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Ahh, Christmas. The most wonderful time of the year. While the season is packed with plenty to look forward to, from parties (hurrah) and get-togethers (finally) to festive feasts, there’s also a lot of time for TLC at home. Here we’ll run through some ideas to keep your pet busy, and make the most of your time together indoors.

‘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 – anything goes. 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).

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.