Sunday, July 13, 2014

Shipping Material Safety Around Pets

by Carrie Boyko, CEB
Foam Packing Material is a Choke Hazard
We get a lot of packages here at All Things Dog Blog central. I'm happy to report that the pet industry shipments are generally packed with pet-safe materials that are less likely to be life threatening to our best friends.

A recent furniture shipment, however, was loaded down with soft foam, cylinder-shaped packing material that was quickly of interest to Oliver. He wanted to sniff and explore these small items that tumbled out of the box as I retrieved the contents.
Soft Foam Packing Material 
Easily Choked On

Backing him away I scooped up the questionable materials and examined them. Sure enough--soft foam that could choke a dog in a few seconds time. I scoured the floor for pieces I may have missed and checked Oliver's mouth. Thankfully I was quick enough to keep him from taste-testing.

Even Tanner, my much larger Golden Retriever, could have had trouble with a mouthful of these worm-like pieces of packaging foam that clearly do a great job of protecting breakable items in shipping. But I'm more worried about them getting lodged in my dogs' esophagus and suffocating or choking them. My heart pounded as I thought of how close we had come.

When you examine the pieces in the dog bowl I included in the photo at the top of this post you'll see that these foam cylinders are about the size of Oliver's esophagus. He could easily and quickly have succumbed as a result of eating such materials. As you can see in the photo immediately above this paragraph, these pieces are small and easy to pick up, unlike some packing materials that could have been challenging for 10-lb. Oliver to grab.

After cleaning up, I bagged all these little worms (said with tongue in cheek) and tossed them in the car to drop off at a nearby pack-n-ship store that accepts packing material for reuse. We love to help out these small businesses that do what they can to help reduce the amount of synthetic materials used in their business's shipping. I can't help but notice that they use recycled boxes and labels, plus they have a big sign asking customers to recycle their packing material by turning it into them for reuse. How wonderful!

On that note, I checked my shipping room for other, less than green packing materials. As shipments arrive, I sort these into various boxes or bags. I prefer tissue paper and unbleached movers' paper. These biodegrade and are not nearly so harmful to our dogs if eaten. Foam sheeting, styrofoam peanuts, and air paks are not my favorites. I save a few for extremely delicate shipments, but try not to use them unless absolutely necessary. A couple of bags of these took off with the soft foam about which I am raising a red flag today. It felt good to purge a bit.
Blog the Change

For the safety of your pets and your kids, please secure packing materials and place them out of reach of your loved ones--furry and human. To be even more careful, unpack boxes in a room where you are separated from the furry kids, to assure that you don't miss any steals that could go badly. It's just not worth the risk. I'm vowing to unpack all shipments in my shipping room with the door closed from here on out, to make sure that my pets are not accidentally allowed the opportunity to eat anything that is dangerous. Join me?

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Lessons From A Paralyzed Dog said...

Thanks for calling attention to this matter. I've never seen shipping materials made of something so soft. I can see how they would be very attractive and deadly to an animal. I assume they also swell when they get in a dog's throat. I think it's great you were able to recycle them.

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