If your puppy has the hiccups or if they are hiccupping too much, you may be wondering why it’s happening and what you can do about it. Just like humans, dogs get the hiccups too. It can be cute and entertaining when your puppy has hiccups, but if it is persistent or if it occurs too often, it’s probably rather frustrating for both you and the puppy.
Puppy hiccups may be a result of your pooch’s excitement, which may have caused him to gobble down his food too fast, or consumed water too fast. This exuberance when it comes to eating and drinking causes them to swallow a lot of air, which is why you may notice that hiccups often occur after feeding time, and possibly during naptime. Puppies can also get hiccups when they’re very excited, tired, or when they get too cold.
Unfortunately, there isn’t much the puppy can do about it. It relies on you as their caretaker to help them out. Here’s why puppies get hiccups, and some tips on how to get rid of them.
Causes of Puppy Hiccups
Hiccups occur in dogs due to the involuntary contractions of the diaphragm. The diaphragm is a sheet of internal skeletal muscle that is found between the chest and the abdomen. This is muscles plays a significant role in respiration.
When a canine inhales, the diaphragm muscle in turn contracts and moves downward, creating more room in the chest cavity for the lungs to fill up with air. When a dog exhales, the diaphragm relaxes and moves upward. These movements are normally smooth and regular, but when the diaphragm suddenly spasms, it results in a hiccup.
The spasm motion causes the glottis (the opening that is located between the vocal cords) to close abruptly, resulting in a “hic” sound.
Scientists are yet to come up with an explanation for why dogs, humans, and other mammals hiccup. One theory suggests that hiccups are a vestigial reflex many puppies have from when they were developing in utero.
Fetal hiccups have been shown to occur in many mammalian species. Some experts believe that hiccupping while still in the womb could be a way for the fetus to test-drive its breathing muscles. This theory might explain why hiccupping episodes are much more likely to occur in puppies than in adult dogs.
Another theory suggests that hiccups occur in some puppies as a way of relieving gas or an upset stomach.
Hiccups are often brought on by a combination of drinking or eating too fast and swallowing too much air. Hiccups may also occur when a puppy is stressed or excited, or when they inadvertently inhale an irritant. Rapid breathing and energetic jumping and running around can also bring on hiccups in your pooch.
Is It Normal for My Puppy to Have Hiccups Every Day?
It is normal for your puppy to have hiccups every day, as long as they eventually go away. The condition is much more common in puppies than in adult canines. Most dogs will likely experience hiccups at least once when they’re young.
Additionally, if your puppy has high energy and excitement levels, they’re more likely to drink or eat too fast, which will further impact their breathing. This could in turn result in them having hiccups after feeding time or during naptime. That said, if you’re concerned about your little pooch’s hiccupping, consider consulting your vet for your peace of mind.
What Do Puppy Hiccups Sound Like?
Puppy hiccups are quite similar to human hiccups – the involuntary contraction of the diaphragm combined with the sudden closure of the glottis results in the characteristic “hiccup” sound that you might be familiar with. At times, you might just notice the spasm and not hear anything at all.
Reverse sneezes are often confused for hiccups, but they are different. Additionally, reverse sneezes tend to occur when a dog sucks in air vigorously through his/her nose.
How Long Do Puppy Hiccups Last?
Puppy hiccups can last anywhere from a couple of seconds to up to 30 minutes. There is no need to worry if the hiccup episodes last less than an hour. However, if they persist, or are chronic, you will want to consult your vet – occasionally, hiccups in dogs could be an indication of a more serious health condition.
Here are a few potential causes of hiccups that could be a cause for concern:
In some cases, hiccups could be an indication that your dog has parasites. If your pooch has chronic hiccups that are accompanied by vomiting or diarrhea, you need to take him/her to the vet.
Worms such as roundworms or heartworms can cause a lot of issues in a dog’s respiratory tract, which may cause the diaphragm to suddenly spasm and result in hiccupping.
