Can Dogs Get Hiccups?

Wonder how and why your four-legged friend got the hiccups? He can't hold his breath, so what is an owner to do? We asked an expert to shed light on this doggy dilemma.

It’s no secret that you love your dog and would do anything in the world to keep him safe and healthy. You have mastered house training, walking on a leash, taking him to the vet, and keeping him up-to-date on shots. Then one day he unleashes what sounds like a series of hiccups that is both adorable and alarming. You don’t even know if dogs can get hiccups, so are they really hiccups or something more concerning? After all, there’s a lot more behind why do dogs yawn than just tiredness. Are dog hiccups also more complicated than they seem?

Can dogs get hiccups?

The answer is yes, and, according to the American Kennel Club, dogs get hiccups for the same reason as their owners: a spasm in the diaphragm, the muscle under the lung, causes the glottis, (the opening between the vocal cords) to close suddenly. This spasm results in a “hic” sound. While puppies may experience the hiccups after eating or drinking too quickly, when they are fatigued, when they are overexcited, or if they have a cold, it is rare to for older dogs to get hiccups. It’s also pretty normal for dogs to do these weird things.

How common is it for dogs to get hiccups?

In their combined 50 years of experience, Jeff Rockwell, DVM, and Jason Story, DVM, of Atlantic Veterinary Hospital in Marblehead, Massachusetts, do not recall ever seeing an adult dog with hiccups. “Can dogs get hiccups? On rare occasions, we have seen puppies with hiccups,” notes Dr. Rockwell.

How can you help stop your dog’s hiccups?

So the answer to the question “can dogs get hiccups?” is yes, but is it dangerous? “Hiccups are self-limiting. You really don’t have to do anything about them,” says Dr. Rockwell noting that you can offer a small amount of food to stop the hiccups. Other ways to stop the hiccups in dogs include calming then down with a favorite tummy rub or a slow drink of water according to the American Kennel Club. Now that you know that dogs can get hiccups, learn the more serious signs that your dog is sick.

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Stacey Marcus
Stacey Marcus is a regular contributor to RD.com where she covers subjects ranging from penguin secrets to Jeopardy! conundrums. Stacey’s work has also appeared on FamilyHandyman.com and TheHealthy.com as well as in top regional and national outlets including Boston magazine, Boston Common Magazine, Destination I Do, Ocean Home Magazine, and Playboy.com. She earned a BA in Communications from Simmons University.