When was the last time that your dog had a bad case of the hiccups? If you can’t remember, consider yourself lucky. While academics don’t fully understand the causes of hiccups, there is no debate that they can be frustrating for both dog and owner.
To get rid of dog hiccups, you may want to try offering cold water, using a puzzle feeder, providing tummy rubs, or seeking veterinary care. In most cases, the hiccups will resolve on their own since, typically, dog hiccups aren’t a sign of illness. However, they can be irritating for both dogs and owners.
Dogs might develop a case of hiccups after eating or drinking quickly or when they are overtired. They might also start hiccuping because of strong emotions. Treating those hiccups can be challenging, but it’s not impossible. Let’s discover how to get rid of dog hiccups.
Why Do Dogs Hiccup?
Dogs develop a case of hiccups in much the same way that humans do. Generally, hiccups result from contractions or spasms in the diaphragm. The diaphragm is a parachute-shaped strip of skeletal muscles that sits just below the lungs.
This bit of tissue is essential to our ability to breathe. The same is true for dogs. When the diaphragm contracts downward, it creates an internal vacuum within the lungs. Occasionally, a person’s (or a pup’s) diaphragm might begin to convulse and contract repetitiously, similar to a muscle spasm.
When this happens, the lungs suck air in short, unexpected bursts. The result is a case of hiccups. The precise cause of hiccups is challenging to pinpoint. But there are a few activities and habits that may cause hiccuping, and we will discuss them below.
So, if you’re determined to help your dog avoid unpleasant and long-winded hiccuping, you’ll want to prevent these habits and conditions as much as possible. Naturally, you won’t always be able to keep your dog from feeling tired, stressed-out, or excited.
However, you could help them eat and drink a little more slowly. After all, rapid eating and drinking are often linked with hiccups, and it’s something that pet parents may be able to control.
Eating or Drinking Too Fast
When your dog is very thirsty, it might lap up water too quickly and swallow air. Similarly, eating very quickly could cause trapped air bubbles, which may result in hiccups.
Ensuring that your pup has constant access to clean drinking water, feeding them on a schedule, and employing handy pet products could prevent this from happening.
Yawning is a normal response to tiredness, and dogs may yawn when feeling sleepy. However, sometimes a yawn goes awry, resulting in swallowed air.
Unfortunately, trapped air might cause the diaphragm to convulse. If you spot your dog yawning and lying down, it might be best to let it catch some shut-eye.
Stress or Excitement
Dogs aren’t strangers to emotion. The emotive nature of dogs is one of the many reasons why people decide to adopt them!
However, when a pup is stressed-out or overly excited, they may begin to pant or hyperventilate. As you’ve likely guessed, this reaction can lead to a case of hiccups. Puppies are particularly prone to hiccups as a result of excitement.
Teaching a puppy how to calm down and relax will not only possibly prevent hiccups, but it can also be a great skill for them to have throughout life. Learning calming techniques and impulse control will benefit the dog for years to come.
How To Get Rid of Dog Hiccups?
Now that you’re familiar with some of the causes of dog hiccups, you can turn your eyes toward potential solutions and remedies. Fortunately, there are quite a few things that dog owners can do to help mitigate hiccuping.
In many cases, a case of hiccups will resolve itself without any intervention. However, if you’ve noticed that your dog has been hiccuping for several hours, you may want to try offering water or a nice tummy rub.
If those options don’t work for you, a trip to the vet might be the wisest solution. Although rare, frequent hiccuping could be a sign of asthma, pneumonia, or stroke. Still, sometimes dogs just hiccup because they got excited and swallowed some air!
At the very least, your veterinarian should be able to offer advice about your pup’s condition. For example, if they’re eating too quickly, your vet might suggest a puzzle eater. Remember, the simplest solutions are often the most effective.
So before you take your dog to the nearest veterinary clinic, try offering them a nice bowl of cold water. You may be surprised to find that their hiccups immediately disappear.
Drinking water too quickly can contribute to the onset of hiccups. However, it might also be part of the solution.
When your dog laps up cold water from a drinking dish, the liquid travels down its esophagus. As it flows, it produces a cooling effect. Because dogs generally have a long esophagus, this cold water will pass between the lungs and the diaphragm.
