Dogs are strange creatures. They like to chase their tails, eat dirt, and bark at the smallest of things. However, they’re more like us than we think. A lot of stuff that happens with our bodies can also happen to theirs.
They yawn like us, they sneeze like us, and they… hiccup like us? Yep, you read that right! Dogs hiccup! However, it’s important to remember that hiccups aren’t usually serious. Here’s how hiccups in dogs can happen.
Eating and Drinking Too Quickly
It’s a common problem with humans and dogs alike. We all know how annoying hiccups can be, especially when you’re trying to have a meal. A lot of the time, your dog will develop hiccups from eating their food too quickly or drinking too much at once.
Our canine friends tend to eat food a lot faster than they need to, so it’s useful to keep an eye on them, to keep them from causing indigestion.
Hiccups can be a good thing for dogs, believe it or not. They are just pockets of air escaping, so by hiccupping, dogs are slowly relieving themselves of gas trapped in their stomach.
Hiccups occur when eating too quickly because dogs unintentionally swallow oxygen as they’re eating, leaving a build-up in their body.
There are special types of bowls that you can get at pet stores that are designed to slow down your pup’s eating. They’re called ‘slow bowls’ and are molded with a pattern that forces the food to sit separately from each other in the bowl.
This makes it trickier for your canine to eat quickly, whilst still ensuring that they get the portion of food they need.
Underlying Health Issues
Hiccups can sometimes mean that your pup could be ill. Frequent hiccups can mean that your dog could be suffering from asthma, pneumonia, or hypothermia. However, this isn’t always the case.
When in doubt it’s always best to contact your local vet, this way you get the professional opinion you need and you save yourself added stress.
Hiccups can also be a sign of your dog suffering from a stroke, however, dogs will also display signs of tilting their head, loss of consciousness, and inability to walk. If your pet doesn’t have any of these, then your dog is more than likely not having a stroke.
Respiratory problems are common in dogs, no matter what breed, so it’s no surprise that hiccups can be a sign of breathing struggles. Usually, you can spot these problems if you know your dog.
When their breathing gets quicker or harder, it can show they’re struggling to unblock their sinuses. Discharge from the nose, such as mucus, can also be a sign of this.
Unlike humans, dogs can’t blow their nose into a tissue when their nose is blocked, so this is why their breathing can be heavier.
Sometimes hiccups can be a reaction to something your dog has eaten. Usually, when this happens, it’ll be shortly after your hound has eaten. If this is the case then it’s best to contact your vet and they can help you with the best route to take.
It can be fixed a lot of the time with a simple change of diet.
Stress and Anxiety
Dogs can often get hiccups on account of being stressed. There’ve been reports of dogs producing hiccups whilst fireworks are present, due to the loud noises. It’s always worth trying stress-relieving activities to help your dog.
For example, if your pup is visibly stressed, why not take them for a walk or play with them? This way you can bond with your furry buddy and can keep their mind occupied. So grab their favorite toy and have some fun!
What Are Reverse Hiccups?
Believe it or not, there is such a thing as reverse hiccups. It’s where your dog can make loud, involuntary breaths to try and clear its sinuses. This can be caused by irritation of the throat and airways.
Keep an eye on your dog to see if these are frequent, if they are then you’ll need to make a trip to the vet. It’s important to keep your dog up-to-date on their vaccinations, to reduce the risk of underlying health conditions.
These conditions can be tumors, asthma, or a simple sinus infection.
Do Puppies Get Hiccups More Than Adults?
First of all, hiccups occur in adults and puppies. However, younger dogs tend to get hiccups more frequently due to their excitable nature.
As a puppy, your canine may get more energetic when eating or drinking, which will increase the likelihood of creating the air bubbles that we call ‘hiccups’.
The easiest way to help cut this down is by making food portion sizes smaller. You can do this by either cutting the food into smaller sizes or by feeding your pup with smaller, more frequent meals.
What Are Hiccups?
Hiccups are the same in dogs, as they are with humans. They’re caused by an involuntary contraction of the diaphragm. The diaphragm is the muscle separating the abdomen and the chest, making it easy to breathe.
This causes the vocal cords to close, producing the well-known ‘hiccup’ sound. When a dog inhales, the diaphragm moves downwards and contracts. Then, when a dog breathes outwards the diaphragm relaxes and moves outwards.
Nobody knows why hiccups happen the way they do. Simply put, they result in heavier intakes of air, causing air pockets.
Just to summarize, it’s not always a worrying sign if your dog has hiccups, especially as a puppy. It can often mean that your dog just loves their food and gets a bit too excited at dinnertime!
When breathing becomes heavier or labored, then it can mean that your dog has a sinus problem, but that’s easily treated by the vet. If they’re hiccuping because they’re stressed or anxious, then you help simulate and keep their mind at rest with exercise or playing.
At the end of the day, you know your dog more than anyone, so you’ll know when to step in to help.