Like humans, dogs get hiccups when the muscles that control the diaphragm involuntarily contract. If your dog has a short bout of hiccups, do not be concerned. In fact, hiccups can be beneficial for dogs, as they help them to relieve gas in the stomach. Hiccups can sometimes help your dog to relieve stomach irritation and help your dog to fix a momentary loss of coordination between the nerves that control the diaphragm. Hiccups are more common in puppies, and your dog will generally grow out of the hiccups as it gets older. Your dog may experience many quick hiccups or it may have single hiccups with long pauses in between.
Dogs generally get the hiccups because they have been eating or drinking too fast. When your dog gulps down its food very quickly, it may swallow extra air, causing it to hiccup. Hiccups are sometimes a reaction to certain foods irritating your dog’s stomach. If your dog frequently gets the hiccups after eating, you may want to try changing its diet to see if a certain food is the culprit.
Emotions are another cause of hiccups in dogs. Stress and fatigue can give your dog hiccups, as can excitement. However, excitement usually causes reverse hiccups, which are often confused with hiccups. Reverse hiccups are when your dog takes a series of loud, involuntary breaths through its nose. You might notice reverse hiccups when your dog is trying to clear mucous from its sinuses. If your dog has frequent or persistent hiccups, it may be an indication of a more serious cause, such as asthma, pneumonia, pericarditis, stroke or hypothermia. It is important to see a vet if your dog’s hiccups persist.
Are puppy hiccups normal ?
Nothing’s as peaceful as watching a sleeping puppy’s rhythmic breathing and soft sighs — until the hiccups start. If you’re a first-time pet owner, seeing your pup’s tiny body jerk with every hiccup can be a little alarming. But relax, they are as normal for your puppy as they are for you.
Hiccups are simply uncontrollable spasms that contract the diaphragm muscle causing your pup to begin to breathe in. Suddenly, the glottis (a part of your dog’s voice box) closes, stopping the intake of air. And out comes a hiccup (or two or three).
Dogs generally get them from the air they swallow when they eat or drink too fast, but stress, fatigue and excitement can also bring on a bout. Some experts believe the harmless spasms can actually help your puppy relieve stomach gas or irritation.
By the same token, reverse hiccups — or when your dog takes a series of loud, involuntary breaths — could be his or her way of clearing out their sinuses.
Bottom line? Hiccuping is harmless, maybe even helpful. They will come and go for a while, but eventually, your puppy will outgrow them.
Why Do Puppies Get Hiccups ?
Hiccups in animals are thought to start early — in the womb, in fact. The lungs need exercise to strengthen them in a watery environment, and that’s where hiccups come in handy.
Hiccups promote exercise in the diaphragm, which separates the abdomen from the thorax. Once the fetus gets to a dry environment, it must rely on exchanging gases through the lungs.
The Physical Process of Hiccups
And how do hiccups work, exactly? I’ll try not to get too scientific here, but let’s start with normal breathing.
When your puppy inhales, the diaphragm pulls down to get air into the lungs. Exhaling pushes it up to help clear the air out of the lungs.
Enter the hiccups, which occur when your pup’s diaphragm becomes irritated, possibly from eating or drinking too fast. Nervousness or excitement can also cause hiccups in a puppy.
Don’t be alarmed by your pet’s hiccups. Puppies tend to gulp a lot of air when they eat or drink.
How to Cure Dog and Puppy Hiccups ?
Has your dog or pup ever had hiccups? If it continues for more than a minute or two, here are some tips on how to cure dog and puppy hiccups. Every mammal that has a diaphragm can experience hiccups. While some animals like birds and reptiles don’t have diaphragms, they can still do some kind of involuntary action similar to hiccupping, such as when amphibians perform a gulping action.
Like human hiccups, there is really nothing much to worry about your dog or puppy getting hiccups, because they usually go away after a minute or two.
But if your dog or pup gets them frequently, or they linger for more than 30 minutes, or the dog is experiencing slight coughing, then it is time to go see the vet.
Both puppies and dogs get hiccups, and the reasons why are almost identical to why we get them. It is usually from eating too quickly, being too excited or energetic, and high-grain food. Puppies are more hyperactive and tend to be more playful and excited, whether during playtime or eating, and this makes them more prone to hiccups. Barking too much can also cause hiccups, because too much excitement can induce quick breathing. And, of course, eating or drinking too quickly can cause air to be trapped in the stomach.
Identifying if your dog really has hiccups can be a bit hard, because some involuntary actions are similar to hiccups. One good example is the so-called ‘reverse sneezing’ in which a dog breathes very quickly and without control, as if the opposite of sneezing. You should also watch out for when a dog hiccups for a long period of time, and especially with coughing. The following are some simple methods of getting rid of your dog’s hiccups:
1. Make sure you feed your dog low-grain food. High-grain foods often cause hiccups in dogs. You can also watch your dog’s eating habits and figure out what other types of food may trigger hiccups.
2. Water helps hiccups go away, much like in humans. Give water to your dog when he experiences hiccups.
3. Exercise him some. Whether it is a good walk in the park, a game of fetch or Frisbee, or just about any outdoor activity, it will surely stimulate your dog, change his breathing and heart-rate and cure the hiccups.
4. Try feeding your dog, as it can also change your dog’s pattern of breathing and drive away hiccups.
The above tips for how to cure dog and puppy hiccups work in most instances, fortunately. As mentioned, your first action is to just observe and see if they continue more than a couple of minutes. Usually they don’t.