As humans, we experience hiccups quite a lot of times in our life. It’s a normal bodily function, even though most of us don’t understand why it happens. But there is one thing in common in all of our mentalities: we don’t think hiccups are dangerous or that they indicate something. They just happen.
But when it comes to our furry little pets we tend to get worried, as this is much rarer in their cases and we are not used to it at all. So if you are a concerned pet owner who wants the best for their dog, then keep reading, because we will tell you everything you need to know about the matter.
What can cause hiccups in dogs?
There are a lot of things, but in most cases, it’s stress or excitement. Dogs can easily be overwhelmed by their emotions, therefore they are much more prone to a bout of hiccups. If you suspect that your dog is getting the hiccups because they are currently experiencing some form of mental overload, or they have what sounds like reverse sneezes, then the solution is very simple. You need to calm them down.
But if your pet inhales some kind of irritant, then it can also cause hiccups. This can be anything from pollen to dirt, so there really is no reason to worry, unless you think that your dog might be allergic to something like that (see apoquel alternatives for dogs). You can determine this by closely watching when they get the hiccups.
Another thing that might cause these doggie hiccups is if your puppy is eating or drinking too quickly. There are tools to make sure your doesn’t eat or drink too fast. We like these puzzle dog bowls.
And of course, anything that has to do with rapid breathing. If your puppy plays around for a long amount of time or likes to run, then their diaphragm might malfunction, which can result in hiccups. When this happens, their breathing pattern becomes different from usual, as their diaphragm moves quicker and less smoothly. This results in small gasps for air instead of long inhales.
Thankfully though, this is mostly common in puppies, as their respiratory system isn’t as used to extensive exercise. It isn’t dangerous and your puppy won’t be harmed.
Dogs don’t experience hiccups as often as humans. For some of them, it only happens once in a lifetime. But be aware that puppies are much more prone to this than adult dogs because they have more energy and excitement.
How can I help my dog with their hiccups?
In most cases, interference isn’t necessary. The hiccups aren’t dangerous and they pose no harm to your dog. But there is still a good chance that you want to help them because you too get exasperated when it happens to you.
First of all, dogs don’t mind hiccups as much as we do. They get much more distressed from vomiting and coughing because these cause legitimate pain and are a symptom of a more serious disease. If you don’t do anything to help your dog, nothing bad will happen. The hiccups will just pass and your pet will go on with their life with no problem.
If you still want to interfere, then you can. There are a couple of methods that you can use and all of them are perfectly safe and can be done by anyone.The first one is by feeding your dog something sweet (anything that doesn’t require too much chewing, as it can make them choke) or sweetening their drinking water. This can be done with honey or maple syrup, but some people like to use Karo syrup as well. Although, you can even dissolve some sugar in their water if you can’t find any of these things. The goal of this method is to distract the dog from the hiccups, which can help them relax. You should make sure that you are not using anything “sugar-free”, though, because most of those products contain xylitol. A chemical that could potentially even kill your pet.
But there is a good chance that your dog is too excited about drinking or eating. Hence why they are getting hiccups. If that’s the case, then you need to calm them down. You can do this by cuddling with them or petting them. Make sure to not include play and excitement, because if they see that you are up for it then they will get even more exhilarated. Most of the time even this will be enough for the hiccups to stop, so you might not even need the sweetness.
The third method of getting rid of dog hiccups is something that not many people use. Mainly because they are afraid of hurting their pet, even though it is completely safe. All you need to do is massage their chest, which can help relax the diaphragm. You can look up tutorials for this. Although the process is quite simple. You just need to gently, but firmly pet your dog, while making sure that you are not pushing down too hard.
When is a vet needed?
Vets don’t appreciate calls if the situation is not serious, as it can potentially take away time from an emergency. Therefore, you need to know when the hiccups are getting out of hand.
If your dog doesn’t have an already existing condition, then you need to wait for a couple of hours. We recommend that you try the methods mentioned above, then wait for at least an hour. If they persist, then it’s time to visit the vet, as the hiccups can be the symptom of a much more serious condition. Like heatstroke, asthma or pneumonia. But there are several other respiratory defects that could potentially cause hiccups.
Puppy hiccups are perfectly normal, so you shouldn’t jump to conclusions. Try to calm down your pet first and if you still don’t notice an improvement, then it’s time to take them to the vet. This usually isn’t needed, though, so don’t be too worried.