Dogs feed their puppies just like humans, which means they produce milk via their mammary glands. They are, in fact, the source of life in a sense. But how many nipples do dogs have?
Dogs have ten nipples, five on each side of the body. This number is likely related to the fact that litters are usually 4-5 puppies. So, each little one has a nipple to feed on.
In this article, we propose a focus on the dog nipples and their changes during the gestation period. But, not only that. We answer all questions about the anatomy of this part of the body and its function.
Dog Udders: How Many Nipples Do Dogs Have?
People have many questions about the dog’s nipples. But, the question that everyone asks the most about a dog’s nipples is “How many nipples does a dog have?”
You will find that the average dogs have six to ten nipples. Although the average numbers of nipples are eight but the nipples’ numbers really rely upon the breeds. A few dog varieties produce bigger litters of young doggies than different varieties. These varieties will have more nipples.
The number of nipples in a mammal usually depends on the ratio of how many young it can feed. There are some mammals, for example, humans, horses, apes, etc., that can give birth to one or two babies at a time. Therefore, these mammals just have two nipples to feed their young.
But, mammals like dogs, cats, etc., will deliver large litters. You can know the number of puppies that your dog will have by estimating the number of nipples. Usually, the numbers of these litters are about two to eight puppies. It is rare for a dog to have less than four puppies at a time.
However, all those litters need to feed, and for feeding, they need plenty of nipples. Thus, these animals need a bigger number of nipples to feed their young. And they also confirm that they can satisfy the feeding interest of their young.
Odd or even?
In most cases, it is seen that dogs have an even number of nipples. These nipples are attached evenly in two rows along the dog’s chest and abdomen. This is because; most dogs are symmetrical.
But some dogs are also found to have an odd number of nipples. And the reason for having this odd number of nipples is still unknown. Yet, some dogs have only one nipple. This can be found in an unusual place, for example, at the top point of their leg.
In spayed male and female dogs, the nipples remain small to the point that the specimen is particularly hairy; you may not even notice them.
Do Boy Dogs Have Nipples: Surprisingly Yes
The answer is yes (just think that men have them too); even male dogs have nipples. It may be unheard of, but the male dog nipple is not a lie.
Some people wonder whether both female and male dogs have nipples as well. You will feel a small bump while you are rubbing your dog’s back. These nipples are located at the bottom of their abdomen. However, the nipples of a male dog don’t serve the purpose like the nipples of a female dog serves.
During the first few weeks of embryo development, both males and females go through the same stages. These include the development of the nipples and mammary glands, but the functions are different in both cases.
In the case of females, the influence of reproductive hormones stimulates the development of the mammary glands.
Dogs that are not gestating and have not been spayed have smaller nipples. While expectant or lactating dogs have more developed mammary tissue to produce milk, which is why their nipples are larger.
Why Are My Dogs Nipples Enlarged: Symptoms and Reasons
Have you noticed that your dog’s breasts get swollen? It is somewhat more common than it may seem at first and occurs mainly in non-spayed or neutered female dogs. The nipples of a bitch swell, for example, with heat, pregnancy, or mastitis, among other possible situations.
Symptoms of enlarged nipples
These are the main signs that you will notice in her breasts. It will indicate that there is something in your health that requires attention:
- Larger size than usual, both of the breasts and nipples.
- Swelling in some or all of the breasts or nipples.
- It expels fluid that can be serum, pseudo breast milk, breast milk, or pus.
- When palpating the area, the dog feels discomfort or pain.
- Lumps are observed or palpated in the bitch’s breasts.
If you detect all or some of these symptoms, you need to go to the vet to check your furry and can help you.
Reasons for Enlarged Nipples
Hopefully, now you know the signs that should alert you that there has been a change, usually due to hormones.
Below, we reveal the answer to your question about why my dog has swollen breasts, detailing the possible causes:
One of the reasons that do not involve hormonal changes, and that is frequent is contact allergy. Many female dogs brand new shampoo, blankets, or other objects that may contact this delicate area of the animal. The allergy occurs when there is contact. It may be that simply removing this object will pass in a short time. It is likely that the dog will lick and scratch because it itches and bothers her. She may even make small wounds.
Sometimes you may notice that this problem only occurs in one or a few breasts. Then, it may be because it has been hit, probably playing against an object or with another dog.
Heat in bitches can cause some inflammation in this area, as well as in their vulva. So both a few days before and during heat, you may see this change in your hair.
