An unexpected tragedy has prompted a couple of dog owners to share the loss of their dog with other dog owners around the world. Christina Young and her boyfriend were ideal owners of their dog, Petey. They loved him and spoiled him, but that wasn’t enough to stop Petey’s tragic death. They want to make sure that no one loses their dog as they did ever again.
Young came home from work to an unusually quiet house. Her boyfriend had arrived at their home just a few minutes before her, and he had the burden of telling her the tragic news: Petey was dead. The dog had managed to get ahold of a potato chip bag, got his head stuck in it, and suffocated.
Devastated by their loss, Christina and her boyfriend took some time to grieve but then decided that they needed to spread the word about Petey’ death to help other dogs and their owners avoid this fate.
“One week ago I kissed my baby boy goodbye on my way out for work,” Young wrote on Facebook. “I had no idea it would be for the last time. Although I still can’t even wrap my head around what happened, [we] feel we have an obligation to share what happened to Petey to hopefully prevent it from happening to any of your babies.”
Dr. Jason Nicholas of Preventative Pet points out that any snack bags can pose a suffocation hazard, and unfortunately, dogs and cats die this way every day. Nicholas states that “This danger is not the result of neglect or carelessness — even experienced, loving pet owners have lost beloved pets.”
“The problem is that so few pet owners are aware there is a risk at all — it’s easy to find videos of pets trying to remove bags from their heads that many people think are just cute or funny. (To be clear, this is never funny. Not only is it extremely dangerous — after all, these are animals in the early stages of asphyxiation — but it is highly distressing to the animals in these videos.)” Nicholas explains.
The doctor also points out that dogs can easily get bags from garbage cans or off of tables, and 69% of suffocation hazards are posed by chip or snack bags. Greater awareness amongst dog and cat owners can help prevent such tragedies from happening. That’s exactly why Young went public with her loss.
Young now advocates for keeping bags locked away in cabinets too high for dogs to reach. “[Petey] was able to get them off the counter that we will forever blame ourselves for leaving out,” Young said. “Every time he would go for more, he would inhale — making the bag tighter and tighter around his head … ultimately resulting in suffocation.”
Owners should also consider learning CPR for their pets and get in the habit of cutting the sides of bags so that should a pet get into them, they won’t suffocate.
“With this happening so often, we were so surprised by the lack of awareness on this topic out there,” Young said. “I was a very overprotective dog mama … 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 every day after this.”