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Can You Breed a Dog With an Umbilical Hernia



Reviewed By: Dr. Joel Robertson

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Breeding dogs comes with various considerations, one of which is the presence of health issues in potential breeding candidates.

A common concern among dog breeders is whether it is safe or ethical to breed a dog with an umbilical hernia.

In this article, we will explore the implications of breeding a dog with this condition, the risks involved, and the factors that should be taken into account when making such a decision.

What is an Umbilical Hernia in Dogs?

Can You Breed a Dog With an Umbilical Hernia

An umbilical hernia in dogs occurs when a portion of the pet’s abdominal lining or fat protrudes through the belly button or navel area.

It is a common condition that affects primarily puppies, but it can also occur in adult dogs.

The primary cause of this type of hernia is a weakness in the abdominal wall muscles that fail to close properly, which allows abdominal tissue to protrude through the opening.

In most cases, an umbilical hernia in dogs is harmless and may resolve on its own without treatment, especially as puppies grow and their abdominal muscles strengthen.

However, in some cases, the hernia can become larger, putting the dog at risk of experiencing complications such as intestinal obstruction or strangulation, which can be very dangerous and require immediate medical attention.

An umbilical hernia in a dog can easily be diagnosed by a veterinarian during a physical examination. Treatment of the hernia depends on whether there is a risk of complications or not.

In most cases, surgery is recommended to repair the hernia and prevent any future complications. Overall, pet owners should always keep an eye on their dog’s belly button area and seek veterinary care if they notice any swelling or protrusion.

Can You Breed a Dog With an Umbilical Hernia?

Breeding a dog with an umbilical hernia is not recommended. This is because an umbilical hernia, essentially a protrusion of abdominal tissue through a gap near the umbilicus, is a genetic condition and is usually inherited.

As such, breeding a dog with an umbilical hernia increases the likelihood of passing on the condition to offspring.

Additionally, dogs that have suffered from an umbilical hernia may have a weaker abdominal wall, which increases the risk of developing a hernia in future pregnancies.

Therefore, it is recommended that breeders avoid using dogs with a known history of umbilical hernias in their breeding programs.

It is also important to note that if a dog already has an umbilical hernia, the condition should be addressed before breeding to ensure that the dog is healthy and able to carry and whelp puppies safely.

Breeding dogs with potential health issues can lead to a lifetime of problems for the offspring and potential expenses for the breeder and new owner.

Ultimately, responsible breeding practices prioritize the health and well-being of all dogs involved.

What Causes Hernias in Puppies?

Understanding the causes of umbilical hernias in puppies is crucial for breeders and dog owners alike, as it helps them make informed decisions regarding breeding and overall care for their dogs.

Cause 1: Congenital Factors

A congenital umbilical hernia occurs when a puppy is born with an opening in the abdominal wall around the umbilical area. This can be caused by genetic factors, where the puppy inherits the predisposition for umbilical hernias from one or both parents.

Cause 2: Incomplete Closure of the Umbilical Ring

During the development of a puppy inside the womb, the umbilical ring should close before birth. However, in some cases, the closure is incomplete, leading to the formation of an umbilical hernia.

Cause 3: Trauma or Injury

Although less common, trauma or injury to the umbilical area during birth or shortly after can contribute to the development of a hernia in puppies. Rough handling or excessive pulling on the umbilical cord can cause damage to the area, resulting in a hernia.

Cause 4: Excessive Straining

Excessive straining due to constipation, coughing, or other physical activities can put pressure on the abdominal wall, potentially leading to the development of a hernia in puppies. While this is not a primary cause, it may exacerbate an existing weakness in the abdominal wall.

Are Umbilical Hernias Dangerous?

The majority of umbilical hernias are not dangerous and often do not require treatment, as they typically close on their own before the age of 4.

However, in rare cases, complications can arise. The hernia can become incarcerated, meaning the protruding intestine cannot be pushed back into the abdomen, causing discomfort and potentially leading to a blockage or decreased blood flow to the intestine.

In even rarer cases, the hernia can become strangulated, which is a medical emergency as it can cut off the blood supply to the bowel, leading to tissue death and infection. In such cases, immediate medical attention is needed.

Overall, while the majority of umbilical hernias are harmless, it is important to monitor them and seek medical attention if any complications arise.

