If your adult dog or puppy seems to hiccup when asleep, you might be curious why this happens.
Why does your dog get hiccups when sleeping, and should you be at all worried about it?
By the time you have read this post, you will know everything you need to know, including if you need to take a trip to the vet or not.
Why Do Dogs Hiccup When They Are Asleep?
Dogs get hiccups when they are sleeping for the same reason they get them when they are awake.
Hiccups are caused by fast, intense, and repetitive contractions of the diaphragm.
This can be caused by indigestion, stress, and in some cases, a medical condition.
Hiccups happen when your dog has involuntary contractions of its diaphragm.
They can be caused by indigestion, eating too fast, not chewing food before swallowing, stress, gastrointestinal issues, or kennel cough.
There is no specific reason they get hiccups when sleeping, but they are most likely to get them during the REM (rapid eye movement) sleep phase.
Just as in humans, the REM sleep phase is the deepest phase of sleeping for your dog.
They will be deeply relaxed and breathing deeply and slowly, which might be why they are more likely to hiccup.
NOTE – You might like to read this post if you want to learn about why dogs hyperventilate.
Should You Worry About Your Dog Hiccupping?
In most cases, dogs hiccupping when sleeping is nothing to worry about.
It is just a perfectly natural occurrence and not health-related.
However, there may be some circumstances where there might be a medical issue causing that hiccupping.
Related Post: Why Are Dogs Light Sleepers?
Health Conditions that Can Cause Hiccups in Dogs:
- Gastrointestinal issues
- Kennel cough
- Chronic indigestion
- Stress or anxiety
- Heart disease
- Asthma or similar respiratory conditions.
- Issues related to ingestion of non-food items (pica)
So, if your dog is showing any other signs of illness or stress, the best solution is to take your dog to the vet for a health check-up.
If you are in financial difficulty in some areas, some charities will either pay for or subsidize your vet bills.
So, ask your vet or local dog owners, jump on Google, or check this page and see if you can get some help.
(If you don’t live in the US, you can use Google to find similar help in your country).
NOTE – You might also like to read this post asking why some dogs curl up in a ball when they are asleep.
What Are Hiccups?
Puppy and adult dog hiccups are caused by the diaphragm’s fast and intense contraction.
The diaphragm is a muscle that separates the stomach area from the chest and lungs.
The diaphragm’s job is to allow the dog to breathe by expanding and contracting the lungs and rib cage.
Usually, the diaphragm moves smoothly and regularly, but when hiccups occur, it spasms, which creates the movement and noises we associate with hiccupping.
NOTE – This short video has some more valuable tips about canine hiccups.
Just click the image to play:
Related Post: Why Do Dogs Sleep So Much on Rainy Days?
What is Reverse Sneezing – Could This be What’s Happening?
Are you sure the hiccups are actually hiccups and not something similar?
Sometimes dog owners confuse reverse sneezing with hiccupping.
Reverse sneezing is when a dog has a short, sharp, forced breath through its nose.
It is nothing to worry about, so next time you think your dog has a bout of hiccups when asleep, double-check that they aren’t reverse sneezing.
This video has a detailed explanation of reverse sneezing from a vet and her gorgeous French Bulldog.
You might find it helpful to watch if you are unsure whether your dog is hiccuping in their sleep or reverse sneezing.
Just click the video, and it will start playing:
NOTE – You might also like to find out the answer to the question – why do dogs sneeze when upside down on their back?
Final Notes on Sleeping Dogs Getting Hiccups
Dogs often get hiccups when they sleep. It is a perfectly regular occurrence and no different than them getting hiccups when they are awake.
In most cases, sleepy hiccuping is nothing to worry about and is just a regular part of your dog’s canine behavior.
However, some medical conditions can cause canine hiccupping, so if your dog displays any other symptoms or signs of ill health, please take them to your vet for a check-up.
It is always better to be safe than sorry regarding your dog’s health and well-being.
Ok, so that is the end of this post talking about dog hiccups in sleep.
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Thanks for stopping by and visiting The Factual Doggo.
NOTE – Before you go, you might also like to read one of these posts:
Tim is a proud, vetted, and experienced dog foster carer for a charity helping dog owners escape domestic abuse.
He has years of experience training and caring for dogs, both his own and other people’s.
He is an expert in canine behavior and is highly skilled in dealing with all dogs but specializes in the difficult ones that other people may struggle with.
When he isn’t fostering dogs, he is making friends with other people’s pups!