Like humans, dogs can also have hiccups, and there has been no valid reason why mammals hiccup. If you are a new pet owner and your dog starts hiccupping, you will be extremely worried because you have no idea that they also hiccup. Dog hiccups can be very uncomfortable and pleasant for the dog.
Dog hiccups are completely normal, it occurs when there is a contraction in the diaphragm, so instead of the smooth breathing pattern (inhaling and exhaling), there is a short, involuntary spasm. There are simple remedies for hiccups, but the dog should see a vet if it lasts for a long time.
Dog hiccups are a usual occurrence, and most times will be resolved within a few minutes. The funny sound produced coupled with your dog jumping with every hic is enough to get any pet owner worried.
Why Do Dog Get Hiccups Out Of Nowhere
Scientists are yet to discover the exact trigger or cause of hiccups in mammals, but we know a few things about hiccups in dogs. Once the diaphragm is irritated, it relaxes and contracts in a short, involuntary spasm, causing hiccups to occur. The diaphragm is a thin muscle separating the chest cavity from the abdomen.
A hiccup is a small spasm, resulting in slight movements and a quick noise with a “hic” sound. They are an involuntary occurrence and impossible to control. When dog hiccups occur, the diaphragm contracts, and the vocal chords close quickly, resulting in the hic sound.
The most common cause of hiccup is when a dog eats its food or drinks too fast. When this happens, the dog will ingest air with the water or food, and after a few minutes or seconds, it starts hiccupping. Another cause can be stress or general excitement.
Another thing dog owners are worried about is if hiccups can hurt dogs. Although they cannot speak, you can tell that hiccups do not hurt dogs, except for the discomfort it causes. Hiccups are annoying, especially when it lasts for a long time, so you need to keep the dog calm during this period.
Any sign of anxiety, stress, or pain can make the hiccup last longer than it should be. Other causes of hiccups in dogs are stomach gas, medications, and spicy foods. Medicine like benzodiazepines, corticosteroids, and antibiotics can trigger hiccups in dogs.
These medicines can irritate the esophagus and result in acid reflux. When your dog eats spicy meals, it can also have hiccups. Spicy foods and treats cause stomach gas and excessive thirst. This will cause the dogs to drink water quickly, which will result in hiccups.
Chili and capsaicin, an ingredient in spicy food, foster neuron activity in the diaphragm, which will cause contractions and hiccups. Hiccups are the way the body eliminates excess stomach gas. When a dog is excited or stressed, it takes shallower and shorter breaths, then it breathes with its chest instead of the diaphragm.
However, hiccups can also be caused by underlying medical issues like bronchitis, asthma, heat stroke, pneumonia, respiratory defects, pericarditis, and esophageal tumors. If a dog has been hiccupping for more than an hour, you should take it for a medical checkup.
Should I Be Worried If My Dog Is Hiccupping?
As a pet owner, you should know that hiccups occur in every mammal; this includes primates, felines, canines, etc. So, there is no reason for you to be worried when your dog hiccups, except it has been ongoing for a couple of hours.
How To Get Rid Of Dog Hiccups
A normal hiccup will last for about 10 to 15 minutes if the dog is calm and relaxed; if not, it can last for about an hour. Although dog hiccups are no reason for concern and worry, it makes your dog uncomfortable, so you need to get rid of the discomfort.
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Give Your Dog Milk
You can give your dog milk to deal with hiccups, especially if it has just consumed spicy foods. Ensure the milk you give the dog contains casein (a protein that breaks the capsaicin in spicy meals down, preventing it from irritating the diaphragm). So, if you have a dog or a couple of dogs as a pet, you should always have fresh milk containing casein.
Related post: My Dog Is Shaking: Common Causes of Shaking In Dogs
Give Your Dog Bread, Grains, Or Rice
Another way of getting rid of dog hiccups is by giving your dog food like bread, grains, or rice. These meals help eliminate the hiccups that can swell in the dog’s stomach and cause distention. These meals place pressure on the diaphragm, preventing the occurrence of hiccups.
Calm The Dog Down
A dog experiencing hiccups must remain calm to deal with it. You can calm your dog down by making it lie down and giving it belly rubs. This slows down the dog’s breathing pattern, bringing it to a steady rhythm. This short process is also effective in calming a dog with separation anxiety.
Give The Dog Water
You can also give your dog a cool drink to soothe it and deal with hiccups, although this is only effective if diaphragm irritation is the cause of the hiccups. When a dog experiencing hiccups drinks water, the breathing pattern is restored to normal, and the temperature is reduced.
Slow Feeder Bowls
A good way of reducing the risks of your dog having hiccups is to reduce the pace at which it eats. You can use a slow feeder bowl to prevent the dog from eating too quickly. This method will help you control the dog’s food intake and reduce extra pounds, which can cause more serious health issues.
Giving your dog liquid sweets is another effective way of treating dog hiccups. You can use maple syrup or honey to calm your dog down. The sweetness in the sweets distracts the dog from focusing on overexertion and stress. You should not give the dog solid sweets; they can choke the dog. Sugar-free products containing xylitol should be avoided as they are fatal to the dog.
Also Read: Why Does My Dog Drink A Lot Of Water?
Why Does My Dog Get Hiccups When He Wakes Up?
There are three reasons why a dog will get hiccups when it wakes up: nervousness, excitement, and feeding habits. We will look at these three and how they cause hiccups in dogs.
When your dog wakes up nervous, it can get hiccups. Nervousness causes irregular breathing patterns in dogs, resulting in hiccups. A dog will get nervous in a new environment or around new people; so, if you just bought a dog, you should not be worried about the hiccups; it is normal. After adjustments, it will end.
If a dog wakes up with excitement, it can also get hiccups. This is common in puppies; when they are up from bed and start dashing around in excitement, you should expect the pup to have hiccups. They have a hard time controlling the excitement, resulting in excessive and irregular breathing patterns.
Your dog will get hiccups when it wakes up if it has the habit of eating too fast, especially before it goes to bed or after it wakes up. Dogs, especially puppies, cannot control their hunger, so they eat too fast, and when this happens, it is difficult for the body to digest the food fast enough, causing contractions in the diaphragm.
Another cause is when the dog does not properly chew food before swallowing, this can irritate the diaphragm and throat. Once any of these occurs, the dog will wake up with hiccups.
Dogs are man’s best companions, and no dog owner would like to see his companion in discomfort at all. It is normal for you to be worried when your dog has a hiccup, but it is no cause for concern; there are simple remedies to dog hiccups; choose the best available option for you, and your dog will be fine.
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Shawn Manaher is a serial entrepreneur but when he isn’t working, he loves dogs. He’s owned different pets over the years, and always gives a part of his heart to each pet.