A new survey suggests that 91% of pet lovers are feeding their animals potentially harmful foods.* And with Christmas around the corner, The Co-operative has warned against feeding cats and dogs poisonous treats.

Leftovers and rich foods can often be harmful – some owners think they’re spoiling their beloved pets by giving them a treat, but there are some foods that just aren’t made to be eaten by cats and dogs.

Humans are prone to overindulge in chocolate, sugar and salt over the festive season and they get away with just a few more inches on their waistlines. But for pets, the consequences can be more serious – and in some cases even fatal. Chocolate can be poisonous, especially to dogs and some fruits contain pips or stones that can cause your pets real problems.

Dogs are naturally nosy, so if you have a box of chocolates keep them well out of reach and offer doggy chocolates as a safe option. If your dog eats your chocolate and shows symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhoea, the urge to drink lots of water or hyperactivity then take them to the vet to rule out poisoning.

Puppies, elderly dogs or those with underlying health problems can be more susceptible to a reaction to food that’s not meant for them, so keep an eye on what they’re eating at all times.

If you like to feed leftovers to your pet, take care as some ingredients such as garlic, onion and broccoli can be poisonous in large quantities. And if you wouldn’t eat something yourself, don’t throw it into your pet’s bowl – there’s no excuse for giving them things like potato peelings, food that’s well past its sell-by date and scraps of fat.

Once Christmas party season is in full swing, some guests might think it’s funny to let your pet drink alcohol, but this can also be dangerous. Like humans, pets can become drunk and have a lower tolerance level. Drinking alcohol is not good for them, no matter how amusing it might seem.

If your cat or dog does fall ill as a result of what they’ve eaten, it’s reassuring to know that a good Pet Insurance policy will cover the vet’s bills. Some Pet Insurance policies from will even pay costs straight to the vet so you’re not left out of pocket.

John Lewis Insurance offers a range of insurance services selected by the John Lewis Partnership. These include car, home, life, travel, wedding, event, cat and dog insurance products.

For more information about John Lewis Pet Insurance please visit the website here – www.johnlewis-insurance.com/homepage/pet-insurance.html.

John Lewis Insurance is a trading name of John Lewis plc. John Lewis plc is an appointed representative of AXA Insurance UK plc which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority.

Terms, conditions, limitations, exclusions and eligibility criteria apply. A full copy of the policy wording and the insurance complaints procedure are available on request.