Was that a hiccup that you heard coming from your dog? If you’ve been wondering “do Pugs get hiccups,” you’re in the right place. When I first heard Mindy my black Pug get hiccups, I decided to find out why dogs get them and what you can do about it as a Pug owner.
Why Do Pugs Get Hiccups
One of the main reasons, is they eat or drink too fast. Hiccups happen when an important abdominal muscle called the diaphragm contracts in a spastic way.
What causes the diaphragm to spasm like this? Scientists aren’t quite sure as of yet. But what they do know is that all mammals are prone to bouts of hiccups.
The pug dog may be small on the outside, but as any pug lover can attest, this dog breed is huge on the inside. Pugs have big personalities, big smarts and big appetites….which can sometimes lead to hiccups.
However, there are several other reasons that your pooch may be dealing with hiccups. We’ll discuss some of the reasons below.
Medically Speaking, How Do Pugs Get Hiccups?
Pugs get hiccups in the same way that all other warm-blooded animals (including people) get hiccups.
The diaphragm spasms and triggers the vocal cords to close up. This produces a hiccup. Hiccups can sometimes help your pooch relieve stomach irritations or a momentary loss of coordination between the nerves that control the diaphragm.
Just like in humans, it is due to an uncontrollable spasm of the diaphragm.
It may sound scary when you hear your pooch hiccuping. The great news is there’s not a lot to worry about and they will usually go away on their own. Just make sure that your dog is dealing with hiccups and NOT reverse sneezing.
Reverse sneezing is not a cause for concern, but it’s important to understand the difference.
What Can Trigger Pug Dog Hiccups?
Isn’t it amazing how alike people and dogs can be? Dogs hiccups can get triggered in many of the same way people hiccups can get triggered.
While hiccups are more common in puppies and young dogs, they can happen at any age and stage of life.
The most common triggers for pug dog hiccups include these.
Eating and drinking too fast
Anytime a dog eats or drinks too quickly, there is the potential for hiccups to follow.
In dogs with deep chests like pugs, eating or drinking too quickly can also cause a deadly condition called gastric torsion (bloat) where the stomach actually twists inside the body.
In smaller dogs like pugs with shorter muzzles and wider faces, eating or drinking too quickly can actually temporarily cut off airflow and cause hiccups.
Also, tiny pug puppies with very small tummies may not realize they are already full until their stomach is actually overly full and their diaphragm starts spasming, leading to hiccups.
Of course, the pug’s short, flat face (called “brachycephalic” in veterinary terms), is part of this dog’s appeal – they are so cute! Read this to find out why Pugs have a smashed face.
But as a pug owner, it is vital to be aware and do what you can to help your pug slow down at mealtimes by using drinking fountains and slow-feeder bowls or puzzle toys. This can help avoid hiccups and potentially more serious issues as well.
Eating or drinking something irritating
In people, eating really spicy foods or drinking alcohol can sometimes bring on a bout of hiccups.
In pugs, it is sometimes hard to determine exactly what your dog found on the lawn that has clearly irritated her stomach and is now causing a rousing round of hiccups.
Hiccups in themselves aren’t typically serious, but that thing your pug just ate that is causing the hiccups very well might be, so it is smart to monitor your dog closely and visit your veterinarian right away if need be.
Getting too excited or stressed
Pugs as a breed are really playful, loving dogs. Pug puppies, in particular, can easily get over-excited and this may trigger hiccups.
Of course, as with people, even good things still cause physical stress to the body. Your pug may react with joy and delight to yet another game of “who gets the couch cushion.” But your pug’s diaphragm may react with spontaneous spasms and hiccups.
The best way to head off a round of hiccups in this situation is to monitor your dog’s activity level closely. Start winding down playtime if your pug becomes overly excited.
Talk with your canine veterinarian about options to help your stressed-out pug relax before veterinary visits and similar events. And if your pug seems to suffer from chronic hiccups, talk with your veterinarian to rule out other health issues.
Hiccups are prone to affect puppies that are younger than 8-12 months. Because hiccups develop in the mother’s womb, scientists believe that hiccuping can help their lungs develop and grow.
How Can You Tell Your Pug Has Hiccups?
While it is true that dog hiccups and people hiccups are quite similar, you might not always realize your pug has hiccups based on symptoms.
Sometimes, of course, your pug will start making that trademark “hic” sound and this is all the evidence you need that he has hiccups.
At other times, your pug may seem to be burping repeatedly. This, too, is a common symptom of canine hiccups.
Sometimes, the diaphragm may spasm and no sound comes out. But it is still likely the reason is that your pug has hiccups.
Can You Prevent Hiccups in Pugs?
Feeding your pug a bit of honey can sometimes ease stress and thus hiccups. You can also encourage your pug to sip water.
Distracting your pug with something exciting, while counter-intuitive, may be helpful in a similar way to how startling people with hiccups can be helpful.
When in doubt and when hiccups persist for more than a few hours, reach out to your canine veterinarian for guidance.
What Should I Do About My Pug’s Hiccups?
Sometimes you can take all the preventative measures and your pup will still get a bout of hiccups. As I mentioned above, they will usually go away on their own, however, here are some things you can do to help your Pug get rid of the hiccups.
Exercise: Take your puppy out in the backyard or take them for a walk. You may be able to get rid of the hiccups, just by changing your dog’s normal breathing or heart rate.
Change of pace: If she was playing or running when the hiccups developed, then slow down her activity. The main goal is to change her breathing pattern.
Low-grain diet: High food grains have been known to cause hiccups in some dogs. Opt for foods that have very low to no grains or starches as they are easier for your pooch to digest.
Distraction: Sometimes all your puppy needs to get relief is some playtime with her favorite toy.
A small drink of water: Give your pup a small amount of water. Just make sure that you watch them, as the spasms from the hiccups can cause them to choke. You NEVER want to give them anything to eat while they are experiencing the hiccups.
Massage: Pug your puppy on your lap with their tummy facing you and gently massage her chest. This can help relax the diaphragm and may help get rid of the hiccups.
Final Word On Pugs and Hiccups
As long as your Pug hasn’t had the hiccups for more than a few hours, there’s no need to worry.
If your puppy hiccups and vomiting occurs or she starts having trouble breathing, you’ll want to take her/him to their veterinarian or the nearest after-hours veterinary hospital, as it can be a sign of something more serious.
References and Further Reading
Williams, K., BSc, DVM, “Brachycephalic Airway Syndrome in Dogs,” VCA Animal Hospital, 2018.
Burke, A., “Dog Hiccups Explained,” The Labrador Site, 2019.
Winshaw, L., “Dog Hiccups Explained,” CertaPet, 2019.