Thursday, February 26, 2009

Terrifying Hiccups

I don't think that it is uncommon for dogs to be afraid of loud noises. Thunderstorms and July 4th are nightmares for my almost 13-year old mutt Gypsy. She can sense a thunderstorm coming hours before you hear a thing. Once it starts she quivers and pants the entire time--while standing on top of you, no matter if you are sitting in the couch, on a dining room chair, or sleeping in bed. Hitting rumble strips while riding in the car is a close second to thunder and lightning. Luckily the noise is brief and forgotten relatively quickly.

But nothing strikes fear into Gypsy's heart like my 10-year old daughter with a case of the hiccups. Last night I was on the couch, and I heard a faint hiccup from the kitchen. The next thing I knew I had a 55 pound quivering, panting mess climbing onto me. The shaking was so strong that the entire couch was vibrating. Even though I immediately banished the hiccupping kid upstairs, it still took Gyps a good 20 minutes to calm down.

I tried googling to see if the fear of hiccups was something other dogs experience. Apparently lots of dogs and puppies GET hiccups. But if other dogs also are completely terrified when they hear human hiccups, no one is writing about it on the internet. Except me.

68 comments:

TC said...

Awww. I guess that dogs are kind of like humans and sometimes have totally irrational, unexplicable phobias :)

Susan said...

TC: I definitely think dogs and humans have a lot in common. Gypsy is getting older, and the older she gets the worse it gets. Senility I suppose.

xzombiexmoosex said...

Hey--just wanted to let you know your dog isn't alone! My dog has been terrified of hiccups for all of his 7 years. Searching (like you) for other dogs on Google led me to your blog. Nice to see there's at least one other unusual dog out there! =)

Susan said...

xzombiexmoosex: Wow, I'm shocked! If you have any secrets for dealing with it, I'd love to hear them. Gyps is 13 next month, and I think each case of the hiccups scares her more than the last.

dee said...

YES!!! Our border collie/sheltie mix has no fear of thunderstorms, firecrackers, or any other loud noises, but quivers like a leaf when anyone has the hiccups. Weird!

Susan said...

dee--Well, that makes at least 3 of us that have (freak) dogs with a completely irrational fear of hiccups! Thank goodness for the internet.

Morgan said...

Make that 4! My 11 year old Westie isn't afraid of anything but hiccups. He cries like a baby! A few days ago, he even tried to bust down the screen door of my back patio to escape...which is very unlike him. I wish I could understand why he's so deathly afraid of them!

Susan said...

Morgan, welcome to the club! I need to remember to ask my vet about this the next time I'm there. Maybe it's more common than I thought!

Anonymous said...

I was searching for advice on my dogs terroe of hicups and found your site.....my dog a collie/spaniel cross has had the most terrible fear of humans with hicups since he was a tiny puppy. I really wish I knew why he was so afraid, esp as my partner has sessions of hicups that last for two days.

Carl Oxley III said...

My dog Kallie, 9 year old female, lab/huskie mutt gets really concerned when my wife or I get hiccups. It will wake her up if she's sleeping. And she always comes up to us wagging her tail like she's asking us to stop.
Today my wife had hiccups and Kallie ran to me.
She sat at my feet and I bent down to give her a hug and she was trembling. It's so odd. I wish I knew why.

Anonymous said...

Yes! My hound/collie mix (9 yrs old) started being afraid of them just a few months ago, despite the fact that he has heard (with no visible concern) my husband and me endure hundreds of bouts of hiccups during his 6 years with us. Earlier today, I was hiccuping (to his shivering displeasure) and offered him a bacon treat (normally irresistible)...wouldn't come near it for the longest time. I was hoping that the baconic joy would overtake the fear, but apparently not...

Nicholas said...

Tomorrow morning Sat Sep 5, NPR has a piece on dogs with hiccup phobia, and I was reminded of our Chesapeake Bay Retriever who had the condition. If anyone in the family hiccupped Elsa would pin her ears back and shiver uncontrollably. I googled dog hiccups to find this blog and I realize that the condition is not so rare.

