Chip bags and other food packaging pose serious suffocation risks. Too many pets, especially dogs, have died from suffocating in chip bags, cereal boxes, snack bags, pet treat bag liners, and pet food bags. A lot of these bags are made from a strong mylar-like material (like a balloon) which helps keep snacks fresher. When a curious dog puts his head into the bag looking for leftover crumbs, the bag creates a vacuum-like seal around the dog’s neck. As he tries to breathe, the bag tightens around his neck, cutting off the oxygen. When a dog cannot remove the bag from his head, he will usually start to panic, desperately running around until he collapses and dies from asphyxiation. This happens within minutes.
Many people falsely believe that a dog can simply remove a chip bag from his head with his front paws or tear through it with his claws. This is just not the case. Once the bag starts to seal around the dog’s neck, it’s extremely difficult to break the suction of the seal. All dogs are vulnerable to pet suffocation – no matter their size, breed, or age. No dog, from a tiny teacup poodle to a massive Great Dane, can win a fight with a chip bag or other plastic bag over his head once the bag seals and he starts to lose oxygen. Curious cats are at risk as well.
These are some facts presented by a survey conducted by Preventive Vet:
At least 2–3 pets are lost each week in the U.S. to chip and other snack bag suffocation – and these are just the ones that get reported!
Many people whose dogs have suffocated in these types of bags were only gone from the house for 20–30 minutes!
It can take as little as 3–5 minutes for a pet to die from suffocation in these types of bags!
We can reduce the number of accidental pet deaths by educating people on the dangers of these types of bags. Most people do not know that these mylar bags are a suffocation hazard to their animals, and they often do not find out until it happens to their pet. The more people are aware of this risk, the more pet owners can do to ensure their pet is safe. Awareness is the best defense against pet suffocation!
What can you do to prevent this tragedy?
• Keep all chip/snack/pet food bags safely stored away from your pet.
• Tear or cut up all chip bags and food bags after use.
• Store chips/snacks/pet food in resealable plastic containers.
• Serve chips and snacks in glass bowls or containers instead of in bags.
• Keep all trash can lids tightly fastened, locked, or behind a cabinet.
• Keep the kitchen pantry door closed.
• Learn CPR for pets.
• Educate pet sitters and babysitters about pet suffocation prevention.
• Be extra vigilant during family and holiday gatherings.
• Watch for litter, including bags that may have blown into our yards.
• Lobby companies to add warning labels on snack/cereal/dog food bags.
• Share the resources at Prevent Pet Suffocation.com