Have you ever seen those hilarious Youtube videos of dogs (and other pets) with their head stuck inside a snack food bag, bumping into things, while their owners look on, laughing and filming the event?
Those videos might not seem quite so funny if you knew that pets are suffocating and dying from this very act, and it’s no laughing matter.
Take, for instance, the story of Blue (pictured below, top far left). After pulling an empty Cheetos bag out of the trash and putting his head inside to gobble up the crumbs, Blue was unable to breathe when the bag created a vacuum-like seal around his neck. Panicked and unable to see or breathe, Blue stumbled upstairs, knocking over tables and lamps, and he collapsed on the floor after losing his bowels.
This is how his mom, Bonnie, found him. But it was too late. Blue was gone.
Now you might be tempted to believe this is a single tragedy, an isolated event. But a Facebook page called Prevent Pet Suffocation would prove you wrong. Take a quick glance at this page and you’ll see that this kind of thing is happening quite often. Just look at these precious faces, all lost to suffocation accidents involving everyday items like potato chip bags.
Each of these dogs was beautiful and special, and each had a unique story. But the one thing they have in common is that they died due to suffocation by a snack food bag, pet food bag, cereal box, even a crouton bag.
Blue’s mom, Bonnie, has created a petition asking Frito Lay, the maker of the Cheetos that were in the bag that killed Blue, to put a warning label on its products. Personally, I don’t understand why it would take a petition to convince Frito Lay to do this, but according to Bonnie, all the company has agreed to do is take Bonnie’s request “under advisement”.
It seems to me it would be a simple enough thing to do, to add a few words of caution to the packaging, to make people aware of the suffocation dangers an empty bag poses not just to pets, but to children as well, but apparently Frito Lay needs a little bit of convincing.
In the meantime, until Frito Lay and other brands do the responsible thing and make consumers aware of the suffocation potential of its packaging, it’s important for us to spread the word to other pet owners. It’s also imperative to exercise a bit of caution to keep our pets safe. Here are just a few tips:
- Never leave your pet unattended. It’s simple – most dogs have the intelligence level of a 2 or 3 year old child. Would you leave a toddler unattended for more than a minute or so? Of course not. So why are you leaving your pets unsupervised?
- Use a covered trash bin. It’s important to make sure your pets can’t access your household garbage, even if there aren’t empty snack food bags in it. A covered trash receptacle will prevent your pet from getting inside and eating something harmful to her, and at the very least, it will help prevent the mess that will surely result if your pets gets into the garbage.
- Don’t leave packaging – empty or not – lying around where your pet can get to it. If you’re finished snacking on those cookies, put the package away. Don’t leave it out on a table or sofa even for a few minutes. The result could be tragic.
- Store bags of pet food and treats in a secure area away from your pet. A bag of dog food sitting on the kitchen floor is a temptation for your pet. Put it away where she can’t get to it.
- Cut packaging into pieces so that it poses less of a danger to your pet. Check out the photo below for an example of what I mean. No way is your dog going to get her head stuck in this.
There are many other precautions you can take to prevent your pets from injuring themselves in a senseless accident like this. Please leave a comment and share your ideas!
Also, please use the sharing buttons below to spread the word. Help me make pet owners aware of these potential dangers of suffocation, and let’s prevent this from happening to another beloved animal.