Do Dogs Get The Hiccups?

Dogs, and especially puppies, do get hiccups. In fact they are extremely common in puppies. They can be caused by stress, excitement, or even by certain medications. They usually disappear without the dog or puppy needing any kind of treatment, but if they don’t disappear quickly, you can try a few home remedies to help your dog.

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What are hiccups?

Hiccups happen when the dog’s diaphragm makes a spasm. The diaphragm is a muscular partition that separates the dog’s chest from the abdomen. When it clutches in a spasm, for whatever reason, the air rushes into the dog’s lungs. Once it goes into the lungs quickly, it can affect the dog’s vocal cords and causes the typical hiccup sound.

Hiccups can last just a couple of minutes or they can go on for hours sometimes.

Why do dogs get hiccups?

Hiccups are not usually a cause for concern since the underlying cause is not serious. Sometimes a dog can get hiccups if they eat something that disagrees with them, such as something spicy; if they eat too fast; if they inhale something irritating such as smoke or chemicals; or if the dog’s temperature is lowered. As already mentioned, stress, excitement, and some medications such as muscle relaxants can also cause hiccups.

Other causes of hiccups can be health-related. For example, a dog with pneumonia, asthma, or other respiratory problems can develop hiccups. A dog that has a stroke or pericarditis can also experience hiccups.

Home remedies

If your dog has hiccups because his body temperature has become too low (hypothermia), you will need to warm him gradually. Put him in a warm room near a heater and put some blankets on him.

If your dog has hiccups and it’s not due to a health problem, you can try some home remedies. Giving your dog some water can sometimes help the hiccups dissipate. You can also add some honey, maple syrup, or sugar to the water. Yes, this is the same home remedy that people often use.

You can also massage your dog’s chest. This can help relax the diaphragm muscles and help the hiccups go away.

You can try to show your dog a toy in order to distract him. Getting his mind off the hiccups will often help the dog relax and help them go away.

If your dog has hiccups for more than a few hours, you should take him to the vet. There might be an underlying condition causing them. If your vet doesn’t find an underlying cause, he or she will probably give your dog medication to help loosen the diaphragm and the hiccups should stop.

In extremely rare cases, if the hiccups won’t stop, your vet might recommend surgery on the phrenic nerve to make the diaphragm relax. This is extremely rare.

Remember that hiccups are quite ordinary in dogs, especially in puppies. Try usually go away without any treatment. If they don’t go away on their own, try some of the home remedies suggested here.

Carlotta Cooper

Carlotta is a long-time contributing editor for the weekly dog show magazine Dog News. She's also the author of The Dog Adoption Bible, the Dog Writers Association of America Award winner for 2013. In addition, she's written Canine Cuisine: 101 Natural Dog Food & Treat Recipes to Make Your Dog Healthy and Happy.

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