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Everything you need to know about an English bulldog with an umbilical hernia

Updated: Dec 29, 2021

English bulldog with an umbilical hernia

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Does your English Bulldog have a protrusion from their abdomen? If they do, you may have an English Bulldog with an umbilical hernia.

The good news is that an umbilical hernia is most likely not to be a threat to your dogs health, and only in very rare cases can an umbilical hernia affect your dogs health.

What is an umbilical hernia in dogs?

An umbilical hernia occurs when there is a protrusion of the abdominal lining, abdominal fat, or a portion of abdominal organ(s) through the area around the umbilicus (also called the navel or belly button).

This area in dogs is located on their underside just below the ribcage.

Can an English Bulldog live with a umbilical hernia?

An English Bulldog can live with an umbilical hernia. Umbilical hernias can heal themselves whilst your dog is still a puppy, and will typically heal themselves before your bulldog puppy turns 6 months old.

If your English Bulldog is older than 6-months, then it may require surgery.

Is a umbilical hernia dangerous for dogs?

Most umbilical hernias are not dangerous for dogs, however in some rare cases the protruding intestines may become trapped and strangulated. If this does happen, then your dog will need emergency surgery.

What are the side effects of umbilical hernias in dogs?

There are two different types of umbilical hernias in dogs, and depending on which type of umbilical hernia your English Bulldog has, will depend on the type of side effects that your dog will be suffer from.

A complicated hernia is where the protrusion may have become trapped or strangulated, the side effects for this are:

  • Pain and warmth, especially at the site of the umbilical swelling

  • Vomiting

  • Lack of appetite

  • Depression

An uncomplicated hernia is where there is a soft swelling in the umbilical area. Other than the swelling, your dog will likely not suffer from any other side effects.

What are the common causes of umbilical hernias in English Bulldogs?

The most common cause of an umbilical hernia in English Bulldogs is it being inherited. A umbilical hernia can also be caused by trauma.

How do you treat an umbilical hernia in dogs?

Some umbilical hernias will heal themselves, however if not, they will need surgery to correct them.

If an umbilical hernia is going to close up and health itself, this will usually happen before your puppy reaches the age of 6 months old. If your puppy is older than 6-months, its unlikely that it will treat itself.

Small umbilical hernias may not need surgical correction but larger hernias should be repaired to remove the risk of complications.

Umbilical hernia recovery for English Bulldogs

If your English Bulldog required surgery for their umbilical hernia, carefully follow the veterinarian’s follow up instructions to ensure full recovery. Give your pet time and space to rest, and closely monitor him for adverse reactions.

Check the incision site daily for drainage and redness, as they are signs of infection and you will need to see the veterinarian as soon as possible. If the incision doesn’t appear to be holding, or if any fat or intestinal material protrudes through the incision, seek attention immediately. During the first few days after surgery, feed carefully. Withhold food for a day if your dog vomits. Your dog’s appetite will normalise in a few days. Limit your dog’s physical activity for ten days in order to ensure proper healing. Take your dog outside on a leash to relieve itself, and do not let her run, jump or play.


If you have an English Bulldog with an umbilical hernia, then you don't need to stress. The majority of umbilical hernias that English Bulldogs suffer from are completely harmless and won't pose a threat to your bulldogs health.

For your English Bulldog with an umbilical hernia, we always recommend seeking professional advice from your vet.

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