Why Do Puppies Get Hiccups?

The first time you adopt a puppy, it’s not uncommon to have all sorts of questions. I know. I was once where you are, on the verge of adopting a puppy, and loaded with questions. (Truth be told, it was a long-ish time ago.) If you’re like I was, questions are flashing through your mind right now. “What kind of food do I need to get my new puppy?” “What do I need to make my puppy comfortable and happy?” “What happens if my puppy swallows something they shouldn’t?”

Questions like these, and many more, are typical and expected when you adopt your first pup. Over the next few weeks and months, you’ll discover what makes your puppy tick, so to speak, and discover things you probably never knew about puppies and their peculiarities. Your puppy, of course, will also get to know you in the process.

Like humans, puppies sometimes have weird or even comical problems that, while not life-threatening, should still be addressed and solved. I was thinking about this the other day when, of all things, I was suffering from a crazy bout of hiccups. What’s interesting is that puppies and dogs can have hiccups, too, and, like us, they don’t find them all that amusing. It reminded me of a question I see all the time from readers and on forums, namely, “why do puppies get hiccups?”

The answer to this intriguing question is that several things can cause a puppy to get hiccups. If they eat their food or drink their water too fast, hiccups can result. They can also get hiccups from being too cold, over-tired, or when they’re crazy-excited (which is a pretty common occurrence).

Now that you know why a puppy gets hiccups, you might have questions about how they get them and what to do when your puppy gets hiccups. (Step 1; don’t freak out.) If you do, I’ve got the answers to those questions, and several more, below for your reading and researching pleasure. 

Are Puppy Hiccups Normal?

Yes, puppy hiccups are 100% normal and similar to human hiccups. The fact is, just like humans, hiccups are pretty common in puppies. Typically, they’re nothing to worry about and will go away independently. Interestingly, it’s much more common for a puppy to have hiccups, especially if they’re less than six months old.

Interestingly, some puppies will even have hiccups before they’re born. As with other mammals, scientists aren’t sure what causes hiccups in puppies or, for that matter, in any other animal. One working theory is that hiccups are caused when the body tests some of the muscles connected with breathing. Whenever the cause of hiccups might be, most puppies will have them at one point in their life.

What Causes Puppy Hiccups?

As I mentioned earlier, puppies get hiccups more frequently than adult dogs. There are several reasons and theories about this fact, but it’s nearly impossible to determine exactly what causes their hiccups. There are a few common causes, however, as we’ll see below;

Puppy Hiccups at Night

When a puppy gets too tired, it can cause hiccups. You might notice that your puppy is more prone to hiccups when sleeping. Being overtired is why, although it is believed that when a puppy is too cold and too tired, the combination can cause hiccups more easily.

Puppy Hiccups After Eating

Because puppies are young and more energetic than adult dogs, they tend to eat and drink much faster. When they do, hiccups can be the result. Also, a puppy’s digestive system, and the organs associated with it, are immature and growing. Because they’re weaker than their adult counterparts, scientists believe it’s easier for puppies to get hiccups.

Puppy Hiccups When Excited 

It goes without saying that puppies are much more excitable than adult dogs. They’re practically bursting with energy, and their breathing is often affected by that energy and the excitement it causes. When that happens, puppies can get hiccups, and since they’re always excited, they tend to get them more frequently than adult dogs.

What to Do when your Puppy gets the Hiccups?

If your puppy has hiccups, the first thing to do is remain calm (and try not to laugh). As I mentioned already, hiccups are perfectly normal in puppies and, in almost all cases, do not prevent any physical health risk. However, just like in humans, hiccups can quickly become annoying. 

If hiccups last long enough, they can also become uncomfortable. Below are a few things you can do to get rid of their hiccups faster. Some work better than others, so feel free to try another if one doesn’t work.

  • Give your puppy has a small amount of water. Try to ensure your pup drinks it slowly. If they drink it too fast, your puppy’s hiccups will persist. 
  • Gently scaring your puppy can work, but you don’t want to scare them so well that you cause them physical or mental pain.
  • To help relax your puppy’s diaphragm, you can massage their chest lightly but firmly. Massage will often help your puppy’s breathing rhythm to return to normal.
  • If you take your puppy for a short, easy walk, it might help their breathing patterns to relax and allow the hiccups to go away.
  • Giving your puppy something sweet-ish to drink can often help cure their hiccups. The sweet taste can be enough of a distraction that their breathing relaxes. The best sweet stuff, in tiny amounts, are water mixed with maple syrup or honey. (Nothing with Xylitol, however, as it’s toxic for dogs.)

How To Prevent Hiccups in Puppies

The old saying that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure works well for puppies and hiccups. If you know that they get hiccups from a particular action or activity, try changing or limiting that activity.

For example, if your puppy pal gets hiccups every time they eat because they eat so fast, a dog feeder that gives them food slowly might be the perfect solution. Or, you can feed them smaller portions several times a day rather than giving them a lot of food all at once.

If your puppy frequently gets hiccups after drinking water, you might want to change their water bowl. For example, get them a water bowl that is either higher or lower off the ground. That will change the position of their head and neck while they drink and help the water go down slower. Changing the position of their water bowl also reduces the amount of air that your puppy takes in while drinking water and can reduce the frequency of their hiccups.

Final Thoughts

Why do puppies get hiccups? As we’ve seen today, there are several causes, but the most frequent seems to be when a puppy eats or drinks too quickly. An immature digestive system can also cause hiccups, as well as when your puppy is overtired or cold.

I hope you enjoyed today’s blog and that I answered all of your questions about puppies and hiccups. If you have more or would like to learn more about being the perfect puppy parent, please see my other blogs on the subject. (I have a lot of them!) All of my blogs are filled with valuable information, advice, and tips that will help you raise a healthy, happy, and well-adjusted puppy into a beautiful adult dog.