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Why Does My Dog Get Hiccups? And How You Can Help!

Why Does My Dog Get Hiccups? And How You Can Help!

One thing that can make any pet owner panic and worry is when their pet displays or does something unusual. So, if a dog owner sees his dog hiccupping, the first thing he will likely do is worry, call the vet, and talk about the hiccup. You should know that some things are common and will occur among mammals.

Dogs get hiccups when they swallow a lot of air, and this occurs when the dog drinks or eats quickly, is stressed, excited engages in heavy play, or has inhaled something caustic or irritating. Also, rapid breathing or severe anxiety can cause hiccups. Keep the dog calm to help it.

Hiccup is a common occurrence with puppies, but the hiccups become less frequent as they grow older. Also, hiccups in dogs do not last for a long time, usually for a few minutes.

amazing portrait dog eyes

Why Does My Dog Get Hiccups A Lot?

Hiccups occur when there is an irritation in the diaphragm (a thin muscle separating the abdomen from the chest cavity), causing it to contract and relax in short, involuntary spasms; this causes hiccups. The short, involuntary spasm is opposite the normal, smooth inhale and exhale breathing pattern.

When a dog gets a hiccup, its breathing process is distorted; there are abrupt stops after inhaling, which will shake the chest and belly (the diaphragm contracts and the vocal cords close quickly), causing the dog to produce a “hic” sound. Hiccups are involuntary and difficult to control. Now, we will look at some of the reasons your dog gets hiccups a lot.

Overexcitement Or Stress

This is one of the most common causes of hiccups in dogs; when a dog gets stressed or overexcited. The dog’s cortisol levels and heart rate increase, which irritates the diaphragm, causing it to relax and contract. The dog takes shallower and shorter breaths due to the excitement and stress.

When this occurs, the breathing process is in disarray because the dog breathes with its chest instead of the diaphragm. This complete switch in the breathing process causes a dog to have a hiccup.

Eating Or Drinking Too Fast

This is the most common reason why a dog will have a hiccup. When a dog eats or drinks too quickly, it will swallow air in the process and will begin to hiccup some moments later. When a dog swallows air while eating or drinking, it is termed aerophagia.

This causes distention and irritates the diaphragm, causing it to contract and relax in short spasms. This will be common if you have more than one dog and feed them with one bowl. Another thing that can cause a hiccup is when a dog eats extremely cold or hot food. These meals irritate the esophagus, the phrenic, and vagus nerves, causing hiccups in the dog.


Some medications can irritate the esophagus, thereby causing acid reflux. This is why it is imperative to consult with a veterinarian before giving your dog any medication. Medications like antibiotics, benzodiazepines, and corticosteroids, can also cause hiccups in dogs.

Spicy Meals

Another possible cause of hiccups in dogs is eating spicy meals. Spicy foods produce stomach gas, leading to excessive thirst, and this causes the dog to drink water quickly and will swallow air in the process, resulting in hiccups. Chili and capsaicin, an ingredient in spicy food, foster neuron activity in the diaphragm, which will cause contractions and hiccups.

Why Does My Dog Get Hiccups In The Morning?

One of the most alarming things that can happen to a pet owner is to find his pet with something strange that was never there. So, if you wake up to your dog hiccupping in the morning, you will be bothered. There are three main reasons why a dog will get hiccups in the morning, excitement, nervousness, and feeding habits.


A dog that wakes up excited will have hiccups; this is a common occurrence with puppies, but as they grow older, the excitement reduces. When they get up from bed and are running around with excitement, the dog will have hiccups some minutes later. Puppies cannot control their excitement, resulting in irregular and excessive breathing patterns.


Another reason your dog gets hiccups in the morning is that it is nervous. If a dog gets nervous, its breathing pattern is disoriented and irregular, causing hiccups. There are several reasons a dog will be nervous; a new dog will be nervous, a change in environment can cause nervousness, as well as the presence of new people.

group of dog car

Feeding Habits

A dog that has become used to eating or drinking too quickly will have frequent hiccups. If your dog rushes its meal before it goes to bed or after it wakes up, hiccups are bound to occur. This is also common among puppies, who cannot control their hunger, so they eat their food too quickly.

When a dog rushes its food, the body does not properly digest the food, causing the diaphragm to contract. Also, when a dog rushes its food, it does not chew the food properly before it swallows it, and this can cause irritation in the throat and diaphragm, resulting in hiccups.

Why Does My Dog Get Hiccups After Eating?

There are two major reasons why your dog gets hiccups after eating; either the dog rushed its meal or ate spicy food. These two reasons are the most common causes of hiccups. When a dog rushes its food, it swallows air that is not needed in its body. This sudden air intake irritates the diaphragm and causes stomach distention.

When there is stomach distention and diaphragm irritation, the dog’s breathing becomes irregular, forcing the dog to breathe with its chest instead of putting pressure on the diaphragm. This causes a hiccup in the dog, so to prevent this, you should either feed the dog in small portions or use a dog plate that regulates the speed of the dog eating.

The second reason your dog has hiccups after eating is that it ate a spicy meal. Spicy food and treats cause the stomach to produce gas, leading to excessive thirst. When a dog is thirsty, it will drink water too quickly, and there is a high tendency that it will swallow air in the process.

An underlying health issue can also cause hiccups; however, they might be prompted when the dog eats, so they will have a hiccup after eating. Underlying health issues like bronchitis, asthma, heatstroke, esophageal tumors, pneumonia, pericarditis, and respiratory defects can cause hiccups in dogs.

Why Does My Dog Get Hiccups In His Sleep?

Although it is not a common occurrence, dogs also get hiccups when they sleep. The major cause of this can be any of the reasons we explained earlier. However, experts claim there is an underlying reason why dogs hiccup in their sleep. It is a way of getting rid of stomach irritation or gas.

So, if a dog ate too fast, was fatigued, excited, or stressed before sleeping, it might get hiccups in its sleep. This is more common in puppies than in adult dogs. So, when your dog hiccups in its sleep, it is best not to disturb it or try to wake it up; it is trying to relieve stomach irritation or gas.

Final Thoughts

Hiccups do not last for a long time, but you need to take your dog to a veterinarian when they do, or they occur frequently. You need to avoid some things if your dog has hiccups; giving it water or food while it is lying on its back and feeding it large or solid meals when it is experiencing hiccups.

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