This question is more common than you think. If you are reading this blog, chances are you have just looked out for your pup’s belly button out of curiosity, and you have probably had a hard time finding it. So, the question is: do dogs have belly buttons? Yes, of course, they do! But where?!
Do dogs have belly buttons?
Yes, they do! But first, let start by clarifying what is a belly button and what is it for. Belly buttons are small scars or marks that remain in mammals’ skins where their umbilical cord (responsible for carrying important nutrients) was previously attached. Once you are out of the womb, the umbilical cord is clearly no longer useful, but it leaves that not-so-little scar, that we call the belly button.
All placental mammals (humans, dogs, cats, monkeys, etc.) have belly buttons. Placental mammals are fed through the umbilical cord; therefore, we all share that same scar.
If dogs have belly buttons, why can’t we see them?
Dogs’ belly buttons, a.k.a. navels, are way smaller than human belly buttons, and added to the fact that they are covered in fur, are harder to spot. So, if you are looking for a visible and notorious belly button in your pup, search no more: you won’t find one. However, we should point out that we humans are the only ones with unusually large belly buttons: In most mammals, you can hardly even notice them.
Besides, it is important to know that if you are trying to spot the navel in your pup and yet have no luck, you might be looking in the wrong place. Dogs’ belly buttons are placed between their nipples, at the bottom of their rib cage, and they are usually covered up with darker fur.
Naturally, in newborn puppies, belly buttons are very easy to spot. Think of dogs’ belly buttons as small wound scars: When your wound is fresh, it is super visible and prominent. However, as time goes by, that wound heals, and the scar almost goes away completely. The same happens with dogs’ belly buttons. Once they are fully grown, it is very hard to spot them.
Dogs' belly buttons: Innies or outies?
When we refer to belly buttons, we talk about innies and outies, making an obvious reference to their visible shape. But in pups, innies and outies are out of the equation. Dogs' belly buttons are flat, and they only represent a small scar on their belly or a baby wrinkle in their abdomen. In some cases, it is easier to spot the belly button because you can find a small swirl of hair around it.
Can dogs also have umbilical hernias?
Umbilical hernias are pretty common among humans, but can dogs also have them? Yes, all placental mammals can develop this kind of hernias. In fact, umbilical hernias are the most common type of hernias among dogs.
These hernias are caused by an inadequate closure of the umbilical ring after birth. It usually occurs when they are newborns, so you have to pay special attention to their belly buttons during their first weeks of life. Regarding mammals, dogs are more prone than cats to develop umbilical hernias.
If your dog is developing an umbilical hernia, you will probably notice a bump on his belly button area, which will be highly unusual since belly buttons are usually flat. In that case, you should take your pup to the vet for a complete evaluation, and further treatment/surgery if needed.
The good news? There is nothing to worry about. Umbilical hernias are usually painless, have a great prognosis, and don’t represent a severe health risk for our pups.
So, all in all, do dogs have belly buttons? Yes, but you'll probably have a hard time finding them!