Umbilical Hernia in Dogs And Puppies: Symptoms, Surgical Costs

Unfortunately, not all puppies are born healthy.

About 10% of all puppies suffer an umbilical hernia.

This can already happen in the womb and in most cases means no chance for the baby dog.

But an umbilical hernia can also occur after birth.

In this article we explain when and how an umbilical hernia occurs, how to recognize an umbilical hernia in your dog and what to do then!

In a nutshell: What is an umbilical hernia and how do I recognize it?

An umbilical hernia occurs in about 10% of all puppies. West Highland Terriers, Basenjis and Airdale Terriers are more likely to have problems with this. An umbilical hernia in dogs is caused by weak connective tissue or a genetically caused umbilical opening that is too large.

You can recognize an umbilical hernia by a bulge on the lower abdomen. This is usually soft and elastic. If, on the other hand, it is hard and hot, you must take your dog to the vet immediately!

How does an umbilical hernia occur?

An umbilical hernia (umbilical hernia or hernia) can be caused by a genetically caused umbilical opening that is too large. Weak connective tissue can also lead to an umbilical hernia.

As the puppies grow in the womb, they are fed through the umbilical cord. After giving birth, the bitch bites through the umbilical cord and the hole in the abdominal muscles grows together again. But not always.

Good to know:

Some dog breeds, like the West Highland Terrier, Basenji or Airedale Terrier, are more likely to experience umbilical hernias than other breeds!

What are Symptoms & Signs?

How to recognize an umbilical hernia in your puppy:

If you notice a soft, movable bump on your lower abdomen, this may indicate an umbilical hernia.

The bumps can vary in size and be more or less noticeable depending on your posture.


If you notice that the bump on your dog’s lower abdomen is very warm or very hard, you need to see the vet immediately! In this case, your dog will also be in severe pain.

How is an umbilical hernia treated?

Only a veterinarian can decide whether your puppy’s umbilical hernia needs treatment or whether the motto is: wait and see.

It is quite possible that the bulge will recede on its own and no further complications will arise.

Depending on how serious the vet assesses the umbilical hernia, an operation may be necessary.

This is a routine operation. Dogs usually recover quickly and well from umbilical hernia surgery.


There is a rumor that you can massage an umbilical hernia and it will go away.

Please don’t try it, because you can also do the exact opposite with it and only make things worse!

Do umbilical hernias heal in puppies?

Not always.

That’s why it’s important and right that you take your dog to a vet if you notice a lump on his lower abdomen.

In some cases, an umbilical hernia in puppies grows together.

If left untreated, it can also cause life-threatening difficulties at a later point in time!

When does an umbilical hernia in a dog need surgery?

If your puppy has an obvious umbilical hernia, that doesn’t mean he needs surgery right away. If the umbilical hernia persists until after the 6th month of life, an operation will definitely be performed.

If the bump on the abdomen is very hot or very hard, your pooch falls under the EMERGENCY category!


Have your puppy’s umbilical hernia checked by a vet regularly.

Umbilical hernia surgery costs

The cost of umbilical hernia surgery varies widely.

It depends, among other things, on whether your dog is a risk patient (e.g. bulldogs, pugs and other flat snouts). So you can count on around 100 to 700 euros, depending on the state and the size of the operation.


Even if an umbilical hernia is quite common and umbilical hernia surgery is a routine procedure, you should not take it lightly.

Depending on the degree of the umbilical hernia, it can be life-threatening for your dog.

So if you notice a bump on your dog’s lower abdomen, be sure to take him to a vet!

Umbilical hernias usually heal on their own in most puppies. But it is not always the case and then your dog needs help.

Mary Allen

Written by Mary Allen

Hello, I'm Mary! I've cared for many pet species including dogs, cats, guinea pigs, fish, and bearded dragons. I also have ten pets of my own currently. I've written many topics in this space including how-tos, informational articles, care guides, breed guides, and more.

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