Male and female dogs are different. This may be the most prominent from a reproductive and pregnancy point of view. And when it comes to things regarding the continuation of the breed, it might be safe to assume that the bitches have nipples and the males do not. But it’s true?
The short answer: Yes, they do!
All dogs, both male and female, have nipples. As in the case of women, the nipples in a male dog manifest side by side and run along their torso. You will see the nipples begin in the chest and travel all the way to the groin area.
The number of nipples in a dog will depend to a large extent on the size of the dogs. If you have a large dog, you will get about ten nipples, while a smaller dog will have eight nipples. This is in fact an average number, since there may be some variation as to how many nipples it manifests.
What’s more, nipples have different names. These names are representative of their location in the body. If a male dog has ten nipples, he will have a pair of cranial thoracic nipples, a pair of caudal thoracic nipples, a pair of cranial abdominal nipples, a pair of caudal nipples, and a pair of inguinal nipples.
That’s great and everything, but they do not serve a purpose?
Like human beings, the main purpose of nipples is to secrete milk to young people. Also like humans, male dogs do not have the capacity to produce the milk necessary for their nutrition. As such, they are suspended in what is commonly known as a rudimentary state.
So why are they in a male dog if they really do not do anything? The most logical explanation for this may have its roots in the fetal development of the dog. We can check this in a way by looking at our own embryonic development.
When humans develop embryos, they start out because they do not have distinctive characteristics. This changes when the sex hormones begin to flow, which causes sexual differentiation. This same process happens in the canine world about a month after conception.
It is believed that the body model includes nipples before sexual differentiation occurs. As such, the body does not develop nipples as arbitrarily as it may seem. It’s just a matter of what happens during these last stages of dog development that determines whether the nipples will work or not.
This does not necessarily mean that a woman’s nipples are fully functional at birth, either. In fact, it really is not much of a distinction between male and female nipples during the puppy stage. This distinction is activated when the female’s sex hormones finally prosper, causing the nipples to enlarge and finally secreting milk.
Not just ignore them – they could produce an important signal
Since nipples male dogs are more or less for the show and nothing else, it might be easy to accept that they are there and ignore them. And normally, the nipples offer you nothing out of the ordinary from a visual point of view. However, you should not ignore it completely, as it could give you a clue that something is wrong with your dog.
The most particularly alarming change involves the size of the nipples. If it is possible to observe the nipples get enlarged in your male dog, it could be a symptom of testicular cancer. This type of cancer can affect castrated dogs, as well as intact dogs, although the instance of the disease is much less with the first than it is.
If you notice enlarged nipples in your dog, you may want to look for other symptoms normally associated with the disease. Other signs that your dog may be affected including swelling in the pain in the abdominal area, anemia, hair loss and symmetrical. In some cases, the condition could attract other male dogs.
If these other overt signs do not hesitate – schedule an appointment with your veterinarian immediately. A veterinarian will perform a complete examination to rule out other conditions that may be linked to these symptoms.
If you have an intact male, and if he has testicular cancer, castration is usually the only treatment that is needed. In neutered dogs, your dog may have to go through chemotherapy. The good news is that testicular cancer has a low rate of metastasis – that is, the ability to spread to other parts of the body.
My dog’s nipples changed color! Should I be alarmed?
Another common thing that you may observe while looking at your male dog’s nipples is that they change color over a period of time. This may seem like a great thing and that might scare you a little.
But do not worry – it’s more than likely that just a sign of your dog getting older. Nipples in both male and female dogs change color to a dark tone as they age. While a change in color can be a sign of another condition, such as mastitis in bitches, it’s nothing to worry about with males.
Make sure that the nipple you are seeing is a nipple
If you are not used to scrubbing your male dog for nipples, you may end up mistaking a nipple for a tick. There is no shame in this – after all, anything that seems out of the ordinary could and probably should scare you a little. However, it is not a simple test you can do to see what it was.
In order to make the proper determination, you should take a look to see how the protrusion is positioned. If you are partially buried in the flesh of your dog, which is probably a tick. If it is completely attached, then it could be a nipple (or even a mole or a scab).
It’s usually no big deal
Unless you see some inflammation, your male dog’s nipples are no big deal. They are a physiological relic that was ready to work, but never received the call to action due to hormones. Also, it does not seem like your dog to mind there – why should you feel different?