Why Does My Puppy Have Hiccups?

We know hiccups well. Even though we recognize them right away, the sensation is still surprising and can be quite annoying. But just because it’s normal for us, does that mean it’s typical for your little pup to have them? 

Like humans, dogs can be known to have a case of hiccups too. It can be equally as surprising and even unsettling when your furry friend starts practically bouncing with belly jumps. 

If you’ve noticed these happening quite often for your new fur baby, it’s understandable that you want to learn more so you can help. Here, you can discover everything you could possibly need to know about puppies and hiccups to prepare for the next round. 

Is It Normal?

Almost every time it happens, a puppy with chest hiccups is completely normal. Much like the science behind why humans do it, the phenomenon is just a reflex. 

The diaphragm is located under your dog’s lungs. When the diaphragm spasms, the opening between the vocal cords closes, making a small sound. Scientists are still learning more about this diaphragm spasm and why exactly both humans and canines do it, but there seem to be several causes, with very few signs of anything bad.  

While a sound is common, you may only see their little bellies twitching without the sound that normally comes out. Perhaps you’ll notice quicker reflexes like double hiccups. However, this reflex alone shouldn’t be cause for concern. 

One unintended consequence of this event is bedwetting. Puppies are still developing their bladders, meaning they don’t hold much, and they’re not strong. The spasm of the diaphragm may be enough to cause a pup to wet itself as it sleeps. 

If you notice chronic hiccuping and additional symptoms, the reflex may be a sign of something else going on. For example, a runny nose may be a sign of allergies, and the chest spasms are due to inhaling an irritant. A dry nose can similarly be a sign of a health problem, and hiccups could be part of that. However, these symptoms are still very normal conditions for dogs. 

Hiccups While Sleeping

At night, if you sleep in the same room as your pup, you may hear lots of sounds from them. They’re not the most silent sleepers, from hygienic cleaning licks to yawns and circling to find the best spot. You may even hear hiccups from your puppy in sleep. 

Just as when awake, a diaphragm spasm in sleep is nothing to fear for your furry friend. The biggest danger may only be that it interrupts a dog’s sleep. When he wakes up, he may continue through the spasms until they subside and then drift peacefully back to sleep. 

You may find that this phenomenon occurs even more frequently when your dog is asleep. While sleeping, dogs are more comfortable and relaxed, so they swallow more air. All that air may cause the spasm in the diaphragm, under the lungs. 

So, if you notice more little sounds from your pup at night, don’t be alarmed. 

My Puppy Has Hiccups ALL the Time

Ok, so you hear what we’re saying: puppy hiccups are normal. 

But when they happen a lot, how normal can they truly be?

“Frequent” is a relative term. Just because you notice them every day doesn’t mean there’s cause for concern. Even if you see your puppy with hiccups multiple times daily, consider when it happens:

Does it last a minute or two each time they take a drink? Then your dog may just be excited and is enjoying a little too much air with its food and water. Is it after playing? 

Then they’re just deeply inhaling to catch their breath, likely causing the spasms. 

Even if this reflex happens daily, what’s essential is that they go away. If they go away after a few minutes, there’s no need to worry. If they last half an hour or so, there’s likely nothing wrong. 

However, if the hiccups happen constantly for a sustained period, such as an hour to several hours, it’s best to see the vet. You’ll want to ensure that everything’s alright and get immediate attention if not. 

Hiccups After Eating or From Eating Too Fast

While scientists haven’t pinpointed the exact purpose of hiccups or why humans or canines do it, one commonly known cause is when someone inhales too much air at once. It may seem odd to imagine someone being able to take in too much air, but if it’s sudden, it may cause the spasm in the diaphragm that creates the hiccup. 

For example, a puppy may get excited and inhale more than chewing and swallowing when eating or drinking. Imagine when you’re so hungry you practically inhale your dinner, This is what an excited puppy may do with its food, and you may hardly notice. What you will see is their hiccuping fit after eating. 

It doesn’t only happen after eating, though. This may also occur after drinking water. This is a fairly common event, so don’t be surprised if you notice daily hiccups from your pup, only to then notice that their snout is covered in water from a good drink. 

How to Get Rid of Puppy Hiccups

A little puppy belly full of hiccups can be absolutely adorable. And with that in mind, you may wonder why anyone would worry about how to take hiccups away. However, a puppy who hates hiccups can be incredibly uncomfortable. 

If your pup is terrified of this reflex, you’ll want to know what to do to stop the spasms. Luckily, getting rid of hiccups in your puppy can be done in one of many ways.

The best method is prevention. To prevent a round of spasms, ensure your pup takes its time to eat slowly. Fast eating is a top cause. Slow feeders are an excellent way to slow them down. 

Once the spasms start, you’ll need to know how to stop hiccups. There are two ways to best accomplish this: massage and the encouragement of normal breathing. 

Some find that massaging the chest is perfect for how to help your pup. If that doesn’t work, play with your dog or go for a walk. The exercise will encourage normal breathing, curbing the spasms. 

As for curing, there’s no permanent solution. However, this type of spasm is most common in puppies. So while it may still occur in adult dogs, it will be far less frequent. 

