Why Do Dogs Get Hiccups When Sleeping? Reasons and Prevention Tips

So you have a new member joining your family now, how exciting! Your life will never be the same again as a puppy will bring so much joy and meaning into it! Caring for a four-legged buddy will help you become a responsible, organized, and devoted pet parent. This furry bundle of joy will be going up and down your hallway, chewing on everything it sees in its proximity! Be prepared for many non-stop licking sessions, endless running around, and gulping water after a very physically active day.

As a result, you may soon hear the peculiar “hic-hic-hic” sounds coming from your beloved new friend. Sometimes you may spot them as your pal sleeps. So why do dogs get hiccups when sleeping? 

 Before we answer that question, let’s dive deeper into the subject and answer some questions a newbie pet parent might have about this phenomenon.

why do dogs get hiccups when sleeping
Why Do Dogs Get Hiccups When Sleeping?

What Do Dog Hiccups Look Like?

 As with human hiccups, pet ones are practically identical: they are noises you hear coming from the chest/throat area. Usually, they are pretty steady: one “hic” per every 3 seconds. Sometimes the interval is shorter, it depends on each pooch. The sounds are caused by a diaphragm’s contractions when it gets irritated if one eats/drinks/breathes too fast. Practically any mammal would get them, dogs are no exception.

What Causes Hiccups In Puppies? The Main Reasons 

As a devoted pet parent, if you spot the peculiar sounds coming from your pet’s throat, you might be asking yourself questions like: Why does my puppy get hiccups so much?” and “Why do dogs get hiccups when sleeping?” We are about to cover the most common reasons. 

  1. Puppy Hiccups After Eating: If your furry friend is a “gulper,” devouring food as soon as the bowl hits the floor, it’s almost a guarantee that it will develop hiccups. 
  2. A Very Physically Active Day: if your fluffy mischief is too active in the daytime, running around, chasing that neighborhood dog, it will need to stay hydrated more. And, since playing is so much fun, it wants to come back into the game as soon as possible. Therefore it starts quickly “gulping” aqua.
  3. A Furry Pal Swallowing Too Much Air: it can start panting hard, catching a lot of excess air, which is another reason for the unpleasant sounds. Next thing you know, you hear consecutive “hic-hic.”
  4. A Diaphragm’s Spasm When Body Is Most Relaxed: sometimes pups would get hiccups while they are catching zzz’s, chasing after some nimble creature in their sleep. An owner should not be alarmed if he/she hears these sounds as this is a very tired diaphragm “talking” after a long day of play.  

 Do I Have To Worry If My Puppy Gets Hiccups?

 This is nothing to worry about as it is normal and just means that the little fella swallowed too much air together with the meal he consumed. They would usually go away on their own in about 5 minutes tops. After all, you are never alarmed when you get them, right? You know that it’s best to just relax, take a couple of deep breaths, and hold them for a few seconds. Voila, hiccups become history!

 Same for your furball: when you, of course, can’t tell them to hold their breaths you can just help them calm down by rubbing on their shoulders or belly. Their breathing cycle should come back to normal shortly. 

Why Do Dogs Get Hiccups When Sleeping?

Canines are gaseous creatures just like us and sometimes they have to get rid of it one way or another. In case a pup ate too much before bedtime, its digestive tract would be full of extra gas. Sometimes it is released in random diaphragm contractions. It is very normal and a pet parent should not be worried at all. 

Hiccups that occur in a pup’s sleep take place when the furry pal’s body is getting re-energized for the new day ahead. There’s no need to wake your precious bundle of joy up and take it urgently to the vet’s ER. If you hear that hics are happening at a very steady pace with almost no intervals, then you can offer your canine companion a little water to help with the gas release process. 

Hiccups I Should Be Concerned About As A Pet Parent

 You should be alerted if you see that the hics are accompanied by heavy panting, gauging, shortness of breath, or excessive coughing-it is time to go check it out with a professional. All these symptoms can mean an asthma attack, various heart or lung problems, or even a mini-stroke.

 Heat strokes are common in dark-haired breeds: Rottweilers, Bulldogs, German Shepards,  Pugs, etc. It usually happens when the sun’s activity is very strong and it’s over 85 degrees outside. It makes walking outside unbearable for a pup in its heavy, dark fur coat. If you have a “brunette” pal, make sure you two only go for a walk when the sun is the weakest: at dawn and dusk. Please, limit the walking to about 10-15 minutes at a time max.

 Provide plenty of hydration and stay near the natural shade of trees in the highly dense wooded areas. It would also be a great idea to give your puppy a very short haircut to help with body ventilation while keeping it cool. 

Related Reading: What Causes Dogs To Snore? The Main Causes and Ways To Deal With It.

Preventing Hiccups Tips

  • Don’t let your four-legged friend swallow food/water too fast: If it starts doing so, gently push the bowl away and let it calm down in a “sit” position. Your pup will surely learn that to indulge in his fave meal, it better behave itself. Train it to eat at a normal pace and reward it with his favorite piece of steak or a slice of cheese. It’s also a very good idea to start following a feeding schedule when your canine baby is still in the puppy stage. Try to feed it every day at the same time to prevent starvation, and, as a result, guzzling everything uncontrollably.
  • Try to alternate between physical activity and resting time: Your dog shouldn’t be out of control and active all the time. Especially in a puppy stage when they are still developing emotionally and physically. It needs to slow down and take a time-out. Its nervous and respiratory systems should regain the energy lost. Therefore no heavy panting/shortness of breath can occur. On average, puppies, in particular, need about 15-18 hours of sleep per 24-hour period. Hence scheduled nap times are a great solution for an overactive pal. Just like toddlers, pups don’t usually like napping. They have to be gently “forced” to do so. Take its fave toy or a treat into the crate. You’ll get a more cooperative pal in the long run.
  • Bring your pup for a regular check-up every year: you want to nib any potential health hazards in the bud for its tail to be always wagging happily. The vet would be able to give you good guidelines to follow to ensure a pup’s well-being. It’s important to stay consistent with his recommendations.
why dogs get hiccups when sleeping
Why Dogs Get Hiccups When Sleeping?


 Pup hiccups are usually a completely normal occurrence, absolutely nothing to worry about, and they typically go away in no time. While hics may be irritating for your canine pal, you can follow the steps described in this article to help them disappear faster.  Hopefully, you found answers to all of your questions about canine hiccups, including “Why do dogs get hiccups when sleeping?” after reading the article.

 However, if you notice any of the above-mentioned alarming signs accompanying your furry friend’s hics, then it’s best to drop in at the vet’s office.

Related Reading: Why Your Dog Gives A Leg Kick When You Rub Their Belly

stuart and his dog

Family Dog Expert Author

Hi there! I’m Stuart, a devoted dog lover and family dog expert with over a decade of experience working with our furry companions. My passion for dogs drives me to share my knowledge and expertise, helping families build strong, loving bonds with their four-legged friends. When I’m not writing for SirDoggie, you’ll find me hiking, playing with my beautiful dog, or studying music.