Can an Umbilical Hernia in a Puppy Heal Itself?

While some veterinarians may recommend waiting to see if the hernia heals on its own, surgical intervention is often necessary to prevent further complications.

The surgery to repair an umbilical hernia in a puppy is fairly simple, but it should only be performed by a licensed veterinarian.

It involves cutting and removing the protruding portion of the intestine and then stitching up the abdominal wall.

After surgery, the puppy will need a few days to recover and must avoid strenuous activities for a couple of weeks.

It is important to note that an untreated umbilical hernia can create serious health concerns and that although some cases do heal on their own, it is always safer to have a veterinarian examine the puppy and recommend a course of action.

Treatment for Umbilical Hernias in Dogs

Treatment 1: Monitoring and Observation

For small, non-strangulated umbilical hernias, a veterinarian may recommend monitoring the condition over time. In some cases, the hernia may close on its own as the puppy grows. Regular check-ups are essential to ensure that the hernia does not worsen or cause complications.

Treatment 2: Manual Reduction

In certain situations, a veterinarian may attempt to gently manipulate the protruding tissue back into the abdominal cavity. This method is only suitable for small, non-strangulated hernias and should only be performed by a qualified professional.

Treatment 3: Surgical Repair

Surgical repair is the most common and effective treatment for umbilical hernias in dogs, especially if the hernia is large, strangulated, or causing complications.

The surgery involves making an incision around the hernia, pushing the protruding tissue back into the abdomen, and closing the opening in the abdominal wall with sutures. In many cases, this procedure can be performed during spaying or neutering to minimize the need for multiple surgeries.

Treatment 4: Postoperative Care

Following surgical repair of an umbilical hernia, proper postoperative care is crucial for the dog’s recovery. This may include pain management, wound care, and activity restrictions to prevent complications and ensure proper healing.

What Should I Do if My Puppy Has an Umbilical Hernia?

If you suspect your puppy has an umbilical hernia, it’s best to take them to the veterinarian for a proper diagnosis.

An umbilical hernia is a condition that occurs when the abdominal lining pushes through the belly button.

While these hernias aren’t typically harmful, they can cause discomfort for your furry friend. In some cases, surgical intervention may be necessary.

Your vet will assess the severity of the hernia and determine the best course of treatment.

If surgery is recommended, your puppy will need to be kept calm and restricted in their movements for a period of time to allow for proper healing.

Follow your veterinarian’s post-operative instructions carefully, and be sure to monitor your pet for any side effects or complications.

It’s also important to keep an eye on the hernia site as it heals, ensuring that there are no signs of infection or recurrence.

Overall, seeking veterinary attention for your puppy’s umbilical hernia is crucial for their health and well-being. While it may seem daunting, your vet will provide you with the necessary guidance and support to ensure that your pup is comfortable and on the road to recovery.

Types of Umbilical Hernias in Dogs

Type 1: Reducible Umbilical Hernias

A reducible umbilical hernia is a type where the protruding tissue can be manually pushed back into the abdominal cavity. These hernias are generally smaller and less severe, posing a lower risk of complications. However, they may still require monitoring or surgical intervention if they do not resolve on their own.

Type 2: Non-Reducible Umbilical Hernias

Non-reducible umbilical hernias occur when the protruding tissue cannot be manually pushed back into the abdomen. This type of hernia is generally larger and more severe, potentially leading to complications such as strangulation or incarceration. Surgical intervention is usually necessary to resolve a non-reducible umbilical hernia.

Type 3: Strangulated Umbilical Hernias

Strangulated umbilical hernias are a severe form of hernia in which the blood supply to the protruding tissue is compromised. This can lead to tissue necrosis, infection, and life-threatening complications. Strangulated hernias often require immediate surgical intervention to prevent further damage and ensure the dog’s well-being.

Type 4: Incarcerated Umbilical Hernias

An incarcerated umbilical hernia occurs when the protruding tissue becomes trapped within the opening of the abdominal wall, causing discomfort and potential complications. While not as severe as strangulated hernias, incarcerated hernias still pose a significant risk and typically require surgical intervention.

How Much Does It Cost to Fix an Umbilical Hernia in a Puppy?

The cost of repairing an umbilical hernia in a puppy can range from $300 to $1,500, depending on various factors such as the vet’s fees, location, and the severity of the hernia.

