A Happy Excuse for a Holiday Stroll with Your Dog

The holidays are a time to spend with family, which includes not only human relatives, but our furry friends as well. The holiday cookies and rich dinners that bring the family to one table can take a toll on your waistline and your pet’s as well. Ride that wave of holiday spirit and the joys of family to inspire you to be a bit more active this year.

We tend to be less active in the colder months, so be prepared this coming holiday and make a commitment to your furry companion, and to yourself, to get moving more this holiday season. Leading by example may be just what the doctor ordered to inspire your grandparents to finally start taking daily walks to ward off possible respiratory issues. Give the gift of heart-healthy holiday strolls to yourself, your pets, and your family members.

Take in the Sights

Take the family and the dogs out on a stroll to enjoy the holiday lights in your neighborhood or town. Seek out that one house in the neighborhood that goes all out with its decorations. If you don’t find it, just keep walking—just because it's the holidays doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be trying to hit the step goal you set for yourself when the weather was still warm. Make sure to keep a watchful eye on the kids and practice being a responsible pedestrian to avoid any collisions on icy roads.

If you have a holiday parade to look forward to, consider entering your pet into the festivities. It's a great photo opportunity and a holiday memory that will not soon be forgotten. Dress them up as one of Santa’s reindeer or another costume that would help to keep them warm while they stroll through the parade. Your animals will enjoy the fresh air and chase the sugar plum fairies in their dreams once you get back home.

Pull Out the Gifts

The epitome of gifts that you can give to an animal-loving child is a new pet. However, this is not always appropriate, especially if the child is not your own. What is appropriate are amazing gifts that can bring the family together and get them active during the holidays.

This winter, consider putting together a treasure hunt of sorts for your family and friends. Bestow the gift of a metal detector to a well-deserved family member and attach a map of a geocache that you have hidden for them. The day can be spent figuring out various clues that will have the gang running all through town, or it can have one simple destination that they need to get to. It is up to you. Once they find the site, the dogs may even want to join in the fun of digging it up!

Try Something New

Whether you are visiting your hometown that you know inside out or discovering a new town while visiting a loved one, look in the local newspaper to find something or someplace new to explore. Perhaps you have been interested in going to see a new exhibition at the art museum that you visit once or twice a year—this is the opportunity to do so with friends and family. Smaller museums may allow you to bring in smaller pets, but make sure to ask first and don’t make any assumptions. You could also take a drive to explore the outskirts of town in search of walking paths and nature trails. It can give you the opportunity to let your animal be your guide when you find yourself at a fork in the road.

Going on a walk with your dog can add to your holiday cheer. The joy that you can experience by watching them jump into a pile of snow or pull your child on a sled is unforgettable. Keep in mind that curling up next to a fire will feel twice as nice after some time outside getting exercise. This holiday season, find an excuse to take a holiday stroll and revel in the holiday spirit.

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