My Dog Keeps Hiccuping and Swallowing – 8 Possible Reasons

Involuntary diaphragm contractions cause hiccups. Hiccups can occur due to various reasons, including stress, temperature changes, overeating, etc. And, hiccups are not confined to humans; your pet dog may have them from time to time as well. Although it may appear funny when your dog has hiccups, a prolonged bout could pose a problem. As a result, if you own a dog, you must always be aware of the underlying issues that cause hiccups in them.

To be more specific, dogs, like humans, can experience hiccups for various reasons, including stress, poor sleep, skipping meals, and so on. And hiccups can be observed in adult dogs as well as puppies.

My Dog Keeps Hiccuping and Swallowing
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That being said, if you notice your dog hiccuping and swallowing every now and then, it’s something to be concerned about. However, don’t despair; we’ve put together this post to look into the most common causes of your dog’s hiccuping. Read on to learn more about the triggers, which will make it easier for you to remove them from your dog’s immediate surroundings.

Hiccups in Dogs and Puppies

Hiccups In Dogs and Puppies
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A fast contraction of the diaphragm causes hiccups in dogs and pups. Hiccuping is an involuntary occurrence that can occur at any time.

Both puppies and adult dogs are prone to hiccupping and swallowing. However, the causes of these occurrences may differ between young and senior canines.

Puppies are growing, and their stomachs are moving, just like human newborns’, which might produce spasms and hiccups. On the other hand, adult dogs are less prone to have hiccuping episodes regularly. So it’s completely fine if they suffer hiccups sometimes. On the other hand, if your mature dog is hiccupping and swallowing a lot, you’ll want to look into what’s going on.

Does Hiccuping Cause Pain?

One question that may arise is whether hiccups are harmful to your dog. The answer to this question is that hiccups in dogs are painless, just like they are in humans. The “hic” sound is just the consequence of involuntary reflexes. They can, however, be extremely irritating to your pets.

One thing to keep in mind is that hiccups and swallows might linger for a few seconds in most circumstances. However, in more serious cases, symptoms might last for hours and necessitate medical intervention.

8 Possible Causes Behind Hiccupping and Swallowing

8 Possible Causes Behind Hiccupping and Swallowing
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This is the core part of this article. Here, we will explore, in detail, the possible underlying causes of hiccuping and swallowing among puppies and adult dogs. These exact causes will help you understand the triggers to eliminate them well in advance. 

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#1. Acid Reflux

One of the most prevalent causes of hiccuping and swallowing in dogs is acid reflux. This is not a good situation for them, as they may get throat and tooth problems. Acid reflux in dogs, however, is a treatable illness. So, if your pet has frequent acid reflux, take him to the veterinarian first. Remember not to give your dog any medication without first consulting your veterinarian.

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In this context, it’s worth emphasizing that your dog could develop oesophagitis or esophageal inflammation. In addition, swallowing problems can also result from such health issues. As a result, the best course of action is to seek medical advice to determine the underlying health condition causing your dog’s hiccuping and swallowing problems.

#2. Food Intolerance

Another possible reason for hiccuping in dogs is food intolerance. Check to analyze if your dog has any food intolerances that could trigger allergic responses in them. Because such reactions might cause your dog’s esophagus to swell, causing choking or gagging episodes.

#3. Respiratory Issues

Hiccuping in dogs could indicate underlying problems that are far more dangerous than you might imagine. One such serious condition may be related to their respiratory system. Your dog may be born with a respiratory problem or develop one later in life. Breathing problems, hiccuping, and swallowing problems are also common symptoms.

So, given the difficulties, if you notice them hiccuping or swallowing more frequently, you should see a veterinarian.

#4. Asthma

Asthma, often known as bronchitis, is a breathing problem that shows itself as frequent swallowing and hiccupping while your dog tries to breathe.

Asthma is a chronic lung issue, which is not going to get cured on its own. Also, administering a few antibiotics won’t cure this issue. Instead, you would have to visit the vet and go in-depth to analyze the problem and give your pooch the proper treatment, like breathing treatments to maintain control.

#5. Pericarditis

While pericarditis is a cardiac ailment, it can also cause respiratory problems in your dog. Hiccuping and swallowing bouts can result from these breathing problems.

Pericarditis is an inflammatory disorder affecting the heart’s supporting membrane. This inflammation will increase the pressure on the heart, making it more difficult for the dog to inhale oxygen, resulting in hiccupping and swallowing difficulties.

#6. Muscle Contractions

This reason is more prevalent among growing pups. 

Puppy muscles are weaker like human newborns’, as their bodies are not fully formed. As a result, they are more prone to muscle contractions and spasms, causing hiccups. However, these hiccups are perfectly normal as long as they only last a few minutes and are not accompanied by drooling, vomiting, drowsiness, choking, or swallowing issues.

#7. Swallowing Too Much Air

Hiccuping in dogs can also be caused by ingesting too much air at once. This cause, like the preceding one, is more prevalent among puppies.

Puppies have a lot of energy. They are constantly agitated and excited. Due to their increased levels of activity and stimulation, pups may inhale more air, resulting in hiccuping episodes. However, as your dog grows older, their hiccups should decrease as well.

