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Dog hiccups are something that might be troubling your pet a lot, it might be because it is still very young and nothing to be worried about or it might be because of some other problem that could become serious if it is not looked after soon.
Dogs are one of our most favorite people. Some of us love them even more than we love any other human and there is a reason for that. You might not find someone more loyal than your dog even if you searched the whole earth for them.
Dogs are a great stress reliever, if you are suffering from depression and anxiety, it would be a great idea to have a dog as your pet because they’ll take away all your worries and make you feel so happy that you would never want to get away from them. That’ll always work, well, unless you are Joey Tribbiani and are in love with Rachel.
For some people, their best friends are books, for some, it is their neighbors but for some of us, they are our dogs, and those who have their dogs as their best friend would know that there is nothing purer than a dog’s love for you. So if something happens to them, even something as minor as a hiccup, we want to do everything we can to help them.
So I guess that is the reason why you all have come to read this article, to get information about dog hiccups and how you can get rid of them or how you can prevent them, what are their causes, and how does it work exactly. I am going to answer all these questions for you, just stick around for a bit and we will get to them one by one.
Do Dogs Get Hiccups?
You might be wondering, why would anyone question a dog getting hiccups, right? Well, hiccups for us human beings are common and not anything new. Whereas, when it comes to animals, especially our pets, no one wants to take any chances regarding their health.
Thus, all you new pet owners might have thought about whether dogs really get hiccups like we human beings. The answer is yes, similar to us, even dog hiccups are a thing. The cause for getting dog hiccups is also the same as we humans, but we will discuss that later in this article.
If you are a dog lover, there are high chances that you may have seen cute little puppies getting hiccups, at least in videos if not in reality. That cute and adorable sound the puppy makes is proof that dog hiccups are a real thing.
So, the dog hiccups are real but is it normal to get hiccups? Or is it a symptom that something is wrong with your dog? Let us find our answers and get to know more about dog hiccups.
Are Dog Hiccups Normal?
Being a new dog owner, you might be doing a google search for every little thing that happens to your dog and that’s cute and can sometimes turn out to be the best decision ever. Nobody wants to take any risk regarding their new friend.
For us humans, it is normal to get hiccups every now and then. You eat too fast, you get hiccups, you eat too much and you get hiccups. Even more, if you get excited or nervous you get hiccups. So we all have gone through this and it is pretty much normal for us.
But still, when you see a tiny, little puppy getting hiccups and looking at its body jerk on every hiccup might make you worry a little. It may seem hiccups are too much to handle for this tiny soul but it is not the case.
There is no difference when it comes to our hiccups or dog hiccups. Similar to humans, even dog hiccups are normal and something you should not worry about most of the time. Dog hiccups are a harmless phenomenon.
You will see young puppies getting hiccups frequently and it is normal. In older, adult dogs the frequency is less but they still get dog hiccups occasionally, like after having his dinner or just before taking a nap.
What Are The Possible Reasons For Dog Hiccups?
Hiccups do not occur suddenly from anywhere. There are several conditions or activities which result in getting hiccups. Let us see the scenarios in which your dog might get hiccups so that next time your dog gets hiccups, you will at least know the reasons.
The reasons for dog hiccups can be divided into 2 categories: The eating habits which can lead to dog hiccups and the emotional status of your dog.
Daily Habits That Lead To Hiccups
One of the many reasons for getting dog hiccups is eating a lot of food. This habit of puppies when they get quite excited about food is one of the common reasons for getting dog hiccups. Though we can not blame just the puppies, even grown-up adult dogs tend to show similar behavior sometimes.
When a dog’s stomach is filled completely, the distension is caused by the expansion of the stomach. The slightly expanded stomach then disturbs the regular movement of the diaphragm above it. The diaphragm is closely linked to breathing and thus any disturbance results in hiccups.
Here is another similar habit of dogs that results in hiccups. Eating food or drinking water too fast. Dogs get extremely excited when they see their food coming towards them. Unlike us, there’s no way they can control their excitement.
Even you must be fed up that every time you bring a meal for your dog, he just smashes his head into the bowl and finishes it in no time. It’s important to teach your dog how to have patience.
Anyway, coming to the point, if your dog is not trained to control his excitement when he sees food, there are chances that he may swallow too much air along with food. This can lead to hiccups in dogs.
