Wondering if dogs can get hiccups? The answer is yes, dogs and humans both hiccup for the same reasons but dogs’ hiccups are much cuter, to be honest! Hiccups are usually nothing to worry about as they usually disappear within a couple of minutes and can be treated easily in case they started bothering your dear fluffy friend. What if the hiccups didn’t disappear after an hour or were associated with other symptoms? Pet Barn is here to give you peace of mind with reliable information about dog hiccups, reasons, remedies, and when you need to visit the vet.
What Are the Causes of Dog Hiccups?
To understand hiccups we need to understand the anatomy in the respiration process of dogs. When your dog inhales, the diaphragm moves downward contracting to make space in the chest cavity to let the lungs expand. As your dog exhales, the diaphragm relaxes moving up the chest cavity.
The causative of hiccups is basically diaphragm spasms as they disturb the smooth inhaling process. There are many other hiccups simulators, let’s learn about them!
- Drinking & Eating Too Fast
It’s hard to convince your hunger buddy that the food is going nowhere! When your dog eats or drinks too quickly, it would swallow excessive air which simulates hiccups. The air inhaled while eating is different from breathing as it causes stomach distention which disturbed the diaphragm and leads to contractions.
- Too Hot & Too Cold Drinks and Food
Extremely hot or cold food can irritate the esophagus and its phrenic which also causes contractions leading to hiccups. Many pet owners believe warm food is better for their pets but the truth is completely the opposite as heating pet food leads to loss of many important nutrients.
- Stress & Joy
Dogs can easily get overwhelmed which leads to increased heart rates and cholesterol levels, this sudden increase often leads to irritating the diaphragm. Another thing is that dogs tend to take shorter and shallower breaths when they’re too excited or stressed meaning these adorable dogs use their chest instead of the diaphragm to inhale causing contractions thus hiccups.
- Stomach Gas
Dogs get rid of the excessive gas in the stomach through hiccups so Hooman, stop blaming me for the curry you had two hours ago! Hiccups in that case are pretty good for your dog.
- Spicy Food
Though some dogs prefer flavored treats, they’re still not good for their health. Spicy food causes stomach gas and disturbed diaphragm. On the other hand, spicy food leads to thirst which could encourage dogs to drink faster.
One of the side effects of medications that cause acid reflux is hiccups, these medications include corticosteroids, benzodiazepines, and antibiotics.
Normal dog hiccups are caused by these factors and you can easily connect the dots to determine if there’s a need to worry. On the other hand, hiccups might indicate serious health issues like:
- Pneumonia: If the hiccups are associated with breathing issues like coughing, sneezing, and heavy breathing usually indicates pneumonia.
- Esophageal tumors: Hiccups accompanied by weight loss and swallowing difficulties should never be neglected as they could indicate underlying esophageal cancer.
- Heatstroke: Though hiccups are among the rare symptoms of heatstroke as long as they are not associated with nausea, fatigue, and dizziness.
Dog Hiccups Remedies
Hiccups would usually last for 10-15 minutes and up to an hour. Though hiccups are probably nothing to worry about you still can save your precious dog from dealing with this discomfort by following these steps;
- Observation: You need to ensure that hiccups are not associated with other warning symptoms and define the causative.
- Keep your dog calm: Dogs tend to get confused and breathe slower when dealing with hiccups. Try helping your dog lay down while giving belly rubs to reduce the anxiety.
- Milk in case your dog had spicy food: Milk contains casein that can help reduce the irritation in the diaphragm.
- Vinegar & Lemon: Sour food like lemon and vinegar can help rest the involuntary diaphragm movement. Dogs wouldn’t find vinegar appealing to drink so you can try mixing it with water instead.
- Honey: Honey can soothe the vagus nerve thus, stopping the hiccups reflex. Also, you surely know that dogs have a sweet tooth and would calm down once they taste honey!
- Drinking water: Water can’t necessarily stop the hiccups but it would calm down the raising temperature and bring back the needed steady breath rhythm that stops the hiccups.
- Try New Food Bowls: Hiccups are normally caused by eating and drinking too fast and you can easily help your dog adapt to healthy feeding habits by switching to slow feeder bowls. Another benefit of using these bowls is weight control as they give your dog the needed amount of food.
- Neck rubs: Rubbing the skin on the back of the neck doesn’t only calm your dog, it also stimulates the phrenic nerve which reduces the diaphragm contractions.
We can’t help but feel curious about every move our pets make, it’s just our way of understanding them! In case you were wondering why dogs hiccup out of curiosity or looking for ways to stop them, Pet Barn would love to hear about the methods you tried in the comments!