Having a dog is a truly amazing experience where you get to know different things about your dog’s body and health. You really get a good hand of the basics but when your male dog comes up with strange behavior and a swollen nipple, you easily become confused.
After all, your male dog doesn’t lactate and you certainly didn’t think about his nipples or check it out as often as you’d check out your female dog’s nipples.
So, you may be caught wondering, why exactly are my male dog’s nipples swollen and just how do I get this sorted out?
Well, your answers are right here!
I’ve been where you are twice already. Your male dog’s nipples could be swollen due to a simple irritation from playing, abdominal pain, anemia from diet food changes or could be, well, as you’d feared, something quite serious.
Don’t panic! In this post, I’ll take you through the possible causes of swollen, enlarged and or inflamed nipples in male dogs, just how many nipples should your male dog have, some helpful preventative tips and other important nipple information you definitely need to know.
Just relax and let’s dive in!
First off, common dog physiology tells us that all dogs, both male and female, have nipples just as both male and female humans have nipples.
The number of nipples on the male dog is visible on each side of the body and runs along their upper body. If you look carefully, you will notice that the nipples start in the chest and travel all the way to the groin area.
On the other hand, the number of nipples in a male dog will depend largely on the size of the dog. So if you have got a large dog, you will get about 10 nipples.
A smaller dog, however, will have 8 nipples. But the number of nipples which range from 6 to 10 is just an average as there can be some variation as to how many nipples your male dog could have.
Point is, don’t be alarmed if your male dog has more than 10 nipples.
Something interesting about dog nipples is that they have different names. These names represent their location on a dog’s body.
If a male dog has ten nipples, he will have a pair of cranial thoracic nipples, caudal thoracic nipples, cranial abdominal nipples, caudal nipples, and finally, a pair of inguinal nipples.
Enlarged male dog nipples? Here’s why
So you’ve noticed that your male dog’s nipples are swollen. Inflamed, swollen and or enlarged male dog nipples could indicate several things.
It’s vital to factor all of them in order to always confirm your suspicions when you go to the veterinarian.
To give you a proper list to go by and check your dog’s nipples for careful observation, here are some of the most common causes of swollen nipples:
Mastitis is an inflammation of the mammary glands in the breast that produce milk. Typically it is caused by a bacterial infection that’s largely found in nursing dogs, though it can be present in non-lactating female dogs and even some male dogs.
Mastitis can quickly change from a mild, localized infection to an abscess in the mammary gland or become a deadly systemic illness.
If you find that your male dog’s nipple is swollen, check for some of these symptoms of Mastitis: Lethargy, Weight loss, Restlessness, Crying, Dehydration, and Nipple Area is Lumpy; (area is warm to touch or touching the area causes pain), then you can take your dog to the vet.
Although treatment for mastitis in dogs often depends on the type and severity of the condition, your male dog should be in good health after some antibiotics and pain medication.
Irritation is a common thing in dogs. Pests and parasites could cause irritation on your dog’s body including his nipples.
A swollen and inflamed nipple in your male dog could be caused by any kind of irritation from the environment or food.
Hold on! Don’t go into panic mode here. Your male dog may not be suffering from a serious condition. You should rather start observing what your male dog has been doing lately.
Could be that your male dog has been playing on new textured surfaces which could have made the nipple swell up?
Mammary Tumors, though common in older female dogs that are seven years old, do occur in male dogs.
Tumors in male dogs are rare to find as there is a much lower risk (about 1 percent) of it happening. But it is best you do a thorough body check of your male dog.
Mammary tumors occur when there is a growth near the nipples and they come in different sizes and can grow in various places on your dog's abdomen.
If your male dog has been feeling unwell, eating less, seeming easily tired and lost some weight then these are leading cues that you should be observant of.
To be sure, feel around your male dog's abdomen for any sign of growth. If you find one or more growth on your dog's abdomen with any kind of discharge it might be a tumor.
Sometimes, these mammary tumors can also bleed. So If you notice that your male dog's nipples are open and bleeding, then you should reach out to a vet promptly.