Puppies are probably the most excited and active creatures ever. They are always running all around the house or across the street. As they grow old, their activity decreases. Adult dogs are always calmer than puppies.
This hyperactive nature of puppies affects the breathing pattern of dogs. This heavy breathing or panting can lead to dog hiccups and it is more common in puppies than adult dogs.
Emotions Of A Dog Leading To Hiccups
You may be surprised that even in dogs and humans, emotions regularly affect hiccups. Ever wondered why you feel good after eating something when anxious? It’s all about nerves! The nerves of the stomach are bonded with nerves in your brain.
Thus whatever your emotions are, your stomach is going to respond in some way. Dogs and humans share a lot of similarities when it comes to emotions. No wonder why dogs have been the best companion of humans for decades.
If your dog is suffering from emotional stress, fatigue, or the complete opposite emotion that is excitement, in any of these cases they are likely to get dog hiccups.
Now that we are well aware of the possible reasons that might lead to dog hiccups, it is time to understand the basics of hiccups. Let us take a quick look inside your dog’s body to see how exactly your dog gets hiccups.
What Causes Hiccups In Dogs?
Dogs and humans are pretty much similar when it comes to behavior as well as the internal structure of the body. Therefore, the reasons and causes for dog hiccups are common for humans and dogs.
Our chest and abdomen are separated by a membrane called ‘diaphragm’. This membrane performs an active part in breathing. When a dog breathes in, the diaphragm contracts and when the dog breathes out, the diaphragm expands.
While breathing in, the diaphragm contracts and moves downward. This allows the chest to expand in order to take air into the lungs. Whereas, while breathing out, the diaphragm expands and moves upwards and the air from the lungs is expelled back into the atmosphere.
Usually, this process runs smoothly along with diaphragm movement. But if the diaphragm movement is restricted or interrupted by factors such as detention of the stomach, then the diaphragm muscle spasms. This is what we call a hiccup.
This hiccup or as scientifically called diaphragm spasm can be triggered by various reasons which I have already mentioned above. It causes the closing of the dog’s voice box known as glottis.
As soon as the voice box or glottis gets blocked, the air intakes get disturbed or in most cases stop. Thus, your dog’s body reacts to that blockage in the form of hiccups, in order to open the glottis back again.
This process might sound complicated to you, but it is completely normal and harmless. To summarize, dog hiccups are a reaction to the temporary fault caused in the respiratory system of the dog. It usually goes away after some period when the glottis opening is back in the normal position.
What Are Hiccups And Reverse Hiccups?
I have already explained to you what dog hiccups are and now I will talk about the reverse dog hiccups. If you did not already know, there is such a thing as reverse hiccups or it is sometimes also known as reverse sneezing.
This is very different from the normal hiccups and I will tell you why. Reverse hiccups are something that is usually caused due to an irritation in the throat or the sinuses of the dog. To get rid of this irritation, the dog will start to take a lot of loud breaths that might be involuntary.
This is done to clear the throat or the sinus passages and it might sound like the intake of breath when the dog hiccups are just starting. If this thing keeps happening, you should take your dog to the vet to get the sinus checked to see if there is anything unhealthy that will result in a sinus infection or even a tumor.
Dog Hiccups Symptoms
Now that you know what dog hiccups are, I should tell you about how you can identify a hiccup. Sometimes it could be a very obvious thing but with certain dogs, it isn’t, not really. Dog hiccups are similar to that of us humans.
You will hear the sound of a ‘hic’ when they hiccup which comes along with a spasm of the diaphragm, which you can tell by the movement of their ribs. Dog hiccups have these two symptoms, a hic sound, and a spasm. There is another thing by which you can tell if your dog is hiccupping. The hic sound and the spasm are sometimes followed by a burp.
There are also circumstances when your dog will just spasm and would not create noise, this would make it difficult to notice the hiccupping but if you are paying attention to them, you will notice it easily because your dog would be in obvious discomfort.
Also, you need to know that sometimes, the thing that you might identify as a hiccup might not be a hiccup at all. The sounds of retching or seizures might seem like hiccupping to you but they are different in nature.
If these things happen, you will notice your dog flailing or just trying hard to move but not being able to do the same with vomiting. These symptoms are indicators of very serious issues and they should be looked after immediately.
Another thing that is very similar to dog hiccups is reverse hiccups and I have already explained that to you in the previous heading. If you hear a reverse hiccup for the first time, you might confuse it for an actual hiccup and might become an issue so it will be good if you get yourself informed.
