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Animal Hiccups – What They Are and What to Do

Animal Hiccups – What They Are and What to Do

You’ve had the hiccups before. Your neighbors have had them; so have your kids and your friends. In fact, probably everybody you know has had the hiccups at one point of time, but did you know that animals can get them too?

What are Hiccups?

Hiccups are an involuntary contraction of the diaphragm (a thin sheet of muscle under the lungs). When the diaphragm contracts, air rushes into the lungs. This same contraction causes the glottis (vocal chords) to clamp shut. The air rushing in is promptly blocked. This rushing in air which is then blocked causes the lump you feel in your throat and the ‘hic!’ sound.

What Causes Hiccups?

There are hundreds of reported causes of hiccups. Everything from eating or drinking too quickly, emotional tension, or laughing too hard to many serious underlying conditions have been reported as causes. Generally, however, regardless of the external cause, hiccups are caused by trapped air in the stomach, irritation to the throat, or irritation to the phrenic or vagus nerves (nerves that run from the throat, through the chest, and to the diaphragm.

Animal Hiccups

As hiccups are caused by a contraction of the diaphragm, any animal with a diaphragm can get them! This group includes all mammals. There are some amphibians which exhibit hiccup-like behavior, but are actually doing something which is closer to gulping. If your pet has the hiccups, the most important thing to know is that they are normal and will generally pass on their own. Animal hiccups usually bother owners more than the pets themselves! Though many animals can experience hiccups, they do not necessarily always look the same. When horses hiccup, their stomachs are seen to shake and loud thuds are heard. Horse hiccups are known as ‘thumps.’ When cats hiccup, they are generally silent.

If your pet seems to be coughing or gagging while hiccuping or if they hiccup a very frequent amount, it may be a good idea to take them to a vet. Some people suggests giving pets medication like gas-x or even Tums to help with the hiccups. It is strongly recommended that you do not give your pets any medications without first consulting a veterinarian. If your pet gets the hiccups a lot, there are a few things you can try to do to help them.

Make sure you are feeding your pet a high quality, low grain food. Lower quality foods can cause the hiccups (especially in dogs).

Give your pet a drink or a treat. This may alter their breathing pattern and stop the hiccups

Hold your pet and calm them down

Exercise with your pet. The increase in heart rate and breathing may help…

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How to Train Your Pet

Training your pet does not necessarily has to involve a pet trainer. There are simpler ways of pet training. These include showing the pet what you want it to do. Pointing at an object is the best way of pet training. An example is pointing at its cage when you want it to go to sleep or rest. If you want it to eat, you should point at its feeding bowl. While pointing at the object you want the pet to use, you should say the name of the action or object clearly, so that the pet hears the name. After a number of days repeating the same routine, you can test if the pest has learned the routine by saying the name without pointing. If the pet responds correctly, then you know that your pet training has worked.
Other conversational signals are easy for pet training. Shaking your head or your palm sideways is a refusal signal. At first you should do it and then hold the pet and make it do whatever you want it to do. When you repeat the signal a number of times, the pet realizes that the signal means refusal and you do not have to touch it. It moves away on its own. The easiest signal for commending the pet is a smile. This is given when the pet has done something good like catching a rodent or pushing a trolley closer. Other complex signals are learnt as derivatives of the simpler ones and it should be a step-by-step process.…