In veterinary medicine, we often see cases that stay with us long after the incident has passed. In my case it was the loss of a charming little dog named Fred. His passing came about because of accidental suffocation in a chip bag. At the time I thought what a sad, unusual and uncommon accident to have occurred. Imagine my surprise when I discovered this type of suffocation happens frequently to both dogs and cats alike.
The majority of chip bags are made of a strong Mylar type material, which is designed to keep the food items fresher. The unsuspecting dog (or cat) puts his head inside the bag to eat the remnants of the chips remaining behind. Once the dog’s head is inside the bag, a vacuum seal is created and as the dog continues to breathe the bag tightens and the air supply is cut off. Dogs are unable to get the chip bag off their head due to the vacuum seal and death generally occurs within a few minutes.
- In North America at least 2 to 3 dogs are killed in this manner weekly.
- It can take as little as 3 to 5 minutes for suffocation to occur.
- It is a preventable accident and education is the key to prevention.
Please visit the following links to join the campaign and help raise awareness about the dangers of chip bag suffocation. As in my case, most people are unaware of the dangers of this type of suffocation, so please help spread the word that this is a real and present danger to your pets.
Written by Marie Hearn