Susan said...

Anonymous: I think a 2-day case of the hiccup would kill my dog. No way she could stand it that long!

Carl: At least you get some tail wagging along with the trembling. We get just pure terror.

Anonymous: It is odd that the fear just developed recently. I have never tried countering it with bacon, but I have a feeling it wouldn't work for me either.

Nicholas: I tried to find details on the NPR program but was unable to. If by chance you read this I'd love details so that I can tune in. I still think it's rare, though.

Anonymous said...

Yep, a very scared lab collie cross here with me is terrified of them. Founder her curled up and quivering behind the toilet last night when I had a bout of them!! Not a place she normally frequents!

Savannah said...

My dog is a black and white shih tzu mix named domino. he is absolutely terrified of hiccups!! Hes 7 yrs old and it just started last year, he runs under the bed anytime somebody got them. he also curls up in a miserable heap if hes got them!! poor psychotic dogs lol

Anonymous said...

Our dog Daisy, a 9 year old mix is also terrified of hiccups. It just takes one small barely audible hiccup and she'll put her tail between her legs and head up or down stairs to get away from the offender. It is just weird. I can now get her to stop shaking by offering her a nice treat. We were wondering if Daisy was an isolated case. Apparently not.

Greg said...

Our 8 yr old Border Collie, Patch is terrified of hiccups as well. The second he hears one he starts to tremble... does anyone know how to get dogs over their phobias like this one?

cs eastman said...

My 5 year old maltese/yorkie mix is terrified of human hiccups! It just started about 6 months ago. My husband got hiccups and our dog just started shaking and putting his tail in between his hind legs and sitting on top of me for comfort. Now if either of us get hiccups we go threw this. Glad to know there are others out there that have this problem with there dog!!

Anonymous said...

My almost 8 yr old chocolate lab is unruffled during thunderstorms and firecrackers but boy if my 10 yr old son hiccups or coughs... he is terrified! He cowers as he scratches at the door to go outside and refuses to come in until the hiccups have stopped. Very strange behavior but I'm relieved it's not unique.

JennyfooG said...

I have 2 Schnoodles and one of them is terrified of the hiccups. Has been since he was a puppy. He is 6 now. It took a while to make the connection, it just seems too ridiculous! He cowers and trembles at my feet if anybody has them!

Anonymous said...

Keep the kid and ditch the dog lol

Anonymous said...

As I write, my 11-yr old yorkie, Bijou is panting and shaking uncontrollably. If someone says the word "hiccups" he will go and hide, but if someone has them - like I do now - he is inconsolable. I googled the condition and found this blog. Bijou has been this way since he was born. He was also terrorized by the word "bootie" for a few years, too. Oh, and he eats dried up dandelions like they are a delicacy. And he turns on the blinker in my car repeatedly. Other than that, he's a totally mellow, cool dog.

Anonymous said...

You can add another to your list. My dog Albert is fearless in almost every aspect. He can bravely stand down two men coming out of the bushes with questionable intent. However, if I get the hiccups, he quietly slinks away and waits outside (or near the door) for them to go away. He won't even approach for a treat...and he LOOOOVES food! I had worked in the veterinary industry for 15 years, and until I read your blog, I was unaware of any other dog with this unusual fear.

Chrissy said...

I never thought to google this until just this morning! I have three month old twins who seem to have the hoiccups everyday and our dog Bruiser (a mutt) is terrified. If he isn't climbing on top of me and pawing me he hides under my bed for hours even though the hiccups are long gone:). He is afraid of storms too but it doesn't seem to be lightning or thunder it is the way the rain sounds when it hits our skylights. I just thought he was a little weird thank goodness there are other dogs out there with the same reactions.

Anonymous said...

My dog's afraid of the hiccups too. It started maybe a year ago when she turned 5. It's so weird. she shakes like crazy and takes forever to calm down after they're gone.

Anonymous said...

My 3 year old terrier mix is afraid of hiccups and any noises that come from the mouth area - sneezes, gasps, making noise with your lips, etc. She runs under the bed and doesn't respond to anything. Has anyone has any luck treating this?

