Everything You Need To Know About Dog Hiccups

Happy corgi outside with tongue out

Hiccups are an undoubtedly annoying natural occurrence we must deal with from time to time. While some people suffer from hiccups more than others – we've all been there. And whether you're aware of it or not, dog hiccups are very much a thing – and they are every bit as annoying to them as they are to us. Of course, because are a natural part of life – dog hiccups included – it can be helpful to understand what they are, where they come from, and when to consider them problematic.

Dog hiccups, while an annoying and uncomfortable occurrence to your pup, is completely normal much like it is with humans. Whether it be a puppy or an adult dog, this disruption in their breathing pattern can come out of nowhere, and for seemingly no reason. And much like a human hiccup, a hiccup episode is not necessarily indicative of poor dog health. But what are hiccups? What causes a dog hiccup and what can be done to prevent it on the behalf of a dog owner? Hiccups are involuntary contractions of a dog's diaphragm – the muscle that separates the chest and abdomen. And from swallowing too much air to a simple case of diaphragm irritation – many things can cause a hiccup spell in your pup.

While Pawlicy says puppy hiccups are almost always non-threatening, persistent hiccups or chronic hiccups can be a sign of something deeper. For example, abnormal hiccups might be symbolic of an underlying medical condition. While rare, everything from parasites and heatstroke to respiratory issues, Pericarditis, and hypothermia can cause canine hiccups. So, as a pet owner, if you suspect your dogs' hiccups might be the sign of something serious, a quick trip to the veterinarian never hurts. in the meantime, here is everything you need to know about dog hiccups so you might put your mind at ease the next time your furbaby has a hiccup episode.

Here's Everything You Need To Know About Dog Hiccups

Dogs get hiccups – it's as simple as that. And while a hiccup bout might be scary if you're new to pet ownership, occasional hiccups are nothing to stress about. However, as a dog owner, it is natural for you to worry about their health, no matter if it's a younger or older dog. The thin, strong muscle known as the diaphragm is primarily responsible for breathing, and its movements are usually smooth and regular. But when you hear your puppy hiccup, that means the diaphragm is experiencing a spasm. Naturally, this reflex in the chest cavity is quite bothersome for them. In the spirit of being a caring and supportive pet parent – here's what you can do for your puppy's hiccups, what they mean, and when you should start to worry.

Hiccups Do Not Hurt Your Dog

According to PetMD, hiccups do not pose any threat to your dog in terms of pain or long-term stress. Although they might not be able to speak to us, you can tell from a dogs' behavior that a hiccup spell is little more than simply uncomfortable for them. And if they were in pain at any point of their hiccup episode, you can trust in the fact that they would let you know. While most of the time, any occurrences of dog hiccups only last a few seconds to a couple of minutes, bouts of prolonged hiccups can be a big source of annoyance for your dog – and might even be indicative of something bigger.

Ultimately, taking the time to comfort your dog when they are in the midst of a hiccup episode can make a big difference, and it's the best thing you can do. And while your mere presence may not get rid of their hiccups, letting them know you're by their side is always a good idea no matter what issue they might be facing. As a pet owner, unfortunately, there isn't much else you can do when it comes to hiccups – unless there's a larger issue at play. In which case, it's always best to seek guidance from your local veterinarian.

Puppies are More Prone To Getting Hiccups

Whether you're already a dog parent to a young pup or you're looking to adopt your first puppy, beware that puppy hiccups are not just normal and commonplace – Daily Paws says they are more likely to occur, and more often as well. Again, this is true for both dogs and human babies. But why? What is it exactly that causes a puppy to hiccup so often? Because pet owners are often vigilant in tracking the behavior of a new furry family member, it can be helpful to understand puppy hiccups so you don't find yourself panicking the next time your dog's diaphragm muscle starts to spasm.