Newborn Puppy Has Hiccups

An 8-week-old puppy is often cleared to go to its new home with its forever family. As you adjust to life with your new pup, your newborn dog is learning many things. Even as a 12-week-old, your puppy is discovering what it means to be a dog. 

At such a young age, a puppy likely doesn’t understand hiccups. In fact, it’s possible your pup barks at hiccups. After all, you can’t commonly explain to them that the strange feeling is normal! 

A puppy hiccup sounds like a little “hic” — that’s why they’re called hiccups, even in dogs. This is because of the closing of the vocal cords that occurs due to the spasm of the diaphragm. 

If your dog is scared of its own hiccups, it may be quite disconcerting. In addition to barking, your puppy may even start growling at hiccups. If it’s truly scared, it may try little attacks at hiccups! While the thought of a young puppy attacking hiccups is adorable, you don’t want your fur baby to be uncomfortable. 

To help your newborn let go of any fears connected with this normal reflex, comfort your pup or even give treats. It will associate hiccups with happy memories, making the experience far less uncomfortable. Your puppy may even look forward to getting a case of the hiccups if it means a special treat! 

Is It Something Else?

While a few minutes of daily hiccups is nothing to get worried about, long bouts can be a sign of more significant problems. This is especially true if hiccups are accompanied by other, unwelcome symptoms. 

As with any aspect of your puppy’s health, it’s best to keep a close eye on your new furry friend to ensure they’re healthy and developing correctly. 

For example, if you notice violent hiccups, you may want to bring this to your vet’s attention. This could be your pup being a tad overdramatic with strong vocal cords, or it could be experiencing some problems with its diaphragm. 

Similarly, if your dog is lethargic or coughing, it may not be getting the air it needs because of a problem with the lungs. The hiccups may be a sign that it’s gasping for breath but still not getting what it needs. 

Could it be teething? This may explain the hiccups outside of eating or drinking if it’s regularly getting them, seemingly without reason. 

Here are some common symptoms that pair with hiccups and lead to concern.

Hiccups and Diarrhea

As a puppy grows and develops, its stomach is adjusting to a lot. New feeding times, new foods, and special treats are becoming part of its daily routine. But that doesn’t mean its little tummy is always ready. 

If your dog is experiencing hiccups and diarrhea, this is a sign that your puppy has some stomach problems. 

While these symptoms may go away on their own, prolonged symptoms need to be addressed to avoid more significant problems. Speak with your vet to see how best to help your puppy. 

Hiccups and Vomiting

Vomiting, or regurgitation, is also a sign of gastrointestinal problems. Like hiccups, vomiting isn’t always a serious cause for concern. As your puppy discovers new foods, these treats may not always agree with their stomachs. However, frequent vomiting with hiccuping is a more serious sign of a problem. 

If there’s a prolonged period of hiccups and vomiting, it’s time to see a vet. They can help calm an upset stomach and verify there isn’t further cause for concern. 

Are Hiccups a Sign of Worms?

Roundworm larvae have been known to find their way toward a dog’s lungs. Hiccups are a common symptom that are a result of inflammation caused by this parasite.

Beyond common gastrointestinal problems like those caused by food, there’s another problem that may plague your puppy’s stomach: worms. 

Hiccups alone are by no means a sure sign of worms. However, it could be one symptom. This means that prolonged or frequent hiccups may be enough to look for other signs. 

One of the most common signs of worms, in addition to hiccups, is a distended stomach. Worms can cause bloating, creating an outstretched stomach. Worms don’t only wreak havoc on a puppy’s stomach through. Worms may also cause problems for the respiratory tract. This means that a puppy’s hiccups could be a direct cause of heartworms or roundworms as well. 

Breeds That Often Deal With Hiccups

The breeds that most commonly fight hiccups are dogs with flat faces. Like those of a Frenchie dog, their flat snouts restrict airflow so that they have to work a little harder to inhale. These breeds include:

  • French Bulldog
  • Boxer
  • Pug

However, no breed is immune, and there and yet some other dogs with longer snouts who still have more frequent hiccup sessions. These include:

  • Pitbull
  • German Shepard
  • Lab
  • Yorkie
  • Chihuahua
  • Dachshund
  • Great Dane
  • Husky
  • Saint Bernard

Conclusion

You have a lot on your plate as a new puppy owner. So don’t let a case of the hiccups get you and your furry friend down! While there are some things that you can do to prevent them, overall, just enjoy those tiny belly twitches for the cuteness they are. Of course, you now also know the signs of more significant problems. If you recognize these signs, a trip to the vet can never hurt. 

Whether your canine is a breed that’s frequently plagued by these spasms or your mutt just has some diaphragm tickles, you’re now ready for whatever hiccups your pup brings. And the best part is that hiccups are most common in puppies. That means your pup is likely to outgrow them soon enough. So don’t let this little reflex ruin a good cuddle session; just wait for your puppy to ride out its hiccups. 

Photo of author

Peter Newman

Peter Newman is the owner and editor for Puppy Leader. He has two dogs and loves to train them daily. Every day, Peter takes his dogs to the park and lets them run around and play together. He also trains them each day with different commands and tricks.