You may feel uncomfortable asking your vet how many nipples does a dog have. But it is an important question to know your dog well. Mammalian animals have several raised areas on the surface of their mammary tissue, called nipples. In female dogs, they allow milk to flow from mammary tissues for the young ones to suck on.
When it comes to appearance, dog teats are small, round, and raised bumps. They are barely visible, usually covered under the dog’s coat. You may only feel them when you part the dog’s hair. A female dog who is nursing her puppies or is pregnant has more pronounced teats than a male dog or a female without puppies. These teats are located on the underside of a dog’s belly, appearing in a line from his sheath up his stomach.
How Many Nipples Does a Dog Have?
So, how many nipples does a dog have? Does the number of teats differ based on gender? An average dog may have between 8 – 10 nipples. There are usually two rows with an equal number of teats on both sides. It is completely normal for a dog to have more or less than the usual number of nipples. Some dogs may even have odd-numbered nipples. This is alright and is nothing to be concerned about.
It is also noteworthy that the number of nipples a dog has is not related to his gender, age, size, or breed. Contrary to popular belief, it is not possible to predict a puppy’s gender based on the number of nipples. Also, you cannot predict the number of puppies a dog may have by counting her nipples.
Are Swollen Nipples a Cause of Concern?
If you notice your dog has swollen nipples—they look tender or are red— there may be some underlying medical issue. You should immediately consult your vet—only he or she can tell you what needs to be done. There can be several reasons for a dog’s nipples to swell.
It is common for nursing dogs to develop Mastitis, but it can affect male dogs too. When suffering from Mastitis, dogs’ nipples can become inflamed, and the mammary glands become painful. It is caused by a bacterial infection. A nursing dog’s nipples can become infected when a puppy scratches the skin while feeding. The scratching makes the skin cut open and allows bacteria to infect the area. Unhygienic living conditions also contribute to canine Mastitis.
Female dogs have swollen nipples during pregnancy. The nipples become more pronounced, more pink than usual, and also bigger during the time a female dog is pregnant. This happens to prepare the mother for feeding her puppies when they are born.
It is common to mistake a tick on your dog’s skin for a nipple. Ticks are approximately the size of an apple’s seed before getting attached to a dog’s skin. Once they get attached and feed on the dog’s blood, they increase in size. If you carefully run your hands through your dog’s hair, you will feel a small bump on your dog’s skin. This could be a tick. They are commonly found in hairless areas such as a dog’s head, neck, belly, armpits, and groin area. If you are unsure if it is a tick or a bump, consult your vet.
Dogs’ nipples can also swell if they are suffering from skin allergies. Contact dermatitis often results in swollen nipples in dogs. Thus, it is important to look for other signs of an allergy if you notice your dog has swollen teats.
What to Do If You Notice Your Dog Has Swollen Nipples?
If your dog has swollen nipples, contact your vet straight away. It is always better to be careful about your pet’s health and well-being. Tell your vet about your findings and get their expert opinion on what needs to be done next. Until you reach out to a vet, you should stop touching your dog’s nipples, as it may be painful for them. Touching it can also irritate the already swollen and tender nipples and cause infection.
So, we hope by reading this detailed article, you now know how many nipples does a dog have. You will better understand what is normal and what is unusual about a dog’s teats. Additionally, this information will help you spot unusual problems and health issues early on.