How Many Ribs Do Dogs Have? Interesting Pup Facts For Kids

Deepthi Reddy
Jan 24, 2024 By Deepthi Reddy
Originally Published on Oct 22, 2021
A cute big white dog lies on a sofa in a cozy country house.
Age: 3-18
Read time: 7.5 Min

The rib cage present in your dog's belly is in a barrel-shaped chest.

Interestingly, all dogs comprise 13 pairs of ribs. There are 26 dog ribs, nine of these dogs' ribs are connected to the dog's sternum, and four of them are connected to the cartilage.

When your dog breathes in and breathes out, you must have noticed their ribs. The ribs of dogs give structure to the body and play an essential role in protecting vital organs like the lungs, heart, and other essential organs. It is a protective shield against any external attacks, blows, and force.

Lamb carcasses have around 13-14 thoracic vertebrae and the same number of rib pairs. According to a study, the number of vertebrae present in an animal is based on somites. It forms alongside the length of the spinal cord.

Similarly, in a recent study, bats were found to have 13-14 pairs of rib bones. Both males and females were recorded to have 14 rib pairs. However, females were found to have a higher rate of occurrence.

Pigs have 14-15 rib pairs. Out of which, seven pairs are sternal ribs and 7-8 ribs are asternal. Pig ribs are strong and curved with a clear-cut angle. The posterior rib is a backward slope. The first rib has short cartilage but a large sternal end. On the last fifth or sixth rib, the tubercle merges with the head. The second to fifth ribs form the diarthrodial joints along with cartilage. The 15th rib may develop fully when the cartilage enters into the stage of forming the costal arch.

Continue reading on more animal facts about how many legs does a lobster have? And how many mosquitoes do bats eat? Right here on Kidadl.

The Number Of Ribs In A Dog

The barrel-shaped belly of a dog is due to the presence of ribs. You don't need an expert to know how the rib cage looks. Everyone knows that dogs have ribs, but how many ribs do dogs have?

A dog's skeleton has 13 rib pairs on average. Only four pairs are linked to the cartilages of the ribs. In total, dogs have 26 ribs. You can check the weight of dogs by placing your hands on the ribs.

The number of ribs present varies from one mammal to another. For example, a whale has nine pairs of ribs, and a sloth has 24 rib bone pairs. Then come the reptiles, snakes are known to have the maximum number of ribs. Some animals, like snakes, have around 200-400 bones, and pairs of ribs are present on both sides.

The number of pairs of ribs in mammals and the number of ribs also differs between species: carnivores: 12-14 (nine true ribs, four false ribs), dogs: 13 (nine true ribs, four false ribs). Unlike any other animal, dogs have variations in the composition of ribs. Don't worry, this is normal.

In a rabbit's anatomy, you can see a skeleton with 12 pairs of ribs.

Humans' skeleton has 12 rib pairs too. The first seven rib pairs in humans are also known as true ribs, which connect directly by the costal cartilages. The eighth pair, ninth pair, and tenth of the humans are known as false ribs. The rest, 11th and 12th pairs of ribs of the humans, are known as floating ribs. Humans' floating rib bones are half the size and do not reach the front side of the body like those of a dog.

Floating Ribs In Dogs

A dog's rib cage or skeleton supports and protects the internal parts like the heart and lungs. The vertebrates' anatomy shows ribs that are long and curved bones that form the rib cage. In tetrapods, the chest is surrounded by the ribs, thus facilitating the lungs to expand, making breathing easy.

A dog has 13 rib pairs, but they also have an extra rib. Unlike the rest of the dog's ribs, the last ribs do not connect to anything. The dog's ribs are in the form of a cage to protect the internal organs.

Dog's ribs are responsible for making up the dog's rib cage with 26 ribs; these ribs are grouped differently. Only the first seven pairs of dog's ribs are known as the true ribs. These true ribs are connected to the breastbone. The remainder five pairs of ribs are known as false ribs; they connect to the sternum through the cartilages. The last pair of dog ribs are known as swimming ribs. They are perceived as a protrusion in dogs and are covered by cartilages.

