Can Dogs Get Hiccups?

Can Dogs Get Hiccups?

Author WDF Staff


There aren’t many things cuter than a dog getting hiccups. Except maybe puppies getting hiccups. They are adorable, and after the first few seconds of melting our hearts, we can’t help but start wondering if hiccups are dangerous. Sure, humans get it all the time, but dog hiccups are something different, right?

It is normal that you wonder about it and worry about your dog’s health. Luckily, we are here to help you get to the bottom of it. Let’s see what we should know about dog hiccups as dog owners.

What are hiccups?

Hiccups are natural, and they can be defined as “involuntary contractions of the diaphragm.” It is a natural reaction, and while often slightly irritating, it is usually nothing to worry about. The diaphragm is a muscle that expands or contracts when dogs breathe in and out, leaving more space for the lungs to expand.

Every muscle on your dog’s body has the potential to spasm, and the diaphragm is no different. Uncontrolled spasming is what we know as hiccups. If you are wondering, the same thing happens when humans have hiccups.

bulldog puppy in a park

Why do dogs get hiccups?

Many different things can cause hiccups, but scientists and vets are not entirely sure why they happen. Two theories have yet to be proven or disproven. Both sound equally plausible, and it is up to us to decide which one we think is right.

Worried about your dog’s health? Here is an article you should read - 10 Things You Should Never Do To Your Dog.

Theory I.

The first theory claims that hiccups are a “leftover” reaction from the time when mammals develop in utero. Scientists say that hiccups often happen when the fetus developed lungs and starts to “try them out.” Nearly all mammal species (humans, dogs, cats, lions, etc.) have recorded fetuses having hiccups.

Theory II.

The second hiccup theory is easier. It says that hiccups are a way for puppies to relieve their excess gas and relieve their upset stomach.

golden retriever puppy

When do they happen?

There are various reasons why a dog might start having hiccups, and owners noticed some patterns in dog hiccups. Most of them happen after a specific physical activity or an emotional reaction.

Physical reasons

  • Eating too fast
  • Drinking too fast
  • Swallowing too much air

Emotional reasons

  • Excitement
  • Stress

Potential dangers

Puppies often experience hiccups. They have higher excitement levels; in fact, they are more likely to do all the things mentioned above. All puppies experience hiccups at least once in their puppyhood. Puppies with hiccups are nothing to worry about.

In rare cases, hiccups can be a worrying sign, especially in older dogs. If dog hiccups last longer than an hour, it can be a sign that something is wrong with your dog. If you notice your dog having breathing issues accompanied by hiccups, you should call your vet and schedule an appointment.

Hiccups are often confused with reverse sneezing. You can read more about it here: Dog Sneezing Reasons.

There are some potential problems hiccups can indicate, and they are:

spaniel puppy running witha a stick

Keep your eyes open and check if your dog coughs, sneezes, reverse sneezes, or has trouble breathing. Add hiccups to that, and it might just be enough to contact your vet and ask for their opinion.

If you have a brachycephalic breed such as Pugs or Bulldogs, don’t overexercise them during warm days. They can have problems breathing, and their short snouts don’t cool the air properly. These breeds have a higher risk of having a heatstroke, and one of the symptoms can be hiccups.

How can I help my dog if they get hiccups?

There are different “advice” humans get on how to get rid of hiccups. Some advice we have heard is to hold your breath for 20 seconds, let someone scare you, and drink a glass of water. There is even one that says you should pull your tongue, and the hiccups will stop.

Even if this advice worked, it is questionable if it would work for your dog. Not to mention, getting your dog to hold their breath and not choking them is nearly impossible. You should do better things, and they don’t involve hurting your dog or causing them trauma by scaring them. Try one of these;

  • Little honey
  • Karo syrup
  • Maple syrup
  • Ligh chest massage
  • Have them drink some water
  • Take them for a peaceful walk
  • Light exercise or a calm playing session

Avoid things that will require your dog to chew because that can be a choking hazard. Don’t give them artificial sweeteners because they can be toxic. Think about how to relax your dog and have them distracted from the hiccups.

They will most likely go away in a matter of minutes, and in the meantime, enjoy your dog being adorable while hiccuping.

World Dog Finder team

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