This is the main cause of swelling in the nipples of bitches. It takes a few days for this symptom to begin to appear after mating. However, it is one of the first to be seen clearly. The more the gestation progresses, the bigger the pregnant dog nipples and belly will be.
If your dog has given birth, it is totally normal for both the breasts and the nipples to become swollen. Because we all know, the lactation stage begins to feed the puppies.
- Psychological pregnancy:
After heat, bitches can suffer what is known as pseudo-pregnancy or psychological pregnancy. It occurs when there has been no fertilization. That means it can occur whether there is no mating or there is, but it does not result in pregnancy. The symptoms of this problem are practically the same as those seen in normal pregnancy:
- Swelling of the nipples, breasts, and belly,
- Production of a liquid similar to milk but clearer and, even,
- Increased appetite and behaviors of preparing a nest or shelter for your puppies.
It is an inflammation and infection of this area of the dog’s body. You can see this increase in size but also that it feels painful to the touch and that pus drains. It usually occurs when a psychological pregnancy is not well treated or during heat or lactation. It is vital to try to prevent it, as well as to treat it quickly as soon as it is detected.
- Breast cancer and benign lumps:
If you notice or feel a lump apart from the increase in size, the dog may have breast cancer. Or it may be lumps or benign cysts. Therefore, if the situation occurs, it is very important that a veterinarian review it. They need to do several tests to apply a treatment quickly if necessary.
Diagnosis of Swelling in the Breasts of a Bitch
When detecting this problem in your furry, the most important and recommended thing is that you go to the vet as soon as you can. Thus, this specialist will be able to review it, perform all the necessary tests. And he will give you a report and diagnosis about its health, as well as the possible treatments available.
Normally, to reach a diagnosis of this situation, the specialist usually asks the following questions and tests:
- Ask when the dog had the last heat and if it was crossed.
- Physical examination, with palpation.
- Take a sample of the fluid, if any, for testing.
- Blood test.
- Urine analysis.
- X-rays and ultrasounds.
Treatment for a Bitch’s Swollen Nipples
You will have to bear in mind that it is something that totally depends on the main cause. Thus, depending on the origin of the problem, the solution will be one or the other.
Inappropriate treatment can lead to serious damage, even death, for example, in cases of mastitis. Of course, not all situations require treatment or medicine. And it must be borne in mind that, in the case of breast cancer, the treatments available today may not be enough.
Thus, among the most common treatments to reduce inflammation of a bitch’s nipples, there are the following options:
- Let it follow the natural course of heat, pregnancy, and lactation. Once the dog is finished, it will return to its normal state.
- Antihistamines and remove the object that causes allergy if applicable.
- Perform cures on the breasts and give antibiotics in the case of mastitis.
- Give hormonal treatment and express milk if there is a psychological pregnancy until it ends.
- Spay or neuter the bitch.
- Surgery to remove lumps, cysts, and tumors.
- Therapy for breast cancer.
The specialist may offer other possible treatments depending on the case. In addition, if you want to use natural products to treat the dog, it is best to always consult the vet first.
Dogs Nipples Turning Black: Should I Be Worried?
There is a disease called Hyperestrogenism, which, as the name suggests, is due to an excess of estrogens. It occurs when there is an overproduction of these hormones by the testicles, in the case of boy dog nipples.
It is associated with tumors in the testicles, which are frequent, especially in specimens after six years of life. It is common especially in those who have already reached the age of ten. They are rare in unretained testicles, where they can be seen as enlargement, masses, or hardness.
On the other hand, in retained testicles, it is possible to notice a mass in the inguinal area. This constitutes the majority of cases.
Symptoms that indicate Hyperestrogenism include-
- Enlargement of the mammary glands and nipples: So we may notice that our male dog has a swollen nipple.
- Hanging foreskin: In addition, the foreskin also appears hanging, and there are symmetrical changes in the skin and hair.
- Extension of the genital region: There may be an extension in the genital region and extending towards the lower abdomen.
- Dryness and the skin darken.
- The breakage of hair: hair may fall out and never grow back.
These are the reason for which we can see one or more nipples of our black dog. Treatment is through castration.
As a dog owner, you may have rolled over onto your dog’s back. And while doing this, you may notice the nipples of your dog. And if it’s a male dog, you may be surprised to see such things. Well, you should know that both male and female dogs have nipples. And “how many nipples does a dog have?” it depends on the breed. You may find a flat as well as a smooth nipple in most of the dogs. However, the female dogs that are pregnant and nursing as well have bigger nipples to discharge the milk to feed on their litters.