Home » Dog Care Tips » Inverted Nipple In Dogs: Should You Be Worried? (Helpful Tips)

Inverted Nipple In Dogs: Should You Be Worried? (Helpful Tips)

Pawscessories is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you. Learn more.

An Inverted nipple in dogs is a condition that can cause a lot of worry for dog owners. It seems strange and can be accompanied by other symptoms that make it seem even more problematic.

So, what exactly is an inverted nipple in dogs?

An inverted nipple is simply a nipple that has become turned inward so that it points back into the dog’s body rather than outwards. This can happen to one or both nipples and can occur in dogs of any age, breed, or gender. This is quite common but most noticeable in nursing or pregnant dogs.

In this post, we will discuss what inverted nipples are, why they happen, and how to treat them. We will also cover some tips on preventing infection and keeping your dog’s nipples clean and healthy!

Let’s dive in.

inverted nipples in dogs

What Is An Inverted Nipple In Dogs?

An inverted nipple is a nipple that is turned inward so that it points back into the dog’s body rather than outwards. This occurs in dogs of any age, breed, or gender and can happen to one of both nipples. They are just the regular canine nipple but upside down.

Why Do Dogs Get Inverted Nipples?

Though it might be strange to find your dog’s nipple pointing inwards, it is quite common for male and female dogs to get inverted nipples.

Here are the most common reasons a dog’s nipples become inverted:

Born With Them

Some dogs are born with one or both nipples inverted. This is not something that needs to be treated and is nothing to worry about.


inverted nipples in pregnant dog

A pregnant or nursing dog’s nipples might become noticeably inverted due to the increased amount of milk they produce. This is normal and should resolve itself after the dog gives birth or weans their puppies.


An injury to the chest or breast area can cause the nipple to become inverted. If your dog has had any recent trauma to this area, it could have caused their nipple to invert.

Tumors or Cysts

Tumors or cysts can form around the nipple and cause it to become inverted. If you notice any lumps or bumps around your dog’s nipples, be sure to have them checked out by a vet.


In some cases, cancer can cause the nipple to become inverted. This is most common in older dogs, and if you notice any changes in your dog’s nipples, be sure to have them checked out by a vet.

Is It Normal For Dogs To Have Inverted Nipples?

inverted dog nipples

Yes, inverted nipples are normal in dogs and do not usually indicate a medical problem. In fact, about 20-25% of all dogs have at least one inverted nipple. So if you are worried about your dog’s nipples, just know that this is a unique part of your dog’s body.

However, that’s not to say inverted nipples cant cause problems. In fact, dogs with inverted nipples are more susceptible to infections like Mastitis. This is because bacteria can more easily enter the breast tissue through an inverted nipple.

In addition, nursing dogs with inverted nipples may have trouble getting their puppies to latch on and nurse properly. This can lead to weight loss in the puppies and/or poor milk production in the mother.

Here are some instances that may warrant further investigation into your pup’s inverted nipples:

  • Suppose your dog has recently had a litter of puppies. In that case, it is not uncommon for their nipples to become inverted due to the stretching and weight gain that occurs during pregnancy. However, if the nipples do not return to normal within a few weeks after giving birth, you should take your dog to the vet for an examination.
  • If your dog is already an adult and only recently had a change in nipple appearance, it is worth taking them to the vet for an examination as this could indicate an underlying medical condition.
  • If your dog has any nipple swelling, discharge, or redness, or you notice them licking or biting at their nipples more than usual, this could indicate a worry some condition such as Mastitis. This is a serious mammary gland infection that can be fatal if left untreated. If you notice these symptoms, take your dog to the vet immediately.

What Should You Do If Your Dog Has Inverted Nipples?

Inverted Nipple In Dogs

If your dog has inverted nipples, there is no need to do anything unless you notice any of the symptoms mentioned above.

However, keeping an eye on your dog’s nipples and checking them regularly for any changes is important.

You should keep them clean to avoid infections like Mastitis and check them for any lumps or bumps that could indicate a tumor or cyst. Otherwise, if your dog is not experiencing any problems, there is no need to worry.

If you are concerned about your dog’s inverted nipples or notice any changes, take them to the vet for an examination.

The vet will likely do a physical examination and may order some tests such as x-rays or ultrasounds to rule out any underlying health problems. In most cases, inverted nipples are benign and nothing to worry about.

How To Treat Inverted Nipples On A Dog

When a dog has inverted nipples, the only real risk is two folds.

The first is that since the nipple is inverted, it can be more difficult for puppies to nurse. This can become problematic for some puppies in the litter if they cannot get a good latch. For treating this issue, we have a whole section below covering this.

The second concern is that it’s easier for bacteria to enter the breast tissue through an inverted nipple, leading to infections like Mastitis. A substance called sebum helps protect the nipple from bacteria, but when nipples are inverted, this sebum can get trapped and cause an infection. 

