Following her usual morning routine, Chrissy Villarreal kissed her dog Petey goodbye as she left for work.
It was the last time he would do so.
And it was all because of a preventable accident.
Vets are warning too many furry friends are getting their paws on the common and seemingly harmless household item of empty snack bags, often with tragic outcomes.
The caution comes after Ms Villarreal shared the heartbreak of losing her “baby boy” to the hazard.
In a Facebook post, Ms Villarreal said she could not wrap her head around what happened to Petey.
She said her partner was surprised to come home from work without Petey greeting him at the door.
“As he walked in further, he saw our sweet boy laying lifeless with a stupid chip bag over his head,” she wrote.
“He was able to get them off the counter … we will forever blame ourselves for leaving (it) out. 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.”
Ms Villarreal wrote of her confusion as to why Petey couldn’t get the bag off with his paws, but through research discovered how quickly oxygen falls to fatal levels when this happens.
“So I just ask that, in honor of my boy Petey, you be extra careful, color other dog owners and give your fur babies some extra love today and every day after this,” she wrote.
“I pray none of you have ever had to experience your heart breaking this way.”
The danger chip bags and other packaging that can pose to pets have gone viral on Tiktok.
One vet posted a video under the handle @bitesizedvetguides in which she said one of the most devastating conversations she has had with clients is when they call to say they’ve lost a pet to a plastic food bag.
“Breed or size doesn’t matter,” the vet said.
“The bag collapses around your pet’s head and they can’t get it off. They suffocate in minutes”.
The vet warned to “never leave food unattended and before you take away that empty bag, take a pair of scissors and split it”.
Splitting the bag can help prevent it from becoming a trap for pets who may find it in the rubbish bin, as well as any wildlife who may later come across it.
Some of the most common hazards, according to preventpetsuffocation.com, were chip bags, snack bags, cereal bags and pet food bags.
“Many of these bags are made from a strong mylar-like material (like a balloon) which helps keep snacks fresher,” the veterinary-backed charity website reads.
“When a curious dog puts his head into the bag looking for leftover crumbs, the bag creates a vacuum-like seal around the dog’s neck.
“As he tries to breathe, the bag tightens around his neck, cutting off the oxygen. When a dog cannot remove the bag from his head, he will usually start to panic, desperately running around until he collapses and dies from asphyxiation, often losing his bowels, as well.
“Pet suffocation happens daily, whether the owner is home or not.”
Pet owners are urged to keep all bags safely stored away, tear them after use, put lids back on jars and containers when disposing of them, store snacks and pet food in resealable plastic containers and serve chips and snacks in glass bowls or containers.
Other measures to keep pets safe include keeping all rubbish bins lids tightly fastened, locked, or behind a cabinet, keeping cupboards closed and not storing any bags on top of counters or appliances.