Hazard Awareness

The Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association recently published an article which revealed that the majority of pet owners (9 out of 10) were unaware the dangers snack bags pose as a suffocation risk to their pets.  Although videos of pets with their heads stuck in various containers may seem like an amusement to some, these situations are actually panic-inducing and life-threatening for the animals.  Soft, collapsible, plastic food bags are the leading cause for pet suffocation, although containers with small narrow openings are also a risk.  Every week 2-3 pets lose their lives to chip bag-related suffocation.

Image result for dog's head in chip bag


Many people don’t realize that pets of any size can have a hard time getting bags off their heads once stuck.  Once over their head, the bag makes a vacuum-like seal around them as they breathe in and the air within the bag quickly depletes.  As the available oxygen quickly decreases, the carbon dioxide levels rise dangerously high.  The pet panics without the ability to breathe properly and can asphyxiate in as little as 3-5 minutes.


Common Myths:

Myth #1: My dog wouldn’t do this.

Truth: You never really know what contents may prove too tempting for your pet to resist. There’s a first time for everything, and prevention is the safest course of action.


Myth #2: My dog is too big for this to happen.

Truth: Even large and giant breed dogs can succumb to suffocation.  Their large size does not guarantee they can extricate themselves from the bag without help.


Myth #3: It only happens to dogs.

Truth: While dogs are the more common victims, it can easily happen to cats as well.




Preventive Vet is a good resource for ideas on prevention and how to raise awareness of pet suffocation.

With increased awareness and some simple preventative steps, we can reduce the number of pets and wildlife that lose their lives to suffocation in bags.


Read the JAVMA article here.

Article written by: Brittany