Accepting your dog’s snoring problem could save your life


At three o’clock this morning, my wife sat bolt upright, yanked out her ear plugs and delivered the following ultimatum:

This has to STOP.

After propping myself up on my elbows and removing my ear plugs, I looked directly at her and said, quite frankly, she’d have to speak up if she 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 he’s still a puppy, and therefore prone to chew up things we might leave out overnight.

Such as the living room or kitchen.

However, at three months old, his snoring sounds like a 250-pound man sleeping-off a three-day bender at the foot of our bed. 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 lab 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
3 a.m., when we started digging through the medicine cabinet in search of Breathe-Right strips. One thing we 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 for his wagging tail, would have been extremely frightening. Next, we 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., we decided to call it quits. This decision came out of concern for Stanley’s emotional wellbeing. These are the formative months, I reasoned, and 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 in 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.”

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.

(You can write to Ned Hickson at [email protected], or c/o Siuslaw News, 148 Maple St., Florence, Or. 97439)

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