your pet is in need of extra care after an outdoor adventure.


While you and your pet are living that magical #PureMichigan life, be mindful of the health and safety problems that can present themselves. There are many dog-friendly beaches in Michigan, including Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore and parts of Lake Huron.

However, while you’re enjoying the Great Lakes State, be wary of the effects the intense seasons can have on your pet. Michigan’s famously frigid winters can pose frostbite and hypothermia risks. Though time flies when you’re having fun with your furry friend outside on summer days, be mindful of the effect that prolonged hot, muggy weather has on your pet. Be prudent about what time of day you’re exercising with your dog outdoors—try to avoid midday exertion. At home, don’t leave them outside for extended time on hot days. Plus, be careful about their tender paws on hot pavement.

Over the summer, between dusk and dawn, is peak mosquito time in Michigan, so keep your pet indoors during that time to protect them from not only bites, but the viruses mosquitoes can spread. Luckily weather-related ailments, and those resulting from bugs, are within the scope of Bivvy’s insurance coverage!


There are pet-friendly places galore in Wisconsin. There are a plethora of trails around downtown Milwaukee, as well as plenty of dog-friendly state parks, like Humboldt and South Shore Parks. And as for national parks in Wisconsin, dogs can be in most parts of most of them as long as they’re on a leash. There are many Wisconsin beaches your dog can take a swim with you at also, like Whitefish Dunes State Park in Sturgeon Bay.

Do your part to protect your furry companion from the dangers posed by bugs, weather, and wildlife. Like much of the Midwest, ticks are something to check for after time outside. Mosquitoes also pose threats, so use a veterinarian-approved repellent if you will be spending extended time outside. Swimming in Wisconsin lakes with your dog is a great way to spend a hot day, but keep an eye out for them drinking lake water. Ick!

As for weather, like the rest of the Midwest, Wisconsin has extreme temperatures in both the summer and winter. The brutal winters pose the aforementioned frostbite and hypothermia risks. Be sure to also keep an eye out while walking in winter for ice melt, as ingesting that can cause mouth discomfort and stomach irritation for pets.

For Wisconsin wildlife, a closely-related but less-cuddly canine can pose a real threat while out for a walk in the woods. Wolves are very territorial, so pet owners ought to take special precautions. Wolf attacks on pets even in residential areas have increased in Wisconsin in recent years, with reports of such events coming from as recently as summer 2020. Pets covered with Bivvy’s dog insurance are protected in instances where new accidents occur and emergency care or surgery is necessary. Get out there with your pet and enjoy all the state has to offer, but be prepared in case a day of Wisconsin wilderness wandering takes an unexpected turn.

While you’re out there enjoying the Midwest, take care to keep your pet comfortable and safe, and be insured in case of medical emergencies with Bivvy’s simple, low-cost monthly dog insurance. With affordable pet insurance, you'll have extra peace of mind. Adventure on!