The more time we spend with our canines and the stronger bonds we grow with our furry buddies, the more we find ourselves comparing similarities and differences between the two of us – sometimes just for the sake of it because we’ve got nothing better to do, and other times because of fascinating and very interesting questions that pop up in our minds that we’ve never thought of before. One of these questions is, do dogs have belly buttons like humans do?
This may just be a question that you thought of when giving your dog one of their usual tummy rubs for the day, as is the case with countless other dog owners before you.
In all cases, if you’re worried about sounding ridiculous by asking such a question, I urge you not you, as veterinarians hear such questions all the time and it’s certainly nothing to be ashamed of asking about! On the contrary, if anything, this shows your veterinarian how intellectual you are for thinking about such an issue in the first place.
Scientifically speaking, YES, dogs do have belly buttons. It turns out that most mammals have belly buttons the same way human beings do. So, whether you’ve got a dog at home, a cat, a rabbit, a horse, etc .. you now know that these animals do in fact have belly buttons!
If you were to ask your veterinarian about this, they’ll confirm it and inform you that the majority of mammals out there (your dog included) do indeed have belly buttons, with the exception of a few mammals (such as marsupial mammals).
Scientifically speaking, dogs have belly buttons for the same exact reason you and I have ones.
Let’s go a little bit back in time when your now adult dog was still a fetus in its mother’s womb.
During this delicate phase, the umbilical cord transfers all the necessary food, nutrients & oxygen that the fetus needs from its mother’s system. The umbilical cord is also meant to clean up the fetus’s system from any waste by carrying those away as well.
After the mother dog gives birth to the puppy, the umbilical cord is cut off the same way our umbilical cords are, because there’s no need for them to be there anymore. As a matter of fact, the mother cuts the umbilical cord herself right after she gives birth to her baby puppy, by biting/chewing it off. No surgical intervention of any sort is required, it’s something the mother dog does by instinct.
When this umbilical cord is cut off after birth, it leaves a little scar on your puppy’s body. So if that’s truly the case, then why can’t you see this scar now where your dogs’ belly button is supposed to be? This is what we’ll be covering in the next section.
Now, time to get to the obvious question, or the “elephant in the room” for all of us who have ever thought about our dogs and them having belly buttons or not. Why exactly can’t we see our dogs’ belly buttons the same way we can see ours, if they do indeed have belly buttons?
There are different theories to this that you’ll come across when you ask different experts in the field, but we’ll cover the most prominent ones that veterinarians often give their clients upon being asked this question.
Most veterinarians inform their clients that whatever belly button “scar” left on their dogs’ bodies isn’t visible because of all the fur that grows on the dog’s body and covers it with time.
You have to keep in mind that a dog’s belly button, and even though it does indeed exist, does not look like the usual belly button humans such as you and I have ourselves.
In the case with dogs, their belly button is only a scar that’s left in the place of where their umbilical cord was bitten off by their mother after birth.
Our belly buttons are much more than just little scars, they’re significantly visible holes, while it’s not much more than a little scar with no hole when it comes to dogs.
Another thing you have to keep in mind is the difference in size of the umbilical cords between humans and dogs.
Without turning this into a boring biology lesson that no one wants to read, a dog’s umbilical cord is significantly smaller in size than a human’s umbilical cord, because of the fact that dog fetuses require less amounts of food & nutrients than human fetuses do, and hence can get by just fine with smaller umbilical cords.
Because a dog’s umbilical cord is significantly smaller than a human’s umbilical cord, the “scar” that’s left upon removal after birth is also going to be a smaller one than that left on humans.
So, if your dog doesn’t have any fur on their stomach area and you search carefully enough, chances are you’ll be able to find a scar somewhere on there that’s just flat and doesn’t have any holes. That’s your dog’s belly button! 🙂
If you’re just checking your dog to see if their belly button is visible and you do indeed notice it clearly there, this might not be as “cute” and okay as you may think it is.
If you can clearly see your dog’s belly button, and especially if you can see it over their fur, this may be a cause for concern and may be a sign of a health complication that you should look into.
Many dogs with clearly visible belly buttons, especially if this is the case with visible belly buttons over their fur, suffer from a medical problem called umbilical hernia.
So, if you suspect that this may be the case with your dog because you notice their belly button much more visibly than you do with other dogs, have them looked at by a veterinarian that will run a few tests and diagnostics and determine whether this is a cause of concern.
Do not discredit this issue if you notice it in fear of being taken for someone silly if it ends up being nothing to worry about. Veterinarians deal with this issue all the time in dogs, and this problem (if indeed present in your dog) can very well prove to be fatal if left untreated.
What If I Don’t Find A Scar On My Dog’s Stomach Area?
Given all what we’ve talked about above, what does it mean if you search, search and search but fail to find the “scar” we’ve talked about? Does this mean you should freak out because something’s wrong and abnormal with your dog?
The fact of the matter is, some dogs just don’t get scars left on their stomach area after the umbilical cord is chewed off by their mother after birth. The scars getting left doesn’t seem to be a constant thing among all dogs after birth – some dogs get these scars while others just don’t.
So, if you don’t notice this scar on your dog, don’t panic! They’re still completely normal and there’s nothing for you to worry about!