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Warning: Plastic bags pose suffocation hazard for your pets

(KOMO file photo)

They don't look dangerous, but snack bags and cereal bags can kill your pet, if your dog or cat sticks their head in there to get at the food inside.

Dr. Jason Nicholas, a Portland veterinarian who runs the website PreventiveVet, says they can suffocate in a matter of minutes.

"These pets are finding these bags in either the trash can or the recycling can or they're getting it off the coffee table or a kitchen counter or something like that,” he said. “And they're sticking their heads in the bag to try to get the crumbs, the salt, the fat, whatever's leftover in the bag and in the process, they're breathing in and sucking all the air out, so they're creating a vacuum around their head. And even large dogs can suffocate in that in about three to five minutes."

In many cases, someone was at home when this happened, but they were in another room and didn't hear anything.

Dr. Nicholas has this advice to reduce the potential threat.

"When throwing away bags, cut them along the bottom and up one of the sides to make it a flat sheet as opposed to a little tube that they could get their heads stuck in and suffocate in,” he said. “But even before you throw away the bags, if people would serve their snacks in a bowl, because unfortunately, this keeps happening and in numbers that are just staggering and heartbreaking really.”

More Info:

PreventiveVet pet suffocation resource page

National Pet Suffocation Awareness Week

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