You have just fed your puppy and minutes later, you see him start having hiccups and feeling uncomfortable on his couch.
And you may be wondering what could be the reasons and if there is any health issue with your puppy?
Hiccups are the outcome of a response to nerve irritation in the digestive system and can happen when your puppy is stressed out, overexcited, too tired, or he has inhaled something that makes him uncomfortable or when he does reverse sneezing. It could also happen when he eats or drinks too fast.
So if you see your puppy gobbling all that DRY kibbles in his food bowl in less than a minute, and then he is grabbing for some extra air, you know that he is eating too fast and is likely going to have hiccups.
You see, the type of food and the speed that your puppy is consuming them can trigger his hiccups. Just like the case when you are in a hurry to finish up a Big Mac without any slip of water, guess what happens next?
Hiccups “looking” for YOU!
So that DRY and hard kibbles (your puppy’s diet) need to be changed as obviously his stomach isn’t “agreeing” with what you are feeding him.
But believe it or not, hiccups can sometimes be good for your puppy as it can actually help him relieve his upset stomach and gassiness.
Of course, this should not happen frequently!
In general, hiccups tend to happen more often in puppies than dogs. Why?
This is simply because their body is still growing and is not fully mature so their muscles tend to twitch and spasm more easily.
What Can You Do?
In most cases, the hiccups would likely last for only a few minutes and would go off by itself.
What you can do to provide some comfort for your puppy is probably to perform a gentle message on his chest.
Though in general, hiccups aren’t something that you should be worried about (just like you will also have hiccups at times), but if this happens very frequently and persistently for up to 5 hours, it would be something that you have to be mindful of.
This could be an indicator of some serious medical conditions such as respiratory defects, pneumonia, gastric issues, and the presence of parasites that cause an upset stomach. You would need to bring your puppy to a vet for a complete health assessment.
And in particular if the hiccups go with wheezing sounds, breathing difficulty or vomiting, seek help from the vet immediately.
To ease his hiccups, you can use the following solutions:
Make Your Puppy Lay On His Back
As you know, hiccups occur whenever there is any disturbance in your puppy’s breathing process.
So what you can do is to make him lay on his back and gently rub his tummy. This will help to regulate his breathing rhythm and ease his hiccup.
Make Your Puppy Drinks MORE Water
What will you do when you get a hiccup? I bet you would start to drink more water to stop the discomfort.
This certainly works for your puppy as well. Make him drink more water and of course, you would need to let him out for potty more often.
Give Your Puppy A Bit Of Honey
Give your puppy a small teaspoon of organic honey. Honey is well known for its health benefits which include soothing and relaxing the airway. This will help your puppy breathe more smoothly.
Train Him To Eat Slowly
This is sort of behavior correction that you would need to perform on your puppy. Eating too fast is often the main trigger for hiccup flare up.
What you can do is to only half fill his food bowl with food and when he is done with the eating, give him some water before continuing with the feeding.
This will help to avoid the contractions of his diaphragm.
Make A Change in His Diet
Do away with those dry and hard kibbles and replace them with some fresh food preferably those with some moisture content.
So you may be wondering what diet works best for your puppy?
When choosing the type of food for your puppy, it is important to ensure that he gets the necessary nutrients and that those foods don’t irritate his digestive system (which might cause him to have hiccup).
I would strongly suggest that you go for a FRESH type of diet if you can afford it financially.
Fresh diet usually includes feeding your puppy with natural real ingredients such as meat (chicken, beef, lamb) and veggies (spinach, peas, carrots) which of course will be the best choice as that certainly helps in promoting your puppy’s well-being.
The challenge for a fresh diet is that you have to know how to prepare it (using approved recipes formulated by a veterinary nutritionist) and it is often going to be time-consuming.
So many puppy owners had opted for some popular fresh food delivery services such as Ollie to prepare and deliver the food to their doorsteps.
Of course, they will take into consideration the breed, age, weight, activity level and most important of all, any allergies your puppy had when planning for his food.
The other alternative is to opt for Raw type of diet if you find a fresh diet too costly.
Raw diets can be easily bought from stores and are in frozen packing. They come in various varieties and can include organ meats, raw eggs, ground bone, fruits, veggies as well as dairy products. You can have them kept in your fridge at your convenience.
Though it might not be as good as a fresh diet, it is certainly much better than processed types of kibble.
BUT do note that raw diet is typically NOT suitable for puppies with health issues such as pancreatitis or cancer.
If you still want to stick with kibble, what you can do is to add some hot water to it before letting your puppy have the food. This will help to soften the kibble and make it less dry and hard and much easier for your puppy to consume and digest.
Get Him To Exercise
Exercise does wonders for your puppy. Beside improving his heart rate and helps in his digestion, it also regulates his breathing rhythm which is critical in preventing hiccups from happening.
So plan for some routine daily exercise to improve and strengthen his breathing patterns.
You can play games such as Frisbee, flirt pole, fetch or chasing bubbles with him. These games require him to actively move around and will improve his breathing pattern.
Lastly, getting him out for a walk is also another good form of light exercise and it can certainly help to regulate his breathing.
Still recall that an overexcited puppy can easily get hiccups? Exercise will also help your puppy to release his pent-up energy and make him less excited.
When he is in low energy mode, there will be less likelihood of him having hiccups.
Get Him To Be In His Crate (BONUS TIPS)
You may be wondering how that is going to help with his hiccup? You see, 2 other possible triggers that cause your puppy to have hiccups are stress and tiredness.
By having your puppy back to his crate, you are eliminating these 2 possible factors.
Of course, this is assuming that you have already crate trained your puppy, and he sees his crate as:
1. A personal and secure place where he can get some rest when he is tired. (address his tiredness factor).
2. A place where he can “hide” when he needs to stay away from any threat that he is worried about. (address his stress and anxiety factor).