Be aware of this potential danger to your pet

I frequently share tips on how to keep pets safe and healthy. After all, pets are an important part of a family, so I try to stay on top of ways to protect them from danger.

There have been a couple of cases of preventable tragedies in our area in the past month, so I want to make sure you’re aware of a potential danger in your own home. Families are grieving the loss of beloved pets recently from a hazard that didn’t cross their minds until it was too late. It may be something you’ve never even thought of before, but it’s time to talk about it.

That is the danger of pet suffocation from discarded plastic bags like bread bags, snack bags, sandwich bags or cereal bags. Tragedy can strike even with a discarded Pringles container or mayonnaise jar. Dogs and cats alike are interested in any bag that contains or once contained food whether it’s salty or sugary treats or even empty dog or cat food bags.

Suffocation can happen in the blink of an eye if your pet gets a bag out of the trash while you’re out of the room. Even if your pet has never raided the trash before you still need to be vigilant. There’s always a first time for your pet to do something it has never done before.

Once the dog or cat gets its head in the empty bag, container or jar there may be no way to escape and no ability to make warning sounds to alert the family. Oxygen can be cut off with devastating results in a matter of minutes.

So what can be done to prevent this from happening to your beloved pet? First of all, take this threat to your pet’s safety seriously. This has happened with bags and with containers with narrow openings like jars and even Pringles cans. Please realize it could happen to your dog or cat, and it’s certainly better to be safe than sorry.

Immediately when you get home from the store empty any food packaged in bags, such as snacks and cereal, into sealed containers like Tupperware. Then before throwing away any type of bag, whether it’s a chip bag or cereal bag, snip it. Snip it down the side and across the bottom, so the bag becomes completely open and flat.

And while we’re snipping, go ahead and snip the plastic rings that hold a six pack of drinks together before you throw that away too. That will prevent an animal getting its head stuck in the ring from possibly having a tragic outcome.

If you find your pet in a situation where he’s suffocating, you must act quickly because you don’t have much time. Quickly determine if his head’s stuck in a bag, jar or can. Either cut the object off quickly, or in the case of a jar, you may want to try lubricating it. If the pet loses consciousness, it may be time to start CPR and head to the vet.

Access to snack bags, chip bags, Ziploc bags, jars and Pringles cans can be a matter of life or death for animals. And this is the time of year folks will be eating outside more and taking lots of snack items with them. Just please be careful. Your fur baby relies on you to keep him safe.

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