What Do Dog Hiccups Sound Like And Should You Worry?

Last Updated on November 11, 2023 by Linda Richard

Puppies and dogs can make all kinds of weird sounds, many of which can be puzzling. For example, what do dog hiccups sound like, and should you worry? As we know, hiccups in people are mostly harmless but are that the case with puppies too? Or can hiccups be a symptom of something unfortunate?

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What Do Dog Hiccups Sound Like?

So, do dogs have hiccups and what do they sound like? The first answer is yes – dogs can quite easily get hiccups. As for what they sound like – this will depend on the breed and age a bit but the general description would be a high-pitched squeaky toy-like sound. They quite literally sound like high-pitched “hic” sounds, hence the name.

Check this video of a lab puppy that has got hiccups, for example. If your dog is older, the tone of the hiccups might be lower but it will still sound something like that.

When Do Dogs Have Hiccups?

Now that we know what do dog hiccups sound like, let’s see what causes them. As with humans, hiccups in dogs are just the result of their diaphragm contracting involuntarily in their chests. This can sound scary when explained like that but hiccups are perfectly harmless. Here are the main causes for hiccups in dogs:

  • Stress
  • Excitement
  • Fatigue
  • Energetic playtime and vigorous exercise
  • Eating too quickly
  • Drinking too quickly
  • Swallowing too much air at once
  • Upset stomach
  • Gas in the belly
  • Young age – pups do get hiccups much more often. This is likely because all of the above causes just trigger that much more often with them. Plus, their bodies are still developing.

Are Hiccups Ever A Symptom Of A Health Problem?

As far as we can tell – no. Hiccups are a perfectly harmless type of spasm and they don’t seem to be caused by anything significant. An upset stomach can itself be a symptom of certain issues, of course. And some of those can be problematic. However, hiccups alone are far from enough to diagnose such a two-layer-deep underlying problem.

Hypothetically, 1) if your dog is an adult or a senior, 2) if it’s hiccupping extraordinarily often (every other day, for example), and 3) if there are other symptoms of an upset stomach such as diarrhea, vomiting, nausea, licking of the nose/lips/air, gulping, lethargy, or a loss of appetite. If your dog does all that, then hiccups can be a possible accompanying symptom. But, generally, they just aren’t anything major.

Why Do Dogs Get Hiccups When Sleeping?

Dog hiccups during sleep can be confusing given that they don’t seem to be caused by anything in particular. Fear not, however – doggy hiccups while sleeping are as normal as hiccups while awake.

Hiccups while sleeping can be caused by some of the reasons we’ve listed above – stress, fatigue, upset stomach, or gas can all trigger hiccups even in a sleeping puppy. However, there doesn’t seem to be any reason for concern – hiccups are harmless whether your dog is sleeping or awake.

Why Do Dogs Get Hiccups When Sleeping

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How To Cure Dog Hiccups?

Hiccups won’t need a “cure” most of the time as they will just pass on their own after a few minutes. If your dog has been hiccupping for more than 5-10 minutes you can employ certain tricks, of course, but the first of them will be our most common advice:

  • Call your vet. This isn’t so much because hiccups are scary but more because they may not be hiccups. If the funny sounds don’t pass after a few minutes and/or if you notice other peculiar symptoms, take a quick video of your dog and send it to the vet. This should be enough for most competent veterinarians to tell you exactly what the noises are, whether you should pay the vet a visit, and what you can do at home.
  • Offer your dog a drink of water. If the noises are indeed hiccups, the first tip the vet will likely give you is the same we employ for ourselves too – drink some water. That alone is often enough to stop the spasms of the diaphragm and get rid of the hiccups.
  • Go for a walk or do some exercise. Similar to drinking water, switching to some light running or jumping around can also often bring a stop to the hiccups. This is both because your dog will be forced to start breathing more heavily as well as simply because of the physical exercise.
  • Pet and scratch your dog’s belly. This too can switch things up enough for the hiccups to go away. It seems to partly be because your dog will start breathing more heavily and because it may start turning around. Or, the hiccups will just pass on their own and you will have passed the time petting your dog – win-win.
  • Use a feeding bowl for slower eating. This is a prevention method rather than a cure but it is pretty useful. There are many different models and designs of food bowls made to slow your dog’s feeding. We won’t bother giving any specific suggestions – suffice it to say that any bowl that slows your dog’s feeding will also reduce its hiccups as well as improve its overall feeding habits and quality.

So, What Do Dog Hiccups Sound Like and What Do They Mean?

Simply put, dog hiccups sound very much like hiccups in people – they are very difficult to mistake. If your dog’s hiccups don’t sound like high-pitched “hic” sounds, the dog may not be hiccupping at all. Instead, coughing, wheezing, and sneezing is other possible explanations. And those can be symptoms of much more significant medical conditions.

However, if your dog is indeed hiccupping, then you likely have nothing to worry about. Just monitor your pup for other symptoms and keep an eye on the clock. If you do notice other symptoms or the hiccupping continues, take a quick video and send it to your vet. Otherwise, the hiccups will pass pretty quickly and all you need to do is enjoy your pup’s confusion and awkwardness.

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Linda Richard

I know that all dog breeds are different, but Labradors exude a special energy, don’t they? I believe everyone deserves the unconditional love of a pet, so my main goal is to make sure you can experience it.

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