Hernias in dogs

What is a hernia?

Dogs like humans can suffer from a hernia. This condition can differ in severity dependent on the patient and the circumstances. Some cases can be minor and more of an inconvenience such as a birth defect; but others can be more life-threatening or as a result of an injury.

A hernia is when one part of the body protrudes through an opening or gap into another part, this can create a lump or swelling under the surface of the skin which can differ in size dependent on the severity of the condition, the way your dog is positioned and how much your dog has eaten.

The four main types of Hernia your dog could suffer from, a Congenital Umbilical Hernia, Inguinal Hernia, Perineal Hernia or a Diaphragmatic Hernia. A Pericardial-peritoneal Hernia and Scrotal Hernia are considered quite rare in dogs but are worth being aware of too.

What causes a hernia?

There a number of ways a Hernia could present itself, depending on the type/location. Hernias are either present at birth or occur afterwards. Pregnancy, trauma and obesity could all be a factor in their development.

How is a hernia diagnosed?

A hernia can usually be identified if you find a lump in either the groin or abdomen, on one or both sides of their body. Other symptoms include:

  • Swelling in the affected area
  • Pain
  • Vomiting
  • Bloody urine
  • Difficulty passing urine
  • Disinterest in food
  • Depression and lethargy

How is it treated?

If your vet confirms that your dog does, indeed, have a hernia, then it will need surgery to correct. The procedure will involve a general anaesthetic, and the opening in the tissue which is damaged will need to be closed up. You vet will be able to advise you on the recovery process, but your dog will definitely need plenty of rest and cuddles!

Looking for more dog advice?

Find the information you need as we support you through every step of your journey with your canine companion.


Need dog insurance?

Dog insurance can help cover the cost of veterinary treatment if your dog gets injured or falls ill.


We know pets

Animal Friends Insurance is a multi-award winning FCA-regulated pet insurer, founded in 1998 to provide industry-leading pet insurance and first-class animal care to create a better life for every animal.
As one of the UK’s largest pet insurance providers, Animal Friends works with vets, veterinary professionals, and partners pioneering the latest veterinary technology & healthcare advancements to achieve our vision.
Our policyholders have helped donate over £8.5 million to more than 800 animal charities worldwide and by educating and inspiring others to act on current events and responsible pet ownership, Animal Friends is driving positive change for animal welfare and conservation.