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Ahh, Christmas. The most wonderful time of the year – or is it? After Covid is turning everyone’s festive plans upside down, you may be wondering what this Christmas is going to look like and how the restrictions may affect you.

While we don’t have answers for that, what we do have is plenty of ideas for keeping busy and making the time at home with your pet enjoyable. Let’s think positive: who says you need to leave the house to have fun?

Tis the season to be cosy

There’s nothing more Christmassy than relaxing on the sofa with a blanket, a cup of tea (scratch that, a festive cocktail) and your furry friend beside you. Christmas specials, cooking shows or that film you’ve watched a hundred times – everything is allowed except the news. Now more than ever, it’s time to wind down and appreciate those small moments of happiness. Pass the pup-corn!

The great treat hunt

If you’re a pet parent, you’re familiar with the sheer excitement on your pet’s face when you crack open a bag of treats. This Christmas, take that experience to the next level with a scavenger hunt (bonus points if you decide to go with festive snacks!). Simply hide treats around the house and watch your furry pal sniff their way around. Just remember to use small pieces to avoid overfeeding.

The gift of grooming

A pamper session can be such a treat: it’s all about making it a calm and relaxing experience. And when you think about it, grooming has so many benefits for your pet: it removes dirt, tangles and dead hair; offers a chance to check for fleas and lumps; promotes overall wellbeing and is just a great opportunity to spend quality time with your best friend. Brush your pet’s coat, trim their nails and clean their eyes and ears. At the end of a grooming session, your pet will not only have a shinier fur coat and brighter eyes, but also feel extra cared for and happy.

All fun and games

Animals love playtime: it’s fun and a great bonding activity for pets and their owners. But if you have some time to kill, why not teach your four-legged friend a new trick? Pets of all ages find learning new things stimulating. You can teach them commands like ‘sit’, ‘stay’ or ‘come’ (by the way, don’t believe those who say cats can’t follow instructions!). There is a mountain of tutorials online explaining the process step-by-step: we like this one for dogs (how to shake hands) and this one for cats (how to sit on command).

These are anxious and unusual times, but there’s a silver lining in every cloud. This Christmas break may be a chance to do things you wouldn’t normally have time to do – including treating your pet to a few surprises.