With many puppies and dogs, it may seem that hiccups happen randomly and without cause. However, there are some common triggers that are often at fault:
Eating or drinking too quickly
- When a dog eats too fast, this can cause him to also swallow air (which itself is a cause of hiccups), however eating fast in and of itself can also trigger them due to a distension of the diaphragm. Since the Boxer breed is very prone to bloat
and one of the main causes of that is eating or drinking very fast, if your Boxer puppy or dog tends to have hiccups after having food or water, this is a red flag that a method should be instilled to help the Boxer slow down.
The two best options for bowls
are to use a slow feeder bowl for both food and water or to place a stainless steel portion pacer in the dishes. If you're giving out a handful of treats, don't offer them all at once.
Another common issue is a Boxer needing to drink a lot right after exercise
and this may cause hiccups as well as bloat. It's always best to bring along water in a canine water travel container (we like the ones that have a lid that serves as the bowl) so that you can offer water halfway through a walk or while out at a park. This way, your Boxer can stay hydrated and doesn't have to lap up water super-fast when finally home.
Swallowing air -
This goes right along with the above cause; though there are some circumstances when a dog may also draw in a breath too quickly (see next reason)
- Any strong emotion can cause a dog to develop hiccups such as fear and stress however it is over-excitement that is the most common reason. The reason for this is because there is a correlation between emotional excitement and a tensing of the stomach muscles which triggers the diaphragm to react. In addition, dogs often breath heavy when excited. It's fairly common for Boxer dogs to get really excited for anything that they deem fun, including getting ready to go for a walk, being driven up to a favorite spot (beach, park, etc.), knowing that a game of Frisbee is about to begin, seeing that their dinner is being prepared, etc. Some also get really hyped up when an owner returns after being gone for the day.
If you do notice that your Boxer hiccups when he gets revved up, there are a couple of things you can do:
1. Act a bit more matter-of-fact when announcing an event. If an owner typically speaks in a way to get a dog enthusiastic about going out or to get ready for play, it can help to keep things a bit low-key.
2. If a Boxer get charged up due to an owner's arrival back home, implementing some steps that are used for separation anxiety
issues can help.
Temperature change while eating
- This is not a reason for hiccups that would normally come to mind for many dog owners, however a study done in 2004 indicates that if the temperature suddenly rises or lowers while eating, it can disturb nerve pathways between the brain and muscles, which can manifest as hiccups. If a Boxer dog's eating area is right near a heating or AC vent, and burst of heat or cold air comes out while he's having his meal, this could be the cause.
Food with too much grain content
- Ingesting dry wheat can cause hiccups. If a dog's dry kibble contains a high grain ratio, this can be the reason that the dog suffers from episodes. If a Boxer has frequent hiccups that are disruptive for the dog and other triggers such as eating too quickly have been ruled out, a possible change in food should be considered to a low-grain or grain-free variety.