Learning to accept your dog’s snoring problem could save your life

image At three o’clock this morning I propped myself up on my elbows, removed my ear plugs, looked directly at our dog and delivered the following ultimatum:

This has to STOP.

My wife turned to me and quietly said I’d need to speak up if I wanted to be heard over the dog’s snoring. Admittedly, it was my bright idea to have Stanley sleep in our room. That’s because, when he was a puppy, he was prone to chew up things we might leave out overnight.

Such as the living room or kitchen.

However, at nine years old, his snoring now sounds like a 250-pound man sleeping-off a three-day bender. Part of Stanley’s problem is genetics. Being half Shar-pei, he has a lot of loose skin and wrinkles. He essentially looks like a chocolate Labrador in need of ironing. In desperation, we took him to the vet, who told us that the loose skin around his face causes him to snore.

I’m not sure why he told us this, but I think there’s a good chance Stanley has the same problem.

Therefore, it made sense that some of the same methods used to treat snoring people might also work on dogs. At least it made sense at three in the morning, when I started digging through the medicine cabinet in search of Breathe-Right Strips. One thing I discovered right away is that these strips, while strong enough to flare even the largest set of human nasal passages, are no match for the elasticity of your standard pair of dog lips. The result was a series of fixed snarls which, if not for his wagging tail, would have been extremely frightening.

Next, I tried a throat spray specially formulated to stop snoring. According to the label, Snoreless provides “immediate results” by lubricating the throat and surrounding tissues, which often vibrate together and lead to chronic snoring. I don’t know about all that, but I can tell you that our dog immediately yakked on the floor at supersonic speed thanks to his freshly lubricated uvula.

While cleaning up dog vomit at 4:30 a.m., I decided to call it quits. This decision came out of concern for Stanley’s emotional well-being, after I reasoned there’s a chance that having his lips taped back and being made to vomit in the middle of the night by the ones he loves could spell trouble later on. I know this because, as a pet owner, I have educated myself about my animals.

I am aware of their physical needs.

I am aware of their emotional needs.

I am also aware that in the past 12 months five people have been shot by their own dogs.

This was brought to my attention by Audrey Strausenberg of Grand Rapids, Mich., who sent several articles detailing this disturbing trend. The most recent incident took place in New Zealand, where hunter Kelly Russell was shot in the foot by his dog “Stinky,” who, authorities said, had no apparent motive other than being called “Stinky” for the last six years.

And for those of you who think this only happens with testy little dogs, think again. Last November, Joseph Tiffany of Grant, Neb., was shot in the ankle when his golden retriever (and I swear this is an actual quote), “Accidentally stepped on the shot gun, released the safety, and pressed the trigger.”

Finally, there’s the case of a 51-year-old man hunting near Stuttgart, Germany, who was shot to death while standing next to his car. Police ruled out suicide, and said that the shot gun must have gone off when the dog “accidentally” removed the safety, loaded it with shells, and then fired twice through an opening in the door frame.

In light of all this, should I somehow manage to get our dog to stop snoring, I doubt I’ll be able to sleep anyway.

(Ned is a syndicated humor columnist for News Media Corporation. You can write to him at nhickson@thesiuslawnews.com, or at Siuslaw News, P.O. Box 10, Florence, Ore 97439)

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Ned's Blog

I was a journalist, humor columnist, writer and editor at Siuslaw News for 23 years. The next chapter in my own writer’s journey is helping other writers prepare their manuscript for the road ahead. I'm married to the perfect woman, have four great kids, and a tenuous grip on my sanity...

46 thoughts on “Learning to accept your dog’s snoring problem could save your life”

          1. Lab gas is deadly. Rott’n’lab gas is worse. It’s a rolling green fog of doom that dissolves all in its path, and leaves those around it with tears pouring from their eyes, desperately gasping for breath through their shirts. I think it could possibly blister paint from 50 paces and could probably be weaponised.

            Give them tripe and it definitely could be!

  1. Can we get a full picture of Stanley?? He sounds absolutely adorable!! I do have a suggestion on maybe ending his snoring; have you tried recording it and letting him listen to it when he’s awake? I did this to my poodle Scooby. Not only was my miniature poodle completely confounded, but he would wake utterly startled when I would play to his ear when he would sleep too. It’s worth a shot 🙂 haha. I hope you have a wonderful start to your weekend!!!

      1. Wow, I’m not sure how I feel about my dog getting more “selfie” requests than me…not that I’m surprised. He really is adorable 😉

        Looks like I’ll have to get to work on that photo!