Remember, 50% of all mammary tumors in dogs are benign so don't wait around.
Anemia is a condition that reduces the count of red blood cells in a dog’s bloodstream. The red blood cells bring oxygen from the lungs to other parts of the body.
Anemia could cause your male dog’s nipples to swell. It is highly possible that a change in your dog’s diet might have caused as it is also a factor involved in anemia.
The signs of anemia in a dog can be quite subtle and come on slowly but largely consists of little energy and tiredness.
The easiest way to check for anemia is to look out for changes in the color of your male dog’s gums. Dogs with anemia will have pale or whitish gums while normal healthy gums will be pink.
Symmetrical Hair Loss
There are many diseases and conditions which can cause your dog to lose hair. Some of these may be normal; others can mean something more serious is happening to your dog.
Your dog may have started experiencing hair loss as areas of newly exposed skin could become extra sensitive. Hair loss in male dogs can be a cause of enlarged nipples. This is often seen in male dogs.
If you notice swollen nipples on your male dog and see signs of hair loss, itching sometimes, stress, hormonal imbalance, the best thing to do is to reach out to a vet and get it sorted out.
Testicular cancer is one of the most common genital tumors found in male dogs. Such tumors can grow in one or both testicles. Most types of testicular cancer are malignant and could spread to other parts of the body.
Swollen nipples on male dogs can every now and then be a sign of testicular cancer. Any dog neutered or not can develop this type of cancer.
The best way is to notice if one of his testicles looks or feels abnormal. If you find any one or both of his testicles looking larger than normal or having a firm sometimes painful mass inside, you should see a vet immediately.
The good news is that although testicular cancer in male dogs is technically malignant, unlike other types of malignant tumors, these likely occur at an older age (average 10 years of age) and metastasis to other organs is rare. So don’t panic about it.
Another cause could be abdominal pain which is fairly common among dogs too. It may be difficult for you to recognize, but if you pay close attention to changes in your male dog’s behavior, you could spot it.
Look out for how much they are eating now, is it as usual, is he feeling well, lethargic and difference in posture? But if you aren’t sure, simply apply some gentle pressure on your male dog’s abdomen and assess his reaction.
My male dog nipples are swollen, what do i do?
This is the most important question dog owners ask and I asked too when my neutered male pug had swollen nipples.
Firstly, you need to stay calm. Don't panic! Even though your dog's in pain and you just want to make him feel better quickly.
The next thing to do is some observation of your own, dating back to before you noticed the swell or inflammation.
Check out for redness, heat in the area, or discharge. Try and recall if your dog has had any sudden change in his normal behavior such as not eating or drinking well, tiredness or any other unusual behaviors. Your observations will help you when you finally go to the vet.
Now, you are ready to see the vet. Explain what you've noticed to your vet and some tests will be done. While your vet may prescribe antibiotics for your male dog if it's an infection, he will also tell you how to try to ease your dog's discomfort while his nipples are swollen.
Another possible remedy involves applying warm compresses to your dog’s swollen nipples.
In my own experience, making your dog's environment comfortable goes a long way in helping him reduce the pain.
Ensure that his bed is reasonably padded so the nipple(s) won’t induce more pain.
How to prevent your dog’s nipples from being swollen
No dog owner wants his/her male dog to have swollen, inflamed or red nipples. Here are some tips on preventing your male dog from getting one:
Though you don't expect your male dog to have swollen or inflamed nipples, it does happen from time to time and could be just as serious as when it occurs in female dogs.
The primary thing is not to be scared for your male dog, but to get useful information by observing your male dog's nipples for abnormalities.
Also, try and make him a little comfy by padding his bed and place a warm compress over the swollen nipples. Most times, it's really nothing to worry about.
Always reach out to your veterinarian for help once you notice any change in the habits and on the body of your male dog.
Explain what the problem is after observation and seek advice on what next to do. If he needs to be brought it pronto, do so. Eventually, your male dog will be back in full health.
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Has your male dog ever suffered from swollen or inflamed nipples? How did you treat it? Do tell us in the comments below!