Dog Safety Alert: Snack Bags Pose Serious Suffocation Risk for Pets

PetMD Editorial
Published: April 30, 2018
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The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) has released a dog safety warning highlighting the risk that snack bags such as chip bags, plastic bags, cereal bags and other similar bags can pose to dogs and other pets.

The risk is not just from bags lying around, but also from bags that are left in the garbage. When dogs attempt to get into these bags, their faces can become trapped. As the AVMA dog news brief explains, “The dog or cat puts its head inside a bag of chips or another snack, and the bag tightens when the pet inhales. The pet can suffocate to death in under five minutes.”

Dr. Jason Nicholas, DVM and president and chief medical officer at Preventive Vet found that the biggest suffocation hazard to pets were snack (e.g., cracker, popcorn, etc.) or chip bags, and that pets find these bags in or around the trash can or recycling bin; on coffee tables, side tables and counters; or underneath beds.

To help protect your pet and prevent a dog emergency, Dr. Nicholas recommends taking a few extra dog safety measures to not only limit access to bags but also remove the hazard that bags pose.

If you have a dog that counter-surfs or steals things off of tables, it is important to minimize the risk of them getting ahold of a bag. To help do this, Dr. Nicholas recommends storing foods in plastic containers and serving your snacks in a bowl. That way, if your pet does sneak some snacks from a counter or table, there is no risk of them getting their head caught inside the bag.

Don’t forget that most pets find these bags in or around the trash, so when you dispose of the bags you should take some precautionary measures as well. Dr. Nicholas recommends cutting all bags along one side and the bottom so that they do not have any corners for your pet’s nose to get trapped in.

According to a Suffocation Survey done by Preventive Vet, “39% of people were home when it happened. Of those who were out, 18% were gone less than 15 minutes.” By following Dr. Nicholas’ suggestions, you can prevent a very serious and sad dog emergency situation.

Read More: Suffocation in Dogs