Dog Hiccups: Can Dogs Get Hiccups?


Have you ever seen your dog’s body twitch with what appears to be a hiccup? Yes, dogs can get hiccups. A hiccup is medically described as a myoclonus of the diaphragm. A myoclonus is a sudden shock like a muscle contraction. The diaphragm is the inner muscle between your chest and abdomen.

What do dog hiccups sound like?

Hiccups in dogs look very similar to hiccups in humans. There is a rapid jerk or jump in the chest that appears to be involuntary. This is usually repeated several times in a rhythmic pattern. It can be silent, or there can be an audible grunt, squeak, or puff of air associated with the hiccups. It has been described as the sound of a drop of water coming from a leaking faucet. The dog usually appears undisturbed.

Dog hiccups
Dog hiccups are a rite of passage for puppies. Photo: iStock / Getty Images Plus / monicadoallo

Why do dogs get hiccups?

Hiccups in and of themselves is a benign phenomenon. They’re a rite of passage for puppies, one of those super cute things they outgrow … like. Enjoy both while they last!

Are you ever something to worry about?

Hiccups in adult dogs are far less common and potentially less benign. The question arises whether there is something new that irritates one of the nerves involved in the hiccups. These include the phrenic nerve, which runs across the heart, the vagus nerve (which runs down the side of the neck), the spinal cord, and the brain stem.

Medical work-up for persistent hiccups in an adult dog begins with a. Initial diagnostic tests generally include chest and abdomen x-rays and baseline blood tests. Your vet will look for tumors, an enlarged heart, stomach problems, hiatal hernia (an abnormality of the diaphragm), and blood electrolyte imbalances.

Sometimes gastrointestinal disorders such as inflammatory bowel disease and reflux esophagitis can trigger hiccups. If your dog is showing signs related to these diseases, treatment that is specific for the underlying disorder should also correct the hiccups.

How to Stop Your Dog’s Hiccups

Once your hiccup dog gets a clean health certificate from your veterinarian, there are a few tricks you can use to try to stop hiccups. Smaller meals more often than less during the day, larger meals can help. It is believed that a narrowed stomach may tickle the diaphragmatic nerves. Sometimes putting a little sugar on the back of the tongue works. Finally, touching the throat with a finger, similar to a dog’s “pill”, sometimes stops the hiccups. If all else fails, ask your veterinarian about gabapentin, a neuropathic pain reliever that has been used successfully for hiccups in humans.

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