Sneezing, coughing, discharge from the nose, or wheezing on top of hiccups in dogs should be a cause for concern. Canines are susceptible to respiratory conditions such as bronchitis and pneumonia, which can be life-threatening if the symptoms are not caught early enough.
The symptoms of gastric problems being the primary cause of your dog’s hiccups are quite similar to that of a parasite problem. Hiccupping will often be accompanied by diarrhea, vomiting, constipation, and/or blood in the stool.
Overexertion, particularly on hot days, could also trigger hiccups in dogs. Heat-stroke is a potentially life-threatening condition that could affect any dog, but dogs with dark coats, and brachycephalic dogs such as French bulldogs, English bulldogs, and Chinese pugs, are especially susceptible to this
Some dogs tire pretty quickly, even with a mild walk. They may experience heavy breathing even with light exercises, which may result in hiccups. In such cases, it is important to inform your vet so that they can check for potential underlying medical conditions.
Do Hiccups Hurt Dogs?
Although hiccupping can be frustrating and annoying to your furry friend, they don’t hurt. They might surprise a dog, but they don’t cause pain. Keep in mind that hiccups in most cases are harmless and will typically go away on their own.
Why Does My Dog Make Hiccup Noises While Sleeping?
A dog might sometimes hiccup in its sleep as a way of expelling an abnormal build-up of gas in the stomach. This is likely to be the case especially if the pooch has a meal right before going to bed.
In other cases, hiccup noises while sleeping could mean that your dog isn’t getting enough air. This shouldn’t be an immediate cause for worry, but if it persists, make sure you consult with your vet.
Puppies may also experience hiccups while sleeping after a long day of play. This is because their bodies may still be trying to catch up with themselves, resulting in sleep hiccups.
How to Stop a Puppy from Hiccups?
In most cases, you don’t have to do anything to stop hiccups – they usually go away on their own. Still, after getting over how adorable your puppy’s hiccups are, you might want to do something to help.
What Not to Do
There are many old wives’ theories and folklore remedies on how to stop hiccups.
Some claim that startling your puppy might put a stop to the hiccups. This technique might work for some humans, but when it comes to pups, all you will be doing is giving them an unnecessary fright, which can lead to increased anxiety when you’re around them, as well as mistrust and behavioral problems. Furthermore, startling your pooch on a hard, slippery surface can result in an injury.
Another technique to avoid is to pull your dog’s tongue to stop the hiccups. This will only scare them and cause them to be highly mistrustful the next time you need to check their teeth or mouth.
Finally, you might have heard that feeding your puppy a spoonful of sugar will get the hiccup stop. However, there is no science to back this claim, plus sugar has very little nutritional value and may also cause an upset stomach and other issues.
What You Can Do
Some helpful things that you can do for your puppy during hiccupping spells include:
1. Encourage Your Puppy to Drink Water
Just like with humans, drinking fresh water can help put a stop to hiccupping. Just make sure that they drink the water calmly and slowly.
2. Calm Your Dog’s Breathing
When your pup gets too excited and starts to hiccup, try and get him/her to relax and steady his breathing. Have your pooch lay down on his back and give him a slow, gentle belly rub to relax the agitated muscles as well as calm the irregular breathing.
3. Slow Down His Eating
Hiccups can sometimes occur when a puppy starts wolfing down his food. In addition to hiccups, eating too quickly can cause problems such as choking, vomiting, and gagging. Here are some strategies on how you can slow down your puppy’s eating:
- Invest in slow-feeders
Consider buying these plastic maze-shaped bowls that will force your puppy to eat his/her food slowly.
- Come up with a feeding schedule
Instead of giving a large single meal, opt to give several small feeds in a day. This will reduce the risk of your puppy gorging himself on large amounts of food as fast as possible, which can cause hiccups.
- If you have more than one dog, feed them separately
If you have several dogs, they may feel to eat very quickly during feeding time so that no one can take their food away from them. If this is the case, consider feeding them separately, as they will be more relaxed and slow down their eating.
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