Labrador Killed by Chips Bag Prompts Family Warning: 'He Was Perfectly Fine'

A family living in Florida have issued a warning to dog owners after their beloved pet thanks was killed by a potato chips packet.

Just months after the Best family welcomed puppy Scout into their home, a seemingly harmless everyday item tragically took his life.

"I was in disbelief. I still am in disbelief that it happened. We thought we did everything right," mom Holly Best told Action News 4.

On New Year's Eve, after the family had fallen asleep, Scout was suffocated by a bag of potato chips. Dad Brian Best awoke to find him motionless in the kitchen with the bag over his head.

"He was laying on the ground motionless," Brian Best told Action News 4. "He was stuck in a potato chip bag."

"When he came into the room he [Brian Best] was in a full-fledged panic attack and at first he told me Scout died and I'm thinking, how? He's in the house," Holly Best recalled.

Daughter Ceci Best, 14, dubbed the moment "heartbreaking," adding that "he was perfectly fine the night before."

For Holly Best, a chip bag was the least of their worries, being more concerned with the choking risks of dog treats and rawhide instead. "Not in a million years did I think a chip bag [would kill]," she said.

"It creates a vacuum seal around their neck and as they continue to breathe the vacuum-like seal gets tighter."

The American Veterinary Medical Association warns about the suffocation risk to animals from snack bags on its website, but also notes that the risk is relatively unknown.

"Few people think a snack bag could suffocate a dog or a cat, until the unthinkable occurs," it warned. "The dog or cat puts its head inside a bag of chips or another snack, and the bag tightens when the pet inhales. The pet can suffocate to death in under five minutes."

Dr. Jason Nicholas, president and chief medical officer at Preventive Vet, set up the organization to raise awareness of avoidable risks to pets. Dr. Nicholas gathered data through Preventive Vet from owners whose pets had suffocated in snack bags.

From the 1,354 respondents from 2014-2108, 72 percent of dogs or cats had suffocated in chip or snack backs, 11 percent in bags for pet food or treats, six percent in cereal box liners and 11 percent in bread bags, plastic containers or other bags.

Some 39 percent of respondents had been at home when the pet suffocated and of those out of the house, 18 percent were gone for less than 15 minutes.

Suggestions provided by experts include cutting bags along one side and the bottom before disposing of them, storing food in plastic containers with an opening smaller than the pet's head and serving snacks in bowls rather than straight from the bag.

Despite carrying such dangerous risks, suffocation from snack bags is a relatively unknown risk, with 87 percent of respondents being unaware of the danger until it happened.

Dr. Nicholas himself claimed to only discover the risk after learning about it through social media.

Now, the Best family are hoping to raise awareness by sharing their tragic story of sudden loss. "Whether we save one dog or 100,000 dogs," Brian Best said.