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Can Your Dog Have the Hiccups?

There are some wacky things we wonder about when it comes to our pooches. Much like our bewilderment around why our dogs eat poop or why our pup licks their nose, we may also wonder can dogs get hiccups?

When it comes to this bizarre phenomenon in general, there’s relatively little we know about why and how hiccuping occurs. As humans, we associate the experience with the consequences for scoffing a tasty meal – so is it the same for our fur babies?

While it may be utterly adorable hearing your pup hiccup, it’s handy to know whether it’s bothersome or uncomfortable for them. After all, we want our fur babies to be happy and thriving.

So if hiccups plague your pooch regularly, you may want to know what causes them and what you can do to help. Let’s find out what some of the culprits may be.

dog with mouth open can dogs get hiccups

What Causes Hiccups in Dogs?

When it comes to hiccups in pups, these mild inconveniences are usually relatively short-lived or easy to self-remedy.

Hiccups in dogs occur the same way as in their human parents. In short, hiccups are an involuntary contraction of the muscle under the lungs, called the diaphragm. When the diaphragm gets irritated, it will contract and release, in short, involuntary spasms.

When this happens, rather than regular breathing patterns, which consist of smooth in-out breaths, it’s called hiccupping. These mini contractions cause the vocal cords to close, creating the characteristic ‘hic’ sound. Below are a few reasons for this cute sound escaping from your pup.

dog with mouth open wide

1. Overly Excited or Anxious Behavior

A common cause of hiccups is when your pup becomes stressed or even overly excited. Along with fervent playing comes rapid or irregular breathing.

This means the odds of them accidentally swallowing gulps of air during their panting could cause these unwanted diaphragm contractions. In fact, excessive barking is usually a cause for hiccups as well. If pups are barking excessively, their verbose display may result in them swallowing too much air.

golden retriever with tongue out panting
golden retriever

2. Eating or Drinking Too Fast

For our beloved fluffy children, mealtimes are one of the ultimate highlights of their day – right up there with a belly scratch or a walk with their favorite human.

It, therefore, comes as no surprise that their excitement becomes somewhat uncontrollable around dinnertime. This may cause dogs to gobble up their food in their excited frenzy. Drinking or eating too fast usually leads to swallowing air along with their meal and unwanted hiccupping.

white retriever drinking water from bowl

3. Upset Stomach

Some even believe that dogs hiccup when they’re trying to relieve an upset stomach. As such, it’s important to invest in good quality dog food for your pup to aid in healthy digestion.

Additionally, they can begin to hiccup if they’ve inhaled or ingested an irritant, which would certainly unsettle their belly.

There are various types of irritants. So to be safe, try to avoid any harmful products on your pooch, in your home, and your garden.

Luckily there are some excellent pet-friendly weed-killers, natural lawn foods, and organic cleaning detergents on the market. These will ensure the safety of your beloved fur baby.

white dog with mouth open

Hiccups in Puppies

Puppies are much more prone to hiccupping than adult dogs. Much like your dog’s whining, it’s an almost inevitable part of puppyhood. Increased hiccupping occurs mainly because they are easily excitable and energetic.

Another reason for this is that they also have less developed internal systems and organs than grown dogs. Fortunately, it means that your puppy will hiccup less as they get older or even stop altogether.

Hiccupping during the puppy years is unavoidable. And along with puppy breath, baby-soft bellies, and cuddles, you can revel in the adorable ‘hic’ sound during these formative years.  

goldendoodle puppy barking

Are Your Puppy’s Hiccups Painful?

As a concerned pet parent, it’s normal to worry when you see your little fur baby’s body heaving up and down from hiccups. This is because dogs don’t always wear clothing like us to disguise their vibrating chest. And although hiccups are annoying, you can rest assured that your pup is in no pain or extreme discomfort either.

In fact, they aren’t painful as much as surprising, so it’s understandable that your little pup might look startled – don’t mistake this look for pain. Most times, it’s not necessary to run to the vet with your baby pooch as they are just fine.

goldendoodle puppy

How Can You Get Rid of Your Pup’s Hiccups? 3 Things to Try

As inconvenient as us humans find hiccups, your dog is generally not too bothered by them. Unfortunately, you may not be able to give your pup a fright to scare the hiccups out of them or make them hold their breath, but there are some possible solutions.

