Why does my puppy get hiccups?

Updated 20 June 2024
Read time: 7 mins
article author
Written by Charlotte Niblett
article author
Reviewed by Elle Padgham

We’ve all had an annoying case of the hiccups. But did you know your puppy can too? They seem to come out of nowhere and as you monitor their health, growth and well-being in their first few weeks at home, a case of the hiccups can catch you off guard.

But not to worry! For a puppy, hiccups are completely normal and at times can be pretty darn cute. However, as Pooch experts, we know you’ll want to make sure your pup is 100% happy and healthy.

So, read on to learn all about puppy hiccups including what they are, what causes them, how to stop them, and how to tell when it might be a rare cause for concern.

What do hiccups look like in puppies? 

Puppies make all sorts of funny sounds, but you’ll be able to easily spot when they’ve got the hiccups. You’ll hear a very distinct ‘hic’ sound, and see their tummy quickly contract, or jolt.

Puppy hiccups may seem quite alarming, but they are super common and very rarely cause any discomfort. 

The actual science behind why hiccups happen, in both humans, dogs and puppies, still holds a lot of question marks. But what we do know is that a ‘hiccup’ is an involuntary spasm or movement of the diaphragm - a layer of muscle that sits across your pup’s chest. We might not know why your puppy's hiccups happen, but we recognise that they often occur after certain activities. 

Why do puppies get hiccups?

Both dogs and puppies can get hiccups, but puppies are more prone and will get them more often as their high levels of excitement, stress and energy make them more susceptible. 

With all that combined, there are a lot of reasons why your puppy gets the hiccups, including;


  • Immature diaphragm muscles. Your pup might be an unstoppable ball of energy, but they’re still babies that are continuing to grow and mature. Like the rest of their body, their diaphragm will still be developing, making them prone to hiccups.

    Repeated cases of hiccups on a developing diagram may also cause irritation, which might encourage a cycle of even more hiccups. But as they get older, their diaphragm will become stronger and reduce the frequency of their hiccups
  • Eating too quickly or eating too much. Young pups are a bundle of hyperactivity who just get SO excited to see a bowl of food. So excited in fact, that they may try and wolf it down faster than you can say ‘leave it’. Eating quickly or eating a lot can encourage extra air to be swallowed or irritation, which could trigger those pesky hiccups. This can also be said for pups that chow down straight after exercising
  • Stress and over-excitement. Fast breathing, heart pounding, barking and whining - stress and over-excitement can bring on these very similar symptoms. And at such a young age, puppies experience a whole lot of both! With more air being swallowed and fluctuating hormones, this creates the perfect scenario for hiccups to rear their head.
  • Sensitive tummy. With developing digestive symptoms, stress from new surroundings and not having long weaned off their mother, puppy tummies are pretty delicate. It’s quite common for a puppy’s tummy to be disturbed, which can often encourage hiccups.
  • Eating certain foods. Softening puppy kibble with hot water, or refrigerating wet food creates the opportunity for puppy food to be too hot or too cold. This sudden temperature change can cause irritation, discomfort and hiccups. That said, always make sure food has cooled down or warmed back up to room temperature when feeding your little pup.
  • Respiratory problems. Hiccups are rarely a sign of a more serious problem, but they can be when paired with other symptoms. Spouts of hiccups, along with wheezing, sneezing and a drippy nose could be a sign of a respiratory issue. This could include asthma, pneumonia or bronchitis. If you suspect your pup has any of these symptoms or conditions, be sure to contact your vet asap!

Should you be worried about puppy hiccups?

Puppies tend to get hiccups quite regularly and more often than not, they’re completely normal and nothing to worry about. But in some rare cases, they can be a sign of a more serious health problem like:

  • Breathing/respiratory issues
  • Heatstroke
  • Digestion issues

When hiccups are a cause for concern

There’s no doubt you’re already keeping an extra close eye on your pup in their first few months. When a case of the hiccups rolls around, it’s recommended that you keep an extra close eye, just to make sure it’s short-lived, and not anything that signifies something more serious.

There are a few signs that you should take note of, that may indicate a trip to the vet for some additional advice. These include:

  • They’re not going away on their own and last longer than a few hours.
  • Difficulty breathing.
  • Not eating or drinking.
  • Wheezing or coughing.
  • Other abnormal symptoms when it comes to behaviour or personality.


How to stop puppy hiccups

Usually, bouts of puppy hiccups are very short-lived and don’t cause any major discomfort. But if your pup is showing signs of frustration, or you just want to help them out a little bit, there are a few ways you can alleviate their symptoms. Throw all human hiccup remedies out the window, and try some of these instead:

  • Encourage slow eating. One of the main causes of hiccups in puppies is fast eating, so to avoid any unexpected hics, encourage your pup to slow down a bit!

    Now, this is much easier said than done, but accessories like slow feeders, treat stuffers or snuffle mats not only help pup slow down their eating, but are also great for enrichment. If all else fails, try feeding your pup smaller portions more frequently, so they’re still getting all the food they need.

  • Drinking more water. Make sure your pup is drinking plenty of water as this will also help relieve the hiccups. To help stop fast gulping (which could in turn cause the hiccups,), perhaps consider anti-gulp bowls and give them small amounts of water more frequently.

  • Relaxation and lots of love. Consider taking some time aside from playing and enrichment to have some downtime. Try hiding all the exciting toys for an hour or two, including your puppy in some sofa cuddles, or even catching some zs together to encourage slower breathing and lower stress levels. Not only will this allow them to conserve some energy for more playing, but it could help inject some calm into their lives.

    A nice, soft belly and chest rub can also help alleviate your pup’s hiccups. But we’re sure we don’t have to tell you to shower your pup with lots of love. 

    For that extra little bit of calm, try our Calm & Relaxed range including our Calming Probiotic Meaty Treats, safe for puppies 12 weeks and up. Whilst packed with tasty and healthy ingredients like turkey, melon extract and probiotics, additional hemp and valerian root help make for a calm, relaxed and happy pup. 

  • Wait it out! Regular hiccups should just go away on their own so give it some time and your pup’s hiccups will stop. At such a young age, hiccups will probably be a regular occurrence, but they soon become less frequent as they get older. 

Puppy hiccups are just a part of puppy life, and are more often than not  just a cute quirk that will eventually die down as they get older! However, if you do have concerns about their hiccups, be sure to contact your vet as soon as possible. For all the puppy guidance you need to ensure a healthy and happy pup, be sure to check out our very own Puppy Hub, to get your new fur baby’s life started with their best paw forward!

Comments (0)

Leave a comment

Never miss a treat!

Subscribe to our newsletter and get blog articles amongst other treats delivered to your inbox


close button