It's something many people would never consider, but chip packets, bread bags, plastic bags and dog/cat treat bags can be deadly to our fur friends. It's something Christina Young and her husband learnt the heartbreaking way.
In February this year, Christina Young kissed her pit bull Petey goodbye as she headed out the door to work. She had no idea it would be the last time she'd see her best friend alive.
Now she and her husband Christian are warning other pet parents of the dangers of common household items to our fur friends.
Petey the pit bull dies from suffocation
In mid-February this year, Christian was first to arrive home - 10 minutes before Christina. As would be the normal routine, Petey would be right by the door, eagerly waiting when he heard his parents about to enter.
But Christian thought it strange when Petey didn't come to the door this time.
"As he walked in further he saw our sweet boy laying lifeless with a stupid chip bag over his head," a devastated Christina wrote on her Facebook page.
Petey had been able to get the chip packet off the counter, probably thinking it was his lucky day.
"He ate every chip out but of course went back for crumbs... with there being nothing left inside every time he would go for more he would inhale making the bag tighter and tighter around his head... ultimately resulting in suffocation."
"Petey was SMART so I didn’t understand why he couldn’t get it off with his paws."
Pet suffocation a common occurrence
Traumatised and unable to understand how it could happen, Christina and Christian began researching pet suffocation. They quickly learnt that 3-5 pets suffocate every week in the US - 42% of which happen while the owner is in the next room.
"It only takes about 3 minutes for their oxygen to drop to fatal levels."
It turns out that a staggering 90% of owners who lose their pet to suffocation are unaware of the statistics - Christina and Christian included themselves in that number.
Common household items that cause the majority of suffocations include food bags such as chip packets, cereal bags, bread bags, garbage bags, popcorn bags, and dog/cat treat bags - although these aren't only limited to food products or bags. Small items left lying around the house, or tight spaces such as coolers, dryers and old fridges, can also cause suffocation.
In honour of their boy Petey, Christina and Christian are now on a mission to make others aware of the dangers of pet suffocation.
Christina said she and Christian will forever blame themselves for leaving the chip packet out.
"So I just ask that... you be extra careful, warn other dog owners and give your fur babies some extra love today and everyday after this. I pray none of you ever have to experience your heart breaking this way."
Story and photo credits: Christina Young