Just like with humans, hiccup solutions can be tricky and very often a hit and miss. Therefore trial and error is your best bet. Funny enough, doggy remedies are surprisingly similar to what they are for their owners.

1. Regulate Their Breathing

One of the best ways to rid your pooch of the dreaded hiccups is to settle their breathing. A good way to do this is to get your pup on their back for a good old-fashioned belly rub. Some light exercise might also do the trick.

golden labradoodle on grass

2. Drink Water

Another tactic to try is simple and similar to the human remedy that is drinking water. Be sure to keep an eye on your pup to be sure they are drinking slowly. It’s advisable to give them little bits at a time to pace their drinking.

Another good home remedy is to add some honey or maple syrup to their water. It will help soothe their throat, especially if there is an irritant involved. Alternatively, you could simply spoon-feed them the sweet goodness too.

cream coloured dog drinking from a water bottle

3. Slow Down Meal Times

Thirdly, try to encourage slower eating. It’s no secret that your pooch practically does somersaults of joy when dinner time comes around.

To ensure they slow down during dinner, a doggy feeder may be a handy investment. You should also avoid overly chunky food during hiccup spells. Softer food is best to prevent any possible choking.

Similarly, you can try feeding your pooch smaller portions at a time to avoid gulping down the food before them. It’s also a good idea to limit intense exercise right after dinner time as their digestion may be affected and result in unpleasant hiccupping.

best natural dog foods

Trying one or all of these home remedies should help to relieve the hiccups and get your pup’s breathing regulated.

When Are Hiccups Concerning? 3 Things to Watch Out For

While hiccups are harmless most of the time, it’s good to know when they become a problem. These little irritations shouldn’t last too long, especially if you tried some of the alleviation tactics to get rid of them.

So if your pup’s hiccupping goes on for hours, there might be some cause for concern, and you should take a closer look at the reason behind it. Let’s take a look at some of the warning signs to look out for.

1. Irregular Breathing

If their hiccupping is accompanied by coughing, sneezing, or even reverse sneezing, you should take a closer look. Similarly, if you notice your pooch’s hiccups turn to wheezing sounds or that they are experiencing any difficulty breathing, you should contact a vet.

Some of the more concerning reasons for hiccups are rare and can signal severe underlying conditions. These include pneumonia, asthma, and other respiratory defects.

dog with open mouth and blue eye

2. Exercise-Induced Hiccups

If you suspect your doggo is intolerant to exercise, you should take a closer look. It may be a sign if they get hiccups and are unusually tired during light movement like a walk.

These can usually accompany gastrointestinal symptoms too. If your pooch is struggling with prolonged hiccuping combined with constipation, diarrhea, loss of appetite, or vomiting, you should contact a vet immediately.

3. Heatstroke

As lovely as it is to get out and about on warm summery days, you should keep an eye on your pup to watch that they don’t overexert themselves. Heatstroke is not akin to a bad sunburn – it is life-threatening for your pooch.

If your doggo has a darker coat color like black, they may be more susceptible to overheating and attracting the sun. Overheating is, unfortunately, a common hiccup trigger.

close up of dog's mouth

Therefore, it’s best to walk your pooch at a less hot time of day and encourage cool-down dips during summertime.

In addition, if you are a dog parent to a pup with a shorter muzzle like Chinese pugs or bulldogs, you should be extra cautious. These dogs have more restricted airways and are susceptible to Brachycephaly.

Final Thoughts on Can Dogs get Hiccups

Now that we know your pup can get hiccups, you will hopefully feel better equipped to discern whether it’s a normal occurrence or requires a closer look. For the most part, these sounds escaping from your pup are harmless.

In fact, it’s a rather endearing sound and a sight to behold. And it’s certainly comforting knowing that unless there is an underlying condition, your pup is rather unphased by their hiccups.

black and white puppies with mouths open

I covered all of the costs associated with writing this post on can dogs get hiccups. However, it does contain affiliate links. That means if you click through on some of the links in this article and end up making a purchase I may receive a small commission. It won’t affect the price that you pay. Just wanted to let you know.

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