How To Treat Dog Hiccups

At one time or another, most of us have seen our dog with a case of the hiccups. And most of us have laughed. It isn't our fault, really. Hiccups are funny even in humans, provided of course that we aren't the human in question. But in dogs, hiccups are simply hysterical. The question is, are they a real problem for the dog?

Why do Dogs Get Hiccups?

Actually dogs get hiccups much in the same way as we humans. Dog hiccups seem to occur more in puppies than adult dogs, although adult dogs can get them as well. Hiccups happen because of a Dakota DogCredit: Belinda Whitediaphragm spasm, and therefore any animal with a diaphragm is susceptible to them, even cats. A spasm can be caused by a sudden rush of air into the lungs.

Some of the most common reasons that a dog will get hiccups are:

  • Eating spicy food
  • Eating their food too quickly
  • Inhaling smoke or a chemical irritant
  • Excitement or stress
  • Certain medications
  • Very cold temperatures or Hypothermia

What Can I do to Help Stop My Dog from Hiccupping?

First of all, if the hiccups were brought on hypothermia, you need to get your dog warm. Try to get his body temperature up by covering him with blankets or having him lie next to a heater.

If your dog simply has a normal case of the hiccups, then most of the usual human remedies will work as well. Try giving the dog some fresh water, or startling the dog. If that doesn't work, try taking the dog for a walk or playing a quick game of fetch. Sometimes if you can get the dog to change his breath rate through exercise, it will cure the problem. You can also massage the dog's chest to help relax the diaphragm muscles.

At What Point do I Need to Bring in a Vet?

Most of the time, dog hiccups will resolve themselves without the need for treatment or medication. Your dog's hiccups may only last a few minutes or they could last for hours. If they Dakota with AttitudeCredit: Belinda Whitelast for more than a few hours, there is probably another issue at hand and you should take your dog to see the vet for treatment. In very rare cases, the hiccups may be a sign of a much more serious problem, such as asthma or a respiratory defect.

If the vet can't find anything wrong with your dog, he will probably give the dog a relaxant to loosen up the diaphragm muscle. In the extremely rare case, the vet may have to resort to surgery to relax the diaphragm. However, surgery is very rarely needed.

An occasional case of hiccups is nothing to be concerned about, however if your dog continues to be bothered with them on a consistent basis, you should take him to a vet for a thorough examination to be sure there isn't a more serious underlying cause.

Otherwise, try to stop laughing, grab the video camera and try to get those dog hiccups captured for posterity.