Perhaps you’ve been there—you brought a young puppy home, but after meals, the puppy looks uncomfortable. They may look like they are about to vomit, or they may seem uncomfortable and bite at their tummy. Chances are your puppy needs to be burped.
So how to burp a puppy? It’s easy, with the right technique. To burp a puppy, hold your puppy to your chest with their stomach and chest facing you. Support their back, then place them so they lean over your shoulder like you would a human baby. Rub their back and sides.
Within a few minutes of rubbing your puppy, they should start burping, or you may hear air escaping their nose or mouth. You may also smell a sour or foul scent when your puppy burps. As the air is released, your puppy will feel more comfortable.
How To Burp A Puppy? The Puppy Burping Technique
Burping a puppy is not only good for their health, but it also allows you to bond with them from a young age. When you see your puppy is looking like they are in discomfort or you notice they seem to try to vomit, but nothing comes out, then it’s time to burp your puppy.
Follow these steps to burp your puppy:
Use a Burping Towel
The result of a burping session may be your puppy passing wind, but it may also be a case of their last meal rushing back out. Be prepared with a burping towel to catch any reflux. Any fluids that a puppy regurgitates will probably be quite sour and foul-smelling, so having a burp rag will help your laundry drill.
Pick Your Puppy up Correctly
Puppies have soft bodies, and they can struggle or hang limp when you pick them up. Be sure to support their bodies when you pick them up. Never lift a puppy by their legs and make sure you have a secure restraining grip on their bodies to prevent them from falling if they should start wiggling.
There are two ways to securely lift a puppy for burping:
Method One: Bum Scoop
In this method, you place one hand under the puppy’s chest, while the other hand comes behind the puppy, scooping up their hind legs and bum. Use the bum hand to hold your puppy’s legs together, while the chest hand raises the puppy toward your body.
When the puppy is in position against your chest, you can shift the bum hand to rest on the puppy’s lower back, while the chest hand will support the area behind the puppy’s shoulders.
Method Two: Scruff Lift
For really young puppies, the safest way to lift them is like their mom would—by the scruff of their neck. Make sure you take hold of the area where their scruff is longest, gripping it securely as you raise them. Use your other hand to support their lower body as you raise them to your chest.
When you have the puppy in position against your shoulder, you can shift your scruff hand to support their shoulders.
Support Your Puppy in the Burp Position
When you have the puppy in the burp position, it is up to you to hold them securely so they will not feel the need to squirm or try to get out of your grip. A firm but giving hold is best as this will stop the puppy from panicking.
Massage Your Puppy
With one hand holding your puppy in place, you can begin to rub your puppy’s sides in circular motions. You may feel warbling sensations like bubbles along your puppy’s sides as the gas or bloat begins to lessen. Continue massaging your puppy’s sides.
While massaging your puppy, be sure to keep hold of them so they don’t accidentally jump from your arms. Never shake your puppy or handle them roughly in an attempt to get them to degas. Do not turn your puppy upside down. Instead, if they don’t burp, simply wait a few minutes and try the usual burping steps again.
Why Do Puppies Burp?
Like human children, puppies burp for various reasons:
Air in the Stomach
Puppies and even adult dogs often eat too fast, which leads to them gulping down air. This fills their stomachs, and the result is they need to burp to release the extra pressure. When the air pressure is too much, it can cause their stomach sphincter to close and not open correctly.
A blocked sphincter can lead to muscle spasms, and it can become painful to the puppy. One of the reasons puppies often cry is digestive discomfort. By burping your puppy, you will be helping them to ease their stomach muscles, releasing the sphincter, and letting the excess air escape in the form of a burp.
Like a puppy that overeats or gulps in the air, a puppy can also drink too much water. With a stomach filled with water, a puppy may become bloated. As a result of the excess water in the puppy’s stomach, they may burp repeatedly, with fluids coming out of the puppy’s nose and mouth.
With fluid filling the puppy’s stomach, burping is necessary to stop the puppy from choking on water bubbles that they may inhale.
Another reason puppies may need to burp is not the excess intake of air but rather an excessive intake of food. Puppies are greedy, and they are known for gobbling their food, often without chewing.
Puppies also overeat, and first-time dog owners often mistake pleading puppy eyes for signs that their puppy is still hungry, so they feed more than what a puppy should eat in one sitting. As a result, the puppy quickly fills their stomach, creating uncomfortable pressure.
Burping the puppy helps their stomach muscles relax so they can move food down their digestive tract. Rubbing their sides and back can also help them vomit if this is the only way to release stomach pressure. Burping can trigger that release.
When a puppy has an upset stomach, it can develop colic, where gas can inflate and bloat the puppy’s digestive tract and stomach. Colic can develop complications such as a twisted gut when the puppy tries to roll on the ground to relieve their pain.
Helping your puppy burp can help relieve the symptoms of colic. A colicky puppy can be soothed by holding your puppy against your chest and gently rubbing its back and ribs. Burping your puppy in this way will also stop them from curling up and further restricting their digestion.
Gas From Digestive Processes
Your puppy’s diet may also trigger intestinal discomfort. If your puppy is fed a diet with too much dairy, chances are they may develop a bacterial imbalance in their gut, which can cause excessive gas production.
With large volumes of gas filling your puppy’s stomach, which is known as bloat, they may require burping to release pressure on their stomach. Be warned though that this kind of burping may lead to regurgitation of sour milky fluids, and your puppy may vomit on your shoulder.
If this is the cause of your puppy’s indigestion, it may be better to change their food or reduce their intake of any foods that may cause bacterial growth. Introducing a digestive aid such as a probiotic may help sort this health problem. Until then, it’s up to you to burp your puppy daily and after each meal.
Puppies are resilient, but a bloated puppy can potentially sicken and die. Take steps such as burping your puppy to help them release gas, and take measures such as using a puzzle bowl to ensure your puppy doesn’t gobble their food.