Some veterinarians may also charge for pre-operative lab work, post-operative care, and pain medication. Have your puppy checked by a veterinarian as soon as possible if you suspect they have an umbilical hernia.

The veterinarian will examine the puppy and determine whether surgery is necessary. In some cases, the hernia may heal on its own without intervention.

However, it’s crucial to keep a close eye on your puppy. Seek prompt veterinary attention if you notice any changes in its behavior, appetite, or energy levels.

What Dog Breeds Are Prone To Umbilical Hernia?

Certain dog breeds are more prone to umbilical hernias due to genetic predispositions. Some of these breeds include:

  1. Airedale Terrier
  2. Basenji
  3. Beagle
  4. Bichon Frise
  5. Cairn Terrier
  6. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
  7. Chihuahua
  8. Cocker Spaniel
  9. Dachshund
  10. French Bulldog
  11. Lhasa Apso
  12. Maltese
  13. Miniature Pinscher
  14. Pekingese
  15. Pomeranian
  16. Shih Tzu
  17. Toy Poodle
  18. Yorkshire Terrier

While these breeds may have a higher predisposition for umbilical hernias, any dog can potentially develop this condition.

Should a Breeder Sell a Puppy With a Hernia?

As a responsible breeder, it is not recommended to sell a puppy with a hernia. A hernia is a medical condition where a part of an organ protrudes through the wall of the organ that normally contains it.

It can be painful and can cause complications such as strangulation, where the blood supply to the organ is compromised.

While hernias can be corrected through surgery, it is still an additional expense and risk for the new owner. It is also important to note that puppies with hernias may have a higher risk of developing hernias later in life.

As a breeder, it is our responsibility to ensure that we are breeding healthy puppies with no pre-existing medical conditions.

Selling a puppy with a hernia not only puts the puppy at risk but also the new owner and their family. It can also damage the reputation of the breeder, and discourage future buyers from adopting from them.


What is an umbilical hernia in dogs?

An umbilical hernia in dogs is a type of hernia where a portion of the abdominal contents, such as the intestine, protrudes through the umbilical ring or opening in the abdominal muscles around the belly button.

Can you breed a dog with an umbilical hernia?

It is not recommended to breed a dog with an umbilical hernia. It can be a hereditary defect and passed on to the offspring. Breeding dogs with known health issues should be avoided to prevent the occurrence and spread of genetic disorders.

Is it safe for a dog with an umbilical hernia to have puppies?

Dogs with umbilical hernias can have puppies, but it is not advisable. The pregnancy and delivery can put pressure on the hernia and increase the risk of complications, such as the hernia getting stuck or torn.

Can a puppy have an umbilical hernia?

Yes, puppies can be born with an umbilical hernia. It is a common type of hernia in puppies and usually resolves on its own by the time they are 6 months old.

Does a small umbilical hernia in a puppy need to be repaired?

Most small umbilical hernias in puppies do not require surgical repair. They often close on their own as the puppy grows. However, large hernias or those that persist beyond 6 months may require surgery to prevent complications.

What are the treatment options for an umbilical hernia in dogs?

The treatment options for an umbilical hernia in dogs depend on the size and severity of the hernia. Small hernias that cause no discomfort or complications may be left alone and monitored. Larger or persisting hernias may require surgical repair, which typically involves suturing the abdominal muscles around the umbilical ring to close the defect.

Can an umbilical hernia be repaired during spay or neuter surgery?

Yes, an umbilical hernia can be repaired during spay or neuter surgery, especially if the hernia is small and easily accessible. However, larger hernias may require separate surgery for repair.

Are hernias in dogs genetic?

Yes, certain types of hernias in dogs can be genetic. The most common type of hernia in dogs is an inguinal hernia. This is caused by a defect in the inguinal ring and is often inherited from one or both parents.

In Conclusion

Breeding a dog with an umbilical hernia requires careful consideration and responsible decision-making.

Some umbilical hernias are minor and may not pose significant health risks. However, others can be severe and lead to complications.

It is essential to consult with a veterinarian to assess the severity of the hernia. They will determine if it has a genetic component that could be passed on to offspring.

Responsible breeders should prioritize the health and well-being of their dogs and future generations.

Please take the time and leave a comment below if this article helped you, or you have any additional questions.

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