When Cody Alkerton left his French bulldog at home to watch the Crankworx mountain biking competition in Whistler last month, he never expected he’d return to find his beloved Oscar dead.
“I lost my best friend because I didn’t know,” the Whistler construction worker told Global News.
“It was easily preventable.”
Alkerton’s one-and-a-half-year-old pet died after suffocating on a common household item. He and his roommate discovered Oscar behind the couch with a chip bag covering his head.
“He had, like, the bag over his head. Robbie’s bawling his eyes out. I started crying I pulled like, pulled the bag off and it was like suctioned on like it’s like a vacuum around their head,” said Alkerton.
Alkerton tried to perform CPR on a non-responsive Oscar before he and his roommate rushed him to the vet – but it was too late.
“They were just like yeah there’s nothing we can do, like he was already gone… They just suffocate within about three-to-five minutes basically, so it’s pretty tough,” said Alkerton.
Veterinarians are familiar with the deadly dangers of plastic and snack bags around the home.
“It does happen every once in a while, so it’s unfortunately something we do see on a rare basis,” said Dr. Carsten Bandt of Canada West Veterinary Specialists.
Once a dog’s head is stuck in a snack bag, their oxygen supply depletes quickly as they try to breathe.
“They get their head stuck tightly in that bag… and what happens with them is they start breathing in that bag and they use up all the oxygen and they get no new oxygen supply, and then they suffocate from oxygen failure,” Dr. Bandt told Global News.
The tragedy can be prevented by keeping snack or plastic bags far away from children and pets.
“Both have the same potential of being able to suffocate them unfortunately,” said Dr. Bandt.
Alkerton is still heartbroken knowing that his dog died after getting into a regular sized chip bag.
“He trusted me to live in my home so that’s the most difficult part that kind of eats away at you,” Alkerton told Global News.
Alkerton hopes that by warning other pet owners, more senseless deaths can be avoided.
“I can find the strength to do this because I want to raise awareness so that it doesn’t happen to anybody else.”