There are times when you might see your dog snoozing quietly and then you notice he makes a rhythmic … hic … hic … hic. Yup … Dog hiccups. Your dog might get them every now and then … and then never again. They can appear and then disappear without a trace.
So … why do dogs get hiccups?
If your dog gets hiccups, usually there’s nothing to worry about. Let’s start by taking a look at some common causes of dog hiccups and natural solutions to help get rid of them.
Are Dog Hiccups Normal?
Yes, they are. If they don’t happen that often, they’re probably nothing to be concerned about. If you’ve got an excitable dog or one who’s a gulper when he’s eating, he could get hiccups more often than other dogs. They’re just a result of your dog eating too much too fast or breathing too quickly.
If they happen often, your dog could be having trouble with food, medication or something else. For some dogs, they could be a sign of another problem such as:
- Breathing issues
- Lung issues or pneumonia
- Tumors of the esophagus
You’ll know that it’s more serious than just hiccups because your dog will have abnormal behavior and other symptoms like gasping or difficulty breathing. And if hiccups go on for more than an hour along with other symptoms, it’s time to take him to the vet to make sure there isn’t a more serious problem.
Dog Hiccups Symptoms
So what are some of the signs that your dog has hiccups? There’s basically just one … the sound.
What Do Dog Hiccups Sound Like?
If your dog has hiccups you’ll hear the same “hic” sound as in people. You may keep hearing the sound several times over.
But if your dog has other symptoms like not eating, vomiting or retching, coughing, sneezing or diarrhea, it’s something other than hiccups.
How Long Do Dog Hiccups Last?
Just like in people, hiccups only last a few minutes. They are a nuisance to people but they don’t seem to bother dogs. Sometimes they might go on for 10 to 15 minutes. But if they last longer than an hour and you notice any other symptoms, check in with your vet.
Why Do Dogs Get Hiccups?
If your dog has a simple case of hiccups there’s nothing to worry about. If you know what’s causing him to have frequent bouts of hiccups, you can try some prevention. Here are some common causes of dog hiccups.
There are two ways for your dog to release gas from his system. Hiccups are a more pleasant way. If he gets hiccups often and you think it might be because of gas, there are ways to improve his digestion and gut health to reduce the frequency of hiccups.
RELATED: How to improve your dog’s gut health …
2. Food And Diet
Sometimes you’ll hear dog hiccups after eating and that can be caused by flatulence. Monitor your dog’s eating habits to see if certain foods cause his hiccups. It may just be from eating too fast. If your dog gets into some spicy food, and he heads to the water bowl to quench his thirst, he might gulp too fast, breathe in too much air and get hiccups.
3. Prescription Drugs
Drugs like antibiotics, corticosteroids, and benzodiazepines can irritate your dog’s throat and cause hiccups.
RELATED: Natural alternatives to antibiotics for dogs …
4. Stress And Excitement
When your puppy or dog gets excited his breath can become shallow and quick and that can cause hiccups. You might also see hiccups in dogs who have separation anxiety. You’ll notice they pant a lot, and breathing in extra air can lead to hiccups.
When your dog eats or drinks too fast he can swallow too much air. That causes his diaphragm to contract and results in hiccups as your dog tries to release the extra air.
How To Get Rid Of Dog Hiccups
Dog hiccups are pretty harmless and usually resolve on their own … but if you want to help them along, here are some dog hiccups remedies you can try.
Lick Mats Or Slow Feed Dog Bowls
It will be quite evident if your dog gets hiccups from eating too fast. There are specially designed bowls and feeding mats that can slow down his eating. Then your dog takes a little longer to eat. The mats give your dog an opportunity to forage so he has to dig out his food from the crevices.
But some dogs are always in a race so you might want to break up the amount of food you feed at one time. Break his meal into 2 or 3 parts and space out each feeding by 10 minutes or so to give him time to get his breath.
Your dog might get hiccups from some stressful situations. That’s because his heart rate increases along with his breathing and makes him pant. You can do something to calm him like give him a slow massage or belly rub or rub his ears. Speak in a soothing voice close to his ear to let him know you’re nearby. Find something that will always be a calming sign that you can use regardless of whether he’s got hiccups or is agitated in other ways. Then it will always bring him reassurance.
A flower essence blend like Rescue Remedy can help your dog relax as well.
RELATED: Natural remedies for dog anxiety …
Fresh Cool Water
Hot weather or exercise can lead to hiccups so you want to provide lots of cool drinking water to calm his diaphragm and cool his body temperature. That should slow his breathing and stop the hiccups … but you want to be ready to pull away the water bowl if he starts drinking too fast and makes things worse.
When Are Dog Hiccups A Real Problem?
If your dog has hiccups for more than an hour then it’s a good idea to call your vet … and it’s especially important if your dog’s hiccups also involve trouble breathing, lethargy, obvious pain or discomfort, inability to rest, diarrhea, vomiting or any other unusual signs.