Hiccup! Hiccups occur when contractions and spasms affect the diaphragm, a muscle that aids in breathing. Since dogs and cats also have a diaphragm, they can experience hiccups too. Let's explore the reasons behind pet hiccups and how to address them!
[Improper Eating Habits]
If pets eat their food too quickly, they may swallow a significant amount of air along with the food, which can cause the stomach to expand and result in hiccups. To establish proper eating habits:
- Provide an appropriate amount of food during each feeding.
- Use wide and shallow bowls or slow feeders to slow down their eating pace.
- In households with multiple dogs or cats, feed them separately to avoid competition.
Pets who are not accustomed to certain noises or stimuli may experience hiccups when startled, excited, or stressed. To provide psychological comfort:
- Associate positive experiences with stimuli that the pet finds fearful by offering treats.
- Engage dogs in activities like walks or nose work for mental stimulation.
- Play with cats using toys during designated times for exercise and mental engagement.
During summer or winter walks, or when pets suddenly consume cold water, hiccups may occur due to changes in body temperature. To maintain body temperature:
- Keep the back and belly warm to help regulate their body temperature.
- Offering lukewarm water can be beneficial.
- Providing a small amount of honey water or sugar water can also help maintain an appropriate body temperature.
Hiccups are usually a temporary phenomenon and often resolve within 5 minutes, which is considered normal. However, if hiccups persist or occur frequently in adult dogs or cats, it may be worth considering underlying digestive or respiratory issues, and consulting a veterinarian is recommended.
Don't be alarmed if your pet has hiccups and handle them calmly.