Will My Puppy’s Hernia Go Away?

When you adopt a puppy, you take on quite a bit of responsibility, it’s true. You need to take care of everything for your pup. That includes getting nutritious puppy food, snacks, treats, toys, leashes, and all sorts of other dog-related stuff.

You also need to take care of your precious puppy’s overall health by grooming them, brushing their teeth, clipping their nails, and doing several other tasks. Plus, just like a five-year-old child, your puppy will have boundless energy that you will need to redirect into activities that aren’t destructive.

Just like a mother dog, it pays to occasionally take a closer look at your puppy to make sure that everything is okay. Check their eyes and ears to ensure they don’t have infections, check their paws for ingrown toenails or splinters, and check their fur for ticks and fleas.

While doing all this checking, you might notice something on your dog’s belly that concerns you, an umbilical hernia. I was thinking about this the other day when I saw my neighbor’s new (and adorable!) puppies. One of the pups had an umbilical hernia, and my neighbor asked me a question I frequently hear from readers like yourself, namely, will my puppy’s hernia go away?

The answer is that, yes, in most cases, a small, uncomplicated umbilical hernia will go away (i.e., close up) on its own by about the time your puppy reaches six months of age. Usually painless, veterinarians still aren’t sure what, exactly, causes a hernia in puppies. 

If your puppy’s hernia doesn’t go away on its own, they may need surgery. A complicated umbilical hernia that needs surgery is relatively unusual, thank goodness, but necessary if a portion of your pup’s intestines is protruding through the hernia. Again, this is unusual, but if it’s affecting your precious pup, you should see a vet right away.

Now that you know that, in most cases, your puppy’s hernia will go away, you might have other questions about this particular subject. What are the risks of an umbilical hernia in puppies, for example, and what are the treatments for them. If so, please continue reading. I’ve got the answer to those questions below, plus real-world advice on what to do if your puppy has an umbilical hernia. 

Risks of an Umbilical Hernia in Puppies

The risks of an umbilical hernia depend on which of the two types it is, an uncomplicated umbilical hernia or a complicated umbilical hernia. Let’s take a closer look at each and its respective risks.

Uncomplicated Umbilical Hernia

This first type of umbilical hernia typically involves a slight swelling around your puppy’s umbilicus (their doggy belly button). The swelling, which isn’t painful in the majority of cases, tends to come and go over the first few weeks and months of their life.

The risks posed by an uncomplicated umbilical hernia are quite low, thankfully. In fact, most uncomplicated umbilical hernias will eventually close on their own and never need any surgical intervention.

Complicated Umbilical Hernia

The second type of umbilical hernia, a complicated umbilical hernia, is when part of your puppy’s intestines (or another organ or portion of their abdomen) have passed through the opening in the umbilicus. In many cases, whatever has pushed through then gets stuck or entrapped in the opening.

The risks a complicated umbilical hernia brings are much greater than an uncomplicated umbilical hernia. They can often be painful and cause quite a bit of swelling near your puppy’s umbilicus, as well as warmth which you can feel with your hand when you touch their belly. (That’s from inflammation.)

A complicated umbilical hernia can also cause your puppy to vomit frequently, lose their appetite, and, in some cases, even become depressed due to the constant pain.

Even worse, however, is that a complicated umbilical hernia can pose a risk to the life of your puppy. For example, if whatever organ penetrating through the hernia gets strangled and loses its blood supply, it could cause a cascade of organ shutdowns and, sadly, death. 

In most complicated umbilical hernia cases, it’s essential you bring your puppy to your local vet for surgery as soon as you can. 

Treatments for Puppy Umbilical Hernias

As I mentioned earlier, an uncomplicated umbilical hernia will usually resolve on its own without the need for medical intervention. Occasionally, an uncomplicated umbilical hernia can become complicated, but it’s quite rare.

A complicated umbilical hernia, however, should be treated immediately. In the vast majority of cases, surgery will be required to physically push any contents that have come through the hernia back into your puppy’s abdomen and then surgically close the hole in their umbilicus.

How Much Does it Cost to have Surgery on my Puppy’s Umbilical Hernia?

The good news about surgery for a complicated umbilical hernia is that it doesn’t cost a huge amount of money. Most veterinarians charge between $200 and $300 for this type of surgery. 

One thing to keep in mind, though, is that, depending on your veterinarian, you might be able to get a “package deal” on having your puppy’s hernia surgery and having them spayed or neutered at the same time. It won’t save you a huge amount of money but, as they say, every little bit helps. 

Can You Breed a Puppy with an Umbilical Hernia?

While you certainly can breed a puppy that’s had an umbilical hernia, many dog experts and veterinarians believe it’s a poor choice. The reason why is that scientific evidence points to hernias being genetic, which means they can be passed down from a mother or father dog to their puppy.

If you know your puppy has had an umbilical hernia, you might want to have them spayed or neutered so that they can’t pass on the problem to the next generation. The reason is that, statistically, the chance of your puppy passing on their hernia problem to their puppies is quite high. 

This fact is one of the main reasons many veterinarians will give you a discount on umbilical hernia surgery if you have it done at the same time as having your puppy spayed or neutered.

Final Thoughts

I hear the question “will my puppy’s hernia go away?” less frequently than I used to, but it still is a concern for many new puppy parents. The good news is that, in most cases, umbilical hernias are the uncomplicated type, which typically resolve on their own. 

However, surgery is usually required if your puppy has a complicated umbilical hernia. If you’re not sure which one your puppy has, a visit to your local veterinarian is highly recommended.

I hope today’s blog on puppies and hernias has been very helpful, and you now have answers to all your questions. Please see my other blogs if you have more or want to learn more about being a fantastic puppy parent. 

All are packed with as much useful and actionable information as I could cram into them! It’s free knowledge that will help you to raise a healthy, happy, and well-adjusted dog who will be a great companion for years to come.