Why Do Dogs Get Hiccups When Sleeping?

Have you been wondering why do dogs get hiccups? As with humans, dogs too experience hiccups. Most times, it is even adorable and funny to watch, especially in pups. And while hiccups are harmless, they can cause worry.

So, why do dogs get hiccups when sleeping? Hiccups happen when your dog’s diaphragm contracts involuntarily. It could be a result of excitement, stress, drinking, or eating too fast. These occasional spasms eventually pass on their own after a while. 

Sometimes, the hiccups might seem endless, and you may feel bothered and want to help. In this post, there are details on how to help your pooch as well as the causes. But first, let’s see what causes hiccups in dogs.

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What Causes Hiccups in Dogs?

There are a handful of reasons why dogs hiccup, especially in their sleep. And they are nothing to be scared of. As with humans, hiccups might seem random, but there are indeed underlying causes, and they include:

1. Excitement 

Why does my puppy keep getting hiccups? Pups are usually high on energy levels and overly excited most of the time. Excess excitement can cause your pet to drink or eat faster than she should, disturbing the diaphragm muscle. 

It can also result to reverse hiccups, determined by involuntary breaths from the nose. This kind of noise is usually loud. 

2. Overexertion 

Dogs are exercise lovers but are also prone to overexertion, especially on humid days. Dog breeds with short muscles and flat faces and dark-coated dogs are more prone to hiccups from overexertion.

If your dog starts to hiccup after an exercise in hot weather, chances are it’s the overexertion causing it.

3. Stress, Anxiety, or Fear

Does stress cause dog hiccups and vomiting? Yes, dogs suffer from fatigue and stress, too, and these are major causes of hiccups in dogs. If you just got your pup, her anxiety levels can be high, and she might also be scared of her new environment. Situations like this can make her hiccup in her sleep.

A pup introduced to an unfamiliar place will be abnormally stressed for a few days, so expect hiccups.

4. Specific Health Conditions 

If you’ve been wondering what causes hiccups in sleeping – especially if it’s regular – there is a possibility of it being a medical condition. If the hiccups seem persistent, whether when your dog is sleeping or awake, take her to the vet.

Your dog could have some respiratory problems that need to be checked by the vet. It could also be pneumonia or asthma. 

Why Causes Hiccups While Sleeping?

Why does my puppy keep getting hiccups? Both puppies and adult dogs can experience hiccups in their sleep. As mentioned earlier, hiccups are an uncontrollable spasm of the diaphragm caused by fatigue or stress. 

Pets also experience excitement in their dreams, and it affects the way they breathe. Dogs, especially playful ones, dream a lot during the REM stage of their sleep. During this period, they become more physical, and their breathing becomes heavier, resulting in a sudden irritation of the diaphragm muscle.

Why Are Hiccups More Common with Puppies?

Puppies easily get hiccups more often because of their higher energy levels than adult dogs. They are usually excited about eating, playing, or drinking, which normally results in more hiccups. Their systems and internal organs are also still developing, which specialists say is contributing to more occurrences of hiccups.

Also, their constant running around can cause rapid breathing and triggers hiccups almost immediately – or in their sleep. 

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How to Stop Dog Hiccups

Now that you have an answer to “why do dogs get hiccups when sleeping?” the next thing is to know what you can do to help. Hiccups typically last for a couple of minutes, but if you begin to get worried, the following tips will help you:

1. Help Your Dog Relax 

People commonly use surprises to help stop hiccups, even though it hasn’t been proven to work. However, you can try this with your furry buddy, but don’t frighten her. The best thing to do is to try to help your dog relax from over-excitement.

As soon as you notice that your dog has hiccups, give her soothing and gentle rubs to make her breathing normal. Things like loud sounds and fireworks can cause stress in dogs, leading to hiccups.

2. Get Your Dog Something to Drink

You can as well end hiccups by giving your four-legged buddy dome water to drink. When your dog takes water, it helps hydrate her body and makes the hiccups settle down slowly. However, you don’t want your dog to drink the water hastily. That will only increase the hiccups.

The only way drinking water would be effective is if you make your dog drink it slowly. That way, her airways can clear up and halt the hiccups. You can also provide your dog with honey in water or maple syrup, or sugar juice to reduce the hiccups. These treats help relax your dog’s throat and calm any irritation by smoothening the air passage. 

That said, make sure the sugar in the syrup, as well as anything you are giving your dog, isn’t too much since excess sugar is bad for your dog’s health.

3. Give Your Dog a Sweet Treat 

A sweet treat to distract your pup from hiccups might do the trick. A taste of maple syrup, honey, Karo syrup, or any other sweet liquid can go a long way in helping your dog. It can help your pup relax her breathing by calming her throat and air passages. It can also relieve her of any irritation. You can try giving your dog a pinch of sugar diluted with water.

4. Give Your Dog a Soothing Chest Massage

Why do dogs get hiccups when sleeping? If it occurs more often, then you’re about to be a chest massage expert. Roll your dog over and rub her belly area and chest gently for a couple of minutes. This could help soothe the irritated diaphragm and improve its position.

