You are scratching your dog’s belly when you notice something strange.
They seem to have a nipple missing. In fact, there’s a slight hole where the nipple should be.
Don’t worry. This is simply an inverted nipple.
Dog Inverted Nipple
Dogs having an inverted nipple isn’t a cause for concern. They are typically as healthy as any other dog. The biggest concern is that the nipple can become infected if they aren’t properly cleaned. It’s a bit more concerning in mothers who are nursing puppies, but it can usually be managed easily.
What an Inverted Nipple is and Why Dogs Have Them
An inverted nipple is what you think it is. Instead of sticking out, the nipple goes in rather than sticking out.
The easiest comparison one can make is to think about belly buttons.
While some people have belly buttons sticking out, known as an outie. Others have a navel that goes in, leaving a hollow area. This is known as an innie.
An inverted nipple is simply an innie, rather than an outie.
The good news is that an inverted nipple is nothing to worry about. It’s not a sign that your canine buddy’s experiencing an illness or what.
Surprisingly, both female and male dogs can have inverted nipples. It seems to be rare but is probably more common than we think.
After all, how often do you inspect your dog’s nipples?
Inverted Nipple Concerns
Inverted nipples themselves aren’t a major concern. But, they can cause a few issues.
1) Infected Nipple
Infection is a major concern if your dog has inverted nipples. Let’s go back to the belly button comparison.
Imagine having an innie, and never cleaning it. Chances are good that it would become infected over time.
This can also happen to your dog’s nipples. Inverted nipples typically dip inwards.
Their position means that your canine companion can’t clean them properly on their own. Their tongue’s too big to fit inside the hole of the inverted nipple.
Over time, inverted nipples build-up sebum, which is similar to ear wax. Sebum is naturally released by your dog’s body. They remove it with their tongue when licking themselves.
However, they can’t access the inserted nipple, so the sebum builds up. Debris can also get trapped in the area. This can cause irritation and even infection of the nipple.
Signs of an infected nipple include a foul smell, swelling, heat, and discharge. If you notice these signs, your pooch needs to visit the vet soon.
Mastitis can also develop from an infected nipple. Mastitis is an infection of the mammary ducts in the breast.
All dogs have them, including males. When a female prepares to nurse, these glands begin to produce milk.
When mastitis occurs, the breast will appear swollen and warm to the touch. It will also cause the dog pain.
2) Nursing Mothers with Inverted Nipples
Nursing canine mothers are at a higher risk of experiencing complications from inverted nipples. First, dog puppies are unable to nurse from inverted nipples.
Depending on how many puppies were born into the litter, and the number of working nipples the mother has, puppies may not be fed enough.
This can cause puppies to be underweight and malnourished. If not fed properly, the puppies may die.
Some puppies will naturally be stronger than others. This means that some puppies will get functioning nipples, while smaller or weaker puppies will get little to no nourishment.
Inverted nipples are more susceptible to infection, and this includes mastitis. If a nursing mother develops mastitis, she may be unable to nurse properly, or at all.
What to Do About Inverted Nipples
Generally, no treatment is needed for inverted nipples. You will need to groom them carefully.
However, infections do require treatment. There are also special considerations for nursing mothers.
1) Cleaning Inverted Nipples
The most crucial part of caring for a dog with inverted nipples is grooming. To prevent infection and assaults on your nose, the inverted nipples must be cleaned.
You can do this with doggie wipes or cotton swabs. If it’s the first time you’re doing the cleaning, you may encounter a lot of build up.
It’s best to clean the area after giving them a bath. Allow the warm water and soap to soften any build up.
If it’s still difficult to remove, you can use olive or coconut oil. Oil the cotton swab and rub the inverted nipple.
Allow the oil to sit on the nipple for one minute, and then try to remove the build up with a clean swab.
The nipple may also look similar to a pimple or cyst. Hence, you’ll need to squeeze it gently to remove the material from the nipple.
After the first cleaning, you should clean the nipple at least once every 1 to 2 weeks to prevent sebum from building up again.
If you use doggie wipes, the cleanser is already included. If you use a q tip, you can wet the q tip and use a drop of mild dog shampoo if needed.
2) Nursing Mothers with Inverted Nipples
If you have a nursing mother with inverted nipples, you may have to help feed the puppies.
Your vet is the best person to make this decision, and they can guide you on what and how much to feed the puppies.
Supplemental feeding is also needed when a mother has a large litter because there’s not enough milk for all of them.
You can expect to feed the puppies every few hours with a milk replacer formula designed for dogs.
3) Infected Inverted Nipples
If your dog has signs of mastitis or an infected nipple, it will need veterinary care.
Your vet may provide an oral antibiotic, a topical cream, or both to treat the infection.
Frequently Asked Questions about Dog Inverted Nipple
Why did my dog’s nipples suddenly become inverted?
If your dog’s nipples suddenly became inverted, this is a cause for concern. It may be completely normal, but it can also be an infection sign or even breast cancer.
How can I tell if a nipple is inverted?
An inverted nipple can look a bit like a pimple, or even a tick. The best way for you to tell is to check the other side. If there’s a nipple across from the area, you can safely assume your dog has an inverted nipple.
Why is my dog missing a nipple?
Dogs’ nipples are typically symmetrical, with the same number of nipples on both sides. However, missing a nipple is common in dogs. This is simply a genetic quirk and no cause for concern. Uneven nipples can occur in all dogs, male or female.
Conclusion Dog Inverted Nipple
Dog inverted nipple requires careful monitoring and cleaning. You should watch for signs of infection. If you have a nursing mother, you should watch for signs of mastitis.