Most dog owners will tell you that their pet will do anything to get her paws on some human food. What you may not realize, however, is that your dog’s relentless pursuit of treats can be dangerous if she sticks her head inside chip bags.
A woman named Christina Young took to Facebook on February 26 to share the story of how her pit bull, Petey, suffocated to death after getting his head stuck in a chip bag. Young is deeply saddened by the loss of her beloved pooch and is sharing her story in the hopes that it will help other dog owners from suffering from the same tragic accident:
In her post, Young explained exactly how Petey became trapped in the bag:
“He was able to get them off the counter that we will forever blame ourselves for leaving out. He ate every chip out but of course went back for crumbs… with there being nothing left inside every time he would go for more he would inhale making the bag tighter & tighter around his head.. ultimately resulting in suffocation.”
Young and her partner are now using Petey’s accidental death to raise awareness about the danger that chip bags pose to dogs.
‘Too Many Dogs Are Needlessly Dying’
Unfortunately, what happened it Petey is not uncommon. In fact, there is even an organization dedicated to raising awareness about the danger and offering support to those who have lost a pet this way. It’s called Prevent Pet Suffocation, and was started by Bonnie Harlan in 2011. She lost her rescue dog, Blue, after he suffocated inside a Frito Lay Cheetos bag.
Although there are not clear statistics on the frequency with which pets die from these types of accidents, the many memorial photos on the organization’s website are proof that lots of people have lost a pet this way.
Prevent Pet Suffocation offers a number of tips to reduce the risk of your pet suffocating, including storing snacks and bags out of your pet’s reach, learning CPR for pets and cutting up bags (chips, cereal, popcorn, etc.) after use. Suffocation can happen within minutes, so it is important that your dog never gets her way into a bag in the first place.
“The best that pet owners can do is try to pet-proof their home like they would for an inquisitive toddler, and to train their dogs to stay off counters and out of garbage,” Beth Brookhouser of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty of Animals for Monterey County told KTVU. “Sadly, the smells that come from counter goodies and trash cans can prove far too appealing to our four footed friends.”
Additionally, Prevent Pet Suffocation currently has a Change.org petition asking Frito Lay to put a pet suffocation warning label on its chip bags, writing:
“Once the dog puts his head into the chip bag, it creates a vacuum-like seal around his neck. As the dog tries to breathe, the bag tightens around his neck, cutting off the oxygen. Dogs can and do die within minutes. Too many dogs are needlessly dying! Please help us get warning labels put on Frito Lay chip bags by signing this petition! The next dog that is saved may be yours!”