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Why does my puppy get hiccups?

There aren't many things that are more adorable than a puppy with hiccups. It can be surprising for both you and your pup when they experience hiccups, but what is causing them and what does it mean?

Let’s take a look at why your puppy might be hiccupping, as well as some tips to help them the next time they get a bout of hiccups.  

Why do puppies get hiccups? 

Hiccups are a bit of a mystery to vets and doctors. We aren’t really sure what the point of them is, but we do know how they happen.

Hiccups are involuntary contractions of the diaphragm and respiratory organs. These contractions make the opening between the vocal cords close quickly, which results in the notorious 'hic' noise.

Hiccups can occur for lots of different reasons, and are more common in puppies than they are in adult dogs. A common cause of hiccups is eating or drinking too fast, which can cause dogs to inhale lots of air as they gulp down their food or drink. 

Because puppies are excitable and love to play, their energetic play sessions can also cause them to hiccup. As they get excited and their breathing becomes quicker, it can trigger a bout of hiccups. 

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Should I be worried if my puppy has hiccups? 

In the vast majority of cases, hiccups are not a cause for concern. In very rare cases, hiccupping could mean that there is an underlying problem. If your puppy keeps getting hiccups, then it’s worth visiting your vet. 

Although we aren't entirely sure why hiccups in dogs happen in the first place, the act of hiccupping itself is harmless, just as it is for humans.

Having hiccups isn’t painful for your puppy and ultimately, they will go away on their own after a while. There isn't a lot that you can do to help your dog when they are going through a hiccupping episode.

If your puppy is stressed or worried by the hiccups, try to calm them down and stop play, and keep them from gobbling down any more food.

How do I get my puppy to stop hiccupping? 

Just like when we get them, there are lots of remedies touted for curing dog hiccups. Although drinking cold water, biting into a lemon or drinking water upside down might work for you, it’s probably not a good idea for your puppy to try them! 

If your puppy gets hiccups a lot, there are some things you can do that might help them. You can try using a slow-feeder bowl, or other mealtime accessories that help to slow down the speed at which your pup eats his food.

There are lots of products on the market to choose from, which can slow down the rate at which your puppy eats, preventing them from swallowing excess air.

Slow feeders can also benefit your puppy by providing mental stimulation as they try to work out the best way to get to their food.

Need more info?

For more advice on hiccups in dogs or any aspect of your puppy’s healthcare, have a chat with your local vet. You can find your nearest vet using our handy Find a Vet page.

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