Surely you have noticed that your dog has hiccups. Yes, just as people have hiccups, dogs also suffer this uncomfortable process, but do you know why hiccups happen in dogs? Do you want to know how to eliminate it? Then keep reading this article that we have prepared from Las Almenas.
What is hiccups in dogs?
Hiccups are an involuntary spasm that happens when the diaphragm contracts. That involuntary spasm causes the vocal cords to close, which produces that characteristic short “hip” sound.
Normally, hiccups in dogs last only a few seconds, so it is likely that many people do not even notice this episode. However, it can happen that hiccups in dogs last for many hours, which is called persistent hiccups.
If you haven’t noticed it, just take a look. Hiccups in dogs are very similar to those in people. There is a jerking or rapid jumping of the chest that appears to be involuntary. This is usually repeated several times in a rhythmic pattern. It may be silent or there may be a grunting or the typical puffing of air associated with hiccups.
What are the factors that can cause hiccups in dogs?
There are a multitude of factors that can cause hiccups in dogs, these are the most common:
- Digestive problems
Allergies to certain foods or simply poor digestion can cause hiccups in dogs. So if the dog, in addition to having hiccups, vomits, it is necessary to go to the vet as soon as possible to prescribe an appropriate treatment.
However, in these cases, although hiccups in dogs are annoying, it is also an advantage. Hiccups help to release accumulated gases, avoiding stomach pains.
- The dog eats too fast, too much food or has eaten spicy food.
Anxious dogs tend to hiccup more frequently. When a dog eats very fast, it also swallows a lot of air at the same time. When digesting, the air wants to come out and can cause hiccups.
You can help your dog not to eat so anxiously by giving your dog special bowls to slow down the speed of ingestion.
It is also necessary for the dog to drink enough water, but he should not drink quickly because it would happen as it happens with eating.
- Stress and excess of emotion
Stressful or fearful situations that provoke nervousness can cause hiccups in dogs. Our furry friends do not cope well with change. Surely you have already noticed that they are very empathetic, sensitive and suffer when you suffer. A move, a sudden trip, the arrival of a loved one, lack of attention and, above all, fear of something or someone, generates stress in them, which sometimes affects their breathing.
If your pet suffers from stress and nervousness, and manifests it through hiccups, you have a problem. His diaphragm will relax after a while or even hours, but what you have to worry about is what causes him stress in order to avoid it and/or correct it.
- Temperature changes
Sudden changes in temperature, especially the change from hot to cold, from summer to winter, can affect and influence the appearance of hiccups in dogs.
- Some diseases
If the dog suffers from some kind of intestinal disease, such as intestinal worms, or if it has a respiratory disease, such as asthma, it is likely that these are the reasons for the appearance of hiccups in dogs.
Is hiccups in dogs normal?
It is possible that many people are surprised to see a dog with hiccups, but the reality is that it is a normal and harmless symptom on most occasions, especially if it happens when Hiccups in dogs is usually harmless, but if it persists for more than 24 hours, it is better to go to the veterinarian. Even more so if the dog has difficulty breathing, does not want to exercise or you notice wheezing between breaths.
It is best to have the veterinarian rule out a metabolic or central nervous system disease.
Hiccups in puppies
Younger dogs tend to be more sensitive to sudden changes in temperature, are more nervous and tend to eat by gulping without chewing, so they swallow more air, which favors the appearance of hiccups in puppies more frequently.
When a puppy hiccups for the first time, it is possible that he gets scared, so be affectionate, analyze the possible cause that has provoked it and try to take measures to correct or avoid it.
How to eliminate hiccups in dogs?
As you can see, hiccups in dogs can be due to several causes, so the best thing to do is to prevent these situations. However, the fact that a dog has hiccups is not in itself a problem, but you can try to follow these recommendations to end it as soon as possible:
- Try to reassure your dog in the face of fear or stress. You can try to do this with a walk that allows him to be distracted, toys or even a gentle massage on the belly, in case he has any discomfort.
- If your dog eats very quickly, you will need to control the food intake. You can try splitting the intake into two or three doses, instead of giving him a single daily ration of food. This way your dog will suffer much less anxiety and digestion will be smoother. It is also advisable to avoid intense exercise before or after eating.
- Drinking water can also be a good solution. Give it to him to drink little by little and in small sips so that it is eliminated.
- If it is cold, this may be the reason for hiccups in dogs. Take him to a warm place so that his body recovers the heat. Surely this measure will make the hiccups disappear soon.
To prevent hiccups from occurring frequently, the best alternative is to put warm clothes outside the house. At home you should also take care of his body temperature. At home, your dog should have a warm and comfortable bed away from any draught. If your dog is very cold and has a hard time in winter, you can buy a thermal bed.
These recommendations can help you punctually, but if you have any doubt, the best thing to do is to go to your veterinarian for a complete check-up.
Do’s and don’ts
You should try to live a normal life with your dog and not force him to eat and drink if he doesn’t want to, as he could choke. Forget also about those tricks that we people use, such as scaring him. Scaring will probably upset your dog and this will only make him more nervous and you will not get rid of his hiccups.
Do not resort to self-medication either. The best thing to do is to go to the vet at the slightest doubt when your dog suffers persistent hiccups.
To determine if there is a problem behind the hiccups in dogs, your veterinarian will perform initial diagnostic tests, such as chest and abdominal X-rays, as well as blood tests. In this way, the veterinarian will be able to rule out tumors, heart enlargement, stomach problems, hiatal hernia or electrolyte disturbances in the blood.
He will also try to find out if the cause of hiccups in dogs may be due to gastrointestinal diseases, such as inflammatory bowel disease and reflux esophagitis. In these cases, if the dog shows any signs associated with these diseases, appropriate treatment will be put in place that will likely resolve other underlying disorders, as is the case with the hiccups.
What if the hiccups do not go away?
If the veterinarian does not find any health problems in the dog, but the hiccups continue, he will probably recommend you to administer some medication that will cause the diaphragm muscles to relax.
In the rarest and most extreme cases of hiccups in dogs, when treatment with medication is not effective, the veterinarian may consider surgery. This may be necessary in order to improve the dog’s quality of life, as prolonged hiccups are bothersome and can even cause damage to the diaphragm.
This surgery is performed on the phrenic nerve to get the diaphragm to relax. However, surgery is only an option to be considered in rare and extreme cases in which there is no other alternative to improve the dog’s quality of life.
Did you like our article? We hope all the information has been useful and remember that under no circumstances should you self-medicate your pet, it is better to go to the veterinarian. But if you have any question you want to comment or ask us about hiccups in dogs, you can write us here below or on our profiles on Facebook, Instagram and the Las Almenas YouTube channel. You know that in Las Almenas what concerns us most is the health of our little big family.