What Are Some Quick Ways To Relieve Your Dog From Hiccups?
No matter how much I say or no matter how normal and harmless these dog hiccups seem, most of us don’t want to see our dear pet getting hiccups and want to see them relived again. Even though we don’t like to have hiccups and we immediately find some way to get rid of them, right?
Although the dog hiccups will go away after a brief period, if you don’t want to wait that long, there are still some quick tricks or ways to relieve your dog from hiccups a lot quicker.
- Rub Your Dog’s Belly: Rubbing your dog’s belly will help you in fading out hiccups.
- Feed Some Water: Feed your dog water sip by sip.
- Help your Dog To Calm Down: Calm him down by petting him in order to make him feel relaxed.
- Take Him To A Walk: During dog hiccups, take your dog to a slow walk to correct the breathing rhythm.
Perform the above-mentioned activities to quickly relieve your dog from disturbing dog hiccups. But it is not a permanent solution. Though the hiccups will go away on their own, the habits and practices of your dog will cause repeated hiccups again and again.
What Are Remedies For Dog Hiccups?
The above-mentioned ways will definitely help your dog to get back to ease and comfort. However, they sometimes may not be enough. Also, hiccups can occur on a regular basis if proper care is not provided.
Dog hiccups are harmless in a way that they won’t affect the health of your dog in any means. But that does not mean that your dog is comfortable during hiccups or that it doesn’t bother or hurts him.
Your dog getting hiccups is for sure a natural phenomenon but also, it highly depends on the lifestyle of your dog. All the day to day practices and habits of your dog contribute towards dog hiccups.
Therefore, here I am suggesting some proven remedies which will not only give your dog relief from hiccups but also will reduce the occurrence of dog hiccups significantly.
1. Train your Dog To Be Patient
No matter what dog breed you have, every dog becomes super excited and restless when they see food. Dogs will just run towards their food and finish it up in the fastest possible time. This fast eating habit is the most common cause of dog hiccups.
In order to avoid hiccups, the first thing you need to do is train them to be patient since they are in their puppyhood. It is easy to set habits during their earlier months than in adult dogs. Teach them to eat food slowly and that will provide a lot of other health benefits along with relief from dog hiccups.
2. Monitor The Diet
Diet can affect the dog hiccups in an indirect way. Two types of diets can be given to your dog, a high grain diet or a low grain diet. Depending upon the ingredients, the nutrition value can vary in these diets.
A high grain diet includes items like whole wheat, corn and this kind of diet tends to cause hiccups more often than the low grain diet. Change the diet plan of your dog to include low grain food items or you can even replace those items with grain-free food like sweet potatoes or usual white potatoes.
3. Feed Some Water
You must be familiar with this remedy. We all drink small sips of water in order to get quick relief from hiccups. Similarly, in case of dog hiccups, offer some water to your dog and he will thank you later.
However, sometimes your dog may not accept any water due to hiccups, in such a case, one or two ice cubes can do the job instead of forcing your innocent dog to drink water.
4. Rubbing The Belly
You want to see your dog relieved from hiccups and your dog wants you to pet him. Thus rubbing his belly to relieve him from dog hiccups sounds like a win-win situation for both you and your dog, right?
Generally, massage the belly and chest of your dog, that’s where the diaphragm is present. It will help to cope with the contraction thing in his diaphragm muscle to get rid of dog hiccups.
5. Take Your Dog To A Short Walk
This one will not immediately vanish the dog hiccups but gradually help your dog’s body to cope up with hiccups. A walk during hiccups will help to correct the breathing pattern and rhythm. It will in turn stop the hiccups.
6. Calm Down Your Dog
We have already discussed how emotions can affect breathing as well as hiccups. When the dog hiccups, he becomes confused and uneasy. Sometimes not knowing what is happening to them can freak them out.
Therefore as a dog owner be with them and make them feel secure. Make them feel that everything is okay. It will help them in relaxing and in turn, it will help to regulate the emotions and breathing of your dog.
How Do You Prevent Dog Hiccups In The Future?
Now that you know how you can get rid of dog hiccups if they happen, it is time that I tell you about how you can prevent these hiccups from happening in the future. There are various things that you can do to prevent these things and they are very simple to do and do not require any kind of fuss. These things are somewhat similar to the remedies that you read above.