The best way to treat inverted nipples is to clean them regularly with warm water and mild soap. This will help remove any sebum or bacteria build-up that could lead to an infection.

So it’s important to clean them regularly to prevent any sort of infection.

How To Properly Clean Inverted Dog Nipples

If you have a dog with inverted nipples, it’s essential to keep them clean to prevent infection.

The best way to do this is using a cotton swab or soft cloth soaked in warm water. Gently clean around the area, and be sure to dry it well afterward.

You can also use a mild dog shampoo if you need to, but be sure to rinse it all off afterward.

It’s also important to check the area regularly for any lumps, bumps, or discharge that could indicate an infection.

How To Help A Female Dog With Inverted Nipples Trying To Nurse Her Puppies

puppies nursing mother with inverted nipples

Most intact females with a litter will have fully developed nipples; however, some may become inverted.

This can create problems when puppies begin nursing. Smaller, weaker puppies may be pushed aside by the bigger pups and have difficulty latching on properly. This means they could miss out on important nutrients.

If the female dog only has 6 protruding nipples that puppies can properly latch on to, but there are 10 puppies, some will miss out. If a puppy misses out for too long, it can quickly become a life-threatening situation.

So here is what you can do in this situation to help:

  • Reposition the mother dog in a way that makes accessing her protruding nipples easy for the dogs. Some female dogs will lay on their side, which can conceal some nipples. If the nipples being hidden are the protruding nipples, you’ll want to reposition her.
  • Use a clean, soft cloth to help stimulate blood flow to the area and make the nipples more pronounced. You can do this by gently rubbing the site in a circular motion.
  • If you have a puppy that is especially small or weak, you may need to manually rotate the puppies. This way, all puppies get an equal amount of milk. This prevents bigger, stronger puppies from hogging all the food and leaving the smaller pups out to dry.

In addition, keep an eye on the mother dog’s inverted nipples. Pregnant and nursing dogs with inverted nipples are at a greater risk of developing Mastitis. The milk accumulation process can cause bacteria to build up and infect the area.

How To Treat A Dog With Mastitis

mastitis in dogs

If you think your dog may have an infection, it’s important to take them to the vet immediately.

Mastitis is a severe mammary gland infection that is usually treated with an oral antibiotic and pain medication. This is the ideal treatment since your dog can stay at home with her puppies. 

In addition, veterinarians may recommend hand-milking the infected gland. This can alleviate discomfort while also encouraging blood flow and promoting healing. Hand-milking would be needed every six hours for this type of treatment.

In severe cases, your dog may need to be hospitalized and given intravenous antibiotics.

Mastitis can be fatal if left untreated, so getting treatment as soon as possible is important.

Other Frequently Asked Questions

Why Does My Dog’s Nipple Look Weird?

There are several reasons why your dog’s nipple may look abnormal. It could be anything from an infection, an inverted nipple, to a tumor. While an inverted nipple is not usually a cause for concern, some other conditions could be. Your dog should see a vet if they have a mass or lump around them, discharge, swelling, or redness.

Can Inverted Nipples Be Fixed?

There is no “fix” for inverted nipples. They are a unique quirk some dogs develop. In some cases, like pregnancy, they go away on their own, but for the most part, they are permanent. However, there are things you can do so your dog is comfortable and their inverted nipples are not causing any health concerns.

What Does Mastitis Look Like In Dogs?

Mastitis is an infection of the mammary gland and can be quite serious. Dogs with inverted nipples are more susceptible to developing Mastitis. Symptoms include discharge, redness, swelling, and pain. Mastitis can be serious and even life-threatening if left untreated, so it is important to get help as soon as possible.

Are Mammary Tumors In Dogs Fatal?

Mammary tumors are growths that develop in the mammary gland. While most are benign, some can be malignant. These malignant tumors can be serious and even life-threatening if not caught early and treated properly. Signs of a mammary tumor include a mass or lump around the nipple, discharge, swelling, or redness.

Do Dogs Nipples Change During Heat Cycle?

During a dog’s heat cycle, their nipples may become darker, larger, and more pronounced. This is due to the increased blood flow to the area. However, if your dog’s nipples are inverted, they may not change during their heat cycle.

Final Thoughts

While inverted nipples are nothing to worry about in most cases, it’s important to keep an eye on them and check for any changes.

It’s also important to keep the area clean to prevent infections like Mastitis. If you notice any changes to your dog’s behavior or a sudden change to their nipples, be sure to take them to the vet for an examination.

In most cases, inverted nipples are benign and nothing to worry about.

And for pregnant and nursing dogs with inverted nipples, just be sure to keep an eye on their nipples and make sure all the puppies are getting enough to eat!

Other posts you may find interesting:

Dog Yelps When Picked Up Under Chest (7 Reasons & Solutions)

What Does A Normal Puppy Belly Look Like: Normal Vs Big Belly

Can A Dog Get A Cat Pregnant? Can Dogs And Cats Mate?