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Why do my dog’s ribs stick out?

Every pet owner’s dream is to have a healthy pet. Any signs of poor health could prove significantly troublesome for this owner. One of the biggest concerns a pet owner could have is a dog with floating ribs. Understanding this phenomenon could help you make better decisions regarding your pet’s health. Here are a few insights into what floating ribs are.

Why Do My Dog’s Ribs Stick Out?

Most dogs come with floating ribs. Such a rib is jutted out from the latter part of the ribcage. Unlike what most people believe, a stuck-out rib is a physical characteristic of every dog. While some ribs can be more prominent in some dogs, some are barely noticeable. These floating ribs are pretty common in puppies and a few dog breeds.

Every dog comes with 26 ribs in 13 pairs, all of which are attached to the sternum. This floating rib is the last pair of ribs on the ribcage. It is attached to the spine but does not extend to the sternum. That means the protrusion is the end of the floating rib, as it shows the cartilage that caps it.

However, some protruding ribs could indicate that the rib is broken or has a tumor. In such instances, you will witness great pain from the dog. Broken ribs cause significant discomfort, which could even restrict the mobility of your dog. It would be best if you took the dog to a vet. It will help avoid further issues or even fatalities.

Unfortunately, you cannot tell the difference between a floating rib and a broken one. That is because they are eerily similar. Unless you are considerably careful in the process, getting to understand such differences will be hard. The best way to see the difference would be to observe the physical pain the dog showcases.

Various aspects show whether your dog is in pain. Some of the symptoms you could notice will include the following.

  • Reluctance to play or run: A dog will often be reluctant to play, jump, or run whenever it is in pain. This pain could be from any part of the body.
  • Aggression: Your dog is likely to be more aggressive when in pain. In such cases, it will growl, bite, or snap.
  • Rapid breathing: Fast breathing, even when the dog is resting, often indicates that your dog is in pain. Always call a vet if the chest rises more than 35 times in a minute.
  • Noisy: A dog in pain will always vocalize itself, including barking from time to time.
  • Unusual positions: Most dogs tend to arch their backs when in significant discomfort or pain. For instance, be wary of dogs that assume a praying position.
  • Increased heart rate: An increase in the heart rate will often show how uncomfortable your dog is. Ensure that the heart rate count is no more than 140 per minute for a relatively large dog.
  • Unusual swelling: Swellings usually come with significant pain. However, fatty lumps are an exception. In addition, you might notice a swollen or large tummy.

The above signs could show that your dog has a broken or ruptured rib. In such cases, it would be best to visit a vet.

Why Do My Dog’s Ribs Stick Out On One Side?

Sometimes, a dog’s ribs will stick out on one side. It is a normal thing and sometimes a congenital effect. However, it could also be a sign of a bigger issue.

One of the biggest causes of a one-sided protrusion is a broken rib. In this instance, the ribcage will be prominently protruding and a little too odd. Touching this spot could make the dog quite uncomfortable, thanks to the pain caused. Ensure that you take them to the vet before things get worse.

A broken rib could bruise the dog’s lungs. That means it will affect how they breathe and their heartbeats. It causes an abnormal lump in the ribcage, which could puncture the lungs. This way, you end up with a fatality.

This protrusion could also be proof of a tumor in the ribcage. While this is unlikely, it is one of the biggest concerns when noticed. Usually, you’ll need to report it to a vet as soon as you notice it.

Tumors often get painful with time. That means your dog will start experiencing significant discomfort at some point. For this reason, ensure that you take it to a vet for a comprehensive x-ray. This x-ray exam will help determine the extent of the problem at hand.

There is yet another cause of a swollen ribcage: organ enlargement. Usually, the increase in the size of an abdominal organ could cause the abdomen to appear relatively large or protruding. This enlargement could happen for various reasons: tumor, inflammation, or an infectious disease.

Can My Dog’s Chest Bulge?

There is a chance that your dog could end up with a bulged chest. This implies that the ribs will protrude while the chest becomes much larger. It often shows that there could be a heartworm infection. This condition is significantly deadly, meaning you need to address it as soon as you notice it. Remember, bulging often happens after the dog suffers from anorexia and weight loss.

How Do I Check My Dog’s Chest Condition?

Regularly checking the condition of your dog’s chest will help determine how healthy your pet is. This move allows you to monitor the progress of your dog’s health whenever necessary. It also ensures that you notice unusual ribcage protrusion whenever necessary. This process requires you to monitor three critical elements: belly, waist, and ribs.

The ribcage is home to various vital body organs, meaning you must be careful when dealing with this part. This cage ensures that the organs stay intact at all times. To check the ribs, run your fingers across the ribcage, and gently so. Unhealthy ribs will always seem way too prominent, bumpy, and sharp.

