Can Rabbits Have Hiccups? (All You Need To Know)

Pet enthusiasts and animal lovers alike have long adored rabbits for their endearing features, such as twitching noses and fluffy tails. These small creatures are known for their unique behaviours and charming quirks. However, one peculiar habit that may pique the curiosity and concern of rabbit owners is the occurrence of hiccups in their furry companions. So, is it a fact that rabbits can experience hiccups? And should owners be alarmed, or are they merely a harmless aspect of their nature? Let’s find it out all in this article.

Hiccups in rabbits are normal and usually harmless, caused by stress, fast eating or drinking. However, if your rabbit constantly has hiccups for several hours, it could lead to respiratory or gastrointestinal issues. To prevent it, avoid overfeeding, provide a healthy diet and peaceful living area.

This article will briefly discuss how a rabbit can have hiccups, whether it is normal, how long it occurs, their symptoms, how we can prevent them and many more. So, let’s get into this article.

Can my rabbit have hiccups?

Although hiccups in rabbits are not common, they are still possible.

Hiccups occur due to the involuntary contraction of the diaphragm muscle, which is responsible for breathing.

When these contractions occur, it causes a sudden inhale of air followed by the vocal cords closing, which creates the well-known “hic” sound.

Rabbits may experience hiccups due to various factors such as digestion issues, stress, or fast food and water consumption. 

Fortunately, these hiccups are typically harmless and short-lived.

If your rabbit has hiccups, you may notice a few signs, such as a short pause in breathing, fast inhaling or exhaling, or a slight twitch in their body. 

In addition, hiccups can last for varying lengths but typically only for a few seconds to a few minutes.

If your rabbit gets hiccups, keeping a close eye on their behaviour and health is essential. Usually, hiccups are not a big deal. 

However, if they last for a long time or come with other concerning symptoms like breathing problems, tiredness, lack of appetite, or any other signs of distress, it’s best to see a vet.

Similarly, it’s essential to ensure that your rabbit consumes a well-balanced diet of hay, fresh vegetables, and a limited amount of pellets to prevent hiccups. 

It’s advised to avoid providing them with large quantities of food or water in a short period of time frame, as this can potentially trigger hiccups. 

Additionally, it’s essential to ensure that your rabbit is in a stress-free environment, as stress and anxiety can contribute to hiccups.

Is it normal for rabbits to get hiccups?

Rabbits are not commonly known for getting hiccups, unlike humans or dogs. 

However, if they experience hiccups, it’s typically harmless and doesn’t signify any health concerns.

Rabbits experience hiccups less often than other animals for a few reasons. 

One key factor is their respiratory system, which differs from other animals. 

Rabbits are “obligate nasal breathers,” which means they mainly breathe through their noses. 

This unique anatomy could contribute to the infrequency of hiccups in rabbits.

Rabbits have an excellent digestive system that prevents hiccups by avoiding gas buildup and other triggers. 

They eat high-fibre foods such as hay to maintain their gut health. 

A balanced diet and sufficient hydration are crucial for preventing digestive problems that may cause hiccups.

Rabbits can get hiccups sometimes, but they usually go away on their own without help. 

Owners might see the rabbit stop breathing for a moment, then quickly breathe in and out a few times. 

In addition, this only lasts a few seconds to a few minutes.

It is important to note that rabbits may experience hiccups due to stress or anxiety. 

Certain stressful situations, like exposure to loud noises, sudden changes in surroundings, or being handled by unfamiliar people, can sometimes trigger hiccups in rabbits. 

Nevertheless, you can help reduce the frequency of these episodes by providing your rabbit with a calm and safe environment.

If your rabbit has hiccups for a long time, often has trouble breathing, seems tired, or won’t eat, you should take it to a vet. 

The vet will check it over, do any tests it needs, and suggest what to do next.

Can baby rabbits have hiccups?

It’s normal for baby rabbits to experience hiccups during their initial growth stages. 

Although the reason for hiccups in baby rabbits is unknown, it could be linked to their underdeveloped nervous and digestive systems.

Kits, or baby rabbits, can also experience hiccups like adult rabbits when their diaphragm muscle contracts involuntarily, causing them to make a “hic” sound while breathing in quickly. 

