Do Dogs Have Belly Buttons?

Kate Barrington
by Kate Barrington
Is it an innie or an outie? No, we’re not talking about you – we’re talking about your dog! Have you ever noticed if your dog has a belly button?

The belly button is just another part of the human anatomy that most people are familiar with. When you are born as an infant, the doctor clamps and cuts the umbilical cord – what remains attached to the body eventually shrivels and falls off, leaving behind the belly button. Dogs are mammals, as are humans, so it only makes sense that they have belly buttons – or do they?

Does Your Dog Have a Belly Button?

All mammals give birth to live young. The babies develop inside the mother’s womb where they are connected to her life’s blood via the umbilical cord. Nutrients and oxygen are delivered to the babies through the umbilical cord and it also carries waste products away.

When babies are born, they are still attached to the umbilical cord so it must be severed to allow the baby to live on its own. After birth, the mother typically bites off the umbilical cord which leaves a scar behind. The scar left behind is the equivalent of the belly button in humans, though it may not look quite the same. All mammals, including dogs, have belly buttons with the exception of marsupials.

What Does a Dog’s Belly Button Look Like?

A dog’s belly button is more of a scar that is left behind when the umbilical cord is severed. Because your dog’s belly is covered in hair, you probably won’t even be able to see the belly button unless you look for it. Another reason you probably won’t notice the belly button is because it will be tiny – puppies are smaller than human babies, so the umbilical cord is narrower. Whereas the human belly button forms a round hole, a dog’s belly button forms a slit. If you want to locate it, look for it on the underside of the dog’s belly at the point where the coat comes together at the base of the dog’s ribs.

If your dog’s belly button starts to protrude, it could be cause for concern – a swollen belly button in dogs is often the result of an umbilical hernia and, left untreated, it can become fatal. Any swelling around your dog’s belly button is cause for concern so you should contact your veterinarian.

A hernia develops when something that is meant to stay protected inside the body bulges out. If the hernia remains very small and uncomplicated it may resolve itself in time but large, complicated umbilical hernias require veterinary treatment. Some breeds that seem predisposed to umbilical hernias include Beagles, Basenjis, Pekingese, and Airedale Terriers.

The more you know about your dog’s anatomy, the better you will be able to identify problems when the occur. In a normal, healthy dog you probably won’t be able to see or feel the belly button unless it becomes herniated. At that point, you should seek immediate veterinary care for your dog because it could become dangerous without treatment.

Kate Barrington
Kate Barrington

Kate Barrington is the loving owner of two cats (Bagel and Munchkin) and a noisy herd of guinea pigs. Having grown up with golden retrievers, Kate has a great deal of experience with dogs but labels herself a lover of all pets. Having received a Bachelor's degree in English, Kate has combined her love for pets and her passion for writing to create her own freelance writing business, specializing in the pet niche.

More by Kate Barrington