An ideal situation is when the movement of your fingers remains significantly smooth. This smoothness indicates that the dog is healthy and with enough fat to protect the rib cage.

What to Do When My Dog’s Ribs Stick Out When Lying Down

It is common for the ribcage to protrude whenever the dog is lying down. You could attribute this to the posture the dog takes whenever it tries to get comfortable. Often, as the dog tries to lie down, it has to get a posture that will keep it relaxed. That means one of its sides could protrude. However, the significant protrusion is a sign of a much bigger issue.

You should also be careful with the curve formed by the dog when resting. This curve determines how healthy your pet is. For instance, a sunken curve will often indicate a health issue. It is a sign of chest bone deformity, which is a deformation of the chest and the ribs. Unless treated on time, this condition could cause considerable breathing and heart issues.

On the other hand, an outward curve is normal for the dog. An issue can only arise if this protrusion is more than normal. In this case, it could indicate that the dog is suffering from a broken rib or a tumor within the ribcage. Ensure that you monitor signs of discomfort in such cases. This way, it becomes much easier to understand what action to take.

You do not necessarily need to take your dog to a vet once you notice sticking ribs. Instead, monitor it for any discomfort first. Once you notice such discomfort, you’ll be sure that it is not in perfect health condition. It is only after this that you can consider getting medical attention.

What to Do About My Dog’s Ribs Sticking Out

There is no need to worry if the protrusion on your dog is not as significant. That is because such protrusion is common among dogs, as it is a physical trait. However, it could become an issue if the protrusion is significant and takes a toll on the dog. Usually, this will happen for two reasons: a floating rib cage or a broken rib.

Suppose it is a broken rib. In this case, you’ll witness considerable discomfort with your dog. The dog could become more aggressive, vocalized, or even reluctant to play. You can also see that this dog is in extensive pain. In such instances, it would be best to take your pet to a medical professional immediately.

Generally, dogs come with relatively robust bones. That means their ribs can only break if they get knocked down or injured in a fight. These broken ribs expose your dog to fatalities. Remember, a broken rib could puncture the lungs, resulting in breathing problems in the long run. Unless you consider getting immediate medical attention, a broken rib will cause death.

You’ll not need to worry about anything if the issue is a floating ribcage. A floating rib is a normal problem associated with most dogs. Its most prominent sign is a deformed or uneven rib cage. Yet, this does not necessarily mean that the dog is in distress. It could happen for three main reasons: trauma, congenital disability, and various health-related conditions.

Is It Normal To Have Ribs That Stick Out?

Undoubtedly, yes. Protruding ribs are a common phenomenon among dogs. Most experts associate this with a floating rib, which is characterized by an uneven ribcage. This floating rib is a pair of ribs that are not attached to the sternum. They come last among 13 pairs. Usually, you’ll witness a deviation from the usual uniformity of the rib cage.

However, in some instances, a floating rib cage can be a problem, causing significant pain to the dog. It could also result in acute breathing issues, clicking sensations, and abdominal pain. That means your dog could become more aggressive and reluctant to play. It could also keep on barking, showing that it is in distress.

The ribs sticking out could also be a sign of an underlying issue. For instance, the rib cage could become enlarged and more protruding if the dog has heartworms. There is also a chance for the ribs to protrude if the dog has a tumor or a weakened muscle around the abdominal area. These tumors and weakened muscles, however, often cause the ribs to stick out on one side.

It would be best to take your dog to a vet if the problem becomes painful. This medical professional will ensure that the dog gets a comprehensive examination of its health, allowing for the correct treatment or prescription. One approach the vet would consider is an x-ray, ensuring that the dog gets a proper diagnosis.

Can Dogs Pop A Rib Out of Place?

A dog’s rib can pop out of place for various reasons. While dogs come with considerably sturdy bones, some occurrences can cause the rib to pop out of place. The most common causes of a broken rib are accidents, dog fights, and assault by humans. Whichever the cause, enhanced pressure must be exerted to get this rib broken or out of place.

Fortunately, it is very easy to notice a broken or popped-out rib. Take the time to examine the chest. Here, you will run your fingers along the rib cage to determine whether the protrusion is sharp. Any sharp protrusion could indicate that the rib is broken.

On the other hand, a soft rib shows that the lung is punctured. In this case, ensure that you consult a vet as soon as possible. The vet will help prevent fatalities upon examining and treating the condition.

In addition, you will also need to understand how to take care of your dog’s rib. Since this condition is delicate, ensure that the dog remains still at all times. This way, it becomes much easier to avoid lung punctures. As such, let the dog lie down or stand still, depending on what it will prefer or what makes it comfortable.