Anonymous said...

My 2 year old Staffordshire Bull Terrier is terrified when I get hiccups she creeps away and hides cowers and trembles all over,its horrible to see her look so scared.
Its amazes me how so many dogs have this phobia,I wonder why? hiccups are not really that loud.

Anonymous said...

My 2 year old Staffordshire Bull Terrier is terrified when I get hiccups she creeps away and hides cowers and trembles all over,its horrible to see her look so scared.
Its amazes me how so many dogs have this phobia,I wonder why? hiccups are not really that loud.

Anonymous said...

Add another one to the list. 7year old Boarder collie cross. Totally petrified of hiccups, the higher the more terror. Baby hiccups being the worst. Being a clever thing, the word hiccups sends him cowering into a corner.

Anonymous said...

You can add another one to the list! Our almost 14 year old Pom (who we've had for almost 3 years) is afraid of hiccups and has been since we got her. She will leave the room if she hears them! She won't come near me if I have them and actually trembles! Same with flies!

Anonymous said...

One more. Our Australian Shephard is the most intelligent, funny and unafraid of dogs. Yet, one hiccup sends him trembling to hide. Massage, treats, words -none will help. He is now 13 and only in the past few years has this been an issue. Right now he is hiding in the bathroom. Thought I would Google to see if others have had this experience. I'll keep an eye to see if any one finds a solution.

Savanna said...

Our dog Spartacus is afraid of many normal things that dogs fear, like thunderstorms, fireworks, and other loud and sudden noises. He has always been a picky, pretty emotional and humanlike boy. He is deathly afraid of hiccups. It's like when he hears just one hiccup the devil is knocking on his door. It's so nice to know that he isn't alone; he is already extremely sensitive. At 11 years old, Sparty is just one more unusual dog out there.

Anonymous said...

Can't believe this so common!!! I have 1 1/2 year old Schnauzer that is terrified when I get the hiccups. Took me a little while to figure out what was wrong with her. She will lay her ears back & run away shaking all over! Not even a treat will get her near you if you have them!

klogs said...

My 2 year old staff is terrified of hiccups too! He shakes and hides when anyone has them but is a lot worse if I have then (he's a softy) we think that maybe he thinks we R ill when we hiccup!

Anonymous said...

ok we now know there is a bunch of us as mine is a jack russel and i have a new grand baby that hiccups alot the dog is a mess how do i choose we need a way to help her

TLO said...

Wow, I'm glad we're not alone in this! Our 9 year old border collie Jonah is TERRIFIED of hiccups ever since my husband drank too much at his bachelor party, got hiccups and proceeded to hurl for the rest of the night. 5 years later our 2 year old went through a streak of about 6 mos where she'd get hiccups every AM. Let me tell ya, few things are more obnoxious than to wake up to a dog slamming himself against the door in an attempt to escape the dreaded hiccuping toddler.

Anonymous said...

wow, so many other dogs with a hiccup phobia. Mine goes nuts and literally jumps onto the top of the sofa (right at the top), regardless of someone sitting there. If they are in her way she will just jump up onto their shoulders!!

Anonymous said...

my dog has always been terrified of hiccups (also burping, coughing, blowing your nose and all the unusual noises of that sort), but only if it's me, my mom or my brother - her "primary family", so to speek. she lives with me and my boyfriend now and she couldn't care less for his (or anyone else's) hiccups and coughs.
weird. and rather exhausting, especially when you get sick and constantly have to hide your coughs from your dog.

Patty said...

My 6 year old Multi-Poo is also petrified of hiccups! I usually have to hold him or take him outside until he stops trembling. He also quivers at burps & squeaky shoes!

Anonymous said...

like most of you who posted before me here, i too was googling why my dog gets so terrified when my husband and i hiccup.. good to know lots of other ones out there do too, and it isn't as strange as i thought! haha

Anonymous said...