A pair of floating ribs are attached to the vertebrae in the back and nothing in the front. Since this pair of ribs are attached to nothing on one end, they may seem to be coming out a bit in some dogs. Don't worry; this is common. The floating rib is one of the characteristics of dogs and is present in all dogs.

The floating ribs are the last pair of ribs in a dog's rib cage. It is attached to the spine and extends its way to the frontal part of the sternum. The protruding bone of a dog that you see is the end of the floating ribs, where the cartilages sometimes cut it off; the floating ribs are not broken ribs.

The Function Of Ribs In Dogs

Happy Golden Retriever resting near the couch.

Ribs are curved bones; in higher vertebrates, they are attached to the vertebrae dorsally and ventrally to the breastbone, forming the skeleton. A dog's skeleton takes months to mature.

The costal cartilages are ventral cartilaginous ribs. What forms the ribs is a dorsal bony part known as ‘Os costale’ in Latin, subdivided into the body structure, head, neck, and tubercle. It connects at the costochondral junction of the rib.

The ribs in the shape of a cage protect the internal organs of the body structure from any harm. You can get hold of a whole layer of fat between the ribs and skin.

The sternal is the true ribs, which connect directly to the sternum. The asternal is the false ribs that connect indirectly. The false ribs unite with the cartilages to forms the costal arch. Mostly, the caudal ribs are the floating ribs; here, the cartilage is not attached to the adjacent cartilages; it ends freely in the musculature.

The ribs are designed in the shape of a cage, more specifically, to look like the bars in a steel cage. Protection of your dog's internal organs like the heart, kidneys, stomach, lungs, and spleen is important. The rib cage also has many powerful muscles that support the chest, upper abdomen, and spine from external injury.

Risk Of Bone Cancer In Dog Ribs

Dogs have 13 rib bone pairs, which form the protective cage. These ribs articulate with the vertebral column posteriorly and end anteriorly as cartilage. The ribs are responsible for protecting the thoracic organs. They also play an essential role during chest expansion, enabling the lungs to breathe in and out.

Several medical problems can occur in a dog's ribs, for example, bone cancer. Rib bone cancer is a fatal disease that can spread throughout the body. Therefore, it is best to immediately take your pet for proper treatment to a vet (veterinary doctor). Only an expert vet would be able to assess the condition.

Bone cancers occur in the cells near the bone space or are metastatic diseases that could spread to other body parts. The most dangerous and common type of cancer in dogs is Osteosarcoma bone cancer, myeloma, and chondrosarcoma.

Vital signs of bone cancer in dogs: the dog loses its appetite and becomes lethargic, has difficulty breathing, neurologic signs, severe pain, swelling in the ribs, jaw, spine, and legs, limping, and discharge from nostrils.

According to a vet (veterinary doctor), the severe risk of the disease will depend on: the spread of the infection throughout other parts of the dog's body, pain where the tumor is located, the treatment, age, and weight loss.

Not gaining weight means the dog is sick and should be taken to a vet immediately.

An accident-related injury like a fracture of rib bones is also a serious concern. In case of an injury or accident, the broken rib or fracture will protrude out through the skin. If you suspect a broken rib or fracture in the shoulder, taking your dog to a vet will be the best idea at this time. Broken bones or fractures can even puncture a lung. A dog might also have a breathing problem if the dog's rib is broken. But rib fractures are not particularly painful. Seek medical help for your pet immediately. A vet will be able to diagnose the problem correctly. Go forward with the treatment for your dog as suggested by a vet (veterinary doctor).

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for how many ribs do dogs have? Then why not take a look at how are mirrors made? Or Doberman facts.

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Written by Deepthi Reddy

Master of Business Administration

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Deepthi ReddyMaster of Business Administration

With an MBA under her belt, Deepthi has discovered her true calling in content writing. Her writing repertoire is diverse, covering travel, movies, pet care, parenting, animals and birds, and more. Her joy of learning and creating has helped her craft well-written and engaging articles. When she isn't writing, Deepthi enjoys exploring new cultures, trying different foods, and spending quality time with her two children aged 7 and 12.

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