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.


imageWARNING! This has been a shameless excerpt from my book, Humor at the Speed of Life, which is a collection of my most popular columns over the years (as opposed to the kind I usually write) and is available in hardcopy or eBook version at Port Hole Publications, Amazon.com or Barnes & Noble. It makes a great gift! (Note: results may vary). Order yours from Port Hole Publications and let them know you’d like a signed copy. It can even be signed by someone else!

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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...

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

  1. Oh, oh. I’m glad my husband turned the bullets into the police station once he gave up security work. Cody’s a sweet dog, but sometimes I take her treats away from her.

  2. My cats snore. Or one of them does; I found this out when M moved out since the cat decided to start trying to sleep on me at that point. It’s cute, at first, then you just start wondering if there is a way to get a breathe-right strip on a cat, or if you can invent one.

  3. My poor puppy snores also. There is no way I would be able to even TRY to put a breath right strip on him. He is a Springer Spaniel… awesome dog, but kind of cranky in his old age. Probably a good thing we don’t have any guns in our house! But I don’t have to worry about his snoring because he sleeps in his kennel at night, per his choice. That’s his “house” but the Yorkie sleeps with us and for a little creature he takes up a lot of bed! LOL!
    Good luck with your Stanley. He don’t mean to… :-/

  4. The German police seem to have made some interesting assumptions in the solution of their crime. I would be rather surprised to see a dog loading and then training a gun. Now, just because I’ve not seen it done doesn’t mean it couldn’t be – I’m just a touch skeptical. Perhaps an alternate explanation has a higher probability of occurrence?

    Oh, as an aside Ned, I did a guest post over at Cordelia’s Mom http://cordeliasmomstill.com/2015/04/06/death-guest-post-by-paul-curran/comment-page-1/#comment-9987 I would be honored if your had the time to drop by for a read. Thank You.

  5. Have you considered going all Katherine Helmond from the movie “Brazil” on the dog? In this case, you drag back all the excess face skin (IMPORTANT NOTE: I said FACE skin) while your narcoleptic missus snaps it in place with one of those big black binder clips.

    (IMPORTANT NOTE WORTH REPEATING: I said FACE skin…binder clip anywhere else would be pretty damned cruel and might result in a shooting…um, eh, so to speak)

    1. Hahaha! We’ve been married almost seven years and still can’t sleep well without the other being there. I’m more willing to believe it’s Stanley’s plan to get me to sleep on the couch so he can have my spot on the bed.

      1. Or, to get us to both vacate so he can have the entire bed!

        Yeah. I have seen the way he stares at us.

  6. I’m so sorry you were awoken by the dog’s snoring. It’s indeed important to accept it, because it won’t go away whether you accept it or not. I laughed at your comments aobut Stinky shooting his owner for no other reason than beign called Stinky.

    1. His snoring is a small price to pay.
      Well, not SMALL exactly, but you know what I mean… 😉

      Many thanks for reading, Astrid, and for making the long trip over from Twitter 😉

  7. Hey now, don’t blame the shar pei gene pool. we’ve had 4 over the last 25-years and none of them snored. Our current, pei has such a low resting heart rate we think he’s dead half the time. Then again, it could be that I just can’t hear any snoring from the pei over that of my own 6’3″ 255-lb husband 😉

    1. Haha! I think your assumption is probably correct. And I know what you mean about the general laid-back disposition of Shar-Peis. When he got his shots, I should’ve asked for one of them to be adrenaline.

  8. Love this, Ned! I have a snoring mammal in my room too but he is of the two legged kind. I find that elbowing him hard does the trick. Lucky for me, we don’t own a gun. 🙂

    1. Haha! As I suggested to someone once who had a similar problem, try rolling them on their side. If that doesn’t work, keep rolling until you hear a loud thud 😉

        1. Thank you so much! I hope you enjoy it 😉 If you’re up for it, would you mind sending a photo of yourself with your Kindle edition? I’m putting together a “Rogue’s Gallery” of people with their copies of the book. It can be silly, crazy or highly emotional (it happens)

          If not, no worries.

          I’ll cry, but no worries… 😉

          Either way, thanks again!

  9. I have a 6 month old puppy and I have decided he is the K9 version of John Belushi. He’s loud and messy and stinky and not all that bright. I might get him a “College” sweatshirt.

    Anyways, I feel your pain. Ours doesn’t sleep in our room but he did go through a two month phase of barking periodically throughout the night, but ONLY when my husband was out of town. Let’s just say it’s a good thing we don’t own a gun… kidding. I’m kidding. I would never hurt a dog. I wonder if they make Cpap machines for dogs? Or you could invent Breath Right strips for dogs! That would be genius!

