Understanding Canine Hiccups: Is It Cause for Concern? | DogExpress
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Should You Be Alarmed About Your Dog's Hiccups

Understanding Canine Hiccups: Is It Cause for Concern?

Dog hiccups may sound cute, but at times, they may also occur because of some underlying disease. So, should you get worried when your dog experiences a hiccup? Well, it completely depends on the underlying condition causing the hiccups.

Usually, hiccups are normal and will be resolved within a few minutes. However, sometimes, the dog keeps hiccuping and swallowing

If the hiccups last over an hour, your dog is facing some problems. In such cases, you must take your dog for examination by the vet.

Why do dogs get hiccups?

Before you start worrying about your dog’s hiccups, you should try to understand the anatomy involved in the respiration of dogs. This way, you will gain knowledge of hiccups. When a dog inhales, its diaphragm contracts and moves downwards.

This allows the lungs to expand and provides more room for the chest cavity. Once the dog exhales, the chest cavity returns to its original form. However, if there is some distress, this smooth internal process gets disrupted, causing hiccups.

Image Source: Wikimedia.org

What exactly causes hiccups in dogs?

Some common causes of hiccups include overexcitement, overstress, eating and drinking too quickly, eating hot or cold food, taking medications, etc.

Eating or drinking quickly:

When your dog is eating or drinking too quickly, it is most likely that it is going to swallow a considerable amount of air while eating. This air intake will cause stomach distention which, in turn, irritates the diaphragm, and it contracts, thereby resulting in hiccups. Also, try not to give too hot or cold foods to the dog as it will again irritate the esophagus, causing hiccups.

Overexcitement and stress:

Over-excitement and stress are other factors responsible for hiccups in dogs. When the dog gets excited, the heart rate and the cortisol level of the dog increase. This irritates the diaphragm. 

Overexcitement will also result in shallow breathing, and the dog will also start to hiccup. This can also cause problems in respiration. In such a case, you must try calming your dog down until the breathing rate returns normally.

Eating spicy food:

Eating spicy food is another cause of hiccups. When your dog eats spicy food, it causes stomach gas. This will increase thirst, and your dog might want to drink water too quickly. This irritates the muscular diaphragm, causing it to contract. This, again, leads to frequent hiccups. 

Japanese Terrier dog


Medications like antibiotics and corticosteroids may also cause hiccups in dogs. This medication may cause the muscular diaphragm to get irritated, resulting in frequent hiccups. You can give your dog enough water to help it to get rid of hiccups.

All these factors cause normal hiccups in dogs. However, in certain conditions, hiccups may occur because of serious underlying diseases like bronchitis, pneumonia, respiratory defects, and much more.

How do you get rid of dog hiccups?

Normal hiccups may last 15 to 20 minutes and should not cause immediate concern. However, if you see that the hiccup lasts for over an hour, then you should try to get rid of it in different ways. So, here we are with a few ways that will allow you to get rid of your dog’s hiccups:

Calm your dog down:

Try relaxing your dog while it is dealing with hiccups. Make your dog lie down and relax. This will slow down the breathing pattern, and the hiccups will reduce. You should also try to train your dog so that it can manage anxiety all by itself.

Drinking water:

If the hiccup is occurring because of irritation of the esophagus, then you can give some cool water to drink. It will also be quite helpful in restoring normal breathing patterns. It will also bring down the temperature, and your dog will start behaving normally again.

Call a vet:

If the hiccups don’t stop in any way, then it is a sign of a health issue. In such scenarios, it is perfectly fine to consult with your vet. He will carefully examine the dog and find the exact cause of the hiccup. He will then provide the required treatment to the dog so that it gets normal again.

And this was all about hiccups in dogs. However, if you notice anything serious about your dog, you should treat it immediately, so your furry friend becomes healthy.


Hiccups in dogs are generally not a cause for alarm. However, if your dog’s hiccups are frequent, persistent, or accompanied by other symptoms, it’s best to consult your veterinarian to rule out any underlying medical issues.

Additionally, keeping an eye on your dog’s eating habits and avoiding overfeeding can help to prevent hiccups. Overall, hiccups are a normal bodily function and not something to be overly concerned about in most cases.

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