Should I be worried if my dog is hiccuping?

Hiccups can be a common occurrence for dogs, just like in humans. While occasional hiccups are usually harmless, pet owners must understand the causes and potential concerns surrounding dog hiccups. Dog hiccups are adorable, but should you be concerned? Is there any underlying condition that should be addressed? Most of the time, dog hiccups are natural and will disappear in a few minutes.

However, if the hiccups linger for hours and start to damage your dog’s quality of life, you should consider taking him to the clinic. To learn more about dogs’ hiccups, I’ll first tell the anatomy involved in their respiratory process. When your dog breathes in, the diaphragm contracts and slides downward to allow the lungs in the chest cavity to expand. When your dog exhales, the diaphragm relaxes and travels up the chest cavity. If the diaphragm spasms, this smooth internal mechanism is disrupted, leading to dog hiccups. But what may be causing these spasms?

Let’s take a look at a couple of them.

In the same manner as in humans, hiccups are caused by a muscle contraction beneath the lungs in dogs. The muscle contraction leads to a sudden shut-down of the vocal cords, resulting in a “hic” sound. This can occur after consuming or drinking too quickly, when tired, highly agitated, or when the temperature is too cold. Scientists are still determining why hiccups occur in dogs, humans, and other mammals.

One hypothesis suggests that hiccups may be a way for puppies to relieve gas or an irritable stomach. Another theory suggests that hiccups may have originated in the womb, as fetal hiccups have been documented in many species of mammals. The hiccup may be a test drive of the breathing muscles.

What causes hiccups in dogs?

Hiccups in dogs occur due to involuntary contractions of the diaphragm muscle, which aids breathing. Several factors can trigger these contractions, including:

  • Excitement or stress
  • Eating or drinking too quickly
  • Swallowing air during meals
  • Certain foods or treats
  • Cold temperature or sudden temperature changes
  • Gastrointestinal issues or irritation

When your dog eats or drinks too rapidly, they will likely swallow more air and hiccup. Aerophagia, or abrupt air intake, causes stomach distention and irritates the muscular diaphragm, forcing it to tighten.

You should also avoid giving your dog particularly hot or cold foods since they irritate the esophagus and its phrenic and vagus nerves, causing dog hiccups.
Hiccups in dogs can be caused by stress or overexcitement. Their heart rate and cortisol levels rise, causing the diaphragm to irritate. Due to tension and excitement, they will also take shorter and shallower breaths. They will subsequently begin breathing via their chest rather than their diaphragm.

Sometimes, hiccups can be good for your pup! Hiccups are just the body’s way of getting rid of all the extra gas in its stomach. Eating spicy food can also cause hiccups since spicy treats make your pup gas.

Plus, it can make them thirsty and cause them to drink too much water. Capsaicin, a common ingredient in chilli-based food, can also cause the dog to hiccup. Other things that can cause hiccups in dogs include corticosteroid reactions, benzodiazepine reactions, and antibiotics. These medicines can also cause acid reflux in dogs. Usually, hiccups are caused by other serious issues, like pneumonia, bronchitis, esophageal tumors, respiratory defects, heatstroke, pericarditis, and asthma. If your dog’s hiccups linger over an hour and he begins to breathe irregularly or laboriously, take him to the doctor. Could you document the occurrence so your vet better understands your dog’s condition?

When do you think you should be concerned?

In most cases, hiccuping is not a cause for concern. However, if your dog experiences prolonged or frequent hiccups, it may indicate an underlying health problem. Certain conditions that may cause persistent hiccups in dogs include:

  • Gastric or gastrointestinal disorders
  • Respiratory infections or diseases
  • Diaphragmatic hernia
  • Nervous system issues
  • Medication side effects

Suppose your dog’s hiccups last more than a few hours, occur alongside other concerning symptoms, or interfere with their ability to eat or sleep. In that case, it is recommended that a veterinarian be consulted for further evaluation.

How to relieve hiccups in dogs?

Most cases of dog hiccups resolve independently and do not require intervention. However, if you wish to help alleviate your dog’s hiccups, consider the following tips:

  • Keep your dog calm and relaxed, as anxiety can contribute to hiccups.
  • Offer your dog small sips of water to prevent dehydration and potentially ease hiccups.
  • Avoid feeding your dog large meals or allowing them to eat or drink too quickly.
  • Try distracting your dog with a toy or gentle exercise to shift their focus away from the hiccups.
  • If hiccups persist, gently rub or massage your dog’s chest to relax the diaphragm.

Typical hiccups might last anywhere from 10 to 15 minutes to an hour. While no immediate cause for concern exists, you still want to eliminate the pain. So, how do you treat dog hiccups? Before you do anything else, could you think about what caused the hiccups in the first place? I know what prompted it, and it will help you decide what to do next. If your dog ate spicy food by accident, offer them casein-containing milk.

Casein is a protein that breaks down capsaicin, which causes diaphragm irritation. Make your dog lie down and give them belly massages to help them relax when they have hiccups. This should help calm their breathing pattern and bring it back into rhythm. You may use the same strategy to help your dog deal with stress, such as separation anxiety. However, you may try to educate your dog to cope with separation anxiety to reduce the frequency of their hiccups.

If your pup has hiccups, eating rice, grains, or bread can help them eliminate them. It can cause their stomach to swell and cause distention, which puts pressure on their diaphragm and prevents hiccups. If they’re having trouble breathing, give them something cool to drink to help them get back to normal. Liquid sweets like honey or maple syrup can also help calm them down and bring their breathing back to normal. Please don’t give them solid sweets since they’re involuntary, and solid food can cause choking. And don’t give them any sugar-free products since xylitol can be dangerous and even kill your pup.

You can use a slow-feeder dog dish to keep your dog from eating too quickly. This will also help them limit their food consumption and prevent acquiring excess weight, which may lead to a slew of other issues. As previously said, hiccups lasting an hour might be an indication of a variety of health problems. Consult your veterinarian if your dog’s hiccups do not cease or disappear to avoid further health issues.

 

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