Although it may look similar to adult rabbit hiccups, kits might experience them more often because of their growing bodies.

Baby rabbits may get hiccups due to their developing digestive system being sensitive to changes in their diet or certain foods. 

Overfeeding or an imbalanced diet can also cause digestive problems and hiccups.

Baby rabbits are very sensitive to stress, which can lead to hiccups. 

Factors such as premature separation from their mother, sudden changes in their surroundings, or being handled by strangers can cause stress. 

Creating a calm and secure environment for baby rabbits is essential to prevent stress-related hiccups.

Baby rabbits can get hiccups, but it’s usually nothing to worry about. 

The hiccups go away on their own within a few seconds to a few minutes. 

Just make sure the kits are comfortable during this time.

If baby rabbits have frequent or severe hiccups with other concerning symptoms, it’s best to consult a veterinarian. 

In addition, this could indicate a health issue that needs attention.

To prevent hiccups in baby rabbits, give them a healthy diet and a peaceful living space. 

Gradually introduce solid foods and avoid unnecessary disturbances.

What are the symptoms of hiccups in rabbits?

Rabbits may display certain behaviours when they have hiccups. 

These symptoms can help you recognize and distinguish the hiccups from other actions. 

Although hiccups in rabbits are usually brief and harmless, knowing the symptoms will assist you in keeping track of your rabbit’s health. 

The following are some typical symptoms of hiccups in rabbits:

  1. Pause in breathing: If your rabbit has a hiccup episode, you may notice a temporary pause in its breathing, which can interrupt its normal breathing pattern.
  2. Audible “hic” sound: Although not all rabbits make a noise when they have hiccups, sometimes you might hear a gentle “hic” sound when they breathe quickly in or out.
  3. Jerking or twitching: When rabbits have hiccups, they may show a slight involuntary movement or spasm in their body, usually near the diaphragm area, which could be a slight jerk or twitch.
  4. Quick inhalations or exhalations: After the rabbit stops breathing, it may take quick, shallow breaths resembling hiccups.

It is essential to note that the symptoms of hiccups in rabbits may vary in duration and intensity. 

These episodes usually last a short period, ranging from a few seconds or minutes. 

After the hiccups stop, your rabbit should resume normal breathing without lasting effects.

Also, rabbits usually do not undergo any considerable distress or discomfort when they suffer from hiccups. 

It is generally considered typical if your rabbit appears healthy, active, and behaves as usual following a hiccup episode.

However, if you observe any other symptoms of distress in your rabbit while or after they have hiccups, it could be a sign of a more serious issue. 

For instance, if your rabbit has long-lasting hiccups, has trouble breathing, lacks energy, has no appetite or experiences other concerning symptoms, it’s best to have them evaluated by a veterinarian.

How long do rabbit hiccups typically last?

Rabbit hiccups can last for different lengths of time, but they usually don’t last very long. 

Mostly, they go away on their own within a few seconds to a few minutes. 

The duration can be affected by different things, like the rabbit’s body, what’s causing the hiccups, and how healthy the rabbit is overall.

Although each hiccup may be short, they often happen repeatedly until they stop naturally.

If your rabbit hiccups, you’ll notice a brief pause in its breathing followed by rapid inhalations or exhalations and a slight body twitch. 

It should last only a few seconds, accompanied by a faint “hic” noise and afterwards, their breathing should return to normal.

Hiccups can last longer if caused by stress or an underlying digestive problem that needs to be resolved.

If your rabbit experiences a hiccup that continues for a long time, happens often or comes with other worrying symptoms, it’s best to seek advice from a veterinarian. 

In addition, these could be symptoms of an underlying health issue that should be addressed and checked out further.

Can stress or anxiety trigger hiccups in rabbits?

Rabbits can get hiccups from stress or anxiety, which affects their nervous system and breathing. 

Stress hormones can disrupt the diaphragm’s function and cause hiccups. 

Loud noises, sudden changes, or handling by strangers can trigger stress. 

To prevent hiccups, provide a calm and secure environment with minimal stressors. 

Consult a vet if your rabbit shows persistent signs of stress or anxiety.