The cool temperature may cause the diaphragm to contract momentarily, locking it into place. As the pup’s body temperature warms the diaphragm up again, it may relax and function normally. Cold water isn’t a guaranteed remedy, but it may work for you and your dog. And there’s absolutely no risk in providing water.
If your dog’s case of hiccups began with rapid drinking or eating, you might be able to prevent future episodes by changing their food bowl. Puzzle eaters are a smart, convenient solution to fast eating.
Employ a Puzzle Eater Bowl
There’s a reason why some dogs wolf down their food—they’re descended from wolves! Notably, wolves live in communities known as packs. These communities function via hierarchical structures and societal rules.
When your dog is around another dog, they may begin to exhibit behaviors more commonly seen in their wild ancestors. This includes eating quickly. In nature, those who can consume the most food are the ones who grow strong enough to mate and survive.
When your dog spots another dog during feeding time, they may overeat out of a feeling of competition, dominance, or survival. Some dogs inhale their food even without pressure from a nearby packmate. This behavior has left many pet parents searching for solutions.
Fortunately, there are quite a few ways to get your dog to slow down during dinnertime. One of the most popular solutions is a puzzle eater or slow feeder. Unlike traditional food bowls, these bowls make the food in them challenging to access. Your dog might need to navigate tight spirals that make it impossible to eat very much in a single bite.
That’s certainly the case with the Outward Hound Fun Feeder Slo Bowl. Though it’s large enough to hold up to two cups of dry dog food, there’s no way your pup will be able to snarf it all up in a matter of minutes. Instead, they’ll have to take their time and work hard to lick, bite, and shake kibbles from this uniquely designed food dish.
There are also bowls which slow down your dog’s water intake if they are heavy gulpers. The UPSKY Slow Water Feeder Bowl works well and also prevents spills from sloppy drinkers.
Provide Tummy Rubs
Your dog’s diaphragm is located just below their lungs, right around the abdomen. If you’re concerned about a case of doggie hiccups, you might want to lay your dog down and give them a nice tummy rub.
The physical act of massaging the muscles in your dog’s abdomen could be enough to help the diaphragm relax. It’s also a great way to connect with your pup and show them how much you love them! When your dog feels relaxed, calm, and happy, they’re less likely to develop hiccups. Not many dogs will refuse this “treatment.”
Puppies often get hiccups after eating or drinking too fast, when they are excited, or when they are tired.
Although scientists don’t know exactly why dogs and other mammals hiccup, some suspect that it goes back to the womb, where hiccuping may be how in utero animals start using and developing their breathing muscles before birth.
And just as babies need to be burped often, puppies get hiccups more frequently than adult dogs, which may indicate that gas from the tummy may be a factor as well in puppy hiccups.
What if Dog Hiccups Don’t Go Away?
If your poor dog just can’t seem to stop hiccuping, it might be time for a visit to a veterinarian. Occasional or short-lived hiccups are quite typical, but if your puppy hiccups often or for extended periods, it could be a sign of a more serious issue.
If your dog is experiencing other symptoms in addition to the hiccups, this can be another reason to visit a vet. Symptoms that may be signs of potentially serious issues include: trouble breathing, wheezing, coughing, vomiting, constipation, diarrhea, and blood in the stool.
If you have a puppy with hiccups that is also lethargic, it could mean the pup has intestinal worms. Digestive issues also often accompany these parasites.
Although we all hate vet bills, seeking veterinary advice can be very helpful. Don’t be afraid to reach out to your dog’s vet if you feel concerned about their hiccuping sessions.
When a dog develops a case of hiccups, it might be because they’ve eaten too fast, lapped up water too quickly, gotten overtired, or been dealing with powerful emotions. Of course, they might develop hiccups out of the blue, for no apparent reason.
In most cases, hiccups aren’t a cause of concern. They can, however, be annoying and frustrating for your dog. To get rid of them, try offering some cold water or use a puzzle feeder to slow down your dog’s eating. You might also provide some tummy rubs. If something doesn’t feel right, contact your veterinarian for advice.