Medically Reviewed by Dr. Majid Tanveer, DVM
We understand how concerning anything happening to your canine pal can be.
Seeing it getting hiccups will surely make you wonder why.
Why does my dog get hiccups?
Your dog can get hiccups for several reasons. The most common among these reasons is swallowing food or water too fast. Depending on nature, the food they’re being fed can cause hiccups. Another common cause is stress. In the case of puppies, overexcitement is a significant reason.
Those are some of the possible reasons. Let’s learn more about the causes and remedies of hiccups in dogs!
5 Causes for Dog Hiccups
Your pet pal can get hiccups just like you. And just as it is in your case, it’s also usually harmless for your canine buddy.
But it can be uncomfortable, and you’d not want your dog to suffer. To save your dog from hiccups, you’ve got to know the reasons.
Reason 1: Rapid Swallowing
The most common reason for hiccups in dogs is rapid swallowing. Water or food, swallowing too fast can cause many problems.
The air distends the stomach and stresses the diaphragm. This causes the muscle to spasm and contract frantically, causing hiccups. It results in hiccups when the dog ends up swallowing a large amount of air.
A large amount of air swallowed can also cause bloat. In bad cases, your dog might bloat.
Reason 2: Stressful Situations
Aside from eating habits, another common cause for hiccups is stress.
Stress causes cortisol levels to rise. This irritates the diaphragm. Which then starts contracting and relaxing in an uncontrolled manner.
In addition to this, your four-pawed buddy starts taking short, shallow breaths. All of this combined causes hiccups.
Reason 3: Overexcitement
Overexcitement has the same type of effect on your dog as stress. Just like stress, excessive excitement induces rapid breathing. This can, in turn, trigger your canine’s hiccups. Also, being excited, your dog can bite you.
Reason 4: Food Types
Rapid swallowing and stressful situations are two of the most common reasons. But there’s another factor that is a direct trigger for hiccups. And that is the type of food they’re being fed.
If you give them spicy food, it’ll cause stomach gas. This will expand the stomach stressing the diaphragm.
Additionally, it’ll induce thirst and cause the dog to drink too fast, further expanding the stomach and putting pressure on the diaphragm.
On top of that, the diaphragm will experience increased neuron activity. This is because of capsaicin – an active component of chili peppers in spicy food.
All of this will end up triggering hiccups. Aside from spicy food, food that is too hot or cold can also trigger hiccups. Hot or cold foods irritate the esophagus and start faster breathing.
When irritated, the phrenic and vagus nerves in the esophagus can cause hiccups. Anything that irritates the esophagus or causes acid reflux can cause hiccups.
If your dog is on corticosteroids or benzodiazepines, it might get hiccups.
Reason 5: Underlying Conditions
Lastly, the hiccups could be a sign of some underlying condition. A trip to the veterinarian will tell you precisely what if any, underlying condition there is.
Here’s a list of conditions that can cause hiccups as a side effect:
- Esophageal Tumor
- Respiratory Defects
Then when should you take your dog to the vet for hiccups?
You should take it to the vet once you’ve ruled out all other triggers if the hiccups last more than an hour.
These are the reasons that might cause your dog to have hiccups. In most cases, the hiccups are harmless. But you should still help get rid of them for your dog’s comfort.
Ways to Rid Dog of Hiccups
It’ll go away quickly if it’s about hiccups triggered by a non-medical condition like overexcitement. However, you can help get rid of it sooner.
Method 1: Honey Or Syrup
Give your dog a spoonful of maple syrup or honey. The dense fluid will coat the inside of the throat. This will help deal with any irritation. Besides, dogs love to taste honey.
This will slowly ease the hiccups. Additionally, it will help slow down your dog’s breathing. Any liquid sweet will do. But be sure not to give them any solid.
Method 2: Milk for Spices
If your dogs ingest spicy food, give them milk. Spicy foods contain capsaicin, which irritates the esophagus. Milk, on the other hand, contains casein.
It’s a protein that helps break down capsaicin. This relieves the esophagus and helps get rid of the hiccups.
Method 3: Chest Massage
Lie your dog on its back and slowly massage its chest. This will calm them down and bring their frantic breathing back to a normal rhythm. That will eventually get rid of the hiccups.
Method 4: Feeding Correction
A long-term solution to the hiccup problem is training your dog to eat slowly. In addition to the training, you can also use a slow-feeder dog bowl. We recommend one of these:
These will help your dog eat slower. That’ll help lower the possibility of hiccups—and even lower chances of choking.
Here you are now concerned about four methods to deal with the issues. That covers everything we have to say on the topic.
However, you should consult your vet if underlying medical issues cause hiccups. He can advise you on the best action to take and help your pup eliminate those pesky hiccups.
It’s essential to stay in close contact with your vet if hiccups persist, as they may be a sign of a more severe condition that needs to be addressed.
Can dogs eat spicy food?
No. Dogs can’t eat spicy food. Spice is something you must avoid at all times when feeding your dog. Not only is it bad for your dog, but it can also prove toxic and fatal.
Can hiccups be fatal?
Under normal circumstances, hiccups can’t be fatal. They last for a while and usually get fixed naturally. However, if the hiccups last more than an hour, they might affect breathing. In that case, it can prove dangerous.
Is it okay to take my dog on a walk when it’s having hiccups?
Yes. It is lovely to take your dog on a walk, even if it’s having hiccups. The walk will distract your dog and get rid of the hiccups. It would help if you took it on a relaxing walk, especially when it gets hiccups.