Dogs are four-legged animals that always have their stomachs facing the ground – so it’s not always easy to tell whether they have belly buttons or not. We can see that they have ears, feet, and tails, but what about a belly button?
You might not have given any thought to the question “do dogs have belly buttons’ before, but now that you’re curious, your dog isn’t cooperating and won’t let you see for yourself. Which is where we come in – the answer to this is that yes, dogs do in fact have belly buttons.
Sometimes, it can be hard to see a dog’s belly button thanks to their fur covering it, or your dog’s reluctance to show you their belly. However, we can assure you that it’s there and every dog does in fact have its own belly button.
Today we will be looking more into dog belly buttons, why they have them, and hopefully answering any other questions you have about your dog’s stomach.
As dogs are mammals just like us, their belly button is the mark left after their umbilical cords were cut at birth. Just like humans, dogs are placental mammals and therefore relied on a placenta while they were growing in their mother’s stomach.
The placenta takes nutrients and oxygen to the baby mammals and ensures that they have everything they need while they’re developing in their mother’s uterus. It also takes the baby’s waste back to the mother to be disposed of.
Once the baby has been born, either a veterinarian will cut the umbilical cord, or the mother will bite it and break the puppy away from them.
The latter is the more common option which makes it a viable option for dogs to birth their litters at home. However, if your dog has not done this after birth we recommend getting a vet involved but quickly avoiding any health complications with the mother and puppy.
The breaking of the cord leaves a scar which is the dog’s belly button. All mammals except for marsupials will have a belly button from where the umbilical cord was attached to them before birth.
Want to know more about your dog’s belly button? Keep reading to find out where it is, what it looks like, and when you should be concerned about it!
Your dog’s belly button can be found on their stomachs towards the end of their rib cage. The positioning can vary depending on the breed and size of your dog, but it will be on the underside of their stomach near the midsection.
The belly button tends to be located between their nipples in the middle of their stomachs. Dogs tend to have between eight and 10 nipples found in a formation of two lines down the length of their stomachs.
Once you have found the two lines of nipples, it should be quite easy to find the belly button. It will be within these lines and between the middle and tail end of their bodies.
Most dog’s belly buttons will be flat along with their bodies, but a few will be raised. If your dog has a raised belly button it will be easier to find than a flat one as you’ll be able to feel it when you run your hand over their stomach.
It might be difficult to find your dog’s belly button, so don’t panic if you can’t see it straight away. Compared to humans belly buttons (which can seem like a dent in their stomachs), a dog’s belly button is typically a small and flat scar.
It can easily be covered by your dog’s fur, especially if it’s long and they are overdue for a groom!
Your dog’s belly button will be much smaller and more insignificant than a human’s. This is down to a few reasons. For starters, the dog’s umbilical cord is much smaller than that of a human and therefore will leave a smaller scar.
Secondly, a human’s belly button is dented in or out of their body, while a dog’s belly is usually a flat scar. Scars can fade over time and get smaller and less noticeable, which might be why you cannot see your dog’s belly button very well.
Larger breeds might have bigger belly buttons, but they will still be smaller than a human’s belly button. You might have better luck finding the belly button on a larger dog, providing it isn’t covered by too much fur.
In some dogs, especially short-haired breeds, there can be a swirl of hair surrounding the belly button that will help you identify it. This isn’t always the case, but the hair will grow differently from the rest of their fur on the stomach, indicating where the belly button is.
The scar itself is often hairless making it easier to find. If you want to find your dog’s belly button, it’s a good idea to go searching for it after a groom when their hair is short.
Depending on your dog’s temperament, they can be quite shy and reluctant to show you their belly button.
Plenty of belly rubs and coaxing can usually rectify this; just make sure your dog is happy and comfortable while you are doing this.
Humans have them, so why not dogs? Outies or protruding belly buttons aren’t overly common in humans, although we see them in pregnant people and children. Usually, it isn’t a cause for concern, but when it comes to dogs, an outie or protruding belly button might be a cause for concern.
Generally, your dog’s belly button will go largely unnoticed by yourself, but if it sticks out, you should contact your veterinarian to make sure that it’s nothing to worry about.
Outie belly buttons or swollen belly buttons in dogs could be a sign of an umbilical hernia. These hernias can be quite complicated, with the abdomen becoming trapped in the belly button. It sounds painful, doesn’t it?
Well, leaving it untreated can cause all sorts of health complications for your dog and even be fatal.
As soon as you notice any swelling around your dog’s belly button, book a consultation with your vet. They can examine the dog, diagnose the issue and provide a treatment plan for you.
It might not be a hernia, but it’s always better to be safe than risk your dog being in pain or unwell. Our Cavapoo Rosie was born with an umbilical hernia which she had removed when she was spay.
What causes umbilical hernias?
We aren’t too sure what causes these hernias to develop, unfortunately. It’s always best to keep an eye on your dog’s stomach to spot any signs of an umbilical hernia developing. Check while they are small puppies and their wound is healing and as they age as they can happen at any time.
Some studies suggest these hernias can be related to genetics, but there isn’t enough research to prove this. If you know your dog’s lineage and know there have been hernias before, then we would err on the side of caution and regularly check their stomach for any signs of a hernia.
Sometimes we see a pattern in purebred lines of some dog breeds, but again, there hasn’t been enough research done to back these claims up. You are just as likely to find the hernia develop in one pup as you are in a family.
Some vets and breeders think that a delayed wound closure after the umbilical cord is cut could also cause umbilical hernias to develop. Again, more research is needed to solidify this statement, and there is some contention between experts about this.
If the hole closes slower than it should after the cord is cut, then you won’t feel a ring or a hole. This is because a small amount of fat or omentum can slip through the original hole. The skin then heals and closes around this fat content, creating a raised belly button and a potential hernia.
Again, a lack of scientific evidence makes it difficult to back these claims up properly. However, we know that wounds that close slowly run the risk of complications down the line.
Generally speaking, the hole where the umbilical cord used to be closes and heals quite quickly. You usually don’t need to worry about this being an issue.
The skin tends to knit together within a few days to weeks, and the scar visible before any puppies leave you for their forever homes.
If you do have puppies and notice that the belly button isn’t healing as quickly as others in the litter or there seems to be a lump forming, consult a vet immediately.
It’s better to have the issue looked at and rectified now than to leave it to develop into a more serious condition.
It can be harder to spot these hernias when your dog’s wound is healed and covered with fur, so checking when they are young is essential. It’s also best to keep your dog well-groomed so that you can spot any issues with their belly button and stomach and have them examined as soon as possible.
To find out more about umbilical hernias in dogs, check out our informative blog.
To answer the original question, yes dogs do have belly buttons. Almost every mammal will have one due to being attached to their mother through an umbilical cord.
It might be slightly harder to find your dog’s belly button due to it being a flat and small scar. However, it’s important that you know where it is so that you can check it regularly for any hernias.
Keep your dog’s belly well-groomed, and remember to keep an eye out for any changes to the area that could pose a threat to your dog’s health. Always take them to the vet if you have any concerns.