Are there any health concerns associated with rabbit hiccups?

Hiccups in rabbits are usually harmless and go away on their own. 

However, if hiccups last long or accompany other worrisome symptoms, it could indicate an underlying health issue that requires attention.

Rabbits can get hiccups from health problems, but it’s not common. 

One problem that can cause hiccups is issues with the stomach, like gas or bloating, which means hiccups could be a sign of a digestive problem. 

Observe them for other symptoms of digestive issues, like changes in appetite, unusual stools, or discomfort.

If your rabbit has hiccups that won’t go away or happen often, it could mean they have a breathing or nerve problem. 

In addition, it can be caused by infections or damage to the lungs or diaphragm. 

If you observe any unusual behaviour in your rabbit, like difficulty breathing, being tired, losing appetite, or losing weight, it’s essential to take them to the vet immediately. 

Hiccups aren’t usually a problem, but they could indicate a more severe health issue that needs attention.

Stress-related hiccups may not harm rabbits, but they can affect their health. 

In addition, too much stress can weaken their immune system. 

So it’s essential to find and fix stress sources in your rabbit’s environment to keep them healthy and prevent hiccups caused by stress.

How can you prevent or minimize hiccups in rabbits?

Rabbits sometimes get hiccups, but they usually go away on their own. 

You can prevent them by keeping your rabbit healthy, feeding them well, and ensuring they’re not stressed out. Here’s what you can do:

Stress management: 

To keep your rabbit stress-free, ensure its living space is calm and secure, and avoid loud noises and sudden disruptions. 

Be gentle and careful while interacting with your rabbit to minimize stress.

Balanced diet: 

It’s crucial to ensure your rabbit’s diet is well-balanced and mainly composed of high-quality hay. 

Hay is essential for promoting proper digestion, which helps prevent gastrointestinal issues that may lead to hiccups. 

Remember to limit the sugary treats your rabbit consumes, as an unbalanced diet can disrupt their digestive system.

Gradual diet transitions: 

Introduce new foods or switch to different types of hay or pellets slowly over several days to avoid upsetting your rabbit’s stomach and causing hiccups. 

In addition, this gives your rabbit’s system time to adjust.

Avoid overfeeding: 

Giving your body too much food can cause digestive problems like gas and bloating, which might make you have hiccups. 

To avoid overeating, stick to recommended portion sizes and feeding guidelines.


Keeping your rabbit properly hydrated is crucial for maintaining a healthy digestive system. 

Ensure your rabbit always has access to clean and fresh water. 

Dehydration can lead to digestive issues, so be sure to check and refill their water supply routinely.

Monitor the environment: 

It is essential to know the changes in the rabbit’s surroundings that may cause stress. 

Things like loud noises, sudden temperature changes, or the presence of predators can all lead to stress and potentially cause hiccups. 

Try to minimize the rabbit’s exposure to these stressors as much as possible.

Enrichment and exercise: 

It’s essential to provide them with regular physical exercise and mental stimulation to ensure your rabbit’s happiness and good health. 

It can be achieved by offering toys, tunnels, and opportunities for exploration and exercise. 

By doing so, you can help decrease their stress levels and enhance their overall well-being.

Regular veterinary check-ups: 

To keep your rabbit healthy, make sure to schedule regular check-ups with a veterinarian who is knowledgeable about rabbits. 

It will help catch potential health issues early on and prevent any problems that may cause hiccups.

Sometimes rabbits may experience hiccups despite preventive measures. 

Watch your rabbit for any additional symptoms and let its hiccups resolve on their own.


  1. Rabbits can have hiccups, and it is considered normal behaviour for them.
  2. Hiccups in rabbits are usually harmless and self-resolving, lasting only for a short period.
  3. Stress, excitement, sudden changes in temperature or dietary factors may trigger hiccups in rabbits.
  4. Monitoring your rabbit for any accompanying symptoms or prolonged hiccups that could indicate an underlying health issue is essential.
  5. Maintaining a balanced diet, a stress-free environment and regular veterinary check-ups can help minimize the occurrence of hiccups and promote your rabbit’s overall well-being.

Reference: NCBI

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