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The fact is dogs are suffocating weekly in chip bags! As the Founder of Prevent Pet Suffocation, created to educate the public on the suffocation risks from chip bags after my own dog died in a Cheetos bag, I hear firsthand from devastated pet owners who contact me on Facebook, Twitter, and through my website about how they found their beloved dog dead with, in most cases, a Frito Lay chip bag covering their beloved pet’s head.
These are not negligent, uncaring dog owners who have left their dog to fend for himself. These are dedicated dog lovers who had absolutely no idea these mylar-type chip bags posed a suffocation risk to their pets. Like me, they were shocked and distraught to think in a manner of minutes, they lost a cherished family member to something that often weighs no more than several ounces. They did not know that these bags create a vacuum-like seal around the dog’s neck once he puts his head into it looking for crumbs. The more he or she tries to breathe, the tighter the seal becomes, and the dog is often unable to get the bag off of his head. Many stumble around desperately, unable to breathe, losing their bowels in the process. They die within minutes, often leaving behind signs of a horrific struggle.
In 2013 alone, I documented 75 dogs that died from suffocation with 50 of them suffocating in chip bags, mostly, but not exclusively Frito-Lay products. In addition, another five dogs were fortunately saved at the last minute by their owners, and, these are only the dogs I have heard about – the ones whose owners reached out. I shudder to think of the actual number.
Frito-Lay has long known about the suffocation risk to pets their chip bags pose. But they have remained mostly quiet. Sometimes they send out polite sympathy notes to bereaved dog owners including coupons for their chip products. They have told some owners their dog’s death is an isolated incident and have told news reporters they are aware of my concerns. Furthermore, they told me they are aware of the issue, and that I should become my own advocate.
I have repeatedly tried to contact Tom Greco, President of Frito-Lay North America, but he has never returned my calls or answered my correspondence. Why do I want to meet with Tom Greco? To open a dialogue with Frito-Lay about what we can do to increase awareness of the suffocation risks and to get them to add suffocation warning labels to their chip bags.
Currently, my online petition to Frito Lay asking they add these warning labels has over 6700 signatures. Many of the supporters’ comments cite a personal experience of losing their dog to suffocation or they know someone who had it happen to their dog.
So, if any “funny” Super Bowl commercials air tomorrow, as in the past, showing dogs tricking unsuspecting people out of their delicious chips, please think about the innocent dogs who took their last breath in a chip bag, and help me spread awareness about this growing threat to our animals.
Please sign and share my online petition at and visit my FB page as well as my website as well at to learn how to protect your dog and home by properly disposing of chip bags and other food packaging. While you are there, scroll through the Memorial Photos and see for yourself many of the loving dogs who died needlessly while trying to rescue a few crumbs from a deadly chip bag.
Many thanks to Bonnie Odem Harlan for this article and for everything she does to keep our pets safe from harm.