You may have probably heard your dog’s hiccup and found it extremely adorable sometimes. Other times, you may have to worry because the hiccup could be a sign of something more serious. So, if you’re wondering, “Can Dogs Get Hiccups?”, then, let’s start on a positive note- yes, dogs can get hiccups. Hiccups are common in dogs and often short-lived.
In general, dog hiccups are harmless, but if your pup is vomiting or has diarrhea then there may be an underlying medical issue to investigate. Regardless of the presence of these symptoms, there are some things you should know about dog hiccups.
Hiccups and History
Hiccups are involuntary spasms of respiratory organs and the diaphragm. In humans, hiccups are caused by an irritated nerve in the diaphragm. This irritates the phrenic nerve which leads to the diaphragm contracting and forces a person’s lung to rise into their thorax. That’s why this is called a “hiccup.”
Scientists and experts aren’t yet sure about how hiccups started in mammals. They have speculated several theories relating to human and other animal evolution. For instance, one theory includes the documented hiccups in the womb of several mammals. These fetus hiccups imply that the baby is testing his/her breathing muscles in the womb. We may not know the actual source of a hiccup, but rest assured, it is rarely a serious problem.
Can Dogs Get Hiccups?
Firstly, let’s start with “what are dog hiccups?” If you ever see your dog hiccup, it’s probably because their diaphragm spasmed and didn’t sync with their epiglottis. So, just like humans, dogs can get hiccups. Usually, hiccups are more common in puppies than older dogs because puppies have more energy and excitement level. But your pup will outgrow this condition as they get older.
When Do Dogs Get Hiccups? Again, just like human counterparts, dogs get hiccups when their diaphragm contracts. Hiccup bouts are more likely to occur when puppies eat or drink too fast, or when they’re tired, excited, or cold. It is also believed that hiccups help puppies relieve stomach gas or irritation.
What Causes Hiccups in Dogs?
Experts may not have given us the exact reason for why hiccups occur but there are some possible causes of hiccups that are listed below:
One of the main causes of dog hiccups is excitement or increased energy levels. Over-stimulated pooches, mainly puppies, tend to catch hiccups more often. They have trouble controlling their emotions, which can lead to stress and fatigue. This is also one of the big reasons why puppies often get hiccups.
Another common cause of hiccups is eating or drinking quickly. As mentioned before, hiccups are caused by the diaphragm contracting and forcefully pumping gas up into the chest. The gas then enters the lungs. So, when a dog eats something quickly, they swallow more air and that’s what causes their hiccups.
Although hiccups in dogs are usual, some rare cases might indicate a more severe problem. According to research, when hiccups last for more than 48 hours, they may be signs of critical health issues.
Here’s a list of potential (severe) causes that may have caused your furry companion to breathe spasmodically:
When hiccups come alongside sneezing, coughing, wheezing, and a runny nose, it is not a good sign for dogs. These symptoms might indicate respiratory infections like pneumonia, stroke, asthma, or bronchitis. These health problems can be life-threatening too.
If your pup has been hiccupping for a prolonged time, followed by diarrhea and vomiting, it is a big red flag! Sometimes worms like heartworms and roundworms can infect your dog’s respiratory tracts and cause these symptoms. If this is the case, visit your vet as soon as possible.
At times, gastrointestinal issues can also cause persistent hiccups in dogs. Although there is a list of problems that these issues can give rise to, the symptoms are the same as those caused by parasitic infection. If you notice vomiting, blood in stools, and diarrhea with the ‘hic’ sound, take your furry friend to the vet for a thorough examination.
What should I Do When My Dog Has Hiccups?
Hiccups in dogs are very common and quite harmless most of the time. However, these spasmodic breathes can sometimes be violent. Fortunately, there are some ways that you can get your dog to stop hiccupping. The first obvious way is simply waiting for the hiccup to pass by. If that doesn’t work, you can calm your pet by giving them a soothing chest rub. This can help their breathing process to be steady so that the hiccups can subside.
Here are other tips you can do to stop dog hiccups:
- Slow down your pup at dinner time. Eating too fast can cause hiccups; therefore, you might want to slow down your dog’s food intake. You could also try reducing the portions of your dog’s food.
- Give water. Just like humans, drinking water can help with hiccups. Make sure your four-legged friend drinks it slowly and calmly.
- Rub the pup’s chest. If your dog’s hiccups don’t subside after a while, you can rub their chest. This can help them breathe more easily and relax their bodies. For some pets, it will seem frightening at first, but you’ll find that they begin to like it.
- If your dog is excessively stressed, massage their neck and shoulders to help them relax and ease the hiccups.
If your dog continues to have hiccups despite any troubleshooting advice from you, it’s time you talk with a vet about possible underlying medical problems.
You might also be interested in Can Dogs Get The Flu?
When Should I Take My Dog To The Vet If They Have Hiccups?
Your pup’s hiccups come back no matter how many times you try to fix it. Moreover, this spasmodic episode is followed by other health problems like sneezing, runny nose, coughing, vomiting, diarrhea, and bloody stools then it is high time that you see a veterinarian. Your vet will likely take a thorough history of your sick pet, note specific details like when and how the problem starts, how long the bouts last, what seemed to have triggered them, and if there was anything unusual. The doctor will also conduct a physical examination, including the x-rays of the chest and abdomen.
Sometimes, other conditions like reverse sneezing and seizures can also be mistaken for hiccups. For this, the vet will record episodes of hiccups over several days. This recording will help to finalize what is actually happening to your pup.
Yes! Dogs can have involuntary contractions of the diaphragm meaning they can get hiccups while they are sound asleep. This could be a sign of stress or excessive fatigue.
Sometimes hiccups are just a way for the body to expel an abnormal build-up of gas. This is especially true if a dog eats right before bed. Since dogs are curious creatures that eat anything, they come across, they are bound to eat things that shouldn’t be eaten. As a result, they have severe indigestion that needs to have a lot of gas passing.
Dogs might get hiccups while sleeping out of irritation or discomfort with their sleeping position. They might also get hiccups when they are asleep because of too much excitement or anticipation for the next day’s events. Some cases possibly mean your pet needs to be given more oxygen while sleeping. This isn’t anything to worry about, but if it continues, be sure to talk to your vet.
The answer to “Can Dogs Get Hiccups?” is yes, dogs can get hiccups, but it is not much to worry about. Hiccups in dogs are as common as they are to us. There are only a few rare cases when your canine companion’s spasmodic breaths are concerning. Nevertheless, take notice of any unusual health changes such as sneezing, coughing, vomiting, and diarrhea that can come alongside the bouts of hiccups.
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To explore more, check out our other hiccup-related dog articles that you might be interested in.
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