Like humans, dogs get hiccups when the muscles that control the diaphragm involuntarily contract. If your dog has a short bout of hiccups, do not be concerned. In fact, hiccups can be beneficial for dogs, as they help them to relieve gas in the stomach. Hiccups can sometimes help your dog to relieve stomach irritation and help your dog to fix a momentary loss of coordination between the nerves that control the diaphragm. Hiccups are more common in puppies, and your dog will generally grow out of the hiccups as it gets older. Your dog may experience many quick hiccups or it may have single hiccups with long pauses in between.
Dogs generally get the hiccups because they have been eating or drinking too fast. When your dog gulps down its food very quickly, it may swallow extra air, causing it to hiccup. Hiccups are sometimes a reaction to certain foods irritating your dog's stomach. If your dog frequently gets the hiccups after eating, you may want to try changing its diet to see if a certain food is the culprit.
Emotions are another cause of hiccups in dogs. Stress and fatigue can give your dog hiccups, as can excitement. However, excitement usually causes reverse hiccups, which are often confused with hiccups. Reverse hiccups are when your dog takes a series of loud, involuntary breaths through its nose. You might notice reverse hiccups when your dog is trying to clear mucous from its sinuses. If your dog has frequent or persistent hiccups, it may be an indication of a more serious cause, such as asthma, pneumonia, pericarditis, stroke or hypothermia. It is important to see a vet if your dog's hiccups persist.