The question, how many nipples does a dog have, is often a result of scratching your little pooch’s belly. Your run your fingers along his/her belly and feel the tiny, bumpy nipples. And you belong to the curious category of pet parents. Meaning you like to get to the bottom of everything, just like me.
So how about getting to know everything there is about dog nipples? Sounds like a fun idea when you have a four-legged creature!
Firstly, What Are Dog Nipples For?
Before I tell you how many nipples does a dog have, how about first finding out the sole purpose of dog nipples?
Female mammals have nipples that produce and secrete milk for feeding their offspring. This happens in humans too, women of course. So the same role is adopted by female dogs for her puppies.
But as a typical dog lover, you might not see that. It’s because we don’t even think about milk production in female dogs since most of them are spayed these days. That means they don’t develop mammary glands as they’re supposed to.
During heat, a female dog’s mammary glands tend to swell up. Either then or when she is lactating. But here’s the thing. Usually, nipples are less pronounced and smaller on a spayed female dog. In comparison to the more pronounced and much larger nipples of female dogs that have not been spayed.
The color of nipples ranges from black to pink. Actually, it all depends on the color and breed of your furry friend.
How Many Nipples Does A Dog Have?
The answer generally is based on the breed of your dog. More often than not, the average number is between 6 and 10.
Another thing you should know is that the greater population of dogs is symmetrical. What does this mean? That most dogs have the same number of nipples on both the sides. But this doesn’t imply that odd-numbered nipples are abnormal.
So many dog nipples feel like a blessing in disguise when the female canine has a large litter to feed. And by large, I mean as large as 8 puppies. To feed these many puppies, 6-10 nipples seem like a great option.
Did you know that felines have even larger litters? But even cats have nipples between 6 and 10. Humans, on the other hand, have only 2 nipples. Since they can have only 1-2 babies at one time. Even horses offer 2 nipples for their 2 foals.
What About Male Dogs, Do They Have Nipples Too?
The answer to this commonly asked question is YES. Don’t men have nipples? If the male human species does, then why won’t male dogs!
Let me bring to your attention that both female and male dogs have embryos that follow a similar blueprint during their first few weeks of birth. And it’s during this phase that the formation of nipples takes place. After that comes the development of gender-specific genitalia. And by that time, the nipples would have already developed.
Medical Problems That Affect Dog Nipples
1. Mammary Cancer
You know how many nipples does a dog have now. So what about finding out the potential medical conditions pertaining to dog nipples?
Even in humans, the mammary tissue is prone to developing cancer. This is why it’s very important for women to get checked regularly. So the same applies to female dogs. Any noticeable or unusual lumps or bumps require immediate medical attention.
Mammary cancer is more likely to affect female dogs that are not spayed. Or those that were spayed after a few years. Hormones that form during the heat phase of female canines increase the size of mammary glands. And this sometimes tends to produce abnormal growth, which might cause cancer.
It may be uncommon to spot mammary gland cancer in male dogs. But not impossible.
Yet another medical problem that affects the nipples of dogs. In this case, both male and female dogs. Mastitis is a life-threatening bacterial infection if you don’t treat it immediately and properly.
Once again, female dogs are more likely to suffer from mastitis. It’s the most common among intact female dogs that have just delivered. Or those that have gone through pseudopregnancy at the time of their heat phase.
But male dogs are not completely immune to this particular medical condition. Mastitis is something that occurs as a result of horrible sanitary conditions. And causes like systemic infection and offspring-inflicted trauma as well.
Some of the most common symptoms of mastitis include the swelling up of mammary glands, lack of appetite, and lethargy. If your female dog has just given birth to puppies, then she may stop feeding them. So malnourished puppies are also an indicator of the condition.
As for the treatment of mastitis, you should talk to your vet about it. I’m no trained medical professional to offer expert advice or tips. The most I can say is take your precious pet to the doctor right away. Because if you fail to treat mastitis, it can kill your little creature by septic shock.
But please don’t be afraid. Mastitis can be easily treated when detected early. And full recovery is also a high possibility.
How to Recognize Symptoms of Serious Illness in Dogs
So That’s The Thing About Dog Nipples!
As for how many nipples, the number is often anywhere between 6 and 10.
It’s not the fact that dogs have nipples that is weird. What’s weird is how many nipples does a dog have. And where the nipples are located. For example, my dog has some under her legs.
So why does she have nipples there in the first place? It’s because nipples typically follow lines during the formation of the placenta. Generally speaking, these lines start from the arms till the feet. So that should explain why your female or male dog has nipples in unusual places.
But let’s say you spot a fleshy lump in an odd place on your dog’s body. Then check if the other side has the same fleshy bump. If there isn’t an identical nipple there, right opposite, then it’s better to get it checked at the vet.
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