Do dogs have belly buttons? - Vet Help Direct (2022)

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Rebecca Martin BVSc CertSAM MRCVS

February 26, 2021 • 27 Shares8 Comments

Have you ever wondered?

The straightforward answer is that yes, they do.But there’s more than meets the eye in a dog’s navel!

Alongside all other mammals, dogs do have belly buttons. Medically referred to as an “umbilicus”, the only mammals in fact that do not have umbilici (plural), are marsupials such as the kangaroo and monotremes such as the duck-billed platypus.

So what exactly is the belly button/umbilicus?

The belly button, or umbilicus as we will now call it, is a residual scar. It represents the remains of where the placenta attached, via the uterus (womb) to the pup, when the pup was a growing and developing foetus inside its mother.

During growth inside the mother’s womb, the placenta was the most vital of organs to the pup, supplying nutrients and oxygen whilst removing waste products. At birth, once the pup is delivered and freed from its amniotic sac (the bag of fluid that surrounds, cushions, and protects the pup), the placenta is redundant and no longer required. The lungs expand and take over the work of oxygen exchange whilst various other developments take place to enable the pup to fend for itself.

The mother will chew off the remnants of the umbilical cord a few centimetres away from the pup’s belly. Over the following few days, the residual stump of cord dries up, contracts, and falls off, leaving behind the small scar of the umbilicus.

And what does it look like?

Many owners may not have examined or noted the presence of the umbilicus in their dog. Typically, they are less obvious on a dog than on a human for several reasons. Most umbilici will be flat and small relative to the size of the dog. Also, usually fur will often grow over them. Occasionally the scar may remain bald, or the hair will fan out from it in, a rosette type pattern.

I’ve heard of umbilical hernias. What exactly are they?

Umbilical hernias are usually easily recognised as a bump or swelling on the lower underbelly of your pup, in the region of the umbilicus (see below). Whilst variably sized (potentially from 1-4cm), they are soft and may also actually fluctuate in size.

Do dogs have belly buttons? - Vet Help Direct (2)

A hernia usually develops when the muscles of the abdominal wall do not heal properly. Rather than the muscles fusing together adequately, a variably sized hole remains which acts as a potential gap through which tissues such as fat or intestines may poke through.

A key characteristic is whether a hernia is reducible or not. With a reducible hernia, the bulk of the swelling can be pushed back into the abdomen. A non-reducible hernia, however, indicates that there is a partial obstruction of the hibernating structures, into the opening; so that the hernia remains the same size. The contents of the hernia cannot, therefore, be returned into the abdominal cavity.

Do dogs have belly buttons? - Vet Help Direct (3)

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If an umbilical hernia is noted, the advice would be to see your vet so that any potential complications associated with the hernia, can be promptly addressed.

And what causes an umbilical hernia?

Both the exact incidence and the cause of umbilical hernias remains unclear.

A sometimes-increased incidence within any one familial line however, does suggest that a genetic predisposition may exist. This can be the case in some purebred lines of certain dog breeds. However, occasionally an umbilical hernia may show up incidentally and as a sporadic finding within an individual pup. These likely ariseas a spontaneous problem during development.

Contention also sometimes exists between vets and breeders in terms of differentiating a true umbilical hernia from a “delayed closure” of the umbilicus.

Whilst with a true hernia, both a “hole” and a palpable ring of tissue are felt, with delayed closure, neither a ring nor hole is felt. It is thought that a small amount of fat or omentum (the double layer of fatty tissue that supports the abdominal organs), slipped through an original hole in the body wall, but that this hole, subsequently closed as far and as well as it could. The small, herniated content is palpable but no hole is felt!

Delayed closure may be a variant of an umbilical hernia or could reflect expression and presence of different genes.

Occasionally an umbilical hernia will be sustained traumatically.

How big is a hernia likely to be? Does this affect its significance?

The size of an umbilical hernia can vary however the majority are small and <1cm.

As perhaps expected, a large hernia has the potential to cause more concern, given the potential exists for herniation of more abdominal content. If a portion of the small intestine comes through the hole, it will likely strangulate and compress/inhibit its own blood supply, causing sudden and severe consequences.

Will my vet find an umbilical hernia?

