If you're a first-time dog owner seeing your pooch hiccup can be alarming, and you're probably asking yourself if it's normal. Before you go running out of the door with your pup under your arm relax, dogs do get hiccups and it's perfectly normal - you shouldn't be worried.
Just like humans, dogs can suffer from hiccuping, and in almost all cases there's nothing to get yourself concerned about. However, if your pooch is getting them frequently or if they're still hiccuping continuously after 60 minutes, it might be a good idea to get your K9 buddy checked over by a vet. After a breath examination and maybe a few tests your veterinarian should be able to rule out any underlying issues that might be causing your dog to hiccup.
But again, most of the time your pup hiccuping is harmless so with that in mind let's explore some common causes and fixes for your dog’s hiccups!
Why Do Dogs Get Hiccups?
With most ailments prevention will be better than the cure and the same applies to hiccups. The cause of dog hiccups is due to an uncontrollable spasm which contracts the diaphragm muscle which causes your dog to breathe in.
As your pooch is breathing in the voice box (glottis) becomes out of sync and abruptly closes, stopping the flow of air, which in turn causes your pup to hiccup. Some experts believe these harmless spasms can actually help your puppy relieve excess stomach gas or irritation.
There are many reasons dogs can get hiccups, and some common causes can be eating or drinking too fast, spicy food, over-excitement or even stress. Certain brands of dog food can also be to blame so if you notice that your dog is suffering from hiccups soon after eating it might be a good idea to change the dog food brand or at the very least make changes to their diet and see if the hiccups persist.
When Should You Be Concerned With Hiccuping?
Even though your pup hiccuping will not be a big deal most of the time, there are some rare instances where it could be a sign of something more serious. Heat stroke, asthma, pericarditis or other respiratory defects can be potential causes of hiccuping.
If the bout of hiccups seems to last for a long time and frequently over a period of days and you've ruled out their diet as a cause you should take your pooch to your local veterinarian.
It’s worth mentioning that puppies suffer from hiccups far more frequently than adult dogs. To be honest, this isn't too surprising with all the falling, running and jumping pups do - plus, their bodies are still growing and adapting to processing solid foods.
How Do You Get Rid of Dog Hiccups?
In most cases, your dog’s hiccups will stop after a few minutes. However, if you can't wait, there are a few steps you can take to help your dog get rid of the hiccups.
If you notice the hiccups seem to be brought on with over excitement, trying calming your pooch down. First ignore your dog if they're jumping and looking for attention, once they're relaxing try to give them a gentle massage. Trust us, a gentle tummy rub will do wonders for those persistent hiccups!
Just like humans, giving your dog small sips of water can help to relieve the hiccups. It’s thought by sipping on the water you can “reset” the diaphragm and stop it from spasming which will stop the hiccups. However, be careful not to let your pup gulp down the water, remember eating or drinking too fast is a common cause of the hiccups too!
Another cure is to try to distract your dog so that their breathing pattern changes. Something as simple as a walk, or engaging in a bit of playtime will increase their breathing rate and distract them from the hiccups. In most cases, this distraction is enough to stop the hiccuping completely.
As we have mentioned previously if your dog is hiccuping for extended periods of time (an hour or more) or even days it’s best to have your pooch given a once-over by a veterinarian. If there's no underlying problem that's causing the hiccups your vet may prescribe a muscle relaxant. The prescribed medication will ease the spasming diaphragm which will eliminate the persistent hiccups.
For more information about dog hiccups read our full article How Do You Get Rid Of Dog Hiccups? which contains more helpful tips for your dog.
Relax, Dog Hiccups Are Perfectly Normal
Do dogs get the hiccups? Yes. The bottom line is that dog hiccups are harmless, and sometimes, they might even be helpful, it’s your dog's natural way of releasing gas or bloating. Most of the time the hiccups will resolve on their own and remember it’s more common for puppies to have hiccups and more often than not puppies eventually outgrow them.
As long as the hiccups are short lived and your dog doesn’t seem to be in any distress then they are best just ignored until they go of their own accord. You know your dog better than anyone else, so if you have any doubts whether your dog’s hiccups are not healthy then don’t hesitate to contact your vet so they can take a closer look.
Remember, the preferred treatment for hiccups in dogs is to let nature run its course - they will stop, eventually. However, if you cannot resist standing by and watching, a little food and drink or a bit of bonding can sometimes do the trick.
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