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Puppies With Hiccups: Reasons & What To Do


Hiccups in a puppy are quite common. The hiccups can vary in severity. It is a spasm of the intercostal muscles and, in the vast majority of cases, is not life-threatening and is not a symptom of disease development. Still, it is better to familiarise yourself with the characteristics of 'safe' and 'dangerous' hiccups. Therefore this article discusses Puppies With Hiccups: Reasons & What To Do about it.


Causes of hiccups in newborn puppies

There are many reasons why puppy hiccups often, and, unfortunately, not all of them are harmless. Hiccups are divided into several varieties; they can be short-lived or prolonged.

The following factors may cause short-term hiccups:

  • Hypothermia
  • Quick filling of the stomach
  • Overeating
  • Swallowing food very quickly
  • A lot of physical activity
  • Consumption of dry food that leaves your puppy thirsty
  • Long Games

Please note! Predominantly short-term hiccups are not dangerous, as they pass fairly quickly and have no consequences.

The main factors of prolonged hiccups:

  • Developmental abnormalities or cardiovascular diseases
  • Ingestion of foreign objects in the digestive system
  • Developmental abnormalities or conditions of the gastrointestinal tract
  • Complications from Pestilence
  • Dipholariasis
  • Diseases of the central nervous system
  • Worms

Hiccups may not be the only symptom of developing an illness, so it's essential to monitor your dog closely. A complete or partial loss of appetite, lethargy and refusal to play, restless sleep and nausea are good reasons to take your dog to the vet.


Hiccups in a dog can be caused by hypothermia. That's why most owners of Yorkies, dachshunds and other breeds dress their pets in warm clothing even at home, let alone outdoors.


Spontaneous and short-term hiccups after a meal in puppies are normal and common during the first six months of life:

  1. This phenomenon can be caused by overeating, as a full stomach presses on the diaphragm, which irritates the nerve fibres
  2. Puppies often have hiccups when they greedily and quickly eat food along with a lot of air.
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It is quite common for constant hiccups to bother a puppy during active growth. Brief and irregular occurrences during periods of active psychological and physical development are considered normal. The frequency and intensity of the hiccups will gradually decrease as the puppy matures. In general, dogs below 14 months of age have this problem.

Many veterinarians also suggest that the hiccups are a reflex phenomenon, persisting since puppies were in their mother's womb. It is how animals strengthen the muscles of the digestive system and the lungs during the developmental stage.


After a nap, your puppy may begin to experience hiccups if he slept in an uncomfortable position, resulting in a pinched vagus nerve. Another fairly common problem is startling after sleep or an abrupt awakening. Such occurrences are not uncommon in active, agile and hyperactive puppies.


Natural and unhealthy hiccups - what's the difference

If your puppy hiccups frequently, it's up to the owner to determine if it's natural or unhealthy hiccups. It may not be specific, but it is a physiological reaction. Every dog reacts differently to the hiccups: some are quiet, others try to lick or bark. Unhealthy hiccups are a consequence of:

  1. Gastric ulcers, tumours in the digestive system, gastritis
  2. Serious illnesses
  3. Metabolic disorders
  4. Acute infectious diseases
  5. Craniocerebral injuries
  6. After the use of drugs during surgical procedures
  7. Central nervous system damage (encephalitis)
  8. Medication poisoning
  9. Tumours in the vagus or diaphragmatic nerve

What to do when your puppy is having hiccups?

Once you've identified the leading causes of the dog's hiccups, you should familiarise yourself with the measures that will make it easier for the little one. To overcome the discomfort, you'll need to relieve diaphragmatic tension and change the rhythm of your puppy's breathing. It can be done as follows:

  • Physical activity and a change of posture (walking on hind legs, playing with a ball or jogging) can help eliminate the hiccups from prolonged lying down.
  • In the case of hypothermia, any treatment should be aimed at raising body temperature (cuddling, using a heating pad).
  • In stressful situations, the owner should take the following measures: take the pet to a quiet place, if the source of fear is animals, sharp and loud noises, strangers.
  • Drinking warm water and massaging the stomach after a meal will help get rid of the hiccups. The solution is beneficial when dealing with puppies. A young mother licks her cubs' bellies from birth to reduce the feeling of discomfort.

General recommendations to prevent hiccups:

  • It's crucial to follow routines, especially for a young puppy with a weak body.
  • At least twice a year, even if there is no good reason, you should take your pet to the vet for a check-up.
  • Feed your pet strictly at the same time every day.
  • Timely vaccination and deworming of the animal cannot be neglected.
  • The owner must learn how to calculate portion sizes correctly.
  • Try to protect your pet from overcooling or overheating.
  • Do not feed your pet shortly before and after physical activity.
  • Do not overfeed your dog.
  • The last meal should be about an hour before bedtime.
  • The diet must be balanced and nutritious.

A puppy in the house is a big responsibility. If he is ill or troubled, you should take him to the vet rather than do something on your own that could cause serious harm to his health.

© 2021 Anjlee Yadav

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