Dogs have belly buttons because they’re placental mammals. The belly button on dogs is the location where the umbilical cord was cut after birth. Essentially belly buttons are just a scar.
When puppies (and babies) are developing inside their mother’s womb the nutrients and oxygen they need are passed from mother to baby via the umbilical cord. The umbilical cord is a flexible tube that provides the baby with food & oxygen, and it’s carries waste away from the baby back to the mother.
All mammals (excluding marsupials) develop inside their mother’s womb with this process. The belly button itself is just the scar leftover from where the umbilical cord was removed after birth.
Belly Buttons Are Just a Scar
The belly button is just a scar, and it’s left after cutting off the umbilical cord in animals. Since mammals give live birth the babies develop inside their mother’s womb, and the umbilical cord is their lifeline. The umbilical cord passes along nutrients from the mother to developing baby (or puppy).
After puppies are born the mother will bite off & break the umbilical cord. In humans it’s often clamped & then cut, and the amount of cord left on a baby varies by practice.
Where Is a Dog’s Belly Button?
Your dog’s belly button is located on your dog’s stomach, towards the end of their rib cage. The belly button of a dog can be hard to find due to all their fur, and the fact that they’re typically a small, flat scar. In some dogs, especially shorter haired breeds, you may notice a swirl of hair around surrounding their belly button.
Nearly All Mammals Have Belly Buttons
The majority of mammals have belly buttons, including dogs, cats, dolphins, and humans – but there are a few exceptions.
Marsupials and platypus’ are the only mammals that don’t have belly buttons. A marsupial’s umbilical cord falls off in their mothers pouch, so the scar never forms. And since platypus’ lays eggs there’s no umbilical cord to begin with.
Belly Buttons on Dogs Aren’t Usually Prominent
Rather than being obvious like the human belly button, a dogs belly button is usually little more than a small, flat scar that’s obscured by fur. You’ve probably never noticed your dogs own belly button, and you’re not alone. I had to really look really closely to find my dogs belly button.
A Protruding Belly Button on a Dog Is Cause for Concern
A dogs belly button usually goes unnoticed, but when it sticks out it’s cause for concern. If your dog’s belly button is sticking out or swollen it could be a condition known as umbilical hernia. In a complicated hernia the contents of the abdomen become trapped in the belly button, and left untreated it can be fatal.
If you notice any swelling around your dogs belly button make an appointment with your veterinarian for the proper diagnosis & treatment.
Can You See Your Dogs Belly Button?
I’m happy to say I finally found Laika’s belly button, though it did take a lot of belly rubs and coaxing. It’s just a tiny, flat hairless scar that normally goes unnoticed.
Have you seen your dogs belly button? Is it really small? Do you want to find it without raising suspicion? Try some good old fashioned belly rubs.