What Causes Puppy Hiccups

by Perfect Puppy Care on May 4, 2012

hiccups

Is your beloved puppy pal prone to noisy hiccups? If so, he or she is definitely not alone. Many young canines suffer from frequent bouts of the hiccups, and these “attacks” are usually caused by rushed eating or drinking. Most healthy pups have voracious appetites and serious thirsts; to slake these desires as quickly as possible, puppies often “wolf” their food and/or drink.

Of course, “wolfing” food tends to result in gasps (and other breathing interruptions) which cause the diaphragm to contract. Any sudden contraction by the diaphragm may provoke hiccups; luckily, these hiccups rarely signal deeper health issues in puppies. It’s important to realize that ninety-nine percent of puppy hiccup issues are perfectly normal (and not harmful in the least). In fact, puppies may actually hiccup sometimes while they are in utero (in their mother’s wombs).

Puppy Hiccups Should Pass Quickly

Hiccups actually begin when the phrenic and vegus nerves (in the throat and torso areas) become irritated; after this irritation begins, the diaphragm seizes up and characteristic (and sometimes very uncomfortable) hiccup noises and sensations occur at frequent intervals until the attack ends. Usually, hiccups will fade within five minutes or so.

As you can see, hiccups are quite a minor health concern for puppies, so try not to worry too much when Fido starts hiccupping up a storm. While there are plenty of folk remedies for hiccups, few of them actually work for puppies, so it’s really better to be patient and to let this minor health ailment pass. One exception to this rule is when vomiting happens during or after a case of the hiccups. It’s always safer to take your loyal canine friend to the veterinarian when vomiting is present; puppies get dehydrated quite easily when they are throwing up, and this may be very dangerous.

How to Help Your Puppy Cope with Hiccups

Massage Your Pup to Relax Him or Her

In most cases, when your puppy is enduring his or her latest attack of hiccups, all that’s needed from you is an offering of love and emotional support. However, some puppy owners stroke or massage their young dogs to relax them; if you want to try this caring treatment, start petting your pup up near his or her neck, and then move your hand down to the top of your puppy’s tail. This soothing stroking motion may calm your pet’s anxiety and help him or her to recover from a hiccups attack more quickly.

After all, stress and anxiety just exacerbate physical symptoms, and puppies are notoriously nervous creatures. However, puppy massage won’t work all of the time; every puppy is different, and some young canines may be too agitated (due to their hiccupping) to stay in one place and permit rub-downs during hiccups attacks.

Change Your Feeding Rituals

If you strongly suspect that lightning-fast eating and drinking habits are contributing to your puppy’s hiccup outbreaks, you may want to consider changing the way that you feed your young dog. Some pet owners try to restrict “wolfing” by buying “slow feed” bowls that feature raised domes in the center. Puppies must eat around the domes in order to get their fill, and this dramatically slows down the entire eating process. These bowls may also be used as water bowls. In some cases, buying these unique puppy accessories will minimize or eliminate puppy hiccup woes.

Alter Your Pup’s Breathing Patterns

To help Fido get rid of the hiccups, take your puppy outside for a little frolic. Running, jumping and fetching will change the way your young dog breathes, and these changes will likely result in faster relief from hiccups. Usually, puppies will still want to play and run around when they have the hiccups. Fresh air is beneficial to proper breathing patterns; however, if you have the space, you may also play fetch indoors or just play games with your puppy that promote physical activity and changes in breathing.

Give Fido a Drink or Snack

Breaking “hiccup breathing patterns” by offering your pet a snack or drink is also a good strategy; after all, drinking and eating changes oxygen intake, and this may stop hiccups sooner. However, feeding your puppy while he or she is suffering from a bad bout of the hiccups isn’t always easy, and it can get messy.

As you can see, there are some excellent ways to help your puppy recover from hiccups attacks a little sooner; however, it’s also fine to let a typical attack run its course. As long as other disturbing symptoms are not present, no veterinary care will be required. Within three to five minutes, your beloved pet should be back to normal.

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