When a new puppy is brought into the surgery for their first check-up, your vet will of course conduct a full clinical examination. Particularly at this young age, they will focus on detecting any congenital or developmental signs that your pup may show.

Along with feeling for any umbilical hernias, the jaw alignment, presence of any hard palate defects, eye and ear confirmation, cardiac auscultation and descent of the testicles in male dogs, are all assessed.

What should I do about my dog’s umbilical hernia?

Firstly, it is likely to be sensible to refrain from breeding with your animal in case any genetic issues have contributed to the hernia.

Secondly, if small and not spontaneously healed and closed by the time of neutering, the hernia can be surgically repaired at the same time. A relatively straightforward piece of surgery, the fibrous scar tissue surrounding the hernia hole is dissected away and then sutures (stitches) placed, to close and seal the defect. Success rates are high, and complications are rare.

A larger hernia however may require more rapid surgical intervention in a pup’s life, to prevent complications.

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umbilical hernia

Rebecca Martin BVSc CertSAM MRCVS

February 26, 2021 • 27 Shares8 Comments

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Gloria Brandon Jun 19, 2021


My Cheyenne Eddie has a huge belly button, I have never felt it until he turned 5yrs old, should I be concerned

David Harris Jun 21, 2021


I would definitely get it checked out if it’s got bigger – it’s possible it’s a hernia, which if there’s bowel trapped would get bigger and could be dangerous.

(Video) Did Dinosaurs Have Belly Buttons? New Fossil Suggests So!


Is it normal for a dog to have a belly button? ›

They do indeed. In fact, all mammals except marsupials like kangaroos have one. The belly button, or umbilicus as it's called in medical lingo, is simply a residual scar that's usually almost imperceptible to see and is where the placenta from the mother is attached to the puppy in the womb.

Where can you find dogs belly button? ›

To find your dog's belly button, look in the middle of the abdomen, just beneath the rib cage. You should see a tiny vertical scar or wrinkle on the skin. Alternatively, you might see a whorl of fur over the area.

Why doesn't my dog have a belly button? ›

This means that dogs do have belly buttons, but they don't look identical to that of a human. For dogs, a belly button isn't as noticeable as on humans because it's much smaller and covered with fur. A puppy's scar also heals into a small slit instead of a round hole.

Can you see a dog's belly button? ›

Similar to humans, Whittemore says you can find your dog's belly button in the middle of their stomach—just past the rib cage and before the pelvis—but it may not be immediately recognizable. "It typically isn't round and doesn't appear as a hole," she explains.

What does a dog umbilical hernia look like? ›

An umbilical hernia is caused by the incomplete closure of the umbilical ring after birth. The hernia generally appears as a soft swelling beneath the skin and it often protrudes when the puppy is standing, barking, crying, or straining.

What should a dog's belly button look like? ›

To find your dog's belly button, look in the middle of the abdomen, just beneath the rib cage. You should see a tiny vertical scar or wrinkle on the skin. Alternatively, you might see a whorl of fur over the area.

Do dogs feel love? ›

Science proves that part of the canine brain is associated with positive emotions and they do, indeed, feel love for their human companions.

How much does a dog umbilical hernia cost? ›

Cost of Hernia Repair in Dogs

Hernia repair expenses range from $700 (for simple more common hernias) to $2,500 (more complex cases) with $1,600 being the average cost. These costs include diagnosis, surgery and aftercare.

Do dogs like kisses? ›

The truth is that some dogs simply don't like being kissed. That said, dogs who have been trained to accept kisses may eventually tolerate or even enjoy them.

Do dogs know when they fart? ›

Dedicated to the core, they went on to show that the dog olfactory system contains hydrogen sulphide-responsive cells. This proved, at the molecular level, that dogs have the capacity to detect their own farts.

Why dogs should not wipe? ›

The Root of the Behavior

Humans have thighs and the buttocks region that makes it difficult to clean without wiping. Whereas, dogs don't have a buttocks and their sphincter actually rectracts, leaving their bottoms clean most of the time. Wiping with paper or wipes is a manmade form of hygiene.

Do dogs go to heaven? ›

While religious views around the world vary, Christianity has traditionally held that animals have no hope of an afterlife. But Pope John Paul II said in 1990 that animals do have souls and are “as near to God as men are”.

