Are you curious about puppies’ umbilical cords? Do they have belly buttons? In this article, we will talk all about our beloved canine’s umbilical cords!
Similar to humans, dogs also have umbilical cords. The umbilical cord is used to supply them with nutrients when they are in their mother’s womb.
When the umbilical cord is severed, a “scar” remains like a humans’ belly button. It is pretty tricky to locate, but it is somewhere at the base of their ribcage.
Puppies need their umbilical cords to survive, but as its use becomes obsolete, you or its mom must step in to cut it as needed.
But be careful! There are specific umbilical cord care procedures to ensure that infection will be prevented.
We have a lot to learn about the umbilical cord of our dogs. Knowing this information is essential, especially if you are expecting your female dog to give birth soon.
Arming yourself with information about proper umbilical cord care for puppies will surely help keep healing quick and easy. Moreover, infections can be prevented!
If you want to know more about most facts you need to know about dogs and their umbilical cords, this article is best for you.
What do dog umbilical cords do?
To understand how umbilical cords work for dogs, let us first discuss how dogs develop their young.
Dogs are placental mammals. It means that they give birth to live babies, unlike other animals that lay eggs or develop their offspring in pouches.
For them to give birth to live puppies, they need to be developed somewhere. And that is inside the womb of their mother! They remain there until they are ready to be brought to the outside world.
Now, to ensure that the puppies will receive enough nutrition and oxygen, an umbilical cord connects them to their mom.
Similarly, this tube-like structure also works the reverse way to remove the puppies’ metabolized waste.
Nutrition and oxygen delivery and waste removal are essential to make the puppies grow and develop in the womb. The umbilical cord is connected from the placenta of their mom to the stomach of the puppies.
In short, the umbilical cord is an essential passageway for puppies inside the womb to survive and grow!
But, the umbilical cord is not needed forever. Eventually, the mama dog will chew on it since it served its purpose already. The portion of it which is cut off will leave a wound. That part will become the puppy’s belly button!
Do you want to know where the belly button of your dog is located?
Where is your dog’s belly button?
We now know that dogs actually have belly buttons! But how come you did not notice it earlier? Why is it hard to find the belly button of your pet dogs?
Belly buttons are very easy to locate in humans. But finding these on dogs is a different concept. The difficulty is due to our different skins, the size, and the usual location of the belly button.
Their belly button is tiny and unnoticeable. Moreover, the hair present impedes our vision of the dog’s belly button. So, if your pet is a breed with thick and long hair, locating their navel will be extremely difficult.
If you are determined to look for your pet’s belly button, try looking for an area under the fur where tufts meet. Another landmark that points to the navel is a prominent darker patch of hair around it. These landmarks are located somewhere at the base of their ribs and between the nipples.
You also need to know that their belly buttons do not look like human belly buttons! Actually, human belly buttons are the bizarre ones – ours are a lot larger in contrast to other placental mammals. To look for your dog’s belly button, keep in mind that it looks small and thin, like a scar.
Umbilical hernias are observed in dogs as well. This condition is similar to an “outie” in humans. Do not worry because this does not necessarily point to a health problem for your dog.
Sometimes, umbilical hernias in dogs resolve on their own. However, to be extra sure, you can choose to be swift and let the vet see if it is just a simple case of hernia. Prompt treatment is essential to make sure that your pups are healthy!
How long can the dog’ss umbilical cord stay attached?
This article previously mentioned the role of umbilical cords in the development of puppies in the womb. They cannot eat or make their own food when they are in the womb of their mom. However, as they are brought to the outside world, their food and waste systems change drastically.
Simply put, dogs do not need their umbilical cords attached indefinitely. Puppies only need umbilical cords to survive until they are born. Some puppies have their umbilical cords attached to them between one day up to a week. It can even stay connected for up to ten days at most.
The umbilical cord sometimes naturally removes its attachment to the puppies. As the umbilical cord’s other end is detached from the placenta, they hold no more purpose of nutrition or waste removal. Their tissue attachment eventually shrivels up, decays, and falls on its own.
If your puppy seems to enjoy walking around a lot after birth, then this will help fasten the falling off of their umbilical cords.
When should you cut a puppy’s umbilical cord?
Puppies in the womb still have their umbilical cords still attached to them since it is still giving them nutrition from the mom a few moments before birth. But once they are born, their mama dog instinctively knows that those cords are not necessary anymore.
To help transition the puppy to live outside the womb, the mother does a simple routine. Puppies are born inside a thin membranous sac that used to be part of the placenta.
Of course, the umbilical cord is still on their tummy. Their mother’s role is to clear the sac, expose her puppies’ faces, and bite the umbilical cord to sever it.
