Why Does My Dog Get Hiccups?

Jack Russell Terrier puppy, 2 months old, getting out of a box in front of white background
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Dog owners are often amused and puzzled when their furry companions experience hiccups. While it may seem unusual, dog hiccups are relatively common and usually harmless. In this article, we’ll delve into the world of dog hiccups, exploring their causes, symptoms, and how to manage them.

What are Dog Hiccups?

Sad puppy sitting on chair.
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Dog hiccups are involuntary contractions of the diaphragm, the muscle that separates the chest from the abdomen. These contractions result in a distinct “hic” sound and are a natural bodily function.

How Common Are Dog Hiccups?

Hiccups in dogs are quite common, especially in puppies. Most dogs experience hiccups at some point in their lives, and they are generally not a cause for concern.

What Causes Dog Hiccups?

Hiccups in puppies may stem from various factors, such as excessive barking or vigorous play. Unlike adult dogs, puppies are more prone to these involuntary contractions due to their still-developing bodies, which can amplify the impact of their activities.

Several factors can trigger hiccups in dogs, including:

  • Eating or drinking too quickly
  • Excitement
  • Stress
  • Stomach upset
  • Certain medical conditions

Common Causes of Dog Hiccups:

  1. Excitement: Often, we take a moment to spend some quality time with our dogs. This may include a quick game of indoor tag or fetch, which can lead to our canine companions becoming overly excited, especially puppies. The stimulation can cause rapid breathing and may cause our dogs to experience hiccups. This is usually temporary and nothing to worry about.
  2. Drinking too quickly after playing: After a round of fetch comes the need for a quick drink. While its always good to keep your pup hydrated, especially during the summer months, consider letting their breathing calm down a bit before encouraging a visit to the water bowl. Rapid ingestion of food or water can lead to hiccups. Consider using a slow feeder bowl to encourage slower consumption.
  3. Eating food too quickly: Much like water, eating too quickly is a common cause of hiccups. The best solution is to utilize a slow-feed bowl during meal times and wait about 10 to 15 minutes after a brisk walk or playtime before feeding.
  4. Stress: Stress and anxiety can manifest in hiccups. Create a calm environment for your dog, especially during potentially stressful situations.
  5. Stomach Upset: Digestive issues can contribute to hiccups. Pay attention to your dog’s diet and avoid feeding them immediately before exercise.

Hiccups During Sleep

Observing a sleeping puppy is a joy for pet owners, but the noises emanating from their slumber may raise questions. Dogs, like humans, experience complex dreams, often manifested in sounds like soft barking. If abnormal breathing during sleep occurs due to intense emotions, hiccups may also be present.

Are Dog Hiccups a Cause for Concern?

In most cases, dog hiccups are harmless and resolve on their own. However, persistent or severe hiccups may indicate an underlying issue, and it’s essential to monitor your dog’s overall health.

Symptoms of Dog Hiccups

  • A rhythmic “hic” sound
  • Rapid breathing
  • Abdominal contractions

How to Stop Dog Hiccups

  1. Offer Water: Provide a small amount of water to help soothe the diaphragm.
  2. Tummy Massage: Gently massage your dog’s abdomen to relax the diaphragm.
  3. Distraction: Engage your dog in a calming activity or offer a favorite toy.
  4. When to Consult the Veterinarian: If hiccups persist for more than a few hours or are accompanied by other concerning symptoms like vomiting or diarrhea, seek veterinary advice.

How To Get Rid Of Dog Hiccups

Sad French Bulldog
Image Credit: Deposit Photos.

Encountering your dog with hiccups can be a common yet concerning situation. To handle this, maintain a calm demeanor, as dogs can pick up on your emotions. Refrain from feeding during hiccup episodes to avoid discomfort, and instead, create a distracting environment through light play or offering a favorite toy.

Gentle petting on the neck and back hip area can contribute to a soothing atmosphere, potentially easing hiccups. If your dog tends to drink water rapidly, encourage slower consumption or adjust their feeding routine to prevent overeating.

If hiccups persist or are accompanied by other symptoms, consult your veterinarian to rule out any underlying health issues. Additionally, monitor stress levels, as dogs can hiccup due to anxiety. Use home remedies, such as honey or peanut butter, with caution and always consult your vet before introducing new elements to your dog’s diet. Regular veterinary check-ups ensure ongoing health and provide an opportunity to address any concerns about your dog’s hiccups.

Prevention of Dog Hiccups

  • Feed smaller, more frequent meals.
  • Utilize a slow feeder bowl to discourage rapid eating.
  • Avoid feeding before exercise.
  • Maintain a calm and relaxed environment for your dog.

Dog hiccups are generally harmless and often resolve without intervention. However, pet owners should be attentive to persistent or severe hiccups, as they may signal an underlying issue. By understanding the causes and implementing preventive measures, you can ensure your canine companion enjoys a hiccup-free and healthy life. If in doubt, always consult your veterinarian for personalized advice.

Corey Turner
Corey Turner, owner of FurBallFun.com, draws on a lifelong love for dogs and extensive pet ownership to offer a unique perspective in the pet industry. With a successful background in project management, he excels in critical analysis, precise attention to detail, and quality assurance. This expertise allows him to effectively differentiate true value from marketing hype in the pet sector. Corey’s contributions have been featured in various publications including Rockery Press Guide Books and WealthofGeeks.com. During his free time, he enjoys disc golfing, rock climbing, and bonding with his cherished FurBall friend, Harvey.