My French bulldog keeps getting hiccups; what should I do?


It is common for French bulldogs to get hiccups, especially when they are young. In most cases, hiccups are not harmful to Frenchies can be relieved with a simple massage. Hiccups in French bulldogs occur when the diaphragm rises and cause the dog to inhale air when the windpipe is closing. Since this is an unconventional way of breathing, it causes hiccups.

Now, the big question is, why do Frenchies get hiccups frequently? Below are five common reasons that cause hiccups in French bulldogs.

Brachycephalic skulls
The first reason why French bulldogs get hiccups is because of their brachycephalic skulls, which prevent them from reaching food in the bowl properly. As a result, they eat both food and air, causing hiccups.
Eating or drinking too fast.
Another reason why hiccups are common in French bulldogs is fast eating. Frenchies love eating fast, especially when eating their favorite food. They may eat both air and food when eating fast, thus causing hiccups. It can also occur if they drink water too quickly.
Intense playing
Your French bulldog could get hiccups is because of intense playing. If you own a French bulldog, you know that they love playing and running around everywhere. Intense jumping and running often cause hiccups. However, this mostly occurs in puppies that love playing and jumping around because of their high energy levels. Frenchies may also get hiccups after playing because of a sudden drop in energy that forces them to take too much air within a short time to catch their breath.
Hypothermia or overeating
Another common reason that causes hiccups in French bulldogs is hypothermia or overheating. When the Frenchie is exposed to direct sunlight or a high temperature that causes the dog to overheat, he will breathe vigorously and take too much air to cool the body.
Excitement or stress
Last but not least, say that French bulldogs get hiccups because of excitement or stress. A 2017 study revealed that anxiety and too much excitement usually trigger hiccups in French bulldogs.

How To Relieve Your French Bulldog’s Hiccups

In most cases, hiccups are not harmful to French bulldogs and only last for a few minutes. However, if it occurs for more than a few hours, it may change wheezing sounds and cause irregular breathing.

That can be dangerous to your Frenchie, bearing in mind that they already have a breathing problem due to the nature of their nose. Fortunately, there are some simple things you can do to relives your dog’s hiccups, as discussed below.

Give your French Bulldog plenty of water.
Water is very effective at getting rid of hiccups in French bulldogs, just as in humans. So, if your dog has hiccups, give him fresh, clean water.
Slow down on eating
Although the real cause of hiccups is still unknown, some experts believe that eating quickly may result in hiccups because of excessive air. If your French bulldog tends to eat too fast, then the chance of getting hiccups is high. In such a case, the best solution is to slow down on eating. Buy a special dish that will ensure the dog only picks one piece of kibble at a time. Also, if your dog drinks water too fast, you get him a specially designed bowl that will force him to drink water slowly.
Massage your dog
Another effective way to get rid of hiccups in French bulldogs is by giving them a relaxing massage. First, put your Frenchie in a comfortable position, then massage him gently on his chest to help relax the diaphragm. Massage therapy may help to relieve hiccups.
Avoid foods that cause hiccups.
Clinical studies have shown high grain foods increase the chance of French bulldogs getting hiccups. Besides causing hiccups, it also pains the digestive system of the dog. So, avoid feeding your dog with high grain foods or any other food linked to causing hiccups. Instead, feed your dog with low grain foods.
Try rhythm exercises
One of the easiest ways to get rid of hiccups in your French bulldog is by helping your dog perform rhythm exercises. Unlike intense workouts where the dog jumps and runs all over, the rhythmic activity involves the dog lying down on the back and rubbing the tummy. This exercise can help to stop hiccups.

Do French Bulldogs Get Hiccups A Lot?

YES, French bulldogs get hiccups, mainly due to their brachycephalic skulls, which prevents them from properly reaching food in the bowl. As a result, they eat both food and air, causing hiccups. Puppies also get hiccup a lot because of intense playing.

However, in most cases, the hiccups usually stop after a few minutes. So if your Frenchie gets hiccups only when eating or playing, and then it disappears after a few minutes, then that should not concern you. However, if the hiccup is caused by other reasons and lasts for long, it could indicate that your French bulldog has other serious health problems that need to be addressed quickly. In such a case, the best solution is to consult your vet.

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Why Are Hiccups Common In Puppies Than In Adult French Bulldogs?

If you are keen, you must have noticed that hiccups are common in puppies than in adult Frenchies. Well, there are reasons behind that. First, puppies have smaller underdeveloped snouts that cannot reach food or water bowl easily. As a result, they struggle to eat or drink water.

Second, unlike calm adult Frenchies, puppies are often eager and usually lack control when feeding. This increases the likelihood of them gulping when they eat. As a result, they are more likely to get hiccups because of feeding or drinking too fast.

Last but not least, the energetic nature of puppies is also a huge contributing factor for them getting hiccups. Young Frenchies usually jump and run all over the house to burn their high energy. So naturally, this increases the chances of getting hiccups.

Do Hiccups Hurt Your French Bulldog?

Hiccups are largely harmless to dogs and only last for a few minutes. Some experts believe that hiccups can help your French dog relieve irritating and stomach gas. However, if the hiccups don’t go away or if you stay for more than a few hours, then that should concern you.

If the dog’s hiccup lasts for more than two days, it is chronic and can change to a wheezing sound because it has difficulty breathing. In addition, hiccups that don’t go away could be a symptom of a more serious health problem such as stress and anxiety. Therefore, you should take your Frenchie to the vet for a thorough examination if the hiccups are persistent.

When Do Hiccups Become A Health Concern?

Hiccups become a serious concern if it does not go away. If hiccups stay for more than two days, then it could be a sign that your dog has a serious health problem that needs urgent medical attention. Additionally, if the hiccups make your pooch uncomfortable or result in breathing difficulty, then you should consult your vet immediately.

Another thing that makes hiccup a health concern to your French dog is if it is accompanied by gastrointestinal symptoms such as diarrhea, constipation, and loss of appetite.

Hiccups in French bulldogs are rarely a medical emergency. However, suppose they last for more than 3 hours or are accompanied by fever, abdominal pain, shortness of breath, spitting up blood, vomiting, or throat irritation. In that case, you should take your Frenchie to the vet immediately for a thorough checkup.

What Can A Hiccup Be A Sign Of?

In some cases, hiccups in a French bulldog could signify that the dog has an underlying health condition that needs to be checked. Some illnesses for continuing hiccupping may include pneumonia, pleurisy, stomach disorders, and bowel diseases. If your French bulldog experience long episodes of hiccupping, you should take it to the vet for a checkup.

When To Should I Take My Dog To The Vet Over Hiccups?

You should take your dog to the vet over hiccups if:

  • The hiccups last for more than 60 minutes and are accompanied by other symptoms such as fever.
  • The episodes of hiccupping cause breathing issues of any kind, such as sneezing, heavy breathing, or coughing.
  • Your dog tires quickly due to repeated hiccupping
  • The hiccups cause gastrointestinal symptoms such as diarrhea, constipation, loss of appetite, or vomit

In short, if the hiccup does not go away after a short while or if it is accompanied by other health conditions such as breathing difficulties, diarrhea, loss of appetite, and more, you should consult your vet immediately because it could be a symptom of other underlying conditions. The vet will conduct a thorough checkup to know whether your French dog’s hiccups are normal or are a symptom of a serious condition that needs to be treated.

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