    1. Hahaha! I’ll see what I can do about a Stanley “selfie” 🙂 Your idea about letting him hear himself snore sounds crazy enough to work! I’ll give it a shot and let you know how it goes. Lord knows I have plenty of opportunities to record him snoring 😉

      And you have a wonder weekend too!

  2. Too funny! Especially the part where the Vet told you about his own problems. Lubricated uvula was also a hoot. Too bad I already know way too many medical terms for a layman.

      1. Well, it obviously means that I am not spending enough quality time working. Or maybe I am so efficient that I can use my spare time to peruse Wikipedia for obscure knowledge so others will think I am a polymath.

        Or maybe it’s something else entirely…

  3. i’m going to suggest a visit to the plastic surgeon for a facelift, ala extreme pet makeover, perhaps a new reality series. p.s. please lock up your arsenal in case the lift does not solve the problem.

  4. omg..this was another piece that killed me and had me reading and progressively tittering more, making people around me look at me, making me feel like i had to explain i was reading a funny article, which only made me laugh outloud instead of being able to say something coherent.It started with the “chewing things up you had left out – like the kitchen” to be quickly followed by ” his snoring now sounds like a 250-pound man sleeping-off a three-day bender”. By the time I got to “chocolate Labrador in need of ironing” and breathe right strips? I was freaking lost in giggles. Thank you for that.
    Now, for suggestions as I was a Veterinary Technician for 20 years.
    Like humans age and weight can contribute to snoring. Age you can do nothing about but additional weight which does impact an animals snoring, can be altered. Less weight, less change of fat narrowing the airways. So make sure he is at the low end of average weight wise for his size.
    Secondly, his breed, and other short faced dogs, are prone to something called brachycephalic airway syndrome. “Mildly affected dogs will have noisy breathing, especially with exercise, and most will snort when excited and snore when relaxed or asleep. Severely affected animals have more pronounced airway noise, appear to tire easily with exercise, and may collapse or faint after exercise. Other symptoms may include coughing, gagging, retching and vomiting. Symptoms are often worse in hot or humid weather.”
    “Surgery is the treatment of choice whenever the anatomic abnormalities interfere with the patient’s breathing. Stenotic nares can be surgically corrected by removing a wedge of tissue from the nostrils, allowing improved airflow through the nostrils. An elongated soft palate can be surgically shortened to a more normal length. Everted laryngeal saccules can be surgically removed to eliminate the obstruction in the larynx.”
    Considering his advanced age, surgery does not seem like an option as a Shar Pei’s life expectancy is around 10 yrs so to put him through that would seem completely pointless as he may not even survive the surgery. Moving him out of the bedroom sounds like it may be the only option available to you. He will be sad about moving away from his pack initially, but again, at his age once he goes to bed and sleeps, he will most likely get over it very quickly, especially if you greet him with renewed excitement in the morning.
    Old dogs are special animals.And very much like young pups, they have a series of changing needs that can be challenging. taking care of them through this, is a privilege considering the wonderful life they have shared with us, even if it means some disturbed sleep.

    1. I really and truly appreciate your insight on this. Stanley is indeed a special part of our lives, and I wouldn’t want to do anything that alters who he is — even if it’s his snoring. It’s just part of his character, and something that doesn’t bother him. We’ve come up with a solution that I think will make everyone happy, including Stanley: He will be sleeping in my daughter’s room. Not only are they close, but If she can’t wake herself up with her own snoring, I doubt his will. I’ll keep an eye on Stanley to make sure he’s getting enough sleep anyway, just in case 😉

    1. Hahaha! Our other dog, CJ, has a habit of running over to you, leaping up for a hug, and then burping in your face. It’s very special. It’s probably good that our two dogs are in different countries 😉

  5. When people snore if you pick their heads off the pillow, just a fraction of an inch, and drop them, like magic, they stop. Maybe this will work on Stanley too.
    I love that you call Stanley’s lips, lips. My sister insists dogs have a muzzle and no lips. I know they have lips, that’s how I give them a kiss before I send them outside to play!

    1. Without question dogs have lips. Chickens, no. Dogs, yes. I will definitely give your suggestion a try. If a fraction of an inch doesn’t work, I’ll keep adjusting until I find the right height. Hopefully before I need a ladder.

    2. Without question, dogs have lips. Chickens, no; dogs, yes. And I will definitely try your suggestion, and keep raising his head untilI I find the height that is effective. Hopefully before I need a ladder.

  6. Hilarious!!!

    My husband and I thought a man had crept in to our room and was snoring at the end of our bed. But no it was just our little Shi Tzu snoring!!

No one is watching, I swear...

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