Do Dog Hiccups Require Treatment?

Dog hiccups are more frequent in puppies, but adult dogs may also have the hiccups. Hiccups may be caused by excitement, stress or certain drugs. Typically, dog hiccups will go away without treatment and there is no need for any medication.

Why Do Dog Hiccups Occur

The hiccups are a result of a diaphragm spasm. The air rushes suddenly into the lungs and may affect the vocal cords, producing the hiccup sound.

An episode of dog hiccups may be brief, but may also last for several minutes to hours.

Hiccups are not typically a cause for concern, as the causes are not severe. The most common causes of hiccups in dogs include the ingestion of spicy food, the ingestion of food in a hurry, excitement, stress, the inhalation of an irritant such as smoke or chemicals or if the dog’s temperature is decreased.

In rare cases, the dog may also have hiccups due to more serious problems such as a respiratory defect, pneumonia, asthma, heart stroke or pericarditis.

Muscle relaxants may also produce hiccups.

Treatment for Dog Hiccups

If the dog develops hiccups due to hypothermia, you must ensure that the dog gets some blankets and try to elevate his body temperature by placing him near a heater or in a warmer room.

Typically, dog hiccups should stop without the administration of any medication.

If the hiccups are not caused by a severe health problem, you may apply some at home remedies. The administration of water should stop the hiccups. You may add some honey, sugar or maple syrup to the water and this may also stop the hiccups.

You may also try massaging the dog’s chest, which will cause the diaphragm muscles to relax and eliminate the hiccups.

Startling the dog or showing him a toy he is interested in may also be a solution to hiccups.

If the hiccups are persistent and last over a few hours, you should visit the vet and find the underlying condition. Treating the underlying condition will eliminate the hiccups; the treatment will be decided by the vet, judging by the overall condition of the dog.

If the vet doesn’t find any health problems with the dog, he will recommend chlorpromazine or haloperidol, which will cause the diaphragm muscles to loosen up.

In rare cases, when the medication treatment is not effective, the vet will recommend surgery. The surgery will be applied on the phrenic nerve, causing the diaphragm to relax. However, surgery is only applied in rare cases.

Isolated episodes of hiccups don’t require treatment; just like in humans, hiccups are not a health issue. Some fresh water may solve the problem.  

In rare cases, the hiccups may be indicative of a health issue and the dog will have the hiccups for several hours or days. The dog should display other symptoms as well, which can prompt you to visit a vet.