As dog owners we know the belly of our puppies well. There is nothing like a good stomach massage. If you have a male dog, you might want to settle down for one of these belly massages if you notice a bump. What's that? Is it a tick? A tumor? Do dogs have nipples? Here are the answers to all the questions you have about male dogs' nipples!

Do Male Dogs Have Nipples
Image by Yama Zsuzsanna M├írkus from Pixabay 

Do male dogs have nipples?

Yes, males have nipples.

How many nipples do male dogs have?

Just like bitches, males have many nipples from groin to torso. The number of nipples on each dog can vary, with most puppies having 8 to 10, but some dogs have more and some have less.

What do male dogs' nipples look like?

If you have a short-haired dog, it is much easier to distinguish his nipples than if you have a long-haired puppy. If you have a longhaired dog, you'll probably have to split his coat to make his nipples stand out because they're so small. Look for nipples on the stomach, starting in the groin and working up the chest between the legs. The nipples are round and small. It is normal that the nipples are pigmented or the same colour as your dog's skin. One of the anomalies is larger than the others or leaks. If you think there is something wrong with your dog's nipples, call your vet.

Why do male dogs have nipples?

You may wonder why males have nipples as they seem to be useless. And you would be right to assume that! Nipples have no function in males as they are obviously not used to breast-feeding puppies as they are in bitches.

Male dogs have nipples because male and female dogs are basically the same in the womb. Both sexes begin in utero in exactly the same way. Male dogs' nipples have not disappeared through evolution because they are harmless. A male puppy without nipples has no evolutionary advantage over a male dog with nipples.

How to distinguish a nipple from a tick

If you find a lump on the belly of your male dog, do not panic. It can be a tick, but it can also be a pacifier, a skin patch or any other benign lump. If it is a nipple, do not try to reach for the tweezers yet.

Here are some hints to help you know if the bump is a nipple and not a tick:

  • The lump has no legs. Ticks have legs, and the nipples obviously have no legs.
  • The lump fits perfectly into the rest of your puppy's tummy. If it looks buried or attached, it could be a tick.
  • The bump looks like your dog's other nipples. Nipples tend to be quite similar in size, shape and colour.

If in doubt, ask your vet!

Do nipples sometimes cause health problems in dogs?

In general, nipples are harmless to males, but they very rarely cause health problems. Occasionally, tumours of the mammary glands can occur in a male dog. Signs of tumours include lumps under the nipple and changes in the appearance of the nipple.

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