One of the main causes of hiccups is the gas buildup in the stomach of your dogs. So what you can do to prevent that is to make your dog eat the food slowly like I said to do in the remedy section. When they drink and eat slowly, they’ll have fewer gastric issues.
You can make use of the different types of slow feeders to make them eat slowly and also the water dispensers will help you a lot. These will be very good for your dog and solve a lot of issues. Another thing that you need to make sure of is that your dog should get ample rest after it has consumed food.
All these methods are used for remedying the problem of the hiccup but if you keep these things up and not give them up after hiccups stop then the future chances of your dog getting hiccups will lessen by a lot.
Although you should keep in mind that even after you follow these things, your pet might still get hiccups from time to time if they are not anything serious, then you need not worry about them a lot, just try to make your pet relaxed and it will be all good.
What Should You Avoid Doing?
All the remedies and prevention methods that I mentioned are very safe but there are things that you might do that you think will help your dog but instead, it might just put them in more danger. So these are some things that you should absolutely refrain from doing.
As I said before, dog hiccups happen for the same reason that they happen in humans; when we drink or eat too fast, we might experience hiccups. This is the reason why people start doing things with their pets that they would normally do with themselves if they ever got hiccups.
These things include solutions such as feeding your dogs a spoonful of sugar. This will create more problems than before and not solve one single thing. If you feed sugar to your dog, it might result in an upset stomach for the dog and even lead to obesity in it and it will be especially problematic if you keep doing this regularly or even semi-regularly.
Although, you should note that doing such things is not always problematic. If you feed your dog things like that by the direct order of your veterinarian then it would be a good thing because the veterinarian knows what must be done when and they know what is best for your dog, so you should always listen to them.
There is another thing that helps humans recover from hiccups, if you are having hiccups and you suddenly get startled, your hiccups might stop.
But doing the very same thing with your dog is not advisable at all. If you try to surprise or scare or just startle your dog intentionally, it would be bad for its health and also your bond with the dog. If you do it, they can even injure themselves.
How Long Can The Dog Hiccups Last?
One question that arises, how long do the hiccups usually last? Also, how long before these hiccups get harmful? When do you know if the issue is getting serious? If you do not know the answer to these questions or if you have false information, then your dog might suffer from something serious which is something you would not want to happen.
Usually, it is the young puppies that get hiccups more often than the older ones and as they slowly grow old, the hiccups start reducing and they get very rare. That is because the emotions the puppies feel are sometimes more extreme than the adults.
The puppies are more active and excited than the adults in almost everything. Whereas the adults seem calmer. Although this is just the norm, not the rule.
When your dogs get hiccups, they would usually get it for a few seconds or maybe for a minute. When this happens, this is normal and it should not be worried about. Even with humans, hiccups that last this long aren’t an issue. When dogs get hiccups for less than a minute, you might sometimes not even notice that.
What you should be worried about are the hiccups that last more than an hour and keep happening often over several days, should be looked after. If that happens then you should take your dog to the vet. Most puppies would get normal hiccups till the age of 4 to 6 months.
I mentioned earlier how the emotions of the dogs can make them get hiccups, the dogs getting these hiccups so often when they are so young is the same. But there are instances when the emotions or other such things have nothing to do with the dog hiccups. Let’s take a look at them.
Are The Dogs Hiccups Signaling Something Worse?
As you might know by now, dog hiccups are something that is pretty normal and harmless apart from being rather irritating or frustrating when they get them. As I mentioned before, puppies are more likely to get hiccups than adult dogs.
Sometimes, these hiccups can be an indicator of something else, something that is not as harmless as a hiccup but a bit more serious. If your dog’s hiccups are not stopping, you should take them to the vet. But sometimes, it might be too late if you wait for the hiccups to pass.
In these instances, look out for the following things that might indicate that something is wrong when your dog starts hiccupping suddenly.
Health Issues Related To Stomach
If your dog is getting hiccups along with other health issues, then it could be an indicator that there is something else wrong with your dog. Some of these health issues are related to your dog’s stomach.
Some of these issues will include:
- Loss of appetite
- Some other gastrointestinal issues
- Blood coming out along with the stool
All these things will indicate that something might be seriously wrong with your dog’s digestive system and if you do not get it checked, these issues will just increase.
Difficulty In Breathing
If your dog experiences hiccups, then it might indicate that it is having some difficulty in breathing. This is something that should be obvious because the process of hiccupping is related to the movement of the diaphragm.
