Approximately 67% of American households have dogs, and with that comes responsibility, unconditional love, occasional heartbreak, and a whole lot of questions.
Are they happy? Does my dog love me? How can I know if they’re in pain? Am I feeding them the best dog food? Is this a good life for them? We of the dog-loving world know that these thoughts go hand-in-hand with inexplicable behaviors, such as carrying on full conversations with them as we go about our day or devolving into baby talk every time we see a new puppy.
It’s not unusual to find dog lovers lying on a bed, couch, or floor absentmindedly rubbing their furry companion’s belly while likely asking them “who’s a good boy”. What is also surprisingly not unusual is for those dog lovers to find themselves looking at Fido and wondering – Do dogs have belly buttons? If you’re like me, you might even find yourself asking them aloud if they have one.
So, Do Dogs Have Belly Buttons?
The answer to that question “do dogs have belly buttons?” amazingly simple:
Yes, dogs have belly buttons. However, it is not entirely like our own.
Dogs are mammals like us, meaning they are warm-blooded, have fur, depend on mother’s milk, and experience live birth (as opposed to hatching from an egg). All puppies develop in placental sacs within the womb and receive nutrients and oxygen through an umbilical cord attached to their abdomens. It’s that point of attachment that will one day become the belly button.
All placental mammals have belly buttons because, after birth, the mother will bite (or cut if you’re human) through the cord, leaving a small wound that eventually scars over and becomes the belly button as we know it. However, you will not find a human-Esque innie or outie belly button on Fido. And honestly…thank goodness. There’s no cleaning or special attention needed for these belly buttons! Instead, your pup’s belly button looks like a small scar covered with fur.
So again – yes, your dog does indeed have a belly button! For that matter, so does your cat, rabbit, ferret, or guinea pig.
How to Find Your Dog’s Belly Button
Finding your dog’s belly button is more tricky than the same process on humans and can be very difficult on long-haired breeds. Just below the ribcage, above the abdomen, and covered by fur you will see a thin, straight scar. As the dog ages, the scar will become less noticeable.
Most dogs will enjoy the process of you searching for their belly button. Make sure you give extra belly rubs while you’re snooping around!
When to Worry
If in the search for your dog’s belly button, you find a protruding area or noticeable lump in the abdominal area, seek veterinary advice as this could be a sign of an umbilical hernia (1). The belly button should be flush with the skin with no difference in texture from the surrounding area. The scar will be more prominent in puppies, which is normal. On older dogs, the belly button should be barely noticeable.
If you can’t find your pup’s belly button, rest easy! It’s absolutely there whether or not you can locate it, and its job is done anyway. Your dog is no less loveable for his lack of visible umbilical scarring!
An umbilical hernia is an area of muscle that separates and allows the intestine to poke through (but beneath the skin). It will look like a lump on the abdomen and should be squishy and mobile. Many are benign, but if the area is red, hot, painful, or hard to the touch immediate veterinary attention is required.
Umbilical hernias can range in severity and only a vet is qualified to determine if surgical intervention is needed. Most hernias develop in puppyhood after the umbilical cord falls off, and the majority are not emergencies. Many of these can be repaired during spaying/neutering. For adult dogs, hernias are often a result of some trauma to the abdomen. If your adult dog suddenly develops one, it could be a sign of an injury that needs to be checked out. it’s a great practice to routinely check out your dog’s physical appearance so you know what is normal and will be able to notice changes quickly.
If surgery is needed to repair a hernia, there is good news and bad. The good news is that it’s a common and typically routine procedure (provided there are no complications). The bad news is that all surgeries and vet care can get expensive. Dog Insurance is something you may want to consider to help defer some of the unexpected costs of pet ownership. Some employers offer it as part of your benefits package, and it is becoming more common from major insurance providers. Check with your current vet’s office to see what they recommend. It could save money and heartache and keep your beloved dog well protected!
Most vets agree that there is a genetic component to umbilical hernias in puppies. As such, purebred puppies may have a higher propensity toward this type of hernia. However, most umbilical hernias are deemed spontaneous or result from injury.
Preventing injury by keeping your dog leashed or confined within the boundaries of an invisible dog fence will go a long way to prevent accidents that could cause hernias (and other serious health issues).
Frequently Asked Questions
Where is my dog’s belly button?
The belly button is found just beneath the ribcage toward the top of the abdomen.
Can you see a dog’s belly button?
Yes, but the scar fades with age and will be covered by fur. Long-haired breeds will be more difficult to see.
Do dogs have an umbilical cord?
Yes. All mammals born live from a mother’s womb will develop in a placental sac and be dependent on the umbilical cord for nutrients and oxygen.
Where is the umbilical cord on a puppy?
Immediately after birth, the umbilical cord will still be attached to the puppy’s abdomen. After a while it dries up and falls off, leaving a small wound that eventually scars over to become the belly button.
Do dogs have belly buttons? Yes, our beloved pups do have belly buttons – just like us. Your knowledge about dog belly buttons is now expanded. Hopefully, that irksome 3 am thought spiral is officially reduced by at least one random thought.
It’s common knowledge that pet ownership has many benefits, both emotional and physical. Dogs are one of the most common pets worldwide, and for good reason.