Puppy Hiccups After Eating: Fail-Proof Prevention Tips

Puppies and dogs hiccup just like human beings. Puppy hiccups are caused by different factors including hiccups after meals. 

So what causes puppy hiccups after eating and what can you do about it?

In this article, we will look at why a puppy hiccups after eating and what to do.

What Causes Puppy Hiccups After Eating?

Puppy hiccups after eating occur because of rapid eating or drinking, overeating, eating one large meal, diet, and playtime immediately after a meal. This causes stomach distension due to intake of air and rapid breathing during play. This in turn irritates the diaphragm and leads to hiccups.

puppy hiccups after eating

Reasons a Puppy Hiccups After Eating

Let’s look at the various reasons why a puppy can hiccup after eating. The reasons include:

Fast eating and/or drinking

If your puppy is an enthusiastic eater and eats or drinks very quickly, this will likely cause hiccups. 

Fast eating and drinking result in swallowing a lot of air which distends the stomach causing it to push against the diaphragm. 

This pressure irritates the diaphragm which causes it to have muscle spasms leading to hiccups.

Related: Why does my Great Dane get hiccups?

Eating a lot of food at one time

Hiccups occur when the diaphragm muscle or its nerves are irritated either from the direction of the lungs, the stomach, or due to an illness.

When a puppy eats one large meal in a day, they will tend to eat a lot which also leads to stomach expansion. The extended stomach pushes against the diaphragm which triggers hiccups.

Generally, a puppy should be fed several times in a day, at least 2-3 times depending on their age and breed.

Overeating

Overeating also causes hiccups when a puppy eats a lot of food over their recommended portion. 

This means that their stomach will be very full, extending towards the chest area and the diaphragm. This in turn irritates the diaphragm muscle causing hiccups.

Swallowing of air when chewing

A puppy can also simply get hiccups through swallowing air when they’re chewing during a meal. Puppies are naturally hyperexcitable in all their activities as well as eating, so the simple act of eating may result in swallowing excess air.

This excess air enters the stomach causing it to swell up and thereafter trigger hiccups from pressing on the diaphragm.

Playtime after eating

When a puppy is engaged in energetic play immediately after eating, this can trigger hiccups to occur. 

This happens because play results in rapid breathing which changes their breathing pattern which also affects the regular movement of the diaphragm. This results in hiccups.

Diet

A puppy’s diet is also a contributor to the production of puppy hiccups after eating. High grain diets have been known to sometimes cause flatulence in a puppy which leads to stomach distension.

Some diets can also cause stomach upset and the development of gas in a puppy.  

The extended stomach due to gas moves closer to the chest area irritating the diaphragm and leading to the development of hiccups. 

Read more here on how to help your dog get rid of hiccups

Prevention of Puppy Hiccups After Eating

Hiccups should go away by themselves after a short period even if they happen after eating. 

Although hiccups are not harmful to your puppy and last for a short time, there are some methods you can implement to prevent a puppy from experiencing them.

Prevention of puppy hiccups includes:

Prevent rapid eating or drinking

Prevent your puppy from eating quickly during meal times to prevent ingestion of a lot of air which leads to distension of the stomach and triggering of hiccups.

This can be done by providing a slow-feeding bowl that regulates how much they take in at a time. This will help to minimize the occurrence of hiccups.

Avoid overfeeding

Always feed your puppy the correct portions of food so that they do not overeat which prevents the stomach expansion and irritation of the diaphragm and hiccups.

Overfeeding a puppy is in itself unhealthy because an overweight dog develops health conditions associated with excess weight. 

Therefore it is always recommended to feed your puppy the recommended food portions for their age and not to overfeed them.

Feed them small frequent meals

Dogs and puppies alike should not eat one full meal at once in a day. They should have meal times split throughout the day to prevent conditions such as life-threatening bloat.

Apart from bloat, hiccups are also caused by eating one large meal at once. Therefore, feed your puppy small frequent meals within a day depending on their age and nutritional needs.

Limit playtime after meals

Limit playtime immediately after eating to allow your puppy to rest so that they do not exert themselves which may lead to the triggering of hiccups. 

Play should only be introduced at least 1 hour after meals. This time allows the digestion of food and emptying of the stomach to take place and reduces expansion of the stomach and its pressure on the diaphragm.

Change their diet

Review your puppy’s diet with your veterinarian to identify whether your puppy’s current diet causes stomach upset and/or flatulence leading to hiccups.

With the help of the veterinarian, change your puppy’s diet so that they will not experience hiccups after eating.

When to See the Vet About Puppy Hiccups

Puppy hiccups are generally not dangerous however you need to look out for certain signs to see if you need to reach out to your veterinarian.

This is because at a deeper level hiccups can be caused by other health conditions that need medical attention. 

Therefore see your veterinarian when the hiccups appear with other symptoms, are persistent, prolonged, and if the hiccups interfere with their normal activities such as sleeping, eating, or playing.

On average hiccups should last for about 10 to 15 minutes but if they are over 1 hour an evaluation is required.

Symptoms of illness to watch out for include difficulty in breathing, wheezing, coughing, choking, lethargy, hard swallowing, being in pain, excessively drooling, and pale gums. 

Further reading: Are puppy hiccups bad?

Summary

Anything that causes a puppy’s diaphragm to be irritated either from the stomach area or lungs, causes hiccups. Also when the diaphragm’s phrenic nerves are stimulated this causes development of hiccups.

Therefore any factor that affects the respiratory tract, illness, eating in excess, rapid eating, or drinking causes hiccups.

By following the above-mentioned tips on how to prevent puppy hiccups after eating you’ll be able to manage your puppy’s hiccups so that they do not experience them after mealtimes.

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Patricia Williams

Patricia Williams

Patricia Williams is a writer, mum, and animal lover with extensive experience with dogs. She loves talking about animal advocacy and care. She lives with 4 German Shepherds and 1 cat.