Christina Young was a “very overprotective dog mama” but she did not know how easy it is for dogs to suffocate on open chip packets until it happened to her “baby” Petey.
This story has only a tragic ending, but the US woman is sharing her experience to help raise awareness around a heartbreaking, but entirely preventable, phenomenon.
Last Monday, Young and her partner Christian left for work in the morning as usual.
“I kissed my baby boy [Petey] goodbye on my way out for work. But I had no idea it would be for the last time,” she posted to Facebook on Monday.
Upon returning home from work that evening, Christian thought it was strange Petey didn’t come to the door to greet him.
“As Christian walked in he saw our sweet boy laying lifeless with a stupid chip bag over his head,” Young said. “He was able to get [the chips] off the counter and we will forever blame ourselves for leaving it out.”
“He ate every chip but, of course, went back for crumbs… With there being nothing left inside the bag, every time he would inhale he’d make the bag tighter and tighter around his head, ultimately resulting in suffocation.”
Young said she was confused, initially, about why one-year-old Petey didn’t simply pull the bag off his head with his paws. “Petey was SMART,” she said.
She didn’t yet realise how common it is.
Should you take leave from work for a new pet? Post continues below.
An organisation in the US, called Preventative Vet, has run an awareness week for pet suffocation since 2015. The week starts on November 26th and ends on December 2nd.
After surveying almost 1300 pet owners, whose dogs or cats had died or nearly died from suffocation, Preventative Vet uncovered some alarming trends.
- Until it happened to their dog or cat, 90 per cent of people were unaware of the possibility their pet could suffocate in a chip, snack, cereal, or other food bag.
- Chip or popcorn bags were the most common means of suffocation (69 per cent), followed by cereal bags, pet food bags and pet treat bags.
- The offending bags had most commonly been left in or near the rubbish or recycling bin (32 per cent); on a coffee table (21 per cent); on a kitchen countertop (11 per cent); or under a bed (seven per cent).
According to Preventative Vet, suffocation can occur in a few as three minutes and it doesn’t matter how strong, big, small, old or young the animal is.
“I just ask that in honor of my boy Petey that you be extra careful, warn other dog owners and give your fur babies some extra love today and everyday after this,” Young concluded her Facebook post.
“I pray none of you ever have to experience your heart breaking this way.”