INSURANCE claims for poisoned pets spike in December each year, new data has revealed.

In December 2018, pet insurer MORE TH>N received 85 per cent more claims of poisoned pets compared to the monthly average across the whole year, most likely caused by the presence of festive food and decorations in the home.

A survey of 2,000 pet owners shows that a third do not consider their pet’s health and wellbeing when purchasing festive decorations.

As a result, 39 per cent said their pets get into trouble over the festive period.

A further 12 per cent have seen their furry friend steal Christmas food, such as chocolate or pudding, while one in ten have seen their pet eat decorations.

The research also revealed that a fifth of pets have caused the Christmas tree to fall over on themselves. This rises to 26 per cent for cats.

The types of Christmas food and decorations most likely to have made pets ill include: chocolate at 27 per cent; mince pies at 22 per cent; tinsel at 18 per cent; dried fruit at 15 per cent; and mistletoe berries at 13 per cent.

Vet Dr Bobby Palmer said: “The festive season is expensive enough, without the added cost of visiting a vet too, so before offering out your mince pie leftovers, I’d highly recommend researching the specific foods most poisonous to your pet.”