JoAnna Lou
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Dangerous Snack Bags
Penn. pup suffocates from a potato chip bag
The liner bags in boxed snacks can also pose a danger to pets.

It’s well known that plastic bags pose a suffocation risk for both children and pets. Most packaging carries a warning as a reminder. However, I never considered that snack bags could also be dangerous. 

Last month a Pennsylvania family came home to a heartbreaking scene. The Elwoods knew something was wrong when their 4-year old Pit Bull didn’t greet them at the door. Amid trash scattered around the house, they found Lucy with her head stuck in a potato chip bag she stole from the garbage can.

CPR was attempted, but sadly the poor pup had already suffocated. The Elwood family has now made it their mission to prevent this tragedy from happening again. The fliers they created advise people to either cut out the bottom of bags or tear them open completely before throwing them away. The Elwoods also contacted the Frito Lay company about adding a warning label to snack bags.

My dog, Nemo, is a perennial garbage raider, so I’ve always had to be careful about his access to trash cans. Considering Nemo’s habit, I’ll definitely be cutting any bags that I throw out. It’s a good safety measure in addition to keeping garbage cans out of reach.

Please spread the word in Lucy’s memory.

JoAnna Lou is a New York City-based researcher, writer and agility enthusiast.
CommentsPost a Comment
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Submitted by Barb Scott | August 30 2012 |

Considering how many things in the garbage are dangerous to pets, I'd think it would be more time efficient to secure ALL the garbage and to train the pets to stay out of it.

Submitted by Asec | August 30 2012 |

I actually came home one day to my dog walking around the house with his head deep in a giant potato chip bag, he was busy eating the crumbs from the bottom as he walked and was oblivious to us coming home-- so we were very lucky... It was not from the garbage, he stole it off a table where someone had left it partially empty. It was so big it covered his shoulders with a lot of space around for breathing so I don't think it would have posed a hazard except maybe of him bumping into things; but it could have if it had been a different size. So also be careful about leaving out any snacks that are not empty as well.

Submitted by Deb | August 30 2012 |

People should also be warned that cracker or other tight boxes also pose a risk. I know of a dog who suffocated in a cracker box last summer. And one of my dog's littermates suffocated in a chip/cereal bag several years ago.

Submitted by Anonymous | August 31 2012 |

My sister lost a jack russle to a bag from Pepperidge Farms Goldfish. So sad.

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