Do Dogs Get Hiccups? Triggers To Dog Hiccups and How to Stop It

Reviewed By Kim •  Updated: 04/29/21 •  10 min read
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We all get the hiccups now and again. Of course, we know that they are not harmful or something to worry about in humans. They are just annoying, but they go away after a while But what about dogs; can they get hiccups and are they normal? Let’s take a look and find out.

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Do Dogs Get Hiccups?

The simple answer is yes; dogs do get hiccups. Before you panic and take your dog to the veterinarian for a check-up if you have never heard them before, know that hiccups are normal for dogs just like they are for humans. It is caused by a spasm in the diaphragm, just like what happens to us. The glottis closes suddenly, which creates the sound we associate with hiccups. The sound is going to be similar for pups or it may sound like they are snorting. They probably will not happen very often for your canine. But they are more common in young puppies than adult dogs. Feel free to check out Bark Spot for more information on the subject.

Dogs should not be scared by hiccups. Most of the time, they will ignore them and not notice they are making the sound. It is often the owner that suddenly realizes they have hiccups and panics. However, as we have explained, hiccups are normal and they are not something that you need to worry about. In fact, some owners have never heard their dog’s hiccup. Some furry friends are more susceptible to them than others. Let’s take a look at why.

What Causes Hiccups in Dogs?

Are you wondering what may be causing your dog to experience hiccups? Is it something that you are doing and that you can change? There are a variety of reasons they may be hiccupping. Normally, they are not something to worry about or are serious. Again, it should be a short spasm that simply goes away. It is also not something that you are doing. They will develop hiccups by themselves for the following reasons.

One of the most common reasons why our furry friends get hiccups is because they are drinking water too fast. A lot of dogs keep drinking from their bowl fast until it is finished. They do not realize that they are rushing. It can mean they take in too much air at the same time as drinking, which can lead to involuntary spasms and hiccups. In addition, this can happen if they eat their food too quickly. They get too excited and gulp down their food without thinking. You will find that puppies get hiccups more often than adult dogs for this reason. They are too excited and want to gobble down all their delicious dog food! This can be a habit that sticks into adulthood.

If your dog is very excited, this can lead to them hiccupping. For example, perhaps you are out all day at work and return home with a new toy. Your pooch is going to be so happy to see you that their breathing is affected. This can lead to developing hiccups. Again, if puppies take play fighting or fetch too seriously, it can lead to hiccups. If your canine loves to run around and get the zoomies, they might be a candidate for hiccupping unexpectedly.

Overexertion can lead to hiccups too. In other words, if your dog is too hot, whether this is from too much exercise or simply being out in hot temperatures, they will experience overexertion. This can lead to them hiccupping. In particular, there are dogs that cannot cope when they are overheating, such as English Bulldogs and Pugs. This is due to being a brachycephalic dog breed and having a shorter muzzle. With their restricted airways, they can struggle to breathe and this can lead to hiccups.

This is a serious cause for concern for your pooch and it is best to contact your vet straight away if you think your dog is experiencing overexertion.

How Can I Help My Dog with Hiccups?

Normally, hiccups will disappear on their own after a while. Again, they are not a cause of concern. Remember that they are not harmful or necessarily a problem that requires a trip to the vet. But we all know that there are some wives’ tales about how you can stop them in humans. This includes holding your breath or pulling on the tongue. However, it is best to avoid these tactics for your furry friend. Attempting to pull their tongue can scare them and may mean that they react. This is the last thing you want to happen just to get rid of hiccups. Of course, it may not even work so all of your efforts could be wasted. Instead, you can try these tactics to get rid of your canine’s hiccups.

First of all, help your pup calm their breathing. If they are exciting and zooming around, you need to tell them to calm down. You want their breathing to be normal and steadier, which may help the hiccups disappear. For example, you can help your four-legged friend relax by getting him or her to lay on their side and to pet them until they become sleepy. Alternatively, you can give them something sweet to distract them and this can allow them to calm down. This could include fruits or honey. If your furry friend is already crate trained, this can be a tactic to make them lay down for a while. Once they have calmed down, you can let them out. Another option you can take is to get your dog to drink water. Allow them to hydrate slowly and this could help the hiccups to subside. Of course, it can be difficult to get your four-legged friend to drink if they do not want to. Again, giving them something sweet like honey can make them want to hydrate afterward.