Do dogs have raised belly buttons? ›

“Dogs' belly buttons are much smaller and less obvious than people's,” Dr. O'Sullivan told The Dodo. “They tend to be round, and they are flat to slightly raised. They are often covered or obscured by hair.”

Do dogs cry? ›

No. While canines express needs and wants vocally, there is no scientific evidence proving that dogs, or any other animals, in fact, actually produce tears as a response to what they're feeling. We seem to be the only species capable of breaking into emotional tears.

Do dogs have feelings? ›

The part of the brain that controls emotions in dogs, called the limbic system, is very similar to that of humans. Because of this, scientists generally accept that dogs experience all of the basic emotions that we do, including joy, fear, anger, disgust, love, aggression, anxiety and depression, Dr. Schwartz said.

How can you fix an umbilical hernia without surgery? ›

It is possible to treat a belly button hernia that has developed during pregnancy, without any surgery. Practicing some regular exercises such as yoga, aerobic and stretching can help. Additionally, pregnant women with an umbilical hernia can try breathing exercises, yoga, stretching, cycling, and meditation.

Are umbilical hernias painful in dogs? ›

Symptoms seen with a complicated umbilical hernia may include: Pain and warmth, especially at the site of the umbilical swelling. Vomiting. Lack of appetite.

Can an umbilical hernia heal itself in dogs? ›

Many small hernias will close on their own. Larger hernias will require surgery to close up the opening, leaving the intestines safely inside. If your puppy is not having any problems, your vet may recommend keeping an eye on it and doing the surgery at the same time as spaying or neutering.

At what age can you tell if a puppy has an umbilical hernia? ›

If your dog has an umbilical hernia, when your dog lies on his back, you can feel a small opening at the umbilicus site. If it is the size of the end of your pinkie finger at 8 weeks of age, it is usually not a problem. Many of these small hernias will close up on their own by 6 months of age.

How do I know if my dog's belly hurts? ›

Symptoms of Upset Stomach in Dogs
  1. Decreased appetite or loss of appetite.
  2. Fatigue.
  3. Drinking less water.
  4. Seeming depressed.
  5. Looking uncomfortable and stretching more often (like they are attempting a downward dog)
  6. Gulping to combat reflux.
  7. Licking their lips, the air, or objects.
3 Aug 2020

Do dogs have a lump where their belly button is? ›

This is called an umbilical hernia. In affected puppies a small amount of the fat from inside the abdomen frequently protrudes from the opening, creating a bump under the skin at the site of the belly button.

Do dogs prefer female owners? ›

Dogs Prefer Adults — Particularly Women

A dog's preference for one person — or type of person — over another has a great deal to do with socialization. Dogs don't, as a rule, dislike men, but most dogs are cared for by women, and are thus more comfortable around them.

Do dogs pick a favorite person? ›

Just like their human pals, dogs are likely to choose a favorite person based on a number of factors. Some of these include the person's demeanor, interactions with the dog, and how well the person helps meet their basic needs.

Can you hurt a dog's feelings? ›

The short answer to this question is yes, you can hurt your dog's feelings. Dogs spend their entire lives being surrounded by their humans. As dog owners, how you act towards your dogs leaves a significant impact, whether emotionally or physically.

What happens if a dog hernia goes untreated? ›

If a hernia is left alone, there can be many complications. The hernia will obviously grow and become more painful, portions of your pup's intestines could be trapped and not get enough blood flow causing strangulation, and sometimes, the hernia can obstruct the bowel and cause severe pain, nausea, vomiting, and more.

Is a dog hernia an emergency? ›

A body wall hernia after an abdominal surgery can also be a surgical emergency where the abdominal incision is repaired. Fortunately most hernias do not require an emergency correction, but if your pet has a hernia, you should follow your veterinarian's guidance on when to seek emergency care.

Can a dog live a normal life with a hernia? ›

Hernias are relatively common in puppies. While some do cause problems, most dogs will have normal, healthy lives following treatment. Corrective surgery is usually routine and recommended in most cases to prevent future problems.

