A mother-of-two from Buckinghamshire was confronted with a £550 veterinary bill after her dogs scoffed an entire plate of mince pies, risking fatal poisoning.

Amanda Whyte, 48, who lives in High Wycombe, has issued a warning to other pet owners after a ‘nightmare’ experience last year nearly resulted in having to pay a £550 vet bill just before Christmas.

Last December, the magazine editor walked in on her Black Labrador Lola and Jack Russell/Beagle-mix Spotty devouring a plate of homemade mince pies that her children had brought home from school to celebrate the end of term.

“I walked into the living room and found them sniffing around the crumbs. I know that raisins are extremely toxic to dogs and can cause kidney failure, so I headed straight to the emergency vet.”

After the vet induced vomiting in both Lola and Spotty, they had the sickness injection and underwent at-home monitoring – though it later emerged that only Lola had ingested the festive treats.

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Amanda was handed a veterinary bill of £547, the majority of which she was able to circumvent through her AnimalFriends insurance policy, which covered accidents and short-term illnesses but not emergency vet visits or long-term treatment.

She ended up having to shell out £150 plus an excess of £50 but was relieved she had sought basic cover for the dogs – especially at such an expensive time of year.

Amanda said: “Thank goodness I had insurance. Christmas is expensive enough as it is – so getting a vet bill for over £500 would not have been a welcome gift.

“It’s every dog owner’s worst nightmare, but these things do happen – especially with a greedy Lab who will eat anything she can get her paws on. We’re all just glad they’re ok.

“Insurance is so important – I would have been stuffed without it.”