I think this one might blow your mind. It certainly surprised me, and I had to triple check the fact to make sure it was true. Have you ever wondered if dogs have belly buttons?
For humans it is pretty darn obvious that we have belly buttons. Some are in, some are out. There is a visual and physical spot that shows everyone that we have a belly button.
Someone asked me this really interesting question about dogs that truly stumped me. Do dogs have belly buttons? (One of the fun things about writing about dogs is the questions that friends and family try to baffle me with)
Given the crazy amount of time we spend giving my Labradoodle Max belly rubs, I genuinely didn’t know the answer. Biologically I had a fair idea because dogs are mammals, but for the life of me I couldn’t be sure.
So I did the research, and in this article you can find out whether dogs have belly buttons, and a bunch of interesting puppy belly button information I discovered. Let’s go!
So Do Dogs Have Belly Buttons?
Straight out of the gate here is the answer. Yes, dogs do have belly buttons. All mammals* have belly buttons as part of the growth process before they are born.
*Except marsupials and one Australian mammal, detailed later in article.
A belly button is a scar left when the umbilical cord is broken during the process of being born. The umbilical cord was used when the puppy was still in the womb of the mother dog.
For humans and dogs, the umbilical cord is the tube that provides nutrition and blood (and therefore oxygen) to the unborn puppy. Without an umbilical cord, the unborn puppy would not survive.
When the puppy is born the umbilical cord is cut (usually by the mother of the dog) and the healing process begins. For humans the cord is fairly complex, and where the cord is cut will determine the type of scar that will form. So for humans this decides whether your belly button is in or out.
Puppies experience something similar when they are born, but the cord is less volumetric and simpler overall. This results in less scarring than humans – and much smaller belly buttons.
So Where Is a Dog’s Belly Button?
When a puppy is born the mother will chew much of the umbilical cord away. The remaining portion is stuck in place on the stomach of the puppy. After a few days of drying, the rest of the umbilical cord will fall away.
A scar forms, and this is the belly button of the dog.
Actually finding the belly button of a dog however is a real challenge.
It is tricky to find the belly buttons of dogs for two reasons
- Belly buttons for humans and dogs and almost every mammal are just a scar. The scar for dogs is really small, and in an area that heals quickly.
- Compared with humans, you will be hard pressed to identify a dogs belly button
- Almost all dog belly buttons are not in or out – they are flat
- To make things much trickier, dogs have a fine fur on their stomachs
- Even thin coated or dogs with limited hair have some level of fur on their stomachs
Finding the Belly Button On Your Dog
Alright so how can we find a belly button on our own dogs? As I wrote this article my wife and I attempted to find the bellybutton on our Labradoodle Max.
It is not hard to get our diligent guard dog (sarcasm) to roll onto his stomach. He loves to expose his weakest spot to literally anyone in an attempt to get belly rubs.
We also use the trick BANG to get him to show his stomach. It is a really great trick to teach your dog! But back to belly buttons.
Unlike humans, the belly button for dogs is typically a very small scar, just below the rib cage.
This is the spot you need to be looking at.
Honestly it was a bit of a mission to attempt to find Max the Labradoodle’s belly button. I am 80% sure we did find the belly button scar. It is just really tricky given the amount of hair dogs have. And this was on a day that we did a DIY at-home Labradoodle coat trim!
Here is another diagram showing you the spot where you need to look. Can you see the belly button on these dogs?
What does a dog’s belly button look like?
A dog’s belly button is neither in nor out. It is an often straight line or ring scar, small in size, located just south of the ribs on the dog’s abdomen.
Tips for finding a dog’s belly button
- Gently press where you think it is, as the scar tissue is typically a little rougher and will feel different to the skin on either side
- Look for swirling of the hair around the area where the scar is (hair follicles defined differently by the type of skin around the scar)
- It is always closer to the dog’s stomach than the ribs. If you are on the ribs, you are in the incorrect place.
- There is a chance the fur will be a little darker in the area where the belly button scar will be
Can Dogs Have Out Belly Buttons
It is exceedingly rare for a dog to have a belly button that is protruded.
If it is there from when they are a puppy AND a vet has checked it, it is either an anatomical quirk. It could also be a sign that the dog has a rare type of scar formation (genetically cause) that makes all scar form exuberantly.
If a “outtie” belly button suddenly develops or appears over days or weeks for a dog, than this is a problem that need urgent veterinary attention. Hernias can form and be mistaken for belly buttons. If you have just noticed a belly button after months or years of belly rubs – than you need to see your vet. New = bad.
A hernia for a dog is when the organs (usually the intestine) find a weaker spot in the muscle wall of the abdomen and part of the organ pokes through. It looks like a bump protruding out from the dog’s skin. It needs veterinary assessment straight away.
Breeds like the Beagle or the Pekingnese are more prone to this problem than other breeds. Poodles have no particular predisposition to issues with their belly button.
Frequently Asked Questions About Dog Belly Buttons
Why Do Dogs Not Have Belly Buttons?
Dogs do have belly buttons! They are just hard to find. All mammals (except marsupials and the unique platypus) have a belly button. Belly buttons are scar tissue caused by the umbilical cord. The umbilical cord delivered blood and nutrients to the puppy when it was in its mother’s womb. The dog’s belly button is small and flat, and covered in fur. It is there… it is just hard to find.
Can You Pierce A Dog’s Belly Button
No! You could, but should not. This is a bad idea, unnecessary, dangerous and cruel.
Have You Seen Your Dog’s Belly Button?
As I mentioned above, I am reasonably certain that we found our Labradoodle’s belly button. It really is hard to know for sure.
Do dogs have belly buttons? Yes – but good luck finding them
Have you looked for the belly button for your dog? Did you have any luck finding it?