What is hello in dog? ›

The dog word for “hello” is woof (pronounced wuf, wüf, and sometimes wrüf, depending on breed and regional dialect). Facing your dog, say woof in as energetically and friendly a way as possible (tone of voice is very important; the similar-sounding weuf means “Back off!

Do dogs know how long you're gone? ›

Animal memory is thought to be much more simplistic than human memory, and dogs have episodic memories, which means they are only able to remember certain events in their life. While your dog will remember you leaving the house, they most likely won't understand how long you were away.

Can dogs watch TV? ›

Dogs absolutely can see TV, and many seem to enjoy it. There are a number of features about television shows that dogs find attractive. Some of these are visual, such as motion, while others relate to the sounds coming from the TV. Dog eyes are very different from human eyes, so they see things on TV differently.

Do dogs get embarrassed? ›

Your dog might not be able to feel the social humiliation the way a person does, but they definitely can feel self-conscious and have subtle, embarrassed-like tendencies. Secondary emotions like embarrassment can be complicated when it comes to pets, but they definitely feel something similar to it.

What Can dogs see that humans can t? ›

A dog's field of vision is much wider than ours; they can see objects at a greater distance, and their ability to see in twilight, dusk, and dawn is far superior to ours, making it possible to pick up certain movements that are undetectable to the human eye.

How many hours a night does a dog sleep? ›

Adult Dogs: Most adult dogs seem to need between eight and 13.5 hours of sleep every day, with an average of just under 11 hours. For comparison, most adult humans need seven to eight hours of sleep.

Why do humans have to wipe after pooping but animals don t? ›

The fundamental problem is that the area used for releasing urine and faeces is compressed between thighs and buttocks, so we are more likely than other animals to foul ourselves. We also differ from other animals in our response to our waste, which we tend to regard with disgust.

Why do dogs not like their paws wiped? ›

Paw sensitivity is widely thought to be caused by a dog's natural or instinctive desire to protect its crucial body parts from harm. Digging, hunting, self-defense, and moving around in general are all dependent in part or wholly upon the health of the dog's paws.

Should you wash your dog's privates? ›

His sanitary area should be kept rather clean to avoid infections or discomfort when going potty. Whether you're waiting for bathtime or cleaning outside of bathtime, your dog's private areas will need to be cleaned on a regular basis or when they are especially dirty.

Do dogs know they are dying? ›

Some dogs will know their time is approaching and will look to their people for comfort. Saying goodbye to your dog with love and grace means staying with your dog during these final hours, and reassuring them with gentle stroking and a soft voice. Take time off work, or from whatever else is going on.

Do dogs know you love them? ›

Yes, your dog knows how much you love him! Dogs and humans have a very special relationship, where dogs have hijacked the human oxytocin bonding pathway normally reserved for our babies. When you stare at your dog, both your oxytocin levels go up, the same as when you pet them and play with them.

Will I see my pet when I go to heaven? ›

The pets that we had to say goodbye to are alive in heaven right now in their spiritual bodies and we will see them again if we accept Jesus as our Savior. Your Pet Is Not Gone Forever.

Why is there a bump on my dog's belly? ›

Lipomas (fatty lumps)

Lipomas are the most common benign mass dogs can get; they're often found under the skin of older dogs3, and are more common in obese dogs. They tend to be round, soft tumours of fat cells that grow very slowly and rarely spread1, so it can take up to six months before you see any change3.

What does potbelly look like in dogs? ›

The dog's belly will be round or distended. A pot-bellied dog can appear overweight or bloated. Additionally, dogs with a pot-belly may have an abnormally shaped abdomen. Their belly may not be symmetrical or tight in normal places.

Why do dogs have belly bumps? ›

Environmental allergies, like contact dermatitis or reactions to something on the ground like fertilizer, cleaning products, poison ivy, or other irritants, flea allergy dermatitis, and food allergies, food sensitivities, and food intolerance can lead to itchy bumps and rashes.

Do dogs miss their owners? ›

It's not unusual for dogs to grieve the loss of a person they've bonded with who is no longer present. While they might not understand the full extent of human absence, dogs do understand the emotional feeling of missing someone who's no longer a part of their daily lives.

