If you’ve ever seen a dog with hiccups, you probably thought it was cute—and maybe even wondered what was going on inside its body. After all, we only see hiccups in people and other animals. But did you know that dogs can get them too? In this article, I’ll tell you why dogs get hiccups and how to help them if they do.
Dogs Can Get Hiccups
While humans get hiccups from swallowing too much air, dogs can get them for other reasons.
A dog’s nervous system is very similar to yours and mine, so it’s not surprising that hiccups are possible in dogs as well as in humans.
Dogs have the same kind of hiccup reflex that we do—a nerve signal goes from the brain to muscles around your diaphragm and causes those muscles to contract (this is what causes you to make a sound when you have hiccups).
Unlike us, though, dogs’ hiccup reflexes aren’t triggered by eating too fast or drinking too much water—instead, they’re triggered by sudden changes in temperature or being startled by loud noises. This means that some dogs may experience more frequent bouts of hiccups than others!
Causes of Hiccups Dogs
Hiccups in dogs are caused by the rapid contraction of the diaphragm muscle, which is a powerful horizontal muscle that separates the thoracic cavity from the abdominal cavity. When this happens, it causes your pet to breathe in and out rapidly.
This same mechanism is behind hiccups in people too! It’s thought that they occur because of sudden changes in pressure within our bodies when we’re eating or drinking something that increases our blood sugar levels, such as sugary drinks or alcohol.
Unusual Breathing Sounds
If your dog is experiencing hiccups, it may paw at its mouth and make unusual breathing sounds. They may also make sounds like they’re choking. If you hear any of these symptoms, it’s important to contact your veterinarian immediately because a dog with hiccups can’t swallow properly, which poses a serious health risk if left untreated.
Don’t Give OTC Medication Without Veterinary Approval
If your dog has hiccups, it’s important to know that the condition is not a serious medical problem and that you don’t need to rush them to the vet. Hiccups are not caused by any specific medical condition, but they can be a symptom of other conditions.
If your dog has hiccups for more than 24 hours or if they last longer than one episode per minute, then it’s best to talk with your veterinarian.
Check for Underlying Health Problems
If your dog is having frequent episodes of hiccups, you should see a veterinarian to check for underlying medical issues. A vet will likely examine the animal and perform routine tests, including blood work and radiographs (X-rays).
Hiccups Are Common
Hiccups are a common occurrence in dogs, but they don’t always mean something is wrong. If your dog has hiccups and is acting normally otherwise, don’t worry too much about it. However, if your pet’s hiccups last longer than a few minutes or get progressively worse over time—or if you notice any other unusual symptoms—it’s worth taking them to a veterinarian for an exam as soon as possible.