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Puppyy hiccuping while sleeping

Puppy Hiccuping: Why Your Dog Gets The Hiccups

Have you ever seen your puppy hiccuping? You might wonder why your dog hiccups at times. We're here to help you explain this interesting phenomenon, its common causes, as well as how you can help your dog from feeling uncomfortable.

What Are Dog Hiccups?

Ever wonder why your pup gets the hiccups? Those little jumps and squeaks are involuntary spasms of the diaphragm, the muscle under the lungs.

When your puppy eats or drinks too quickly, swallows air, or gets overexcited, it can cause their diaphragm to spasm. The spasms make their chest jerk and create the “hic” sound. It is usually harmless, so you don’t have to worry about it.

To help speed up recovery, you can try gently massaging your puppy's throat or scratching them behind the ears. You can also offer a small treat or toy to help distract them. Giving them a little water may help as well.

While puppy hiccups are typically not a cause for concern and will disappear quickly, if hiccups last more than a few hours, seem painful, or your pup has trouble breathing, contact your vet.

Why Is My Puppy Hiccuping?

Physiological Causes

Puppies get hiccups for the same reasons humans do—an involuntary spasm of the diaphragm muscle. The diaphragm is responsible for breathing, and when it contracts out of sync, it results in the familiar “hic” sound. Some possible triggers for puppy hiccups include:

  • Swallowing air while eating or drinking too quickly. Slowing down mealtimes and using a puzzle feeder can help.
  • Excitement or stress. Calming your puppy with gentle petting, soft music, or a massage may provide relief.
  • Irregular feeding schedules. Offering multiple small meals throughout the day instead of one big meal may prevent hiccups caused by an empty stomach.

Will They Go Away?

The good news is puppy hiccups are usually not a cause for concern and will go away on their own in a few minutes. Some remedies you can try to speed relief include:

  • Gently massaging your puppy's throat or chest.
  • Offering a small treat or sip of water. The act of swallowing can help reset the diaphragm.
  • Providing a distraction like play or training to take their mind off the spasms.

If hiccups are frequent or persistent, mention them to your vet to rule out any underlying conditions. But in most cases, puppy hiccups are just a temporary annoyance and will disappear as your puppy matures.

How To Get Hiccups In Dogs To Stop

Gently massage your puppy's throat and belly.

Gently massaging your puppy's throat or belly can help relax them and relieve hiccups. Rub small circles on their throat for a few seconds.

You can also try gently massaging their belly, which may help relax the diaphragm. Be very gentle and stop if your puppy seems uncomfortable.

Offer a small drink of water.

Having your puppy drink a little water can help reset their breathing and swallowing pattern, relieving the spasms causing the hiccups. Tilt your puppy's head back slightly and offer a few tablespoons of water with a syringe, dropper, or your fingers.

Make sure they swallow slowly. The water will stimulate the vagus nerve, which can help stop the hiccups.

Remain calm and soothe your puppy.

Puppies often pick up on their owner's emotions. Remaining calm and soothing your puppy with gentle petting, soft words, and belly rubs can help relax them so their hiccups subside.

Softly pet your puppy, speak in a gentle, comforting tone, and give them affection until the hiccups pass. Your calm, reassuring presence will help your puppy feel more at ease.

Burp your puppy.

If your puppy just ate or drank before the hiccups started, they may have swallowed the air that's causing the spasms. Gently burp or massage your puppy to release any trapped gas, which can provide relief from hiccups.

Hold your puppy facing away from you, supporting its chest with one hand and gently patting or massaging its back and belly with the other hand until they burp.

When to Worry About Puppy Hiccups

When Frequent Hiccups Don’t Stop

If your puppy's hiccups seem to go on for more than a few minutes, it’s time to take action. As a general rule of thumb, hiccups lasting longer than 15-20 minutes warrant a call to your vet.

Prolonged hiccups can sometimes signal an underlying issue like:

  • Irritation of the vagus or phrenic nerves that control the diaphragm.
  • A respiratory infection. Puppies are prone to kennel cough and other airway infections that can irritate the nerves involved in hiccuping.
  • Gastroesophageal reflux or swallowing air while eating too quickly. Burping your puppy and making sure they eat at a reasonable pace can help.
  • A congenital abnormality like a diaphragmatic hernia or gastrointestinal issue. It’s best to have your vet examine your puppy to rule out any anatomical causes.

While hiccups are usually harmless and short-lived, frequent or prolonged hiccuping can lead to exhaustion, weight loss, and other issues in puppies.

Don’t hesitate to call your vet immediately if hiccups disrupt your puppy’s eating, sleeping, or normal activities.

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What to do if my puppy has hiccups while sleeping?

You can wait it out, as many of them just pass after a while. If they remain hiccuping for too long, you can try waking them from their slumber and doing the steps above.

Is it bad for puppies to get hiccups?

It is mostly normal. However, if the hiccups continue for more than one hour, consider taking your pet to the vet to know if your pup has any medical issues.

Are puppy hiccups dangerous?

It is usually normal, although it may also be a sign of something dangerous if it lasts for too long or if it’s accompanied by other symptoms.

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