#8. Heat Stroke

Although there appears to be no link between hiccups and sunstroke on the surface, the latter can cause the former. In other words, heatstroke can cause hiccups in dogs. As a result, if your furry friend is displaying symptoms of hiccups and has been exposed to unusually high temperatures, you must not dismiss the situation.

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Due to their narrow airways and short snout, brachycephalic breeds like Pugs and Bulldogs are especially vulnerable to such situations. As a result, if you own a dog from one of these breeds, you should exercise particular caution and care. 

Note: Something worth noting is that puppies can have hiccup episodes even before they are born in the womb. It may be a way for them to test their breathing muscles that are still developing. 

When To Worry?

So, as we said, hiccups are a normal part of a dog’s life. However, there may be certain times when such episodes may occur more frequently and last longer. Also, sometimes, these episodes might be combined with other conditions, like drooling, sneezing, vomiting, and so on. Hence, if you encounter these situations, it is recommended to consult a vet on an immediate basis. 

When To Worry
Image Credit: Why do dogs get hiccups from Pinterest

When hiccups become frequent or are associated with breathing difficulties, they cause concern. Keep an eye on their respiratory patterns; if you notice hiccuping along with erratic breathing, you should consult a vet immediately.

Here are some signs to check for in your dog to make things easier to understand.

  • Your dog is hiccuping more frequently
  • The hiccups are continuing for a few hours
  • You are noticing drooling in your dog
  • There is a wheezing sound in his chest
  • Your dog is nauseous after hiccuping episodes
  • Your dog is gasping for air 
  • There is lethargy in your dog

What To Do to Control the Situation?

Although most hiccup episodes are only a few minutes long, they can be irritating. Hiccups can sometimes go on their own, so you don’t have to worry about them. However, there are situations when you can improve things for your dog.

Keeping this in mind, here are a few things you can do to aid your hiccuping and swallowing canine.

#1. Home Remedies

Although we do not encourage using home remedies to treat any illness, you can try them if you have some extra time before going to the veterinarian.

Cleaning and brushing your dog’s teeth regularly is one of the most simple home remedies you may try. But, you might be thinking about the connection between hiccuping and oral health. Well, plaques in the teeth can cause hiccups by interfering with your dog’s regular diet or eating habits. So, give brushing your dog’s teeth a try and see if it makes a difference.

You can also try giving your dog maple syrup as a home treatment. The sweetness may divert their focus away from the hiccups, allowing them to get rid of them gradually.

#2. A Gentle Spook

This is one of many old wives’ fables about curing hiccups in humans. You may even use this procedure on your dog.

Playing hide-and-seek is the ideal method to do this. Try giving them a gentle “spook” from around the door or wall while you’re playing. By doing so, you may be able to take their attention away from their hiccups. However, when spooking your dog, be careful not to instill unwanted dread in them.

#3. Calm Their Breathing

To get rid of your dog’s hiccups, try calming down their erratic breathing. For example, you can make your dog lie down on the back while you stroke or rub their bellies gently and calmly. Continue doing so until the dog’s respiration is regular and comfortable.

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#4. Give Them Water

You can give water to your dog to relieve them of their hiccups in the same way that humans drink water to alleviate their hiccups. Also, add something sweet to the water to distract them from their hiccuping. With that being said, encourage your dog to take little sips of water at a time to prevent any gagging or choking.

#5. Train Them to Eat Slowly

It has been observed that dogs who eat too quickly frequently experience hiccups. As a result, feed your dog modest bits of food at a time. Dogs can also be taught to eat slowly while still puppies, which will help them control their eating habits.

#6. Antacids

As previously noted, acid reflux can cause hiccuping and swallowing episodes in dogs. You can administer a dose of famotidine and omeprazole, if your dog has acid reflux. But, do not forget to always consult your veterinarian before administering any medication. In addition, the medicines mentioned above can only be prescribed and given to your dog when it has been confirmed that he has acid reflux.

In this context, you must also take a note of the food that may cause allergic reactions in your pooch. Also, sometimes, violent chest contractions can give rise to hiccuping and swallowing issues. As a result, avoid giving your pet foods that require a lot of chewing. Easy-to-swallow food can be a better alternative.

How to Prevent Any Future Hiccupping and Swallowing Episodes?

Prevention is always better than cure. So, to prevent future hiccuping and swallowing episodes in your dog, you must first determine what is causing them. If your dog is prone to hiccups, this is very crucial.

Keep a close check on their eating and drinking habits to see if they consume food and water too quickly or in excess. If this is the case, reduce their meal portions and feed them regularly. Also, it would help if you got a water bowl based on your dog’s water intake requirements to avoid over-drinking. 

Maintain a close check on their health as well. Look for any underlying health conditions that could be causing their hiccups to become more frequent. We are confident that by routinely checking on your dog and consulting a veterinarian, you will be able to avoid repeated hiccup episodes.

Summary

Hiccups are a common and harmless phenomenon. Their frequent appearances and extended stays, on the other hand, can be a cause of fear. If your dog has a habit of having frequent hiccups, you should strive to intervene and prevent the symptoms. Do not panic. 

Maintain your composure and try one of the home remedies mentioned above. However, if you believe the condition is critical, you should seek advice from a veterinarian. Also, don’t dismiss your gut feelings. If you believe your dog needs medical attention, you should immediately take action.

Finally, as a pet owner, please make an effort to understand more about your dog and its health condition. This would help you provide him with a safe and fulfilled lifestyle!