COLUMBUS, OH. (WCMH) — One woman is warning pet owners to pet proof their home after her dog died from suffocating in a chip bag.
Christina Saelim lost her 2-year-old corgi in February of 2019 and she hopes this story will prevent the same thing from happening to anyone else.
“I just saw her face and absolutely fell in love,” said Christina Saelim about her dog Vixie. “I wasn’t even supposed to get a dog that day.”
When she saw her face, she knew she had to have her. It wasn’t easy raising a puppy, but their bond grew and Vixie became a member of the family.
They cheered on the Buckeyes, celebrated Vixie’s birthday and she even got her own presents at Christmas.
“To me she wasn’t just a dog or a pet she was actually like a child so when I lost her it felt like an actual relative.”
In February 2019 Saelim experienced any pet owner’s worst nightmare.
“I got a phone call from my boyfriend and he told me Vixie is dead.”
He and his kids had found the corgi with a potato chip bag on her head which had been left on the coffee table.
“He tried CPR. He called the vet but when he described her condition to the vet, they said it was too late.”
It’s something Dr. Michelle Gonzales says doesn’t happen frequently but can happen quickly.
“What will happen is they will get their whole face inside of it and as they breathe in, they create negative pressure inside of the bag and they suffocate.”
Gonzales says it can happen to any size dog; it just depends on the size of the bag. Small dogs and dogs with longer snouts are more likely to suffocate in small bags while larger dogs are more likely to suffocate in large bags.
Dr. Gonzales says where she has never seen one of her patients die of chip bag suffocation, she has seen dogs ingesting chip bags and having obstructions. She reminds pet owners that dogs are a lot like kids.
“Putting something in the trash doesn’t mean they can’t get in the trash to get it.” To keep your pet safe, you should cut up chip or snack bags, put treats in plastic containers that are also kept out of the pets reach.
That message is something Saelim now continues to spread.
“I just felt crushed because I never thought that a chip bag could kill her.”
More than seven months later Saelim has fostered and adopted a new dog she calls Twix.
“With him it’s a different type of love. He’s very sensitive and lovey dovey.”
She takes those extra precautions. Even though Vixie is gone her memory is still alive thanks to friends and family who had special gifts made with pictures of her.
“Having another dog, it doesn’t replace the love that you have for your prior dog it’s an additional love.”
On October 25 there is an event in Vixies memory called Spa for Paws at the Nail Gallery and Spa in Dublin.
Ten percent of sales will go to Stop the Suffering which is the rescue Saelim fostered and adopted Twix through.