Ask dog owners whether or not their pet has a belly button and most will probably say no. That is because most canine belly buttons are not readily visible.
However, the answer to the question is that dogs definitely do have belly buttons. The main reason for many people thinking that dogs do not have a belly button is that canine belly buttons are very different from those of humans. While human navels are easily visible, canine belly buttons are often nothing more than a faint scar. They do not resemble a hole in the stomach. They are usually flat (unless there is a medical problem such as a hernia) and hairless.
Consider a dog’s navel, which is also known as the umbilicus. This is where the blood vessels from the placenta attach to the puppy before it is born. These blood vessels are vital to life because they provide nutrition and help with oxygen and waste product removal.
Once a puppy is born, it no longer relies on the blood vessel or umbilical cord. The mother will often eat the umbilical cord. It does not take a long time for the spot where the umbilical cord was attached to heal. In a day or so, the area scabs over and it soon becomes difficult to tell where the blood vessel was attached.
The belly button area is a common one for hernias that develop when the abdominal wall does not completely close around the umbilical cord during development. In some cases, this defect can be life threatening.
Hernias can occur in both female and male dogs. There are several types of hernias. If your dog has a hernia, make sure you have him or her checked by a veterinarian. Corrective surgery can often be done when the dog is spayed or neutered.
There are four types of hernias that are commonly found in dogs. The most common type is the umbilical hernia that forms in the middle of the abdominal wall right over the dog’s belly button. These contain soft, fatty tissue.
Inguinal hernias generally occur in pregnant or constipated females. They are caused by a gap between the abdominal wall and the muscles of the hind legs. This type of hernia can be dangerous because the intestinal wall could come through the tear.
Perineal hernias are not found in the stomach area. They occur around the dog’s anus. This type of hernia is more common in unneutered male dogs.
Diaphragmatic hernias can be congenital or occur because of an injury such as a run-in with a car. They are caused by a tear in the muscular wall between the abdominal and chest cavities. These are dangerous because the abdominal organs can enter the chest. There is no visible evidence of this type of hernia. X-rays are required to diagnose this type of problem.
Most hernias can be treated successfully with surgery. Early diagnosis is best, so don’t wait to have the dog checked out by a veterinarian.