It is hard to believe that this is possible –but unfortunately, it is occurring to pets and families, on a regular basis across the country.

A recent article in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association (JAVMA-Vol 252-No.10-May 15, 2018) brought this problem to our attention and the alarming statistics on how often this is happening.

We don’t want to see this happen to one of your beloved pets!

Chip bags are irresistible to pets, too. Dogs and cats will put their heads inside of a bag of chips or another snack item, and the bag will tighten when the pet inhales. The pet can suffocate to death in less than 5 minutes.

A survey was done on the Preventative Vet Website between 2014 and 2017 to look at how widespread this problem was. The findings, when reviewed, were chilling for veterinarians and pet owners alike.

That there were 1,354 respondents was remarkable right off! From this survey, 72% of pets suffocated in chip or snack bags with the remainder, as a result of a pet food or treat bag, liners of cereal boxes, bread containers or other plastic containers. Approximately, 25 % of the bags were indicated to have been in or near the garbage, 22% on a coffee or side table, 13% on a countertop, 6% on the kitchen/dining table or had been left outside, 3% in or near a recycle bin. A full 20 % were in scattered locations (i.e. in a bed) and another 5 % in unknown locations. Also very alarming was that 39 % of respondents indicated they were at home at the time the pet suffocated! Suffocation was not just a problem for small pets. In the survey, more than ½ the dogs that suffocated were more than 30 lbs, and 17 percent weighed more than 60 pounds.

How can you prevent this unthinkable accident from claiming the life of your beloved pet? Store food in plastic containers with openings too small for a pet’s head, serve snacks in a bowl rather than eating them out of a bag and cut empty bags along the entire top and bottom and down one side before disposal. Alternatively, you can tie bags in a knot before disposal or tear or cut open at least one side or the bottom. Additionally, put trash in tightly covered bins and preferably behind closed doors.
85% of respondents, who had pets suffocate, did not know this was possible! Now you are aware that this can happen and how to prevent this most unthinkable accident from claiming the life of one of your “best friends.”

You can download the Pet Suffocation Prevention Infographic here:

Copyright 2018 Brook-Falls Veterinary Hospital & Exotic Care, Inc.


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