The fascination that humans have with belly buttons extends far beyond our species. Have you ever given your canine companion a good ol’ belly rub and wondered, “Do dogs have belly buttons?"

This question may seem simple on the surface, but it opens the door to a fascinating exploration into the anatomy and physiology of our four-legged best pals.

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  1. Why Do Dogs Have Belly Buttons
  2. Where Is a Dog Belly Button
  3. What Is the Purpose of a Dog Belly Button
  4. Can Dogs Have Outie Belly Buttons
  5. FAQs
  6. Final Thoughts

Why Do Dogs Have Belly Buttons

Just like humans, dogs have belly buttons because they're mammals and were born with umbilical cords attached to their mothers while in the womb. The belly button, or navel, remains once the umbilical cord is removed after birth.

The umbilical cord serves as the primary source of nutrients and oxygen from the mother to the developing fetus. Once a puppy is born and begins breathing on its own, the umbilical cord no longer has a function. Once cut, severing this connection between mother and offspring, the umbilical cord dries up and falls off, and the remaining scar is what we know as the belly button.

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Read more: Why Is the Stomach of My Dog Hard?

Where Is a Dog Belly Button

If you're looking for a dog's belly button, you may be surprised to find that it isn't as pronounced as our own. A dog's belly button is much more subtle and hard to find. Typically, it appears as a small, flat scar or slight indentation in the center of the belly. It’s likely to be covered in fur and a little harder to find, particularly in dogs with thick or long hair.

During regular grooming or a belly rub, you might feel or see this slight indentation or scar, which is their version of the navel.

What Is the Purpose of a Dog Belly Button

The belly button itself doesn’t serve a direct function in a dog’s life after birth. The belly button is purely the legacy of an umbilical cord and a throwback to your dog's mammalian connection to its mother via the umbilical cord.

The navel is simply a reminder of this vital connection that once ensured your dog's survival and maturation through the essential nutrients and oxygen the mother provided.

Read more: What Your Dog's Stomach Noises Really Mean

Can Dogs Have Outie Belly Buttons

At some point in your life, you will have identified whether you have either an ‘innie' or an 'outie.' These terms describe whether your belly button goes in (an innie) or protrudes out (you guessed it, an outie).

But what about dogs? Can dogs have an outie? Most dogs have an innie, but there are some instances where a dog might appear to have an outie. What is seen as a protruding belly button in dogs could in fact be an umbilical hernia according to Pet MD research.

Umbilical hernias in dogs occur when a small portion of the intestine pushes through the abdominal wall near the belly button. Most umbilical hernias in dogs are harmless and often resolve on their own, but in some cases, the hernia can be so large that it causes discomfort. In these cases, you should consult a veterinarian, as there may be some alarming complications if an umbilical hernia is left untreated.

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Read more: What to Feed a Dog with an Upset Stomach?


Why is my dog’s belly button raised or swollen?

If your dog’s belly button is raised, swollen, or causing your dog discomfort, it might be an umbilical hernia. If you suspect this is the case, it's always best to consult your veterinarian. The complications of an umbilical hernia can be severe, if not fatal if left untreated.

Can the belly button area get infected?

While it is rare, infections can occur around the belly button, especially if there is an issue with the umbilical cord’s detachment or if there’s a hernia. Any signs of redness, swelling, discharge, or discomfort should be checked by a vet.

Is it safe to touch or clean my dog's belly button?

It is perfectly safe to touch your dog's belly button. Still, there's usually no need to clean it unless advised by a veterinarian due to a particular condition or concern.

What does a hernia on a puppy's belly button look like?

An umbilical hernia will appear as a soft mass behind or near the belly button. At your puppy’s first exam, your vet will most likely push gently on the area around your puppy’s belly button to check the internal organs and identify possible hernias. The swelling of a hernia often protrudes further when the puppy strains, i.e., when it barks, whines, or stands.

Should I still get a puppy if it has an umbilical hernia?

If you've got your heart set on a little canine companion you want to adopt, don't let an umbilical hernia stand in your way. Umbilical hernias in puppies are pretty common and resolve on their own in most cases. Surgery may be required in some cases, after which they can continue to live a very long and happy life.

Read more: Dog Heat Rash: Everything You Need To Know

Final Thoughts

Our canine companions share many similarities with us, and having a belly button is one of them. While it’s certainly not as noticeable as a human belly button, it represents their connection to their mother in the womb. Whether you spot your dog's belly button during a grooming session or tummy tickles, it's a subtle reminder of the miracle of life and the bond shared between mother and offspring.

All mammals share this characteristic, and it's something to remind us that while we might look very different, we share this connection and the miracle of live birth.

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