I have a 10 year old Sheltie who is also petrified of hiccups! He'll banish himself under a bed for hours if he hears even one! He'll even leave my side while I'm eating meat to go hide if someone hiccups. And the only time he has ever bitten me was when I tried to get him out of hiding while I was hiccuping. My poor baby is hiding under my bed right now.

Schutze said...

Here's yet another story about a dog that gets freaked out by hiccups. She shivers uncontrollably like a human being who has gone into shock. Her back hairs stand on end and she refuses to move. She is a mutt of some sort, partially shepherd, partially terrier of some sort. Seems from this blog hat the issue is non-breed-specific.

Nicholas said...

My 11 year old poodle Lily is horrified by hiccups. My theory is there is something high pitched in hiccups that hurts their ears or is similar to a threat noise. I will try the bacon trick.

Anonymous said...

my springer spaniel is terrified of the hiccups!!

Hiccups said...

My 4 year old Lily, black lab, loses her shit when my wife hiccups. Unfortunately my wife seems to hiccup somewhat often, leaving me with a terrified 60lb mass trying her hardest to burrow underneath me to escape the dreaded hiccup monster that is my wife. Oddly enough she adores my wife any other time. Also could care less when I hiccup. I will continue the search for the cause of such odd behavior! Stay strong fellow hiccup burdened people's!

Lauren - Scotland said...

Yes, my 5 year old black lab Meg is completely irrational with hiccups, she is a working gun dog, she has no other fears or weird reactions to anything else, she wont take a treat for hours after ive had a bout of hiccups, i will keep popping in to see if anyone has come up with a cure! fingers (and paws) crossed.

Anonymous said...

Wow. So glad to see that we aren't the only dog parents experiencing this issue. Our 7 year old Australian Shephard HATES the hiccups. He begins to shiver/ shake uncontrollably. I asked the vet & he thought it could be seizures caused by hiccups but doesn't have info on WHY hiccups would cause seizures. But our poor puppy dog makes a bee-line downstairs to get away from anyone who hiccups as quickly as possible. And he is inconsolable, even with treats (his favorite!) for quite some time. Sometimes it helps if I hold him & talk quietly to him, his shaking will subside. Anyone else have any other ideas as for causes & remedies? I hate seeing my poor baby so frightened & run away from me.

hannah said...

weird same here, my 9 year old westie is absolutely terrified of hiccups and will do anything to get out of the room and starts trembling quite badly now, she used to be only slightly scared of them when she was younger but somehow the fear of them has gotten worse as shes gotten older. She seems to be more scared if its me too and not strangers

Anonymous said...

If anyone knows how to help let me know! Our dog is terrified only when I hiccup. No one else which is odd...but he goes nuts. Runs to me then runs away shaking scared sometimes he even unlocks and opens the side door because he's so scared...which I hate he knows how to do lol thank God for bungee cords.

Thanks,
Mia

Unknown said...

Confirmed... our 45lb Colbe Pit Bull will drop all things to run for cover at the mere mention of hiccups.
Shivering so hard thought she was poisoned.

Anonymous said...

Our 13yr old lurcher x has been terrified of hiccups for yrs. He crawls onto my lap quivering and drooling like a big baby even if I'm the one hiccuping. Then he totally loses it and goes to find the smallest corner hidey hole he can and squeeze himself in. Found him behind the blinds on windowsill the other day, he's a decent size dog I've no idea how he managed that one. And on the shelves in the store cupboard behind the food...in the bath..in wardrobes. Vets sold me a spray that emits calming enzyme or something, I was dubious but wanted to try help him. Needles to say it didn't work, I may as well have sprayed water at him n saved money. Vets are clueless and say something must have happened to him whilst someone was hiccuping. I beg to differ, especially after reading all the above suffers also. Good luck everyone, Ally n Slow, Hampshire UK

Melissa Casey-Gaebler said...

I have a 9 year old Australian Shep that is trained as a siezure alert dog (for me). She trembles and runs in fear when anyone gets the hiccups. My guess was that she senses it to be a type of siezure but it isn't a "normal" siezure that she is trained to alert for, so she gets confused. She is very smart and highly trained (being a service animal and also having 2 herding titles), but is scared of hiccups!

