Your puppy is your prized possession. You just want to look after them and ensure they are well and safe. But what about hiccups? Are they something to be concerned about? Is it typical for puppies to experience them, and is there anything you can, or should do in response? Well, this is all you need to know.
So, why does my puppy have hiccups? Puppies typically get hiccups as a result of eating their food or drinking their water too quickly. Although, hiccups can also be triggered by excitement from lively play, or in some cases, stress – such as inhaling an irritant. Swallowing air while sleeping is another known cause and possibility to consider.
The reason why a puppy, or dog for that matter, experiences hiccups has a lot to do with context.
So first and foremost, you need to identify when the hiccups occur.
Is it during sleep, after eating/drinking, or following a bout of play?
These are just some questions to ask yourself.
From there, you are going to want to look for trends.
Does it happen at the same time every day – such as in the morning, afternoon, or night?
Try to connect the dots.
That way, you should be able to identify the underlying cause of this cute yet interesting reaction from your pup.
But is hiccuping a cause for concern?
Let’s find out!
Is It Normal For Puppies To Get Hiccups All The Time
Hiccuping in puppies is an entirely normal response. It happens frequently and is, in fact, more commonly experienced in young dogs.
And this is for two different reasons; the behavior of young puppies and their internal organs.
For one, puppies are much more likely to wolf down their food quickly.
They are much more likely to engage in energetic play soon following a meal.
Secondly, the internal organs of puppies are still developing.
And that includes their lungs and diaphragm.
In fact, it is the diaphragm that is directly responsible for the hiccups.
Hiccups are essentially the outcome of the diaphragm contracting involuntarily.
So, as a dog gets older, the hiccup response will actually subside.
In fact, adult dogs rarely have hiccups – so in time, you should notice that your puppy experiences them less and less as they mature.
But until then, you can expect hiccups.
Is It Bad If My Puppy Gets Hiccups A Lot?
It is not necessarily bad that your puppy gets hiccups regularly, although it can be an indication that they may need to slow down a little! Equally, hiccups are not generally a cause for concern unless they continue for long periods during each episode or other symptoms are experienced alongside them.
I am talking over 1-2 hours here.
If your puppy experiences hiccups for that kind of length of time, then you should really consult your vet.
At least to be sure that everything is okay.
At the same time, if you notice that your puppy experiences hiccups after every meal, every play session – then again, having that conversation with your vet is advised.
And then onto other symptoms.
Vomiting, coughing, and shortness of breath are perhaps the three to watch out for.
These can indicate a wide range of conditions, from gastrointestinal distress, worms, respiratory diseases, or even something more severe – like the early onset of heart disease.
So if you notice these are being experienced alongside the hiccups – a vet may be able to
While this is less common, it is important to consider.
So do consult a vet if you notice or suspect these accompanying symptoms – they may be able to diagnose or provide treatment.
And you may even find that this indirectly helps the hiccups a little.
But for the most part, hiccups are just one of those things we puppy parents should expect to some extent.
How Long Do Puppy Hiccups Last?
Hiccups in puppies will typically last from anywhere from a few seconds all the way up to 30 minutes. In more extreme cases, they can go on for 45 minutes or longer.
How long your puppy’s hiccups will last will depend on the context.
How old your puppy is, their condition, and the underlying cause.
Equally, if causes are compounded, i.e., a puppy eats too fast, then is very energetic, you may notice that the hiccups go on for a little longer.
One thing to note here is that each hiccup episode is unlikely to last the same length of time.
And it is only if they go on for extended periods (1 hour and beyond at a time), chronically (3-4x per day), or if other symptoms (as discussed above) are shown that contacting a vet is advised.
What To Do When Your Puppy Gets Hiccups
For the most part, the best thing to do when your puppy gets hiccups is nothing. Let the hiccups run their course. Otherwise, you may actually exacerbate the hiccups by making your puppy more excited.
If you do feel the need to intervene, then there are a few things you can try.
Distract Your Puppy
If your puppy is excited and bouncing around or has been, you can look to slow and calm them down.
This can help to slow your puppy’s breathing, which can help to reduce the hiccups.
You can look to provide your puppy with a toy during this time (an interactive one that keeps their attention) is ideal.
Secondly, you can look to offer your puppy some water.
In fact, if you add something that adds sweetness, such as a very small amount of syrup, honey, or sugar, you can incentivize your dog to drink.
By doing so, can be enough to slow your dog down and relax their breathing.
This should, in turn, help with the hiccups.
Avoid More Food
During this time, you are not going to want to give your dog food in any form – including treats.
This can actually worsen the hiccups or, in extreme cases, actually result in choking or other digestive upset as a puppy may not be able to chew or break down the food during this time.
Consider massaging your puppy’s tummy or even their chest.
Cuddling up to them and giving them some attention can be a good way to cause distraction and alter breathing patterns.
Preventing Hiccups Going Forward
In many ways, hiccups are a natural reaction and response common in puppies. There is not a lot you will be able to do to prevent them entirely.
That being said, there are some practical tips that you can try which may help.
For starters, you can look to slow down your puppy’s eating or drinking.
Whether this is by limiting the portion sizes during mealtime (and topping up the food bowl throughout the course of the meal) to extend feeding time or changing the feeding bowl entirely.
Some feeders actually dispense food more slowly, so you could look at getting one of those.
Next, you can look to reduce or at least control your puppy’s excitement – particularly after eating.
Be sure that they have had ample time to digest their food before they move onto energetic play.
And lastly – do consult your vet if this becomes a persistent issue.
They may be able to provide some treatment that can help your puppy’s digestion.
Or they can point you in the right direction regarding food choices, digestive aids, etc.
Watching your puppy experience hiccups may be cute at first, but it can become quite a concern if you notice it regularly.
Thankfully, for the most part, this is actually quite typical in young dogs.
Even if it does happen pretty regularly.
It’s like sleeping – it is just something that puppies do!
And you should find in time it naturally subsides.
Dogs over the ages of 1-2 will rarely if ever, experience them.
That being said, if your puppy is hiccuping chronically, or if other symptoms such as coughing or difficulty breathing are present, it will do you no harm to contact a vet.
Besides, getting your puppy checked out while young and before conditions have the time to develop can make all the difference.
So try not to stress.
And perhaps consider helping your puppy slow down a little.
While it’s great to see them all happy and excited, I doubt they enjoy the hiccups all that much!