Simply put, a puppy is more prone to getting hiccups due to high levels of excitement. Moreover, from eating and drinking too quickly to gas occurring in the form of hiccups, there are many reasons a puppy experiences hiccups more often than an adult dog. Some experts even believe these hiccups are leftover from when your pup was in utero! So, the next time your puppy finds itself dealing with the uncontrollable spasm known as a hiccup, you can rest at ease knowing this is a common occurrence that doesn't warrant further monitoring or a trip to the dreaded vet.

What Are Common Symptoms of Puppy Hiccups?

As a pet parent, it's important you are aware of how your pup is doing, both physically and mentally. And while it's not necessary for you to monitor their every move, when dogs get hiccups, it's not always obvious that that's what is happening. Because while human hiccups have that signature 'hic' sound when they occur, this is not always the case for dogs. In fact, The Labrador Site says while they might make this sound or something similar, they might not make a sound at all. Alternatively, their hiccups might include this sound accompanied by a burp and spasm.

As mentioned previously, dog hiccups are not unlike human hiccups. But in case you were wondering about a dogs hiccup symptoms, the following are what to look for: a sharp contraction or spasm of the diaphragm felt below the breastbone, the instance of air being involuntarily sucked into the throat, a closing epiglottis that makes the signature 'hic' sound, and their conclusion after just a few short minutes. If this doesn't describe your dog's hiccups, you might be dealing with something else entirely. But in the end, knowing what to look for can save you a lot of time and money.

You Can Help Get Rid of Dog Hiccups

As a human being, you are likely aware that stopping this involuntary contraction of the diaphragm is not an easy task. However, there are many methods for stopping hiccups – although the ones we're familiar with are not all applicable to dogs. According to the American Kennel Club, however, there are various methods out there for stopping dog hiccups. And adding a few of these methods to your arsenal gives you, the pet parent, the tools you need to help calm your dog in times of discomfort or confusion. So, what are some ways to stop or prevent dog hiccups?

One of the first methods for putting a stop to a dog's hiccups is to try and calm irregular breathing. In fact, by helping your pup's breathing pattern become more steady and rhythmic, their hiccups become a thing of the past. You can do this by laying them on their back and giving them a tummy rub. This can ultimately help their hiccups subside. Otherwise, providing them with plenty of water is an excellent method – much like it is for humans. Finally, because hurried eating can often influence hiccups, slowing down their eating makes a big difference. While this sounds less than easy, a food puzzle is a great tool for doing just that.

A Dogs Breathing Pattern Can Be Interrupted By Various Factors

According to TPLOinfo, As your dog inhales, it is the job of the diaphragm to contract and relocate downward in order to make room for the lungs to expand within the chest cavity. The diaphragm then relaxes and moves back upward into the chest cavity as the air is exhaled. When the diaphragm suffers an involuntary spasm, however, this regular breathing pattern becomes interrupted. But what causes this to happen? What are some common factors that cause dogs to have hiccups?

Rover lists a bounty of reasons a dog might incur hiccups. Some of these causes include drinking water or consuming their dog food too quickly. And while many are aware of these causes, there are lesser-known reasons a puppy can get the hiccups including increased levels of excitement and stress, rapid breathing, or anything else that causes excess air to get trapped in the lungs. And while there's not much you can do as a pet parent to stop dog hiccups altogether – there are definitely methods for reducing the frequency of canine hiccups, including monitoring their eating and drinking, and keeping them from too much stress.

When Should You Be Concerned About Dog Hiccups?

As we shared earlier on, dogs get hiccups and it's entirely normal. However, sometimes, dog hiccups can be symptomatic of a larger medical issue. But how can you know? And when is it time to get a second opinion about this seemingly normal occurrence? After all, knowing what to look for in normal and abnormal hiccups can save you a lot of time and worry, as well as tell you when to get them checked out in case there is a larger problem involved.

