Bringing a new puppy home can come with an overwhelming amount of responsibilities. So you’ve got the perfect bed, a squeaky toy or two, and healthy dog food. Just when you feel like you can sit back and relax, your tiny new creature releases a “hic!” Then two more. Then three.
You suddenly find yourself scratching your head and searching, “Why do puppies get hiccups?”
What Are Hiccups?
First of all, it’s useful to define what hiccups are. They are just the same in dogs as they are in humans— involuntary contractions of the diaphragm, according to Mayo Clinic. The “hic!” sounds comes from a sudden closure of the vocal cords that follows each diaphragm contraction.
Hiccup fits typically only last a few minutes, according to Dr. Stephanie Liff, a veterinarian and owner of Pure Paws Veterinary Care in Manhattan and Brooklyn.
What Causes Hiccups for Puppies?
There are various reasons behind why your pup may be experiencing hiccups, most of them not at all serious.
- According to Dr. Liff, “hiccups can be brought on by eating or drinking too fast and swallowing too much air” (PetMD).
- They can also be brought about by moments of excessive excitement or stress
- The rapid breathing that puppies experience while playing and running around can also cause hiccups
- Hiccups may also be caused by an upset tummy or gas
According to the American Kennel Club, it is normal for puppies to hiccup a lot more than adult dogs, so you will see this happening less and less as your pup grows.
How to Stop Hiccups in Puppies
The most widely recommended strategy for stopping hiccups in puppies is time. Just wait, and they should go away. However, if the hiccups have been going on for too long or you’d just prefer to take action, below are some tactics that you can use. You may notice that they relate to the causes above. To get your puppy to stop hiccuping, you can:
- Give it a small spoonful of honey to calm it down and slow its breathing process. Yes, honey is safe for dogs to eat.
- Pet your puppy’s chest in a circular motion to soothe and relax it
- Go for a slow walk to calm the puppy down
- Use a slow feeding dog bowl to make sure that it’s not gulping large quantities of air and rushing during meals
- Give your pup a squeaky toy to play with to distract it and return breathing to a normal pace
If your puppy is hiccuping, the best thing that you can do is relax. According to TODAY, “Hiccuping is harmless, maybe even helpful.” If the hiccups last for several hours or are accompanied by wheezing, consult your veterinarian for advice or seek medical help. Otherwise, kisses, cuddles, and playtime as normal should do the trick.
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