Plastic bags are not pet toys

by | General Pet Care |

Plastic bags are still very much a reality in our daily lives, despite recent efforts to reduce the use of plastic shopping bags and plastic generally in our homes. Pets love to get a hold of anything that looks like it might be a toy. Whether it’s plastic bags from produce, chip or candy bags – this can be very dangerous.

Senior Director of Shelter Health and Wellness at the Ontario SPCA and Humane Society, Dave Wilson, shares a few reasons why we need to be careful with leaving plastic bags around our pets.

What’s the big deal with plastic bags?

Sometimes while we Netflix and snack on salty snacks, we may leave a chip bag… or two, lying around, which can be hazardous for our furry friends.

“Any high salt and sugar residue, could easily attract pets to the bags even when they are empty. Swallowing parts of these bags could result in a blockage anywhere along the intestinal tract resulting in vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain,” says Wilson. He adds, consumption of foil-lined snack bags may require surgery to relieve any blockages caused.

Did you know swallowing plastic is also toxic for pets? According to Wilson, “Most plastic is made from petroleum derivatives. Swallowing the plastic exposes it to digestive acids and enzymes that could break down the plastic to harmful by-products that could result in poisoning if any were absorbed into the animal’s system.”

Plastic bags act as a chocking hazard

Plastic shopping bags can also act as a choking hazard, as pets can get their heads trapped in the handles.

“I’m sure we’ve all had one of our pets get their heads stuck in the handles of a plastic shopping bag at one time. While we can remove the bag when we are around, the animal could get themselves caught up in the bag around their head and neck when we are not home. This could result in choking or suffocation if not immediately relieved,” says Wilson.

Before leaving your pet home alone make sure to do a quick check and pick up or put away any potential hazards.

You may have a sweet tooth, but many candies contain a variety of artificial flavour agents and sweeteners that are poisonous to pets. Wilson says, “One example is xylitol (a sweetener agent) that is toxic to dogs even in small amounts. The amount of xylitol residue in an empty bag could prove harmful to dogs.”

Make sure you snack responsibly! Keep any and all plastic bags out of your pets’ reach and place empty bags in a covered trash can where they belong.