What to Do If Your Dog Has Hiccups

We’ve all been there. You’re sitting on the couch watching your favorite movie when you hear it: that rhythmic, familiar sound of hiccups. But then you hear them again, and this time they’re coming from under the couch: it’s your dog having hiccups! Your first reaction is to laugh because it’s cute, but should you be worried about your pup? What causes dog hiccups? How do you treat dog hiccups? In this article, we’ll cover all these questions and more so that you can feel confident when caring for your furry friend.

What Are Hiccups?

Hiccups are involuntary contractions of the diaphragm, a muscle under your lungs. Hiccups can be annoying and uncomfortable, but they’re not dangerous.

They aren’t caused by disease or illness; they’re symptoms. When you swallow too much air while eating or drinking quickly and deeply, you may get watery eyes and hiccups as your body reacts to all this extra air in your stomach.

Hiccups are not contagious to other people or animals (even though it can seem like it if you have them).

Why Do Dogs Get Hiccups?

The answer is simple: Dogs get hiccups when their diaphragm spasms. This happens when your dog’s brain tells the diaphragm to contract, causing it to pull up on two of your dog’s organs (the heart and lungs). The diaphragm then relaxes and pushes down again, resulting in an audible “hic” sound. Hiccups are fairly common in dogs but can be easily treated by simply waiting for them to go away on their own or distracting your dog with fun playtime activities such as fetch.

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Are Hiccups Serious?

Hiccups are not serious, nor are they a disease or related to any other condition. Hiccups are not a symptom of a disease, and they’re not caused by an underlying medical condition. Hiccups aren’t even harmful to your dog! In fact, dogs often get hiccups when excited or nervous because their body is releasing adrenaline—the same way it would if you were excited or nervous.

The good news is that hiccups in dogs are typically only temporary and will resolve on their own in a few minutes, although there are certain things you can do to help speed up the process.

Treating Dog Hiccups at Home With Natural Remedies

If you’ve tried the above remedies and your dog is still hiccuping, it’s time to consult a veterinarian. Your vet may prescribe bromide (which slows down the central nervous system) or diphenhydramine (an antihistamine) to treat your dog’s hiccups. The downside is that these drugs can have unpleasant side effects such as decreased appetite, diarrhea, constipation and more.

Treating Dog Hiccups with Medication

If the hiccups are mild and not recurring, you may be able to treat them yourself. It’s best to call your dog’s veterinarian if his hiccups are frequent or severe, or have lasted more than a day.

  • Antihistamines such as Benadryl (diphenhydramine) and chlorpheniramine maleate can calm symptoms of allergies in dogs, so they may also help relax muscles that cause hiccups. You can give these medications orally at a dose of 25 mg per pound every 8 hours (for example 2 mg per pound every 8 hours). Ask your veterinarian for advice on how much medication to give based on your dog’s weight and age.
  • Anti-nausea medications like Reglan (metoclopramide) can be used in dogs but must be prescribed by a veterinarian as an injection or pill form — not given orally because they could damage the esophagus or stomach if they’re accidentally swallowed whole by your pet!
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If hiccups persist, you should seek veterinary care.

If your dog’s hiccups are accompanied by other symptoms, like vomiting or diarrhea, lethargy or depression, abnormal breathing (rapid or shallow), fever, swelling of the abdomen and/or abdominal pain—or if you just want to make sure that it’s not something more serious—you should seek veterinary care.

We hope this article has been helpful for you. The good news is that hiccups are usually not serious and can be treated at home. If your dog’s hiccups persist, we strongly recommend contacting your veterinarian for treatment options and a proper diagnosis.