If your dog starts hiccupping and its breathing pattern changes a bit, it could be an indicator of some kind of respiratory issue. If your dog gets breathing issues, it might make your dog unable to do certain tasks like:
- Play with you
- Sleep peacefully and many more
The issues that might arise due to these respiratory problems are:
- Breathing heavily
- Change in breathing pattern
Along with some respiratory issues and issues in the digestive system of the dog, there is another issue that could be troubling your dog and you would not be able to tell what it is unless you are looking hard for the signs. If you are not looking out for them, you might notice these signs but brush them off as something that is nothing to be worried about.
One of those issues will include parasites. Along with the hiccups, the other smaller issues that can be an indication of parasites or what you will call symptoms to parasites are:
- Eating less food
- Having a very dark and hard stool
As I mentioned before, it is not normal for a dog to hiccups for more than a minute. If your dog is hiccupping for more than hours or even days, randomly, out of nowhere, and for prolonged times, it is a clear indication that it might have some serious issue.
In such a case, you should always be looking out for any kinds of discomfort that our dogs are saying because, unlike us humans, they can’t voice their thoughts and can only tell us through their actions and if we are not looking out for them, something bad could happen soon.
If your dogs show any discomfort and you do not know what might be causing it, it might be a great idea to take them to the vet and get it resolved as soon as possible.
When Should You Be Concerned?
For the most part of this article, I have been repeating that there is no need to panic in case of dog hiccups and they are normal. However, they are normal only to a certain extent. What if your dog’s hiccups don’t go away? What if these dog hiccups are trying to indicate something?
As a new pet owner or even if you already had a dog before, you might have such questions in your mind. Therefore it is important to know to what extent dog hiccups are considered normal and It’s something you should be aware of.
The normal hiccups usually last for a very short period but can also last for an hour or two. After that, hiccups ideally should go away on their own. If the dog hiccups are not fading out for a long time then it might be not just regular dog hiccups.
Also, you will be familiar with the sound of your dog’s hiccups. If you notice any abnormal breathing pattern or a wheezing sound instead of the usual sound of dog hiccups then it might be a situation to worry about.
Another symptom to spot unusual dog hiccups is vomiting accompanied by hiccups. If hiccups are paired with any other unusual activity, it is better to be aware that this is not a sign of normal hiccups.
When Do You Need To Consult A Vet?
This question might confuse a lot of people. Nobody wants to take any risk when it comes to their pets. We definitely don’t want our pets to suffer due to our ignorance. Thus it is important to know when one should consider visiting a vet in case of dog hiccups.
Where most of the dog hiccups are normal, sometimes they can be alarming too. If you ever notice your dog having difficulty breathing during hiccups, visit your nearest veterinary doctor as soon as possible.
Also, if you notice your dog is wheezing or coughing along with hiccups then these might not be the normal hiccups every dog gets. It can be a sign that your dog is choking. In such a case consulting a veterinary doctor is advised.
There are a number of home remedy options available but those should not be considered as a permanent and perfect solution. If you observe any discomfort, visit your veterinary doctor instead of hoping your dog will get well on his own.
Closure | Dog Hiccups
To conclude everything, dog hiccups aren’t a serious issue and nothing that you should be worried about. If they get these hiccups for less than a minute, it is normal. But if the hiccups continue for over an hour or keep coming back, then that might be an issue.
The hiccups in dogs might happen because of a few basic reasons. They might have gastric issues or they might be eating their food and water very fast, fast enough to not get all the food down their throat and if the food gets stuck there, it will create many more problems.
To remedy all these issues, what you can do is relax your dogs and make them eat their food slowly, for which you can make use of certain products that help dogs with that. You have to make them drink water to get them to relax their throats immediately. You can even take them out for walks.
Another thing that helps is taking out your dogs for walks. All these things will help your dog with the hiccup and if you want to prevent them from hiccupping in the future, you should keep up the practice of feeding them food and water slowly, otherwise, the issues will keep coming back.
Dog hiccups can also be an indicator of things like digestive system problems, respiratory issues, or even indicators of parasites. When these issues arise, it would be best if you took your dogs to the vet and got them checked for any serious issues.
If you can do all these things then the issue of hiccups would go away after your dog has become older than 4 or 6 months. It is important that you take care of your dogs because they are our family after all.