5. Distract Your Dog with Play

Can play stop dog hiccups or seizures? They often do! Even though excess exciting and play can cause hiccups, some light exercise is helpful in bringing your pup’s breathing back to normal. This option is great as long as you avoid exhausting activities that can lead to heavy breathing.

6. Take Your Dog for a Walk

If your dog doesn’t stop hiccupping, you can take her out for a walk to improve her breathing. Exposing your dog to different outdoor smells, sounds, and sights will serve as a great distraction, and the hiccups would be gone in a few minutes.

7. Make Adjustment to Your Dog’s Feeding 

If your dog hiccups a lot, you should consider adjusting her feeding schedule. If your furry buddy eats too fast, reduce the quantity of food you give her while increasing her feeding time. You should also watch your dog’s diet. High-grain can sometimes start hiccups in dogs. So, you might consider switching to low-grain diets.

8. Consult Your Vet

If all of the above attempts to stop your dog’s hiccups don’t work and the hiccups keep occurring more often, it is time to see the vet. Also, watch closely; if symptoms of gastrointestinal or respiratory problems accompany the hiccups, then there’s a serious problem. Calling the vet is never a bad idea.

Could Hiccups Lead to a Trip to the Vet?

It’d be totally okay to reach out to the vet if your dog’s hiccups won’t just pass after a long time. Even without using the above tips on how to stop dog hiccups, your pup shouldn’t be hiccupping for hours. It only lasts for a couple of minutes. 

Generally, hiccups in dogs raise the alarm when they are associated with respiratory dysfunction, pneumonia, heatstroke, asthma, or pericarditis. If your dog’s hiccups come with any of those, then it won’t go naturally – it would persist. So, when the hiccups go on and on for hours, your vet will need to check your pup’s diaphragm and lungs for any potential issues so it doesn’t worsen. 

What Do Dog Hiccups Look Like?

When your dog experiences hiccups, her diaphragm will suddenly contrast, and with that, it forces the glottis – a part of your dog’s voice box – to close sharply. Such sudden movement quickly cuts off air intake, and you’ll hear your buddy make a sound like “hic” accompanied by a little jerking motion around her upper body. 

What do dog hiccups look like? Like humans, dogs make the same “hic” sound and jerk a little when they experience hiccups. But the sound is more familiar with babies, as adults may not always make that sound or even jerk. 

Why Do Dog Hiccups and Vomiting Continue?

It is more common for puppies to hiccup for a longer period, but it is usually not something to be concerned about. Nonetheless, if it continues for an extended period, it can be a symptom of gastrointestinal distress, especially if it comes with vomiting. 

Normally, hiccups don’t come before vomiting but if it occurs, then what you thought was just another hiccup phase was a tiny retching sound, which can sometimes sound like hiccups.

If sometimes like that occurs only once and your dog goes on with no signs of appetite loss or lethargy, then it could have been only a slight stomach upset. Hiccups on their own aren’t a symptom of any medical issue. But when they are accompanied by vomiting, shortness of breath, and coughing, which lasts for over a day, then your pet could have a severe underlying medical condition. 

It could be a symptom of an upset stomach or a more serious health condition like heart disease or respiratory disease. In that case, you’ll need a vet to examine your dog to know what exactly is the problem. Your pet may need a blood test, an X-ray, or other lab tests for proper diagnosis. You don’t have to panic; the earlier you consult the vet, the better.

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Why Do Puppies Wake Up with Hiccups?

It is normal for pups to hiccup after a long nap or in the morning when they wake up. They also hiccup while sleeping. Pups aren’t the only animals to hiccup after they wake up. Hiccups are also common in other mammalian babies. But the main cause isn’t yet clear. Some experts suggest that it could be leftover hiccupping from the womb.   

Ultrasounds have revealed that even fetuses experience hiccups, and experts suggest that hiccups in the womb occur to exercise the developing diaphragm and test the breathing muscles to prepare for life outside. 

That said, hiccups become less frequent as dogs age. Within six months of birth, you can expect your little pup to hiccup as frequently as possible when she just wakes up. 

Is Hiccups a Sign that Your Dog has Worms?

Hiccups in dogs aren’t a sign of worms, and it’s own. It’s not a sign of any other dog ailment. But if your dog’s hiccups are consistent, then it becomes an issue that needs the vet’s attention. 

Persistent hiccups accompanied by other signs like vomiting, coughing, and parasites like roundworms and heartworms can affect your dog’s respiratory tract. The larvae of roundworms and heartworms infect dogs’ respiratory tract, leading to wheezing, persistent coughing, and other breathing-related problems. 

If you notice your pooch wheezing and coughing while hiccupping at the same time, it’s a sign that your pet may have respiratory issues and needs a checkup with the vet.

Final Thoughts 

Like with humans, hiccups are normal, especially in pups, and they shouldn’t cause a panic. Even fetuses experience hiccups in the womb. 

Why do dogs get hiccups when sleeping? It’s because their diaphragm contracts suddenly. It has nothing to do with any major dog ailment. So, relax and give your pup a soothing belly and chest rub. If it doesn’t help, try any of the seven other tips in this post. 

Finally, if the hiccups won’t stop, and it comes with vomiting and coughing, it might be best to contact the vet. You’ll want to be sure your pet doesn’t have any health condition. 

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