It may seem like a pretty weird and even unimportant question, but do dogs have belly buttons? Think back to all those countless belly rubs—did you ever feel an outie or an innie?
The fact is that dogs, like all mammals (with very few exceptions), do have belly buttons, but what do they look like and where do you find one? Here’s the scoop on all things dogs and belly buttons!
If you’re familiar with basic biology, you know that a belly button (scientifically termed the umbilicus) is the last vestige of the umbilical cord. This is the point where the umbilical cord, from the mother’s placenta, once connected to the fetus resting in the amniotic sac.
The umbilical cord serves to transfer nutrients and other essential elements from the mother to the fetus, during the gestation period, for its proper growth and development.
The case is exactly the same with dogs and belly buttons exist in dogs for exactly the same reason.
As mentioned earlier, dogs do have belly buttons but they’re quite different from human navels.
In human babies, the cameras are whipped out to document that special moment where the proud dad cuts the umbilical cord after the baby is born (or the doctor—some dads get queasy and it’s completely fine!).
In puppers, the mom does all the work, biting through the cord and severing it.
Whatever is left of the cord on the puppy, after severing, eventually dries up and falls off. All that’s left behind, after all the drying up and healing (which takes a few days), is a scar on the puppy—its first scar and its new belly button.
Your furball’s belly button looks quite different from yours. There are a few key differences:
- Your dog’s belly button, unlike yours, is a thin, slit-like scar, unlike the concave or convex “innie” or “outie” you may have, respectively. Most people have innies (a concave navel); outies are a sign of a little something known as “umbilical hernia” (explained later).
- Dogs, like most other mammals, have much smaller belly buttons than humans. If you thought your dog’s belly button was weird and small, it’s actually yours that deviates from the norm, being quite large, relatively.
- If you’re expecting your dog’s belly button to correspond to the position of your belly button, you’re not going to find it. Your four-legged friend’s belly button is located much higher in its body.
Where Can I Find My Dog’s Navel?
Your dog’s belly button is actually located around the base of its ribs, between the nipples, and above the pelvis—the point where it looks like all the fur’s meeting and sort of “whirlpooling”! Sometimes, this area may be marked by a darker patch of fur.
If you’ve got a hairy or furry dog, you may have to do some (gentle) looking and feeling around to successfully locate the belly button.
Remember—you’re not going to find either a concave or protruding lump; only a small oval hole or slit. If you do find an outie, it may actually be a cause for worry.
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If your canine friend has an outie, consult the vet as an outie is not a normal occurrence in animals. There could be potentially dangerous underlying health issues that cause this.
The protruding bump on your doggo’s belly could be either one of these. If it’s the latter, you may not have much to worry about, but if it’s the latter, your dog is going to require medical attention, the intensity of the treatment depends on the severity and type of tumor.
To be on the safe side, get your dog checked as soon as you notice not just an outie, but any sort of abnormal protruding lump on your dog’s body.
Contrary to popular belief that protruding navels are the result of Dr. Scissorhands not displaying good-enough skills at cord-cutting, they’re actually a common result of umbilical hernias.
Hernias happen when muscles heal improperly and therefore, the muscle or tissue wall has several weak spots that internal organs try to push through. Hernias can occur all over the body, but when they involve the belly button, they’re known as umbilical hernias.
Umbilical hernias occur when the walls of the abdomen don’t completely close after birth. In puppies, this incomplete closing is generally quite harmless, with the wall gradually closing completely.
Sometimes, though, the wall may not close quickly enough, allowing the intestines time and space to easily push through. When this happens, surgery is a necessity.
Through surgery, the vet can force the walls to close; delaying medical attention may result in life-threatening scenarios such as the protruding part of the intestines getting twisted or trapped.
Though the vet will check for umbilical hernias during your puppy’s first visit, keep an eye out for the development of these hernias in the following few months. Some dog breeds are more susceptible to hernias than others, such as Airedale Terriers and Pekingese.
Abscesses occur when the skin breaks and then heals over, with dirt and bacteria still trapped under the skin surface. This leads to pus and its accumulation, manifesting as swollen, red, warm lumps, which in serious cases can cause lethargy and fever.
Painful as they sound, dogs are quite prone to abscesses. Belly button abscesses can occur after the mother chews through the umbilical cord and before complete healing can take place.
Abscesses require thorough cleaning and draining (done by a vet) and possibly a course of antibiotics to fully kill the infection.
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Dogs definitely have belly buttons, even if they’re nowhere similar to ours. Luckily, unlike human navels that need daily cleaning, you don’t need to pay special attention to your dog’s belly button apart from the first few months—unless, of course, you notice redness (caused by flea and tick infestations) or outies at some later point.
If you do notice any of the above, take your puppy to the vet immediately to avoid tough consequences.