What To Do When Your Puppy Gets the Hiccups

What to do when puppy gets hiccups
Photo by Alice Cullen on Unsplash

Hiccups are cute at first, however, they can be concerning if they overstay their welcome and are persistent in your puppy. As your puppy is small and still developing, hiccups are enough to shake their bodies completely and provoke unwanted movement. This will make any dog parent super anxious and concerned, but a very natural reaction for any new owner.

In this article, we cover everything you need to know about what to do if your puppy gets hiccups and if you should be concerned for your little one.

What causes hiccups in puppies?

It’s essential to understand what causes hiccups in puppies before you start educating yourself on how to prevent them.

Hiccups in puppies are caused by rapid contractions and expansions of the diaphragm, mostly caused by irritation. This irritation of the diaphragm can be caused due to several reasons, such as excessive eating and drinking too much. The irritation causes the organ to contract involuntarily in rapid succession, and these contractions will cause rapid airflow through the voice box, which results in the signature “Hic” sound produced during the hiccup. 

Puppy Hiccupping
Photo by Charles Deluvio on Unsplash

A fun fact about hiccups is that they are exclusive to mammals, which means that all other kinds of animals such as reptiles, birds, and fishes don’t suffer from them.

What should you do when your puppy gets hiccups? 

Same as with humans, there is a long list of home remedies that are believed to be effective against hiccups, such as breathing quickly or drinking lots of water. But none of them is scientifically proven to be effective on humans, and the same goes for dogs.

Unfortunately, there isn’t a lot that you can do to stop hiccups in your puppy. All you can do is wait for them to go away by themselves and you shouldn’t try and force your puppy to stop hiccuping or interfere with the hiccuping process. This could harm your puppy and you need to understand that they are doing it involuntarily, so you shouldn’t raise your voice at them or ask them to stop, they simply have no control. It’s the same with us, humans, hiccups come and go, especially after we consume lots of food, but we can’t force the hiccups to stop.

The best approach you can take when your puppy gets hiccups is to reassure them that you are there to help, by smoothing their stomach or their back to calm them during the hiccups. This will help them understand that it’s nothing to be afraid of and it’s normal to hiccup.

If it’s safe to do so, you could give them some water to help calm the hiccups, and you could also try and play with them as a distraction, this can help the hiccups pass. However, you shouldn’t force them to play or drink.

What should I not do when my puppy is hiccuping?

Hiccups occur because the diaphragm is irritated and as a result, this will cause rapid airflow to the voicebox and result in the “Hic” sound being procured during the hiccup.

While your puppy is hiccuping you should avoid the following;

  • Forcing or telling them to stop hiccuping. It’s happening involuntarily and they have no control over the hiccups. Telling them to stop will result in further panic and they won’t be able to stop even if they wanted to. 
  • Picking up your puppy while they are hiccuping. It may seem like a natural reaction at first, as we immediately think that the puppy is going to throw up and we want to move them to a better location away from furniture, but picking them up could make the hiccups worse and will restrict their involuntary body movements. 
  • Trying to feed them while hiccuping. The hiccups could’ve been caused by food in the first place, so you should avoid giving them anything to eat. As airflow is being driven to the voice box by the diaphragm, any food consumed during hiccuping could result in choking.

Should you be concerned about your puppy hiccuping? 

We completely understand how stressful it is for a new owner to see their puppy suffer from hiccups. But the best approach is to stay calm throughout the process and not overreact, as this will scare your puppy during their hiccups and it could make them worse.

It’s natural for puppies to get hiccups from time to time and they are caused by your puppy eating/drinking too much or too quickly, it’s best to let them finish and to take their time. The hiccups will likely last for a few minutes at a time. You shouldn’t interfere or try and stop your puppy from hiccuping and you should let them finish, forcing your puppy to stop could make the hiccups worse and prevent them from breathing.

Happy Puppy
Photo by Kyle Mackie on Unsplash

The short answer is no, you shouldn’t be concerned about your puppies hiccups, as they are very common, however, if it’s a frequent recurrence and it is affecting your puppies quality of life, you should call your veterinarian and book an appointment to be on the safe side. The vet will be able to identify the cause of these hiccups so that you can try to avoid that cause in the future, and more importantly, they will be able to help stop future hiccups by providing treatment.

Most people assume that their puppy is in immense pain when they get hiccups, due to their body movements and the sounds the dog makes, but that can’t be more from the distant truth. Hiccups aren’t an indication that there is something terrible happening inside your puppies body or if there is something abnormal, it’s very common and most puppies will have hiccups at some point in their lives. Hiccups are painless but very annoying, so that’s why we recommend you shower your puppy with lots of love and pets during those hiccups to reassure them that they are ok.

Hiccups in puppies are super common, but if in doubt, you should always consult with a veterinarian.

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