For starters, a typical hiccup episode in dogs is only going to last anywhere from a few seconds to a couple of minutes. So, if your dog is hiccupping for more than an hour or so, you might want to contact a vet. Otherwise, if their breathing pattern becomes further interrupted and the hiccups turn from the usual 'hic' to a wheezing sound, it might be time to sound the alarm. Finally, when a dog's hiccups are accompanied by other symptoms, including sneezing, coughing, or discharge from the nose – this could mean they're suffering more than just hiccups and you'll want to get them seen by a professional as soon as possible.

Dog Hiccups Can Occur for Several Different Reasons

While we touched on this topic earlier on in this article, there are many influencing factors behind dog hiccups and hiccups in general. And when you understand and can identify these different causes, it becomes easier to both monitor dog health and take the necessary actions toward keeping them happy, healthy, and comfortable – as well as hiccup-free as much as possible. While you will never be able to prevent hiccups from occurring entirely, there are certainly ways to lessen their frequency as we discussed prior. So, what are the reasons why a dog might get hiccups?

Outward Hound outlines several different reasons why your dog gets hiccups – take a look. First, the more common causes behind canine hiccups include them eating or drinking too fast. And while most dogs are fast eaters, this causes air to get trapped in the diaphragm, ultimately causing that dreaded diaphragm spasm. AKC Pet Insurance states that by incorporating something like a slow feeder or food puzzle and watching their water intake, this cause can be eliminated. Furthermore, gas and gastrointestinal, rapid breathing, increased levels of stress and excitement, and over-exertion during play are also contributing factors that can result in canine hiccups.

What Do Normal Hiccups Look Like?

Just as it's important to recognize abnormal hiccups, being able to identify your dog's normal hiccup can be incredibly useful and ultimately reduce any unnecessary stress or worry. So, what do normal dog hiccups look like? Do they sound just like a human hiccup? The short answer is yes and no. While dog hiccups are often easy to recognize, sharing the same qualities as our hiccups, other times they can look and sound quite different.

As you know, normal hiccups have that signature sound or 'hic' that gets triggered when swallowing too much air. While humans almost always make this sound – dogs do not. So, their hiccups might be rather quiet or even accompanied by a burp-like sound instead. But what do they look like? If you suspect your dog might have the hiccups but they are relatively silent, you can be sure by watching their movements. For example, a dog with hiccups will often appear to jerk or shift, most noticeably their chest might 'jump' or shake each time a dog hiccup occurs. Again, the Veterinarians site says as long as they aren't exerting more of a wheeze along with coughing, sneezing, or producing discharge – you've got nothing to worry about.

What if Your Dog Experiences Reverse Hiccups or Reverse Sneezing?

We know what you're thinking – we're talking about dog hiccups here, so what does reverse sneezing have to do with anything? Furthermore, what the heck is reverse hiccups? Chances are, while you may have experienced them, you might not be aware they are occurring. For starters, reverse sneezing is another term for reverse hiccups, and it can be quite an uncomfortable thing for your dog to deal with. Cascade Hospital for Animals explains a reverse sneeze or hiccup as something that can happen when a dog inhales air rapidly, rather than exhaling as they would with a normal sneeze. And it typically happens when their nose or throat is irritated, causing another sort of spasm to happen. But what can be done when this happens?

Unlike regular dog hiccups, reverse hiccups or reverse sneezing can actually be stopped in their tracks with a little help from you, the pet parent. So, the next time your pup shows signs of reverse hiccupping, you'll be prepared. These signs can include loud snorting noises, coughing or choking, and the usual hiccup indicators you normally see in your dog. To help your dog if you think they might be suffering reverse hiccups, simply plug their nostrils gently and lightly massage their throat. Common factors that might trigger instances of reverse sneezing or hiccups include pollen, smoke, dust mites, and the like.

Now that you've read everything you need to know about dog hiccups, you hopefully understand them a bit better. From what they are to where they come from and what they mean – the issue really isn't so complicated. However, taking the time to learn more about dog health and dog hiccups specifically, gives you and your dog the best chance at a long healthy life. Because not only do you now know what to look for, but you also understand what causes hiccups and when you should be concerned. In the end, your furbaby will thank you for your love and concern.

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