Oh, the hiccups! How annoying are those? Sometimes I try everything from drinking water to holding my breath for a while, but they just won’t buzz off! Don’t even get me started on that one time I got the hiccups back during a presentation at school, oh my …
But, since you’re here reading this article, you’re probably asking yourself “can dogs get hiccups?”
Can Dogs Get Hiccups? The Short Answer
The answer (much to my displeasure!) is YES, your little friend can get the hiccups just like you and I!
Why Do Dogs Get Hiccups?
For very similar reasons we humans get hiccups, really. Here are some of the most common reasons dogs get hiccups:
- Being too hungry and eating food faster than their bodies would like them to
- Drinking too quickly
- Eating food very high in grains
- When your dog is overly-excited about something and shows that by barking excessively, that will cause them to get the hiccups because of fast breathing and vast amounts of air entering their bodies.
It’s also known that younger puppies tend to get hiccups more often than older dogs, because that’s part of them growing up and maturing. As your dog typically reaches the 1 year of age mark, their hiccup episodes drastically decrease.
How To Get Rid Of Hiccups In Dogs
First of all, it must be noted that you don’t have to get all worried and interfere absolutely every single time your dog gets the hiccups. Just like we humans get the hiccups every now and then and it goes away by itself after a while (although with me, they give me a hard time!), the same thing will happen most of the times with your dog.
You must also remain calm at that time and refrain from making your dog feel as if anything is wrong, because if you panic and freak out, they will do the same, and that will only increase their anxiety and make things worse.
Only if they can’t seem to shake it off themselves after 1-2 minutes do you have to do something. Here are some tips on how you can help your dog get rid of the hiccups:
- Feed your dog low-grain foods. Since eating foods rich in grains is one of the most common reasons we get hiccups (and dogs get hiccups as well), you should focus on giving them food low in grains instead.
- Give your dog water. Remember how I told you at the beginning of this article that when I get the hiccups, I sometimes try everything (including drinking a ton of water) but they just won’t go away? Yeah, well that’s just me, apparently something’s wrong with me! 🙂 When your dog gets the hiccups, give them water to drink, it’ll make them go away most of the times. Tip: Try adding a little bit of honey, sugar or maple syrup to your dog’s water, that could help out even more.
- Calm it down a bit. As we established earlier on in the article, one of the most common reasons dogs get hiccup episodes is because of excessive excitement. So, if that’s the case and your dog is feeling all hyper, try to tone it down a bit. Help your puppy stay calm and relaxed.
- Massage your dog’s chest. This will cause their diaphragm muscles to relax and get rid of the hiccups. Diaphragm spasms are much less likely to happen when your dog’s diaphragm muscles are relaxed.
- Keep your dog physically active. Giving your dog any sort of physical activity, whether during training sessions, a few rounds of their favorite game or taking them for a walk in the park, will keep their breathing patterns in tip-top shape and keep the hiccups away.
- Distract them. If you distract your hiccup-ing dog by giving them something that will shift their focus from the hiccups (such as a toy for them to play with), you’ll have successfully disrupted their breathing rhythms, which is often times sufficient to stop the hiccups.
- Keep them warm. Sometimes, dogs have hiccups because of hypothermia, in which case you must try to slightly make them feel warmer. How? Try and get a few blankets and cover them and move them to a warmer room than the one they are currently in.
- Feed them. By giving your dog a little bit of food to eat when they have hiccups, you can also change their breathing patterns this way.
With that said, it must also be noted that some people tend to confuse dog hiccups with reverse sneezing. Check out this article all about dog sneezing and reverse sneezing so you know how to differentiate between the two.
Also, here are some videos about dogs having the hiccups, just so you know what it looks like when your dogs gets them.
When To See The Veterinarian For Help On Dog Hiccups
As with all problems that your dog might encounter during their lives, there’s a difference between minor issues that come and go naturally by themselves, and issues that require professional animal care help. One of these cases can be found when it comes to dog hiccups.
As we already established in this article, if your dog gets the hiccups every now and then for 1-2 minutes, you have nothing to worry about and it will take care of itself.
However, if you find that your dog is getting the hiccups more frequently than they should be, or that the hiccups don’t go away after a prolonged period of time (30 minutes or more), then you have to take them to the veterinarian to get professional care. Prolonged hiccup episodes that occur in increasing frequencies could be signs that your dog might be suffering from heart disease, pneumonia, pericarditis, hypothermia, asthma or other respiratory diseases, which is why you should take this issue seriously and take your dog to the veterinarian in this case.
A Note About Hiccup Medicine
When it comes to giving your dog medicine to stop hiccups, it usually isn’t required. Dog hiccups usually go away by themselves (due to the course of nature) without the need for medicinal use.
Now, if you do insist of going down the route of giving your dog medicine to stop the hiccups, DO NOT under any circumstance give your dog any medicine made for humans to cure hiccups without first getting in touch with your veterinarian about it. Doing so will put your dog at a serious health risk, even putting their life on the line. Your veterinarian will tell you all about the course of treatment for your dog from hiccups if one is needed.