Hiccups usually are the result of a dog or cat eating or drinking too quickly, getting overly excited, or feeling stressed or nervous about something. While hiccupping is most common in young animals, some pets go on to have hiccup-attacks throughout their adult lives. Though most pet-parents have their own preferred method of curing hiccups, there are several basic ways that seem to effectively end the reaction. The primary approach is to create a change in the animal’s breathing pattern. This can be accomplished through the below list of ways:
Treating Pet Hiccups
Begin by offering the pet a drink of water. This is a tried-and-true method humans use that is also effective for dogs and cats. Have the pet sit at first, so he is in a calmer state of mind, and less inclined to slurp the water and gulp down air. If they satisfy their thirst in a relaxed manner, the hiccups may be disrupted.
Change the food portions. Some dogs and cats see enormous bowls of food which excites them and makes them want to inhale it all. Literally. Help your cat or dog avoid inhaling air while they are eating, by serving them smaller portions. This should also encourage them to eat more slowly.
Brush their teeth. When a meal is over, help clear out any excess gunk, food, hair, or carpet lint that might have been picked up in the midst of the pet’s day, by brushing the cat or dog’s teeth. This will keep any remnants from getting stuck in their mouths or throats and causing a hiccup effect.
Massage the animal’s diaphragm muscles and tummy. This will help the situation in a number of ways: first, if the dog or cat is hiccupping because of nerves, tension or irregular breathing, the massage will sooth and help relax him. Additionally, if there is air painfully trapped in the stomach, it will be able to release during this time; and any spasms of the diaphragm will be less likely to continue when the muscles around it are being kneaded and massaged.
Distract your pet. The same way humans ask someone to try and frighten them when they have hiccups, the element of surprise and distraction can sometimes sufficiently cause a break in rhythmic hiccupping. Some pet owners advise bringing in a new toy, or simply just distracting them from whatever trouble caused the hiccups (whether it is stress, separation anxiety, overeating) by giving him undivided attention. NOTE: Since excitement can actually start a case of hiccups, be intentional to make the play time more about quality connections, working on skills, and playing gentle games with toys, so as not to over excite the dog and exacerbate the problem.