Hic. Hic. Uh-oh. Your dog’s body is convulsing with what seem to be hiccups, waking her from an otherwise peaceful nap. Your mind starts to fill with questions. Do dogs get hiccups? Why would she be hiccuping? How do you fix it?
Let’s start with the good news. Your dog is probably OK – hiccups are totally normal. But let’s explore some causes and fixes for your dog’s hiccups!
Just like in humans, hiccups in dogs are caused by uncontrollable spasms of the diaphragm. This may sound scary, but in most cases, it will go away on its own!
Your diaphragm is a muscle that contracts to pull air down into your lungs, and it does the same for your dog. When your diaphragm spasms and is out-of-synch with your glottis, this causes the “hic” sound.
Dogs can also be affected by what’s called “reverse sneezing,” which is a big intake of breath. It can be accompanied by snorting and the dog’s mouth is closed, making some owners think their dog is choking or affected by a horrible case of hiccups.
This is pretty different from a hiccup, but sometimes can look similar. While also not a cause for concern, knowing the difference is important.
Scientists aren’t quite sure exactly why this causes hiccups, or what the purpose of hiccups is, but we do know the common actions that lead to hiccups!
Usually, owners don’t need to worry too much about resolving their dog’s hiccups. Hiccups are totally normal and usually will go away in just a few minutes. If your dog regularly gets the hiccups or has them for an extended period of time, you may want to intervene, although it certainly isn’t necessary. There are a few options for helping your dog be rid of the hiccups.
Some scientists believe that hiccups are helpful in letting dogs clear their stomachs of gas, but that doesn’t mean your dog enjoys hiccupping. Like in humans, hiccups are annoying, but ultimately are normal and not a big cause for concern.
Monitoring your dog’s emotions and food intake can help prevent and even cure the hiccups!
Do you have a fix for doggie hiccups? Have a cute video to share of your pup hiccuping? We want to see both! Share them in the comments below.
Kayla Fratt is an Associate Certified Dog Behavior Consultant through the IAABC and works as a professional dog trainer through the use of positive reinforcement methods. She also has experience working as a Behavior Technician at Denver Dumb Friends League rehabilitating fearful and reactive dogs.