Looks like your puppy has been having a terrific day at the pub going by all the puppy hiccups. They can seem cute for the first few times, but they aren’t so fun when they start disturbing your pup’s peaceful sleep or when they seem like they’ll last forever. In this article, we’ll go over all things puppy hiccups, and at what point you should probably check them out with a vet:

  • Why puppies get hiccups
  • How to stop or prevent your puppy’s hiccups 
  • When you should be concerned about hiccups
small puppy lying in owners arms
Photo by Matty Sievers on Unsplash

Why do puppies get hiccups?

Puppy hiccups are exactly the same as in you or I. Why puppies get hiccups is because of a sudden spasm of the diaphragm that snaps the vocal cords shut causing a sound; but why the spasm happens in the first place remains a bit of a mystery (for humans too as far as we’re concerned) and research has never come up with a common conclusion. 

Hiccups are mostly seen in puppies and less in dogs as they grow older because their internal chest and abdominal muscles are still developing. But we’ve come up with a few reasons to explain why puppies get hiccups:

  • Eating too fast: Puppies aren’t known for much patience with food, so wolfing food down like it’s going to self-destruct in 2 seconds can set off the hiccups. 
  • Drinking too fast: No not the pints! Just plain old water if drunk too quickly can make your pup sound like they’ve spent all day at the Dog and Duck!
  • Irritating food: Eating something that has made their stomach upset tends to be a trigger for puppy hiccups. We tend to give pups a variety of treats when training so anything new to them or a bit rich can cause the hiccups to say hello.
  • Excitement: How adorable is that? When exciting things happen like new visitors arriving, an exciting walk in the park, kids coming home from school or meeting new doggy friends, puppy hiccups can make a loud appearance. 
  • Running: Breathing heavily and panting can cause puppy hiccups too. 
  • Mystery: Yep. Sometimes, puppy hiccups can start for no obvious reason at all!
Pomeranian puppy being held by owner
Photo by FLOUFFY on Unsplash

How to stop or prevent hiccups in puppies 

There are many old wives tales that people use in an attempt to relieve themselves from hiccups. We’re sure you’ve heard or done some jumping, holding your breath, swallowing up-side-down or yawning. But as you can imagine, it might be an incredible challenge to get your pup to do even half of these. And not going to lie, it will make you look like a nutter.

So how can you deal with your puppy’s hiccups? Good news is that most of the time you won’t have to and letting them pass on their own will be the way to go about it. But there are indeed a few things you can try if your pup seems bothered by them – you know how annoying they can be. 

  • Help them relax and breathe more slowly, stroking them, talking in a soft voice and help the breathing soften and the hiccups pass.
  • Rub their tummy if they roll over for a rub. Make sure you don’t force your pup onto their back though!
  • Help your puppy to have a drink. This can be quite tricky to do, so we suggest you offer them a sip slowly with maybe just a couple of drops of water on a spoon.
  • Help them slow down when chomping on meals by using a slow feeder bowl or serving smaller meals more often. Also let them rest after a meal for about an hour before exercise so their food can go down properly. 

When are puppy hiccups a health concern?

At the start, puppy hiccups can look terrifying as a new puppy parent. They can sometimes sound like ambulance alarms, can’t they? Especially when they make their tiny bodies jolt…they can cause quite a hectic scene. But most of the time, they are really nothing to worry about and are completely normal.

However, there are chances of puppy hiccups being a sign of less friendly things in your pup. If there are occasions where your puppy is getting hiccups regularly and they are lasting for hours at a time, they could indicate an underlying health problem so it might be a good idea to have them checked by your vet. 

Puppy hiccups can be a symptom of common conditions such as: 

  • Asthma or other respiratory issues
  • Pneumonia
  • Heart problems
  • A swallowed object 
  • An upset stomach

If puppy hiccups are paired with fever, diarrhoea, lethargy, loss of appetite and or coughing, you should definitely get them looked at by your vet. 

But for the rest of the time, puppy hiccups are completely normal and something they will grow out of over time. It’s just a normal part of being a pup. 

dog on leading looking up at owner
Photo by Luzelle Cockburn on Unsplash

That just about wraps up everything you need to know about puppy hiccups. They really won’t cause any major hiccups in your journey with your puppy at all – most of the time they are just an adorable addition to your puppy’s quirky and beautiful self. But just in case they are a sign of something not going completely right, you know what to look out for. 

Let us tell you now though, hiccups are the least hiccup-worthy events you’ll run into in your journey with your new puppy. And yes, we mean those accidental poops. 

If you would like some more puppy help that runs along the lines of training, download the Zigzag app. Our own team of puppy experts are more than happy to help you through any hiccups along the way!