If you think your pooch has hiccups because they are eating too fast, you can make them slowly eat their dinner. If you put down a full bowl, they will keep eating quickly until it is all finished. To avoid this from happening, you can give them smaller and more frequent portions throughout the day or use a smaller bowl to encourage them to take a break. Alternatively, you can invest in a slow feeder mat or bowl. This is a special type of mat and bowl that slows dogs down when they are eating. They often have different textures and molds in order to do this and your pup is forced to eat around them and this will take more time. In particular, the mat has different textures that can actually be soothing as they lick them. This can help your canine calm down while they are eating at dinner time.

While your pooch has hiccups, avoid feeding them or giving them anything to chew. This could become a choking hazard if they have bad hiccups. Therefore, put away any bones or treats that are lying around. Of course, hiccups should only last for a few minutes. So, your furry friend will not be without their favorite treats for long. After they have stopped, you can resume and give them chews or toys again. Always wait around 20 minutes after the last hiccups to make sure that they are gone. If you think that your dog is hiccupping from overexertion, make sure you cool them down straight away. If they are left, this can be really dangerous and they will need a trip to the vet. Take them inside out of the sun immediately and make sure there is cold water available. You can get cooling mats to avoid this happening in the first place. In addition, make sure that you walk your canine when the sun goes down during the summer. Breeds that have short muzzles should not be walked in hot temperatures as they are more prone to overexertion that other breeds are. Other signs of overexertion include excessive panting, drooling and lethargy. Keep an eye out for all these signs for the wellbeing of your canine.

What Should I do If My Dog’s Hiccups Do Not go Away?

Most of the time, dog hiccups will be nothing to worry about. They should pass within a few minutes without any problems. In fact, most of the time you will not have to do much. Just think about what you go through when you have the hiccups. This is the same for your pup. Most of the time, the hiccups will not bother them and they will happily wag their tail and continue with their favorite activities.

Just to make sure, monitor your pooch and make sure they are coping fine during this time.

However, if several hours go by and there is no improvement with your dog’s hiccups, it may be time to call the vet. This is particularly true if your dog seems to be bothered by them or they are violent hiccups. In rare cases, this could be a symptom of a worrying health problem that should be treated as soon as possible. This can include heat stroke, pericarditis, pneumonia and asthma. To make sure your furry friend does not have a health issue that has not been addressed, tell your vet how they are behaving and how often they have hiccups. They will be able to run tests and tell you what is going on with your beloved companion. Make sure that you visit your vet as soon as possible to ensure that your canine is safe and can feel better soon with help.

Another serious reason why your pooch could be having hiccups is due to a parasite. For example, if you notice that your canine is experiencing diarrhea or constipation, as well as hiccupping frequently, this could be the signs that something is not right. They may also vomit or not want to eat their food. Again, these are not good signs and it is best to talk to your veterinarian as soon as possible to see if they have a parasite. Other possible signs to look out for include lethargy and not wanting to exercise or play. Anything that is a change in their behavior is a cause for concern.

If your dog is hiccupping but they are acting normal, this is not normally a cause for concern. Just watch their behavior to see if they are still happy. If they are playing, eating and sleeping like they normally would, they should be fine. Monitor how long the hiccups last. Again, they should not last long. Even if they last longer than you would think, if you do not see any changes in their behavior, do not rush to take them to the vet. Just keep a close eye on them during this time.

Takeaway Points

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Kim is a talented author, who loves animals especially dogs. She engaged in writing books and articles relating to animals a decade ago. Kim resides in Chicago with her husband and son. The family is the proud owner of a dog and a parrot (Jack and Lily). Kim wanted more than these two pets, but her husband put his foot down... She often visits elementary schools to talk to the kids about what she learned about pets and how they could learn from them.

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