What Do Dog Hiccups Look Like? How Long Do Dog Hiccups Last?

What do dog hiccups look like? Are dog hiccups serious?

Well, compare the dog’s situation with that of humans. When you have hiccups, don’t they leave as abruptly as they come? The same thing happens with dogs. Hiccups in dogs, more often than not, come and go quite randomly.

However, if these hiccups have been occurring a little too frequently, then there may be an underlying issue. Persistent, occasional hiccups could be a possible symptom of some medical condition, in both dogs and humans. So please have it checked at the vet to make sure that your little pooch is healthy.

My Dog Keeps Hiccupping – How to Recognize These Hiccups In Dogs?

They look/sound pretty much like the hiccups we humans get. And hiccups can also occur when your dog is sleeping. So don’t be alarmed if his/her hiccups look a little dramatic, which is quite natural if you ask me because dogs don’t cover their chest with clothes as we humans do. Thus, the physical form of hiccups, that makes the chest forcefully vibrate, is only normal.

However, there’s a huge difference between hiccups and other more serious conditions such as seizures, regurgitation, and coughing. Although it’s very common to mistake one for the other. So here’s how can set them all apart.

When a dog coughs, he/she opens the mouth and expels air where the level of sound is louder in comparison to when the dog is hiccupping. As for regurgitation, food or water is expelled. And this particular process doesn’t have a rhythmic pattern like hiccups.

What about seizures in dogs? This medical condition is basically the brain’s neurological activity becoming abnormal. Seizures and hiccups both, unfortunately, can seem to be very similar in terms of their rhythmic appearance.

Are Dog Hiccups Normal?

Hiccups occur when the diaphragm experiences involuntary contractions. The muscle separating the abdominal and chest cavities in the body is the diaphragm by the way. It’s very thin and is responsible for helping us breathe.

When hiccups usually happen, they don’t last for a very long time. And in most scenarios, hiccups go away on their own without any need for intervention. But then sometimes, and this is quite rare, these hiccups become chronic or persistent. This is when you should take your dog to the vet to find out what the problem is and get it treated quickly.

Can Dogs and Puppies Get Hiccups?

Much like humans, both adults and babies, dogs and puppies too can experience hiccups once in a while. So a pup getting hiccups is not a cause for concern. The dramatic sudden stops after every inhale make the little creature’s chest and stomach shake. And sometimes you can’t even hear the sound of hiccups and just see the chest and belly convulse.

It’s actually pretty common to see puppies hiccupping, much like it’s common for babies to hiccup more often than adults. The reason for puppies though may be their super-excited nature and that they tend to polish off their food very quickly.

And hiccups in dogs arise no matter the breed

What Are the Causes of Dog Hiccups?

There’s no science-backed research study or paper on the causes of hiccups in dogs, but there are a few triggers that seem to produce hiccups in dogs. Such as stress, too much excitement, drinking water or eating food very quickly, and excessive barking.

What’s normal is the occasional occurrence of hiccups, this much is expected and there’s nothing wrong with that. On the other hand, if these hiccups happen frequently or continuously, they could be a potential symptom of a latent medical disorder, disease, or condition. So, at such times, it’s best to have your dog examined by a vet.

There’s this condition known as Synchronous Diaphragmatic Flutter. SDF in short. And it leads to hiccup-like involuntary spasms of the diaphragm. The primary cause here is low levels of blood calcium.

Even GI (gastrointestinal) disorders give rise to more frequent hiccups in dogs. The GI diseases included in this context are gastroesophageal reflux (also called GERD) and esophagitis (which is basically esophagus inflammation).

How to Diagnose Hiccups In Dogs?

Once again, it’s normal for dogs to experience occasional hiccups. It’s only rare for hiccups to stay on for more than 2 hours.

Anything over 2 hours and these hiccups will then begin to really interfere with their daily activities. Then why not get your dog checked by a vet in the case of frequent hiccups? You can record a video whenever the dog is hiccupping at home, so you have something concrete to show the doctor during the visit to the clinic.

Vets usually will get a normal blood test done to check the dog’s CBC count. Along with performing a proper physical examination and maybe also urinalysis and chemistry panel.

And then based on further symptoms and the results, the vet will decide if any of the following things need to be done – X-ray of the chest, ultrasound of the abdomen, MRI or CT scan, and checking blood calcium level.

How to Prevent and Stop Hiccups In Dogs?

Prevention at home involves making sure that your pup is not gobbling up his/her food. Slow feeding vs. fast feeding – the former is always a better idea when it comes to preventing hiccups and also GI-related problems. So feed smaller meals. And any amount of exercise or playing straight after eating should be limited.

If the gastrointestinal tract gets upset, this also might increase the frequency of hiccups. So please be careful about what your dog consumes daily. And lastly, avoid feeding your pet too many table leftovers or even dog-specific treats.

As for how to stop hiccups… the thing is that hiccups normally subside on their own, without any form of treatment. Humans consume sugar (one tablespoon) to get rid of hiccups. However, this is NOT advisable for dogs.

Instead, why don’t you speak to your vet if your dog has been hiccupping a little too excessively or frequently? Do not resort to any home remedies or treatment methods, and this includes administering medication, without consulting the vet.


What do dog hiccups look like? How to get rid of dog hiccups? How long do dog hiccups last? Everything about hiccups is discussed in this article, so you don’t have to worry about your adorable furry companion’s health unless he/she is hiccupping too frequently or persistently. If that’s the case, speak to the vet and figure out what is happening.

But in only rare situations are hiccups an indicator of something serious. Although underlying medical conditions should not be ruled out if the dog is getting hiccups more than just occasionally.

Lisa Thompson

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