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Journey Of The Chip Bag

We received this e-mail over the weekend. “My son’s one and 1⁄2-year-old Aussie, Tava, died last night from suffocation of a chip bag. My son and his girlfriend are devastated as he raised Tava from the day he was born. She was caring for him while my son was traveling and feels absolutely terrible.

So much pain and regret from a tragedy that had such a simple preventative solution. I had vaguely heard of pets dying this way, but I had no idea of its prevalence. Thank you for spreading the word. I plan to share the Journey of a Chip Bag poster through social media and bring this to other pet owners’ attention.”

Pets love food, especially people food and snacks that come in bags. As the pet slips its head into the bag and begins to eat and breathe, the bag closes tight over the neck, and the pet can’t breathe. The bag tightens the more they try to take in air until all oxygen is depleted.

According to at least two to three pets die every week in the United States due to suffocation caused by a chip or other snack bag, and it can only take three to five minutes for a pet to die from suffocation. 55 percent of the animals that suffocated were over 30 pounds, and 17 percent were over 60 pounds.

The poster displays statistics regarding chip bag suffocation and offers solutions to avoid this awful accident happening to your pet. Chip bags left on a table accessible by the pet is one of the most common reasons for chip bag suffocation. The guests might be distracted by the big game on TV or don’t think the bag is dangerous to the pet. 41 percent of the time, the pet owners were home when the pet got into the chip bag and died.

You can prevent this from happening to your pet if you are diligent about keeping bags out of their reach. Empty the contents of the bags into a bowl or container and dispose of the bag after cutting it in half vertically and horizontally. This process eliminates the possibility of suffocation for your pet at home and wildlife that has access to bags in garbage areas and landfills.

Remember that these bags are dangerous to all dogs, not just small ones. Don’t let your holiday or Super Bowl celebration end up being a devastating lifetime memory of losing your pet. I know it might be difficult to remember to keep the bags away from your pets, but just think about the chip bag as something extremely dangerous, like a container of gasoline or a bag of shared glass. You wouldn’t let your pet have access to those, so don’t let them be able to get their head into a bag of chips or popcorn. It’s not the contents that will kill your pet; it’s the snack bag itself. 85 percent of pet owners were unaware of the dangers of suffocation to their pets until it happened to them. Please share this information with your friends, family, and associates and educate them about how chip bags are a pet danger in plain sight.

Together, we can get homeless animals into their forever homes. Let’s work to keep them healthy and alive in their home as well. As always, adopt, don’t shop.

Barry KuKes is the Community Outreach Director for the HHS, Daytona Beach. He can be reached at 386. 274.4703, ext. 320, or