Joe and Breanne Yarbrough said they came home to find their 1-year-old dog Riggs with a chip bag covering his face.
"I saw him with a ... chip bag and he was laying on his side, and my first thought was, 'Oh wow, he got into it and fell asleep,'" Joe told Inside Edition. "I touched my dog and he was super cold."
They immediately rushed him to the vet, but it was too late. Riggs had been dead for hours, having suffocated with his snout in the bag.
It turns out that two to three pets in the U.S. die every week from suffocation, and most pet owners aren't aware of the risk.
"They pick up the smell and they wanna go in," veterinarian Dr. Jeff Werber said of dogs coming across chip bags. "The more they breathe, it sucks in. And moisture kind of sticks to the inside. And before you know it, it's a vacuum."
It can take just minutes for a pet to suffocate.
Though Joe and Breanne have a new puppy at home, nothing will replace little Riggs. They are now trying to warn other pet owners of the dangers.
"He was my shadow," Breanne said. "I didn't go anywhere in this house without him."
To prevent your pet from getting hurt with chip bags, owners can split the empty bags at the seams before throwing them away. And owners should make sure their pets can't get to the trash cans.