How to Get Rid of Dog & Puppy Hiccups

Puppy Hiccups

Can dogs get hiccups? Yes! Puppy hiccups are common as well. And in case you were wondering, it’s TOTALLY normal.

If you’re a new puppy parent or just curious about your dog’s overall health, you might have wondered why your dog gets hiccups and what it might mean for your dog’s health.

Aside from the pre-modern medicine belief that hiccups meant a growth spurt was in process, we wanted to figure out the real reason dogs hiccup for ourselves!

Fun Feeders are great to bring with you on a road trip with a dog hiccups

Why Do Dogs Experience Hiccups?

Let’s start with the basics. Put simply, hiccups are uncontrollable spasms that contract the diaphragm muscle, causing a breath in, followed by the glottis (your dog’s vocal cords) closing and stopping the intake of air — causing a hiccup.

Just like human hiccups, dogs and puppy hiccups happen because of factors like eating or drinking water too fast, having gastrointestinal upset, being overly tired from energetic play, overexcited, or even if they’re too cold! (On the other hand, they can get it from dangerous conditions like heat stroke, which needs to be taken care of immediately. See our post on heat stroke in dogs.)

According to the American Kennel Club, while there is no firm scientific proof on why these happen more in puppies than mature dogs, one theory is that “hiccups are leftover from when we were developing in utero…this might explain why hiccups are more common in puppies than adult dogs.”

Another theory is that puppy hiccuping is just a way of aiding an upset tummy or relieving gas. An almost-burp can trigger hiccups.

Though a case of the hiccups seems concerning at first, pet parents can rest easy knowing they are totally normal. Bottom line: if you have more questions or concerns about your dog’s breathing pattern, however, always ask your vet. Monitor your puppy’s breathing for anything that seems out of the ordinary.

puppy hiccups

Dogs Get Hiccups From Eating Too Fast

It is common for dogs to get hiccups/diaphragm spasms if they gobble up their meals like a vacuum. If your pup is a consistently fast eater, the habit could lead to more serious problems like digestive issues and bloat.

One of the best methods for slowing down your dog’s eating is to replace your dog bowl with a slow feeder.

Pet owners could also feed them dog food in smaller portions by putting kibble into a food puzzle or treat dispenser. Make it a game! This way they when your dog eats, they are working for their food while improving digestion.

Is It a Bout of Hiccups or Reverse Sneezing?

what does it mean when a dog sneezes

The cause of hiccups is similar to the cause of reverse sneezing. DVM Shelby Loos of PetMd explains that reverse sneezing happens when irritants enter a dog’s soft palate. It can happen to any dog breed.

“The irritation causes that soft palate muscle to spasm, which then narrows the trachea. The dog will extend their neck as they try to expand the dog’s chest to breathe, but the narrowed trachea does not allow them to inhale a full breath of air,” writes Loos.

“The dog will then forcefully attempt to inhale through their nose, which causes the dog to backward sneeze.”

With hiccups, the diaphragm contracts, but with reverse sneezing, it’s your dog’s soft palate that is affected by irritants. Reverse sneezes sound alarming to dog owners at first, but only last 30 seconds or less.

How to Get Rid of Dog & Puppy Hiccups

dog eating dog food out of slow feeder bowl

So can you help your dog get rid of a bout of hiccups? Can you prevent hiccups? We can’t know for sure, but these things may be helpful to your hiccupping pup!

Dr. Audrey J. Wystrach, co-founder of ZippiVet in Austin, Texas, told PetMD that adding a tiny spoonful of maple syrup or honey to their water might help. The goal with home remedies like this is to catch the dog off guard with the sweetness of the water, which will hopefully bring their breathing pattern back to normal.

Other methods of getting rid of puppy hiccups include:

  1. Calm breathing by helping your dog lay on its back and rub its belly.
  2. Get them some drinking water and make sure they are drinking slowly.
  3. Slow down at dinner time! Eating slowly can help prevent hiccups and bloat.

Our slow bowls come in different design patterns, colors, and sizes all made to help your dog slow down eating at mealtime, helping to prevent bloat and improve digestion! Eating slower = better pet health.


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