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Did You Know Chip Bags Can Suffocate Dogs?

We’ve all seen the “funny” videos online of animals, often dogs, with their heads inside chip or snack bags. We’re expected to see these as humorous, a dog being silly or naughty, then getting caught in the act. But they aren’t funny at all. Did you know that snack and chip bags can easily suffocate pets in as little as 3-5 minutes? If the answer is “no”, you aren’t alone. You’re actually with the majority of pet owners — including responsible pet-parents who take safety precautions with their pets every day — who never imagined that something so small could turn so tragic.

Each year, thousands of pets suffocate when they pull a bag off a table or out of the trash, put their heads inside to lick up the crumbs, then can’t get their heads back out of snack or chip bags. As the pet inhales, the bag closes in tightly around their faces making it extremely difficult or impossible to breathe. It is so fast that you might even be home with your pet and just stepped out to take a phone call or chat with your neighbor when it happens.

This happened to one of our sweet patients. It is heart-breaking.

Pet Suffocation Stats

According to a survey of more than 1,300 people whose pets had either died or nearly died this way, 87% of them had never realized bags were a hazard.

Of the incidents, 25% of bags were retrieved from the garbage, 22% from coffee or side tables, and 13% from the kitchen counter.

While you might think that bigger bags (chip, popcorn, etc.) would be easier to escape, these were actually involved 69% of the time.

Suffocation Prevention Tips

Our top tip is to simply increase awareness. Educate your family, your friends, your coworkers. This will absolutely save lives and prevent gut-wrenching heartbreak. Within your household, put a plan or new routine in place.

  • Store chips, cereals, etc. in plastic containers. This removes bags from the daily rotation (and also keeps your food fresh a little longer).
  • Cut bags into smaller pieces before disposing of them. This way, if your pet gets into your garbage, the bag is no longer a suffocation hazard. This is also safer for wildlife if your bag is destined for a landfill.
  • Don’t share popcorn and similar human snacks as treats for your dog. This will increase the temptation to go for the same treats straight from the bag.
  • Talk to your vet about learning pet CPR and/or research it thoroughly, just as you would for a human emergency. Pet CPR includes chest compressions and mouth-to-nose resuscitation.

Our sincerest hope is that by educating, we can all work together to prevent suffocation emergencies. Please share this blog and infographic. And feel free to reach out to our team with any questions.

Infographic about pet suffocation statistics and prevention.