Just like humans, dogs get hiccups. As a pet owner, your furry friend may be of so much value to you, and something as mild as a hiccup can freak you out.
However, most people find it adorable, primarily when it occurs in puppies. But whether or not it bothers us that our dogs have hiccups, it bothers our dogs that they have this condition.
When the breathing of your dog is rhythmic, then the breathing is fine. When the diaphragm repeatedly contracts involuntarily, then the dog is said to be having hiccups. The diaphragm is a layer in the body that aids respiration, and it is located between the chest and the abdomen.
This muscle contracts as you breathe in and relax when you breathe out. This is what causes the gentle rise and fall of our chests as we breathe, and this also applies to dogs.
However, when there are repeated involuntary contractions of the diaphragm which interrupts the regular breathing process, then hiccup is said to have occurred.
Table of Contents
- Why do dogs get hiccup?
- How common do dogs get hiccup?
- What can you do to help a dog with hiccups?
- When should you consult a veterinarian?
Why do dogs get hiccup?
It is suspected that the cause of hiccups in human is the same in dogs too. Hiccup attacks can occur when you eat or drink too fast. Also, dogs get hiccups when they get too excited or stressed.
They can even start hiccupping when they swallow too much air or when they inhale an irritant.
Hiccups occur when they engage in energetic play or when they breathe too fast. However, hiccups may be confused with reverse sneezing. Reverse sneezing occurs when a dog roughly inhales a lot of air through the nose.
How common do dogs get hiccup?
Hiccups in dogs are very much frequent in puppies more than in adult dogs. It occurs in most dogs at least once when they are still puppies. It is suggested that puppies are more prone to get hiccups more than adult dogs.
This is because puppies have higher energy and excitement levels. This makes them eat and drink fast, thereby increasing their chances of having hiccups. Also, puppies are more likely to gain rapid bursts of energy which can make them start breathing too fast.
When they breathe too fast, this may also be out of excitement, and by swallowing too much air, they get hiccups. The internal organs and systems of puppies are not as mature as those of adult dogs. This can contribute to the likelihood of having hiccups.
What can you do to help a dog with hiccups?
Hiccups usually do not last for more than a few minutes. However, some dogs get hiccups longer, and this can be bothersome. It may not be something of a worry to you as you may be under the spell of how admirable you find your puppy at that moment. But this can be quite unpleasant to them.
There is no specific treatment for hiccups. However, some home remedies can help provide relief. To help them control hiccups, you can add something sweet such as glucose syrup, Karo syrup, maple syrup or honey to their drinking water.
When they drink the water, they may get too distracted by the sweetness in the water. This helps to get them relaxed. As they get relaxed, their breathing pattern becomes regular and rhythmic.
Note that hiccups are involuntary and sometimes violent. Therefore, you should not give your hiccupping dog a solid treat to chew because this may cause your dog to choke. Ensure not to give your dog anything sugary because such products regularly contain the substance – Xylitol.
Xylitol can be very harmful to our furry best friends. Some exercises can help improve your pet’s breathing patterns to be smoother and more regular.
Note that these are light exercises and not vigorous ones. You can even massage their chest or gently startle them when they are hiccupping. This helps in relaxing the diaphragm and regulate their breathing patterns.
You can still treat your dog as you use to. Hiccups should not stop you from playing with your dog. If you are sceptical about this, you can also consult your veterinarian for an adequate recommendation.
When should you consult a veterinarian?
Many concerned pet owners frequent the veterinary clinic because their dog has a hiccup attack, even when it’s no cause for worry.
However, if your dog is having frequent bouts of hiccup attacks or if the hiccups are persistent that they stay for hours, then you should consult your veterinarian.
On such cases, which are extremely rare, this could be a symptom of other severe underlying conditions. The underlying disease may be pneumonia, heatstroke, pericarditis, asthma or any respiratory defects.
A visit to the veterinary will sure give your dog the professional attention that it needs. First, your veterinarian will talk with you and ask you questions such as:
- When did the hiccup attacks start?
- How long did it last?
- What could have been the trigger?
- Was your dog eating or drinking too fast?
After that, he or she will have to examine your dog physically. The physical examination includes determining the weight of your dog and the vital signs.
Monitoring the main systems of your dog such as the heart, lungs, and the skin, and the lymph nodes, the abdominal organs, and the orthopaedic system is also inclusive.
If any abnormality is detected on the course of the physical examination, then specific simple observation is recommended for you to carry out at home. This may include keeping track of the hiccup episodes for several days.
On several occasions, these conditions – reverse sneezing, focal seizures, and reflux disease mimic hiccups episodes. Keeping records of these episodes will help your veterinarian determine what exactly is the problem.
Then a scanning test may be recommended. The X-ray of the chest and abdomen are captured and studied to help identify the possible cause.