How do dogs laugh? ›

Do Dogs Laugh? Dogs do laugh; however, it is not the same way humans do. In humans, laughter is composed of rhythmic, vocalized, expiratory, and involuntary actions. The sound can be any variation of “ha-ha” or “ho-ho.” Dogs produce a similar sound through forceful panting—a “hhuh-hhah” variation.

What is the normal age for a dog to live? ›

In general, small dogs enjoy longer lives than do their larger counterparts. A recent analysis of veterinary records revealed that dogs under 20 pounds had an average lifespan of 11 years while those over 90 pounds typically lived for only 8 years. Medium and large dogs fell in the middle at around 11 years.

Can your dog be mad at you? ›

While dogs can indeed get upset by a situation, they don't get mad at someone in the same way that you do. According to HealthyPsych, anger is what psychologists refer to as a secondary emotion, which is a human response to primary emotions like fear and sadness.

Do dogs have memories? ›

The researchers concluded that the dogs were using episodic-like memory to repeat their owner's actions, even an hour after they first observed them. This suggests that dogs are doing way more than living in the moment. They are forming memories all the time and are able to recall them when needed.

Can dogs sense anger in humans? ›

A study in a 2018 issue of the journal Learning & Behavior found that dogs respond to human faces that express six basic emotions— anger, fear, happiness, sadness, surprise, and disgust—with changes in their gaze and heart rate.

Why does my dog look like he has a belly button? ›

On dogs, the belly button is a scar from where the umbilical cord was attached while they were developing in their mother (which is the same for human belly buttons, too). “Dogs' belly buttons are much smaller and less obvious than people's,” Dr. O'Sullivan told The Dodo.

Why does my dog have an outie belly button? ›

Generally the abdominal wall closes up in the young puppy, leaving a solid abdomen. Sometimes a small bit of fat may get stuck in the opening, which leaves an "outie" belly button. Occasionally the wall of the abdomen simply does not close all the way. That is when we say a puppy or dog has an umbilical hernia.

What does a normal puppy belly button look like? ›

You will most likely locate the belly button halfway between the base of your dog's rib cage and the pelvis. Sometimes it will be easier to feel than it is to see. The belly button will be a fingertip-sized thickened spot, slightly raised or dipped below the skin surface. There may be a swirl of fur around it.

Do dogs understand kisses? ›

According to Animal Behaviorists, 'dogs don't understand human kisses the same way that humans do. ' When kissing a young puppy, you may not notice any signs of recognition at all because they have yet to associate kisses with affection.

How much does an umbilical hernia surgery cost for a dog? ›

In general, the cost for a dog umbilical hernia repair is relatively inexpensive. Pet owners should expect to pay approximately $150 to $400 for the hernia repair if it is included with the spay or neuter procedure.

How serious is an umbilical hernia? ›

Umbilical hernias are common and typically harmless. Umbilical hernias are most common in infants, but they can affect adults as well. In an infant, an umbilical hernia may be especially evident when the infant cries, causing the bellybutton to protrude. This is a classic sign of an umbilical hernia.

Do dogs like hugs? ›

Dogs Don't Like Hugs

So, when you hug a dog, they don't understand what you're trying to say. In fact, you're essentially trapping them. They can't get away from anything that scares them or makes them uncomfortable while in your arms.

Do dogs know they are dogs? ›

There's no way to know exactly what a dog is thinking or feeling—but when it comes to the question “does my dog think I'm a dog?” all evidence point to no.

What does a button tumor look like on a dog? ›

Histiocytoma tumors are often referred to as button tumors because they are usually less than an inch in size, red, raised, and hairless. Often seen in English Bulldogs, Scottish Terriers, Greyhounds, Boxers, Boston Terriers, and Chinese Shar-Peis these tumors typically regress on their own within two to three months.

Do belly button hernias go away? ›

An umbilical hernia won't go away on its own. Only surgery can repair it.

What does a cancerous bump feel like on a dog? ›

One of the best ways to identify a potentially cancerous lump is to evaluate how that tumor feels when touched. Compared to the soft, fatty characteristics of a lipoma, a cancerous lump will be harder and firm to the touch, appearing as a hard immovable lump on your dog.


1. My Dog Ate a Foreign Body! Now What?
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6. 👨‍⚕️🐶8 TYPES of TUMORS (Cancer) IN DOGS and Affected Breeds
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