Lastly, the mom also eats the placenta. Wild mother dogs eat the placenta because this has a strong scent and can attract predators in the wild.
The routine of mother dogs after birth seemed to be in their genes. However, if you notice that your dog is not biting their puppies’ umbilical cords, you might need to help. If you do not, then that structure can invite bacteria and cause infection.
How long does it take for a puppy’s umbilical cord to heal?
On average, it takes one to three days before the umbilical cord stump fades and falls. This leaves a healing scar on your puppy’s tummy.
Since the umbilical cord slowly dries up after birth, its attachment starts to heal as well. First, the cord dies from the cut and slowly shrivels towards its attachment to the puppy.
By the time it reached the puppy’s skin, the previously open area where the umbilical cord passes nutrition and blood have closed already.
What do you put on a puppy’s umbilical cord?
If you plan to assist your dog in giving birth and help her cut the umbilical cords of your puppies, then you need to have the correct supplies with you.
You need to prepare clean scissors, unwaxed dental floss, cotton buds, isopropyl alcohol, and iodine. First, you need to use alcohol to disinfect the scissors.
Also, it would be best to pour the iodine into a clean bowl so that it can be easily accessed.
Use dental floss to tie a knot on the umbilical cord. Make sure that it is around two inches from the pup’s tummy.
Use the scissors to cut behind the knot, away from the pup’s body. Then, it would help if you cleaned the still-attached umbilical cord so that it prevents infection. So, dip it in the previously prepared bowl of iodine.
Putting iodine in the umbilical cord helps prevent infection because this effectively kills microorganisms on the site. Other practitioners use hydrogen peroxide as the wound cleanser.
However, hydrogen peroxide can interfere with the wound by reactivating the bleeding. This might do more harm than good for our pups.
Also, try to avoid “gentle antiseptics.” Most of the time, these are substances that are not too effective in eliminating all harmful germs.
For extra measures to prevent infection, clean the tummy of your puppies and paint their stump with iodine.
Pat it dry. Close monitoring of the healing process of their belly buttons is also essential if you want to spot early signs of infections.
Puppy umbilical cord care
Your pups’ umbilical cord also needs aftercare. To be more prudent, it would be best to assume that taking care of their umbilical cord wound does not end in watching the remainder of the umbilical cord fall off.
The remnants of the cut umbilical cords can fall off prematurely. This is possible if your dogs always move around, dragging their bellies with the cord attached. If this happens, you might notice some small bleeding spots.
A sticky area around the cord with body fluid can be expected on prematurely fallen umbilical cords. It would be best to keep monitoring your puppy’s tummy and belly button.
Please keep it clean by wiping it with clean cotton or iodine. The main goal is to prevent infection!
If the premature removal of the umbilical cord leads to a lot of bleeding, then consult your vet for professional help.
The veterinarian will identify the problem and help you treat it. For instance, severe bleeding on the site might warrant tiny stitching to close the wound.
Remember that after your mother’s dog gives birth, place the puppies near her. This way, she can lick her puppies, clean away the membranes, and bite off the umbilical cord.
If she does not naturally do that, the best way to care for your puppies is by placing them in a warm box and take care of the umbilical cord yourself.
Puppy umbilical cord infection treatment
Newly born puppies are susceptible to infection. Their body’s immune system is not yet as strong as adult dogs.
Some pups are even born with less constitution compared to others. Therefore, the simple introduction of germs can be very harmful to them.
As we now know, mother dogs naturally bite off the umbilical cords. But remember, her mouth, teeth, and saliva are filled with bacteria also!
Hence, the mom can introduce the microorganisms to the open wound of the puppies. This is more concerning if the mother dog has oral conditions such as dental caries or severe gum disease.
Moreover, microorganisms can be introduced in the puppy’s umbilical cord through the wastes with them on their “whelping box.”
If their whelping boxes are contaminated with their urine and stool, make sure to change their regular covering to prevent infection from occurring.
A usual factor that increases the probability of infection is cutting the umbilical cord too close to the puppy’s body.
Cutting 2 inches from the puppy’s body is essential so that the stump can wither away from the open wound of the developing belly button.
If puppies get infected, their lives might be in danger. So, to prevent this, you should be aware of early signs of infection and possible treatment remedies. Moreover, know when to get professional help.
Umbilical cord stumps with the yellow or green discharge with a foul smell is an early sign of an ongoing infection.
This warrants professional help so that correct medications can be applied to the area.
Your vet will know what substance or ointment to use.
Antibiotic treatment is one of the choices. Sometimes, cleaning the site with iodine is also opted for.
Now that you know all this information about the puppy’s umbilical cord, you can now use these so that the next time your mother dog gives birth to cute pups, you know what to do!
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