The characteristic nervous tic of humans, the “hiccup,” is so common that you probably don’t think twice about it. But when it happens to your dog, it can be quite alarming. If your dog is suddenly displaying signs of spasmodic coughing or choking, you’ll want to make sure you’re not dealing with anything more serious. By learning the answer to the question, “Why do dogs get hiccups?”, you’ll be able to quickly calm your pooch and get him the help that he needs.

The Anatomy Of A Hiccup

So, what exactly causes those sudden spasms and spasmodic coughing? These signs and symptoms are caused by a condition known as “myoclonus.” Myoclonus occurs when the muscles contract and relax rapidly. These muscle contractions can be the result of a number of things. Your dog may be suffering from epilepsy, a condition that’s characterized by recurrent seizures. He may have ingested something poisonous, such as antifreeze. He may have a brain tumor. Or, he may simply be experiencing an episode of “paroxysm” (a sudden contraction or twitching of a group of muscles).

Why Do Dogs Get Hiccups?

The answer to this question, “Why do dogs get hiccups?” isn’t quite as simple as the question itself. In order to understand why your dog is exhibiting those telltale signs, you’ll need to take a closer look at what’s going on inside his body. When a dog gets hiccups, the muscles in the diaphragm (the large muscle that separates the chest from the abdomen) contract and relax rapidly. This movement causes the characteristic sound that we all associate with a hiccup. These spasms cause air to be trapped in the esophagus, leading to further spasms.

How To Stop Your Dog’s Hiccups

Like humans, the majority of cases of canine hiccups aren’t particularly serious. However, that doesn’t mean that you should ignore them. If your dog is choking or gasping for breath, he may be having a serious medical emergency. If this is the case, call your vet immediately.

Hiccups In Dogs Vs. Hiccups In Humans

While human hiccups are relatively harmless, they can lead to some serious damage in dogs. The constant spasm and spasmodic coughing can eventually lead to an esophageal tear, which can cause severe internal bleeding.

Bottom Line

“Why do dogs get hiccups?” There are a number of potential answers. The condition itself can be the result of a number of underlying issues. Diagnosing the underlying cause is often necessary in order to properly treat the condition. A vet can examine the symptoms that your dog is experiencing and determine whether or not your pooch requires medical attention.