Puppy hiccups: causes & solutions

Despite being hugely frustrating, as humans, we see hiccups as being completely normal and nothing to worry about. However, when they’re coming from your cute, new puppy you may start to get a little concerned. Sure puppy hiccups may look adorable, but should you be worried?

In this article, we look at why hiccups in puppies happen, whether it’s normal and how to stop them. 

Why does my puppy have hiccups?

Hiccups are sharp intakes of breath that result from repetitive contractions of the diaphragm muscle. If your puppy's diaphragm becomes irritated by something, then it triggers an involuntary spasm that causes the vocal cords to briefly close. This creates that well-recognised ‘hic’ sound. 

There are several possible causes of puppy hiccups, including:

  • Eating or drinking too fast and swallowing too much air
  • Becoming overly excited
  • Experiencing a build-up of gas
  • Emotional stress
  • Excessive panting or heavy breathing

Did you know that it’s not just young pups that can develop hiccups? In fact, dogs of all ages can get them – from a newborn to a seasoned veteran.

Is it normal for puppies to get hiccups?

Yes, it’s very common for puppies and younger dogs to get hiccups compared to when they are older. This is a perfectly normal question to ask when you’re wondering why your puppy may have hiccups, but the good news is that you need not worry. 

Interestingly, it’s not just puppies and humans that suffer from hiccups, it’s also normal for other animals like cats, horses and rabbits to get them.

How long do puppies usually get the hiccups for?

There is no exact timeframe for how long puppy hiccups typically last. However, in most cases, they tend to end after a few minutes. Even if your puppy has had hiccups for 10-15 minutes, this is still considered normal.

You will find that as your puppy grows older, their hiccups will start to occur less frequently. 

If their hiccups last for more than an hour or occur too frequently across several days, you should think about contacting a vet. Especially if this is accompanied by breathing difficulties, coughing or vomiting.

While hiccups will not normally be a symptom of an underlying health condition, we believe every puppy should be covered by a puppy insurance policy to help cover any vets bills should the worst happen.

Do hiccups bother puppies?

Fortunately, hiccups don’t tend to bother puppies and are perfectly natural as they grow up. Like with humans, your pup may find them annoying and even act a little bit surprised when they first happen (cute), but it’s unlikely to cause them any stress.

Unless they’re accompanied by other side effects, you can rest assured knowing that nothing bad is happening to your puppy and the hiccups they’re experiencing are completely safe.

Hiccups don't tend to bother puppies

How to help stop your puppy’s hiccups

Most of the time, puppy hiccups will go away by themselves. However, if they do persist, there are several methods you can try to help stop them from worsening or even get rid of the hiccups altogether.

You can try to stop your puppy’s hiccups by:

  • Rubbing their stomach – Try giving them a relaxing stomach rub or massage to get their breathing back to a normal rhythm.
  • Drinking water – Ensure they only take small sips or drink the water slowly, otherwise gulping down the water might make their hiccups worse.
  • Light exercise – You can also help change your puppy's breathing patterns by taking them for a short walk or letting them outside for some gentle exercise.
  • Play with them – Whether it’s a ball, some rope or a squeaky toy, giving them something to play with can act as a nice distraction and relax their breathing pattern.
  • Eating slowly – If the hiccups occur while they eat, then try to encourage them to eat their food slower for the rest of their meal.

Like with most things, prevention is better than cure, so try to work out why your puppy is prone to hiccups and what the cause might be. 

For example, if they occur after you’ve fed your puppy, then it’s likely they need to slow down how quickly they eat. One way of addressing this is to reduce the portion sizes throughout the day or consider a slow dog feeder.

Hopefully, you now feel better equipped to deal with puppy hiccups when they arise. Ultimately, it’s important to remember that hiccups are very common in puppies and you normally have nothing to worry about.

By following the puppy advice outlined in this article, you’ll be able to ensure that your pooch isn’t bothered by the hiccups and will continue to lead a stress-free, healthy life.

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