Dog Hiccups

Dog hiccups are common and every dog will experience hiccups at some point. Hiccups are more common in puppies. This condition is not a cause for concern; just like in humans, hiccups will come and go.

Dog Hiccups

Dog hiccups occur as a result of a spasm in the diaphragm; the air is pushed into the lungs and interacts with the vocal cords, causing the hiccups.

The hiccups may last for a few minutes; the dog may also have recurrent hiccups: one episode of hiccups, followed by a pause of a few minutes or hours and then a new episode of hiccups.

Typically, dog hiccups are not an indication of a severe problem and the hiccups will go away without treatment.

Causes of Hiccups

The hiccups may be caused by different factors:

  • If the dog has eaten something in a haste
  • The ingestion of spicy foods
  • Shock
  • Fear
  • Excitement
  • Second hand smoking or inhalation of smoke or other fumes
  • The dog drank something and has swallowed air
  • The dog has a stomach problem
  • The dog is stressed
  • The dog is cold or suffers from hypothermia
  • The pet is seeking attention
  • More severe health problems such as a trauma, respiratory problems, pneumonia, asthma, stroke, pericarditis, appendicitis or prostate cancer but in very rare cases
  • Hiccups may also be caused by certain medication (such as benzodiazepines or muscle relaxants)

Cure for Dog Hiccups

Dog hiccups don’t require treatment or cures; they should go away on their own.

However, if the hiccups last for more than a few minutes or hours, you should visit the vet to see what may cause the hiccups.  

The hiccups may cause discomfort, so you may apply some tricks on your dog to stop the discomfort. Give your dog a bit of water; this should relax the diaphragm muscle and may stop the hiccups.

Giving the dog honey or sugar and make him hold the sugar under the tongue may also work to stop the hiccups.

In humans, startling the person with hiccups may also solve the problem; in dogs this method may also work.

In rare cases, when the hiccups persist for a longer period of time, the problem may be solved through administering medication such as chlorpromazine or haloperidol. When the medication does not work, surgery may be needed. The surgery will be aimed at decompressing the vagus nerve or cutting the phrenic nerve to help the diaphragm relax. However, surgery is very rarely needed and may also present a few risks.

Hiccups are considered a reflex in dogs; typically, dog hiccups are not a medical problem and don’t constitute a symptom of a medical problem. However, if your pet has the hiccups for several hours or days in a row, you should visit the vet to establish the cause and possibly get a suitable treatment.