Credit: Shutterstock/The Dodo
Let’s start off by calling dog hiccups exactly what they are: absolutely adorable.
And puppy hiccups? That’s an entirely different level of magic-on-earth that can cure any bad mood.
But as a responsible dog parent, of course you want to know if those cute little sounds could ever be a real problem.
What causes dog hiccups?
Without getting too technical, dog hiccups happen the same way human hiccups do, namely from involuntary contractions of the diaphragm.
“Hiccups is a typical puppy ‘problem’ and they seem to grow out of the hiccups by about 6 months of age,” Dr. Ann Hohenhaus, a veterinarian at Animal Medical Center in New York City, told The Dodo.
According to Dr. Hohenhaus, veterinarians can only speculate on the cause — which might be gulping air when eating, excitement, stress or maybe just a developmental issue most puppies grow out of. “I say stress, because puppies often have hiccups during a veterinary examination,” Hohenhaus said.
In general, hiccups are as normal and harmless for dogs as they are for us, and most dogs will get them at least once in their lifetime.
How to help when your dog has hiccups
Generally an episode of hiccups will only last for a few minutes, and you’ll probably notice that your pup isn’t bothered by them.
“Typically, hiccups are self limiting and don’t need intervention,” Dr. Hohenhaus said.
But, of course, you might want to try to help your dog, and luckily you can use many of the same remedies that you would for yourself.
You can try massaging her chest, lightly (and playfully) startling her, or even getting her to do some light exercise.
The only risk to note is that while she’s having her hiccup spell, it’s best to not give her any hard treats or foods, since hiccups are involuntary and chewing can cause choking.
Should you call your vet?
While most hiccup spells are completely safe, there can be rare cases where hiccups can indicate a serious underlying issue.
Keep an eye on your dog and if you notice that her hiccups are lasting for hours or that they’re happening more often than usual, make an appointment to get her checked out by your vet.