Hiccups: Are They Harmless?

If you have spent some time around puppies you may notice that one of the things they do, aside from looking cute, is hiccup now and then. Sometimes it may occur after they’ve eaten or drank some water and sometimes it just happens. Hiccups are harmless involuntary contractions of the diaphragm that all dogs can experience as puppies. It seems that once a puppy grows up, the hiccups disappear.

What causes a hiccup?

If the phrenic and vegus nerves that run down the throat to the belly are irritated, a bout of hiccups can occur. You may see this happen to you after you eat or drink too fast. The same can happen to a puppy. The nerves are stretched and the hiccup is the reflex action. Sometimes stress or excitement can also trigger them.

There are a number of remedies that supposedly work for people such as standing on your head, drinking water from the opposite side of a glass, and holding your breath. These are all myths. Don’t try to stand your puppy on its head if you want to try and see if it works for her. She won’t appreciate it.

The best remedy is patience. Try to get your puppy to calm down, pet her gently, and give her a few moments of sitting still to get rid of them. If you have hiccups you may want to also try to calm down and if someone is willing, ask them to pet you and talk to you in a reassuring tone as well!

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