Dog Hiccups and Gagging – What Causes It?

One of the cutest parts of your fur kid is, no doubt, the lovely snout. However, it is often accompanied by a narrow airway which may be more pronounced in brachycephalic breeds like bulldogs and pugs. Brachycephalic dogs are the most popular breeds in the United States, so chances are, you’ve got one too! 

It is relatively easy for temperature changes, such as higher heat exposure, to affect your fur kid’s airway. Puppies can regulate their temperatures from the seventh week, but they still need adequate aeration. This, and many other factors, lead to the involuntary muscle spasming known as the hiccup. It is a highly irritating, albeit painless, condition that affects dogs as much as it affects you.

Hiccups and gagging are especially common in puppies, but they also happen in grown dogs. Do you want to know the causes and how to help your furry friend overcome or even prevent the next bout? Some underlying severe conditions may cause dog hiccups and gagging, and this article will help you understand them! 

Why Might a Dog Be Hiccuping and Gagging?

If the bouts of hiccups do not cease after a few minutes, or if they occur too often to raise concern, one of the conditions you should consider is acid reflux; it may be life-threatening if not treated on time. It happens when the contents from the stomach enter and re-enter the esophagus before leaving the digestive system. You will know if your dog has this condition because they will throw up from time to time, have non-stop bad breath, will drool excessively, and burp after eating. It is caused by feeding your pet spicy food or other conditions like obesity, high acid production, and high blood calcium; you should get a veterinarian without delay. 

Hiccuping and gagging are relatively normal responses in dogs and humans; they are caused when an involuntary contraction of the diaphragm occurs repeatedly. These conditions are even more common in puppies, much like newborn babies, because their muscles are much more pliable and are just developing. But if your fur kid is hiccuping and gagging for a prolonged period, this is abnormal, and you should get it checked. 

Something as seemingly minor as swallowing too much air can also cause hiccuping and gagging in dogs. You should not worry if your pet has hiccups as long as they weren’t born with, nor have they developed respiratory issues. Additionally, asthma or bronchitis and pericarditis are two medical conditions that may cause these involuntary muscle and diaphragm contractions. You will need to check them out at the veterinary because leaving them untreated may cause complications. 

Should I Be Worried if My Dog Is Hiccuping and Gagging?

No, you ordinarily shouldn’t worry if your dog is hiccuping and gagging, except if they already have a serious health condition, like asthma or pericarditis. Acid reflux is also a condition that calls for medical attention; look out for the symptoms a dog would exhibit if they had it and make that call to the veterinarian if needed. Food intolerance may also be why your pet is hiccuping and gagging; consider if there has been any change in their diet that may be causing an allergic reaction. 

Swallowing too much air also causes hiccuping and gagging, but it is not a reason to worry; it is very common in puppies because of their abundant energy and smaller bodies. If your pooch has a large meal, they will also experience bouts of hiccups, just like you. When the temperature climbs high, dogs with smaller airways may struggle to breathe because a heat stroke will shrink the esophagus even more.

If you have a bulldog, pug, or bull mastiff, you need to provide a well-aerated environment for them during the summer or when the temperature rises to prevent hiccups and gagging. Stress can also affect the diaphragm and cause involuntary contractions. 

What About if My Dog Is Hiccuping and Gagging While Eating Grass?

When your dog needs chlorophyll, their system may drive them to eat grass. That is not a problem, though; most dog owners are already used to it. However, hiccuping and gagging while eating grass is not something you see every day, even though this is not also a cause for worry. It may be due to one of the other conditions or factors we have already considered, or they are choking on the grass. 

There is nothing to fret about; a bug may have also been caught in the mix in your dog’s mouth, causing them to gag. Give them some water to drink and wait out the fits. If the hiccuping and gagging are prolonged, you need to speak with the vet. 

Too much grass may also make your dog gag because it will irritate the stomach. You need to consult your vet if this happens. Call the vet if your pet has been eating grass too often and in large amounts, and they suddenly start gagging and hiccuping for a long time. 

What Should I Do if My Dog Is Hiccuping and Gagging?

Monitor the symptoms that occur alongside – hiccuping and gagging alone may not mean anything. For instance, if it is for prolonged periods accompanied by vomiting and diarrhea, it may indicate that your puppy has worms. Furthermore, if you discover blood in your pet’s stool and vomit, you should suspect a gastrointestinal problem and make appointments with your vet immediately. These conditions are not minor; if your pet must deal with them long-term, they may become life-threatening. 

If your pet is prone to heat strokes because of their breed, consider improving the environment to suit their respiratory and skin conditions. During the summer, leave the windows open if you don’t have air conditioning. Pay attention to their meals, too; don’t give your pet anything spicy because dogs don’t need it. You should also pay attention to food tolerance so that allergic reactions don’t narrow your dog’s airway. 

Try to change your pet’s diet from a dry one, which causes hiccups and gagging, to one with lots of water, like broth and rice. Stress also causes hiccups, so create the most comfortable environment for your pet, and don’t forget to provide lots of water. Ultimately, the hiccups should not exceed five hours, or you may need to call the vet for assistance. 


The dreaded hiccuping and gagging fits shouldn’t scare you unless your pet exhibits the symptoms of acid reflux or a respiratory disorder. You should begin to suspect a severe condition when the hiccups happen for a prolonged period. Investigate the cause, so you can find the right way to handle dog hiccups and gagging. 


  • Brad

    Hi I'm Brad, the founder of Having been a vet of 6 years I work alongside our team to provide valuable insight into your dog's health. I have a frenchie myself named Senzu who is my pride and joy!