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Do Dogs Have a Belly Button? Canine Anatomy Explained


May 4, 2023
dog sleeping belly up


dog sleeping belly up

Our dogs are similar to us in many ways, and many people even say pets and their owners start to look and act alike as they age, so it’s not unusual to wonder if they have belly buttons when they roll over to get a belly rub. The short answer is yes, they do. However, they are quite different from ours. Keep reading while we explore the topic of dog belly buttons and their significance to help you better understand your pet.


What Is a Belly Button?

A belly button, or umbilicus, is the scar that remains after the doctor, parents, or mother cut the umbilical cord at birth. Before that, it connects the developing fetus to the placenta and delivers nutrients and oxygen to the growing baby.

Do Dogs Have Belly Buttons?

Yes, dogs have belly buttons. Like all mammals, dogs develop in the womb, connected to their mother by an umbilical cord cut after birth. The scar that remains is the belly button. However, the appearance of a dog’s belly button can vary widely depending on factors such as breed, size, and weight, and their fur can make it hard to find them. They can look like a small indentation or a raised bump on some dogs, while the fur and skin folds of the abdomen can completely obscure them on other dogs.

belly button of a puppy
Image Credit: sophiecat, Shutterstock

The Role of the Belly Button in Dog Health

While the belly button may not directly impact a dog’s health, it can provide clues about potential health issues. For example, a visible or protruding belly button in a dog that is not overweight may indicate an umbilical hernia. An umbilical hernia occurs when a small portion of the intestine protrudes through a weak spot in the abdominal muscles, which can cause pain and discomfort for the dog. Other issues can include infection or inflammation of the belly button, brought on by poor hygiene, bacterial infections, or injuries.

How Do I Find My Dog’s Belly Button?

You should be able to find it by looking for a small indentation or raised bump in the center of the abdomen. Finding the belly button on some dogs can be difficult if they have dense fur, so if looking for it doesn’t work, you can try feeling around in the same area for a small scar or bump, which is the belly button. You can ask your veterinarian to point it out if all else fails.

Cute dog getting belly rub
Image Credit: Free-Photos, Pixabay

Maintaining a Healthy Belly Button in Dogs

  • Regularly clean the area with warm water and gentle pet-safe soap or shampoo.
  • Keep the area dry to prevent bacterial growth.
  • Avoid rough play or excessive pressure on the belly button area.
  • Keep an eye out for changes in appearance which might help you notice any underlying health issue early.
  • Keep your dog at a healthy weight because obesity can strain your dog’s abdominal muscles, increasing the risk of an umbilical hernia or other belly button-related health issues.


Frequently Asked Questions

What If My Dog Is Licking Their Belly Button?

If your dog is licking their belly button, it could indicate an underlying health issue. Some reasons can include itchy skin, pain or discomfort in the belly button area, or even anxiety or stress, as some dogs might lick their belly button to self-soothe. If it becomes excessive or continues for several days, contact the vet to rule out any health issues.

What Should I Do If My Dog’s Belly Button Looks Swollen or Inflamed?

If your dog’s belly button looks swollen or inflamed, it’s likely a sign of an underlying health issue. Contact your vet immediately to schedule an exam and get a proper diagnosis and treatment plan.

a shih tzu dog being checked by two vets
Image Credit: KongNoi, Shutterstock

How Can I Tell If My Dog Has an Umbilical Hernia?

You may be able to feel a soft lump or bulge near your dog’s belly button if it has an umbilical hernia. However, it’s best to consult your vet for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan if you think your dog has one.

Are Certain Breeds More Prone to Belly Button Issues?

Due to a genetic predisposition, the Basenji, Airedale Terrier, and Pekingese are more prone to umbilical hernias, but belly button issues can occur in any dog breed.

Can I Touch My Dog’s Belly Button?

Yes, you can touch your dog’s belly button if it doesn’t cause discomfort or irritate the area. Be gentle and avoid poking or prodding too aggressively.

divider-dog paw


All dogs have belly buttons, and you can find it by looking or feeling around the center of the abdomen for a small indentation or raised bump. While they may seem insignificant, they can provide important insights into canine anatomy and health, and regularly inspecting them is a good idea. Call your vet if you notice any changes or if the dog starts licking the area excessively and keep it clean and dry to prevent bacterial growth.

Featured Image Credit: vilma3000, Shutterstock

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