Klara said...

I have a 10 year old small mixed breed who is also terrified of hiccups if I hiccup he starts shaking and tries to climb up onto my chest otherwise he has very few fears. He did come from a bad past and I assumed it had something to do with that but maybe not since there seem to be a lot of other dogs out there with the same phobia.

loriann14 said...

This is amazingly the only thing I've found of any relevance on the interwebs. My 3 year old Basenji/Shepherd/ coyote/mutt is the sweetest and most laid back dog I've ever known, but I found this blog while overcoming a bout of hiccups from which she's STILL hiding.

I think it's time to call in a scientist! lol

Anonymous said...

Wow I finally found a blog with people who have the same problem! My poor chihuahua :( the faintest sound of a hiccup and she TAKES OFF she hides under things and I can't get her out. No one I know with a experienced this but I'm glad others one here have so she not too crazy. I feel sooo bad my poor boobie

Julie Totty said...

My Staffordshire bull terrier bitch is also terrified of hiccups, thought it was uncommon but not as uncommon as I thought!! Julie :-)

Doug Fordon said...

Thought this was weird but I guess not. My 7 year old Puggle has always been afraid of Hiccups more than anything else. Which is sad because my wife gets them a lot. He is afraid of thunder if he's inside but if he's outside it's OK, think that has something to do with the way the house rumbles with thunder. But hiccups......could be a slight hiccup 2 rooms away and he's shacking and hiding. Has anyone talked to a vet about this to see why?

Anonymous said...

This is my dog too! So I googled it
Here I am

Dean and Sheri said...

OH MY GOODNESS! I just googled "why is my dog afraid of hiccups" and this post was the first hit! Our German Shepherd has the very same reaction as your Gypsy! I thought it was just our Al being quirky.She's also terrified of balloons...so much so that she'll actually vomit. And extended tape measures and umbrellas and, of course, fireworks and thunder and lightening. Good to know she's not the only pooch that comes undone when she hear's a hiccuping human. =)

Sarah Norris said...

My Scottish terrier will run to my husband even if I pretend to hiccup. If my husband hiccups he runs to me and tried to hide in our laps. So very odd. It seems weird that it is so common but nothing written about it?

Anonymous said...

I have a Border Terrier and he isn't scared of anything except when someone has the hiccups. He will put his head down, put his tail between his legs and leave the room

Anonymous said...

I have a Chinese Shar Pei and she reacts to sounds of human hiccups! I didn't think it was fear but after reading your comments, it might be it! She'd be on alert mode and interrupt whatever that she's doing. and if she's idling, a hiccup sound would jolt her from her resting position and she'd walk towards the hiccuping person with her head lowered, in slow footsteps. it's really quite fascinating to observe. Google brought me here! I'm surprised I can't find anything else on the internet besides your page!

Ashley said...

My 9 year old Min Pin just developed this fear in the past year. He is TERRIFIED when I get the hiccups. I cannot console him.

Pamela Parker said...

My Bichon frise could sleep through a power saw, a nail gun, a vacuum and a loud party. But as soon as someone even slightly hiccups, he panics and can't get out of the house and doggy door fast enough.

Daniela Jordan said...

I read, on another blog, that this happens because the sounds are very similar to those made by wolves when they are warning each other that something bad is about to happen. I have no idea if it is true or not, but it seems to be logical.

Daniela Jordan said...

So I went and researched sounds made by wolves and found this: Wolves "yip" with a series of high-pitched barks which seems to serve the function of an alarm, warns of danger or to challenge an enemy. So maybe there's something to my comment above!

Unknown said...

My dog Hates hiccups. I just hold him super tight and his tremors go away. Some times I'll prop him against the arm of the sofa and all sit with my legs up tight to him, like a cocoon

Joyce Crowe said...

My aussie is terrified to the point he ran away from us outside. He was missing almost 2 days. Thankfully we found him safe. He's always been terrified of hiccups, no matter who has them. He runs away to someone else if they're home and just trembled likes crazy. It's such an odd thing. Wish there was more research on it