PET owners are being warned to take care not to accidentally poison their pets this Christmas.

The British Veterinary Association (BVA) has said nearly 90 per cent of vets in Sussex dealt with a case of pet poisoning from festive treats last Christmas.

Chocolate poisoning is the most common cause of toxic ingestion at Christmas for dogs.

There has also been a spike in raisin or sultana poisoning over the past two years, with 68 per cent of vets reporting treating a case during last year’s festive season.

Cats are also at risk, with vets treating felines for poisoning from seasonal plants such as lilies and poinsettias.

Festive decorations, gift wrapping and antifreeze are other common reasons for pets landing up at the vets.

Vet John Fishwick, British Veterinary Association president, said: “Christmas is typically a fun and chaotic time for families, but the presents, treats and decorations can often prove dangerous for our pets if we are not careful.

“Many pet owners are aware of the risks of chocolate or other festive foods being toxic for their pets but, as our survey shows, it’s easy to be caught out by a kind gift left under the tree which curious animals can find hard to resist.

“Our advice is for present-givers to tell owners if there is anything edible in gifts and to keep such presents safely out of reach of your pet.

“If you suspect your pet may have eaten something it shouldn’t, please contact your local vet immediately.”

The association has released five simple tips to ensure pets are kept safe across the festive period.

Firstly owners are urged to keep festive treats, such as chocolate, raisins, nuts, grapes, liquorice, poinsettia, holly and mistletoe, out of reach.

You should also keep decorations, such as ribbons, wrapping paper, baubles, tinsel and tree lights, out of reach.

Thirdly, Christmas dinner should not be shared with pets as the fatty food can trigger sickness and diarrhoea or other conditions from gastroenteritis to pancreatitis. Bones can also be dangerous.

Fourth: give toys not treats. Too many treats can lead to fat pets which can have serious consequences for health. Finally, be prepared for the worst and know where to go over the Christmas holidays when many vets will be closed. For more details visit