    1. Maybe try feeding your pup mashed potatoes and see if he squirts them out of his mouth like a zit. Then you’ll know he is Belushi reincarnated!

      I think our dog is more like Foster Brooks; not actually drunk but just appears to be most of the time. It would explain his horrible snoring. When he sleeps upstairs in our daughter’s room, we can actually hear him through the ceiling. No joke. You should see my bloodshot eyes…

  10. i think you need to buy 2 pairs of dr. dre beats, noise cancelling headphones and play music to lull you to sleep. if this does not work, hide your weapons.

  11. My husband makes a clicking sound when he sleeps, and for some reason our one dog has decided to mimic the clicking sound. Some nights I just give up and leave. Thus I understand your little snoring problem, just be glad your wife does not mimic the dog.

    1. Fortunately, our youngest daughter has started sleeping with him in her room. She snores big time, so Stanley is finally gettting a taste of his own medicine.

  12. I ‘puff’ like out of my mouth. My youngest daughter will shake me and wake me up. I tell her making a puff sound is not snoring! I have never smoked either! ha ha! Pets snoring and babies making noise don’t bother me. I can sleep through the two but not (grand)babies crying. Thank goodness, I do realize I need to go check on them!

    1. Yes, I agree “puffing” is not snoring. You definitely have the makings of a sound sleeper. But I have to ask: What about snoring babies? 😉

    1. Thanks for clearing that up! Now I’ll stop worrying about your “son” never being able to maintain a relationship after the first sleepover… 😉

  13. I didn’t know I snored until the grand kids started having sleep-overs at my place. Now I am ribbed unmercifully by a 9 and twin 6 year olds. It’s embarrassing!

  14. I can not stop laughing. This is hysterical…I know it’s more funny because it’s not happening to me but still you have to find some humor in it. What got me at first was: “When he was a puppy, he was prone to chew up things we might leave out overnight. Such as the living room or kitchen.” Lol. But seriously, the fact that there is a statistic on dogs shooting owners is the beginning of the takeover. Man’s best friend…oh sure, they had us at the beginning…cute little sad eyes. And this dog that “accidentally” removed the safety, loaded it with shells, and then fired twice through an opening in the door frame….mastermind. The way I see it you and your wife have two choices…you invest in a face lift for Stanley to remove the excess skin (maybe a Lifestyle Lift) or you invest in a sofa bed and give Stanley the bedroom. Either way…dogs rule, humans drool. Poor Stanley. 🙂

  15. Ohhh I soo know the pain you and your wife are feeling.

    Our cute little diva like princess, Lily is a snorer. I had no idea such noise could come out of her….she sounds like a old man mixed with a some sick walrus.

    Many times throughout the night I have to reach down and nudge her or roll her back onto her side.

    But. …. snoring or not, I still love her. 🙂

  16. I’ve given up trying to sleep in the same house with the Redneck and our Rott-at night. They haven’t invented ear plugs strong enough to cancel them both out.

    Especially when they snore in rhythm. On the flip side, I’ve become much more productive 😉

  17. … you know that moment when you can picture something so clearly, that you can’t stop laughing and it actually takes you about 10 minutes to read 3 lines because with every few words you read, you crack up again until your eyes water and you have a kid come downstairs and ask if you are okay, because they think you are crying and you say you’re fine…just reading about the “immediate results” of lubricating a dogs throat which led to floor yak’ing at “supersonic speed thanks to his ‘freshly lubricated uvula’ but you lose it when you get to the supersonic part and just kind of squeak out the rest as you try to talk as you laugh, then your kid looks at you like you are nuts and through tears you see them shake their head, looking back over their shoulder, as they leave the room, having decided that you are crazy.

    awesome visuals – sorry about the pukefest –
    P.S. sleeping dogs belong in teen rooms as the noises and smells are similar.
    no harm. both foul.

  18. Ha ha ha… I loved this one, but then it’s one of several lovable moments in that book. My dog snores too, but I don’t think I could appreciate any mid-night snoring cessation efforts more than the time my little family was all sleeping in the same bed and we woke up to my 2yr. old sitting on his dad’s chest wailing – and I do mean full force double-fisted – wailing on him while screaming.”stop snoring, stop snoring”. It’s not Breathe-Right Strips, but my baby will always be my hero for that… and yeah, he stopped the snoring for the night. 😉

  19. One shouldn’t lose his mind if his or her pet dog snores. Most of the vet says that nearly 70% of the dogs have a snoring habit or its because of their sleeping position. Pets are lovely and must be handled with care.

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